Well, I THOUGHT I was just back in the US for the summer. However, Al Khaleej were sanctioned by the Saudi Ministry of Labor for bringing workers – like me – in on Business Visit visas and having us work…so, between that, and my being 67 and TOO OLD to work in the Kingdom, they could not, apparently, get another visa for me. Nor do I get the last 6000 riyals that Al Khaleej still owes me from my May paycheck 🙁 While our project manager was easy to get along with, I can’t say that I would recommend the company as an employer. I very much miss my Saudi family and friends, especially Amal and Umi.
However, DrJohn came back to Las Vegas for his Hajj vacation and brought me my big blue suitcase, carefully packed by Amal and Umi – that included a big bag of Umi’s wonderful khubz and 4 boxes of hand-picked dates (I wonder if the seeds would sprout and grow in Norah’s back yard?) home ground cawa for Krys and Bralin (Praline) coffee for me from the Lebanese nut shop. There’s a TESOL conference in Dubai in March and Amal and DrJohn are presenting…and I just happen to have enough riyals left to buy my return plane ticket so I could go, visit with my friends and Umi, and collect my other suitcase and the last of my belongings.
I am SO glad that I brought back all my souvenirs at the beginning of the summer so I have tangible memories of my 6 months in Saudi. The “hit” was the bars of Virginity soap I brought home for all the girls 🙂 I keep promising myself that I will write down the story that goes with all the photos of Facebook.
Summer at Jay’s went very quickly. I got to know the grandchildren better and to make sure that their dad had his Snowbird pass in September so that he can look forward to a winter visiting his “Happy Place.” I was able to put a lot more stuff up on http://www.benjammindyes.com and get his business paperwork organized.
Now I am in Nevada – living with my daughter Norah. I came down to escape the Salt Lake winter, collect my suitcase from DrJ and go down to Phoenix for my ninth grandchild’s baby shower on 11/12/11 🙂 We figured out that #6 of 9 children (Krys) produced #6 of 9 grandchildren (Holly)….and that #9 of 9 children (Josh) will have #9 of 9 grandchildren (Ethan Collins Strebel) 🙂 – born February 2012.
Just to prove that everything always turns out just exactly the way it should – the best news of the summer is that Steve Strebel and I spent the evening of what would have been our 42nd wedding anniversary together!
We also had dinner together several times, took several drives to admire the scenery around Salt Lake, looked at many of the homes that Steve had worked on, and we visited the Bingham copper mine. We have discovered we have a lot in common (43 years and 5 children’s worth!) and really enjoy the people we have become. The children are not quite sure how to take all this socializing between their parents (but they’ll get used to it!).