Catching up

I’m already slacking on my blog. However, I keep notes on my phone for future topics. Below are a few of my random notes, without rhyme or rhythm.

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Work:

I’m learning a lot about Eastern culture. I wholeheartedly enjoy embracing the new business style, which will certainly help me grow professionally. As an American, we tend to keep business affairs about business. All too often, we are ‘matter of fact’ and we tend to move quickly to the point. I have been guilty of these type of interactions. This is not how business activities are done in Saudi Arabia. I have found a delicate blend of business and personal matters in all conversations. A dialog is initiated with a polite greeting and then followed with concerns of your personal well-being. Whether they know me or not, they will ask how my day has been, how my wife is doing, or if there is anything they can do to help me. Their hospitality is sincere and not a mere token statement. No business discussion takes place before addressing personal matters. There is also an absence of complaining, which is very refreshing.

The challenges and expectations of my job are rewarding. I’m delighted to join Aramco and eager to start contributing more to the organization. For now, my main objective is to learn and remember a never-ending list of acronyms.

I attended a retirement celebration, which included a traditional meal of roasted lamb and rice. Everyone gathered around the outer wall of an elegant tent, perked high on the jebel’s in the Udhailiyah 11+ camp. Patrons sipped Arabian coffee while the host spoke of the retiree and presented him with tokens of their appreciation. The meal was presented on large tables that were only a few inches off the floor . The guest sit or squat around the table while eating. The lamb was distributed among three tables. The main table had the body and head. At the head of the lamb you will find the guest of honor. The other two tables appeared to have the front and rear quarters. Everyone uses their hands to eat and I was instructed to only scoop food with the right hand. If you’re wondering, yes everyone lines up and thoroughly washes their hands before eating. The meal was delicious and I ate way more than I should have. It is hard to explain the experience in words. I attached a couple pictures to help illustrate the ceremony.

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Weather:

It is the beginning of fall, but not as hot as I expected. Remind me of this statement next summer when it is 130-degrees, but the low humidity is less brutal than the climate of the Texas gulf coast.

Experienced my first sand storm. Oddly enough, they call it fog. Apparently, the winds in the empty-quarter stirred up fog-like clouds of sand. From my experiences, it had the appearance of smog in urban cities.

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People:

When we visit the malls in Al Hassa, there are 1,000’s of people. Renee is often the only blonde and receives numerous inquisitive stares. Life in Saudi Arabia allows us to interact with lots of nationalities, but I have noticed a clear absence of Mexicans. Maybe one day soon I will have a better understanding why.

Learning to shop around prayer times has been a challenge. We finally downloaded an app to know the time of the upcoming prayer. For those who don’t know, the shops close and doors are locked during prayer. Smaller stores will ask you to leave until prayer is over, while larger stores allow customers to continue shopping… even though you are locked inside.

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