Friday, August 16, 2013

Start of our Weekend

The window in our dining room slides open to the outside... the kids use this as an ordering window! : )
Thursday is our Friday... and Friday is our "Sunday"... and Saturday is our "Saturday" but really it is the last day of the weekend because Sunday is our "Monday".  Crazy.... but we'll get the hang of it!  So Thursday was the end of our first full week in Saudi.  The kids and I spent it just hanging out at the house!!  That was REALLY nice to do.  It was nice to have no where to go and nothing to do... beside finish unpacking... I'm down to the last suitcase and a half... and it is just sitting in my closet waiting for me to unpack it.... it can wait! : )  I look at it like this, our furniture isn't here.. and probably won't be until the end of October if we are lucky... so what's the point unpacking everything and organizing it in borrowed furniture and then have to unpack that and rearrange again in a couple of months.... at least this is the rational I use to make myself feel less guilty about remaining luggage.
The kids spent the majority of the morning playing outside.  I have NO idea how they do it.  It is HOT... the humidity is rolling in today and the kids were pouring sweat... but that didn't stop them!  The spend a lot of time digging in the dirt/sand and collecting bugs (mainly ants).  They take breaks and lay out and eat snacks.  Then the lawn boy shows up and I have to apologize for the mess the kids made in our garden that he cares for and sort of said to leave this one area of dirt open for the kids to play in.  While they are playing outside, I'm enjoying my coffee inside and dealing with all of the maintenance people at our house... the upside to not owning our home here is that we don't have to deal with fixing it up... that also saves Brad time since he doesn't have a big "honey do" list!  The most he has to do is call in our "Issues" and arrange a time for the people to come.  The funny thing is is that each problem has a different person that handles it so we had 3 different trucks at our house all at the same time- kids shower needed hotter water and more pressure, our doorknob needed to be fixed, and some our our outlets weren't working.  All I have to do is tell the people where the problem is and the sign off that the work was completed!  SO nice!
 After everyone was gone, we headed over to the rec center to play!  The kids were getting crabby and I think its because the heat was getting to them and they didn't even realize it!  Having the rec room right across the street is SO nice.  We were the only ones there so the kids had the run of the place... and were able to burn off some energy in a nice ac building!  However, I think this is creating a bit of a problem with hot/ sweating going into to cold/ freezing... Ethan had a cold a couple of days ago and now Addyson is coming down with the same thing.  I'm not sure what to do to fix this but we are giving the kids lots of vitamins and trying to keep it not so cool in our house to help since the kids go in and out a lot while at home.

