Saturday, May 8, 2010

My first week in Saudi Arabia

Well, I have officially been here for a week, and I have a lot of observations. It is hot, and I'm afraid I will melt when the summer temperatures hit. There is also a lot of sand, and many shiny buildings. I have heard that in order to get over jet-lag you need one day for every hour of time change. Coming from Seattle I changed 10 time zones, so should be feeling back on track in 3 more days. Last night was the 1st night I slept most of the way thru- so was pretty stoked this morning!!

Currently, I am in hospital orientation. The hospital is beautiful, there is an entire marble wing, and I fear someone will end of with a head injury from slipping on the floor. Its really interesting and inspiring to be in orientation with such a broad group of nurses from so many different countries. All of us coming to Saudi with individual backgrounds, and for varied reasons. I have yet to visit the floor that I will be working on, so don't have much to report on that front.

I am living in a compound attached to the hospital. There are several different complexes, mine is about a 15 min walk in. Not really looking forward to this when the temperature is 50C. Maybe I'll build a tolerance to it? Maybe I'll require IV hydration at the start of every shift- we will see!! It kindof feels like a camp for adults here- if the adults were only female, and living in a rundown 80's complex. I had to take a step back when I got to my apartment- not that I was used to living in the lap of luxury, but its interesting here. The great thing is that the rent is free, the ladies are friendly, and there are 2 pools within a 2 minute walk of my place!!

So is it safe you may ask? I have felt completely safe- have left the compound to go to the grocery store, mall and IKEA (yes, they have IKEA). We take cabs when off the compound, as Saudi Arabia can be a very dangerous place to be a pedestrian. Do I have to cover my face? On our housing compound we may wear whatever we like. On the hospital property we must dress conservatively (long sleeves, pants) or wear an abaya. Off the compound you must wear an abaya, and carry a scarf incase the religious police tell you to cover your hair. I have yet to have the pleasure of meeting these fine men, but will be prepared (scarf in purse) if need be. The abaya is hot, but you can wear whatever you would like underneath which is a plus. I also spilt salsa on my lap on Cinco de Mayo (must have been that virgin daiquiri) and my abaya saved the day!

Anyways, this post is getting rather long. The moral of this story is that I am alive and well. So very thankful that I decided to do this. Am having an amazing time, and have met some really great gals in orientation!! Here are a few random pictures from my 1st week:

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