by Nina Sabin - Travel
When we arrived back from Egypt we felt very lost and confused. It is not that we didn’t have an amazing trip; based on Blog # 6 – 8, you know we did. It was because we felt like we left one foreign country only to come back to another foreign country. It had only been four months since we arrived in Saudi (our new home). However, it didn’t feel like home yet. We still had the temporary furniture. With that, we had the bare minimum, a lamp and a few beds. Before we left for Egypt, we returned a lot of the temporary furniture. After three months you start getting charged for the items in your home. This is because sea shipments are supposed to arrive in three months. However, as you have read in Blog # 4, our shipment was delayed due to the tragedy on September 11, 2001.
We arrived back from Egypt on December 20. Only five days before Christmas. Without having our shipment, we had to be creative on decorating for Christmas. We were blessed as I mentioned in Blog # 5 that the expats (expatriates from their home country) on the camp were so friendly and understanding. Someone had a small Christmas tree they weren’t using and so they gave it to us. We put it on a table and then added a small rug as the tree skirt. Since this was a Muslim country, it wasn’t easy to find things we could use as decorations. However, in Khobar, the town adjacent to our compound, there was a craft storethat carried things we could use. The store had anything from hardware, to craft supplies, to school supplies. If we needed something we would always check this store first. We bought some craft supplies and my girls and I made ornaments. They also had 110 volt Ramadan lights (which made great Christmas lights). 110 volt was a rarity, as everything off our compound was 220 volt.
We sometimes forget there was life before the internet and smart phones.. I really needed Christmas music to make Christmas time complete. Once again my neighbors reached out and shared their music CD’s (yes there was such a thing). I don’t know how we would have made it through that first Christmas in Saudi without the precious friends God put in our path.
Now back to our shipment. It finally arrived the day after Christmas, we were so excited. It showed up four months after we left the USA. We were able to celebrate Christmas again. However, due to the delay at customs, it looked like everything was emptied out at the dock and then repackaged again. We had footprints on pillows, garden hoses with our china, and puzzles with pieces all over in various boxes. We left the US hoping to get settled in before Ramadan (the Muslim holiday where Muslims fast from sunrise to sunset). Who knew a terrible tragedy would happen and delay everything. In the end, though some of our items were ruined and we had to toss some puzzles, we were so happy to receive our shipment and finally make our house in Saudi Arabia a home. Who knew that home would be for over 16 years?
Stay tuned for the next blog about our trip to France, Belgium, and Germany.