I had a bit of a weird experience for me at the rec center and it is probably because I'm good at over analyzing EVERYTHING..... 3 Saudi women were working the counter at the rec center; 2 had their faces covered as well.... as I was checking out one woman said, "nice hair".... my hair was in a messy ponytail so there was nothing "nice" about it in my eyes so I immediately thought they were making a comment because my hair wasn't covered... so I worried.... it was brought to my attention that they probably being geuine about their comment and that they like the lightness of my hair... fair skin, light hair, light eyed people are not something you see a lot of in Saudi so that draws them in to us/me.... I noticed our kids get a lot of looks, caressing touches, and people try to talk to them while we are out... for once in our life we are a minority... that takes some getting use to!
Brad got to come home for lunch... such a nice treat.... let's see how long I like having everyone home for lunch! : )  Then he was home right at 4 to start our weekend!!!!  Since it is our "Friday night" here it is the night the weekend kicks off!  This is the night the Hobby Farm has their BBQ night... while we (the kids and I) haven't been gone from the States long enough to really miss anything, Brad has been here 2.5 months and a good burger off the grill sounded like the perfect treat!  It is nice to live on a camp where you can get little tastes from home to help combat homesickness!
 After dinner we drove to the back of the farm where they were letting the horses out for the night... it is finally cool enough at this time of day to be in the field!  It was amazing to watch the horses with the sun setting in the background!!!!  See, this is so much like resort life... I can't get over that!
 After dinner we went to the bowling alley on camp.  Owen earned a bowling trip for the family by getting his card full of stars!  The kids earn stars by doing their chores and helping out extra around the house.  This is a new system we started in our house and hope we can stick with it.  The bowling alley isn't anything fancy but it only cost us $4.50 for our WHOLE family to bowl so we can't really complain!!!
Have you heard of the documentary called "The Aramco Brats' Story"?  I haven't watched it but I need to!  The story is about how children raised in the Aramco community are "brats" because they don't have to do chores because most families have a house boy that does the chores for them and they don't get jobs like mowing the lawn because there are "lawn boys" that do that and no one would take money from the lawn boy who is trying to support his family back home and give it to an expat kid who doesn't need the money.... at least this is what I'm being told the movie is about.... anyway, we knew the idea of the Aramco brat coming into this move and we want to try to be aware of this and not have our kids turn into "brats"..... while I know they are going to be privileged and get opportunities a lot of their friends back home won't... there are some things we can try to stay on top of..... and helping them learn a good work ethic is one of those.
 The smallest size shoe that had was a 1... poor Addyson was clunking around in them and doing her best!!!
Long story, short.... we came up with the chores/ reward system to try to figure out a way to get our kids involved in helping around the house and doing chores... chores are no longer just for mommy, daddy, and the house boy.... they have chores too!  And when a chore is completed they get a star on their card..... the card already has the treat on it they are working towards.... and when the card is complete they get to cash it in..... which is the long winded way to tell you why we are bowling tonight!
The move to Saudi was one we did to help us get on a path to a new life style... and while this place lends itself well to making changes in ones life.... the other reality is.... you are the same person that moved to Saudi as you were back in the States!  I'm still Ambre with the same crazy ways as I was back home... and that Ambre back home doesn't stick to schedules/ plans/ systems of reward very well... I'm a fly by the seat of my pants kind of girl... and reward (or lack of reward) on the spot and each day is different.....
So... will this chore reward system work?  I hope so...... reality.... maybe not.  Will my kids become Aramco Brats?  I hope not..... but it will be SO easy to do so.  What's the path of least resistance here.... I'm afraid it is the "Aramco Brat" path... and I love paths of least resistance....they take less energy.... I'd rather spend my time flying by the seat of my pants into new adventures and using my energy exploring... which there will be plenty of.....
But, we came here wanting change... looking for change... and we are in the perfect place to do it.. give it a try.... try a new path... change my "Ambre" ways... we just have to be aware and make the choice to do it (kind of like how Owen decided to give bowling the correct way a try... after being told several times by us that it was possible and he was strong enough... he finally gave it a go... and he did great!).
Which is why we are bowling..... I'm making the choice to change.... getting on a schedule.... slowing down.... taking time to teach my kids to have work ethic... putting the effort and energy into guiding them (forcing them) to want to help around the house...and rewarding them/ us for their efforts!   I keep telling them- We are a TEAM... we are in this together and need to make it happen together... and we need to come out on the other side of this better people... I don't want to make this whole adventure for not!
One of the other things I think we'll get out of this experience is a closeness with our "community group"... and what I mean by "community group" is this..... today is Friday... which is our "Sunday" where people go to their "community group" of choice... get my drift... there are certain things I won't be able to talk about on this blog for fear of who might be reading it... however... I will mention some things... you'll just have to read between the lines... This morning was our first experience at our "community group".  We got all dressed up (yes, I'm allowed to wear whatever I want to on camp... however when we are going to some of the common areas on camp we will not wear our Razorback stuff since pigs are not allowed in country) and drove our golf cart to our group (here are Addyson and I riding on the back of the golf cart).   Kind of an unusual way to start the weekend... we are use to ending our weekend with the "Holy Day" not starting it that way.
Okay, back to my point.... it was SO surreal to be sitting in a room in a home (it was the "father's" home with a HUGE open room and a couple of offices) and gathering all for the same reason.  I looked around and couldn't believe what we were doing.  It was a mini version of where we would gather back in the states (even stained glass stickers on the windows to make it look real).  We were all singing and "talking" the same... and it was in a sort of secret place.  There is something very special about being secretive about what you believe and having to be quiet about where you are going and what you are doing.  It makes being in "there" so much more special!  It makes the words you say so much more meaningful.  You no longer take it for granted!  Someone worked hard to provide this opportunity for us to gather here in Saudi and so Brad and I will make every effort possible to take full advantage of all that is offered through our group!  I looked at Brad and I said, "I can't believe we are here.  We are doing this.  This is SO surreal!"  I am SO thankful that Aramco gives the expats this opportunity... and there are SO many different "community groups" on camp so it seems like you are free to pick who you'd like to gather with and there isn't just one group with everyone trying to make all of their ideals line into one.  It is amazing... and a great way to start our weekend!
After group, Brad made us an amazing lunch of lamb kabobs, hummus with naan bread, salad, and he even made a yogurt/mint/cucumber dressing.  What a perfect start to our weekend!  Tonight we are going to a dinner for the SAEA (Saudi Aramco Employee Association)- the group that put on the Eid celebration we wen to last week- and it is being held at the kids' school.  This will be our first opportunity to tour through the school!  We are all excited!!!  I'm sure I'll post pictures from that later!  Happy Friday everyone!

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