*This blog post was written on the 1st March, but I don’t have wifi access, so this is belatedly going online when I can get onto the internet*
Another day in sunny Saudi Arabia.
Today was the first day of our orientation for my new company, & it was a lot to take in. We had our collection at 7.30am, & first up went to the hospital (a Johns Hopkins hospital for employees on the compound), followed by a trip to an office building (which is giant, but I can’t remember the name of it) for a tour & the days orientation. It is a massive building, which seems to be where all the HR, personalle & recruitment happens. It was a relatively small orientation, only seven people. Two people working in a different compound (in Engineering), somebody going to work in HR, & two men doing 28:28 (which I think means they work on the rigs for 28 days, then have 28 days off work), plus us three in admin. Me, Louise, & another girl who moved over to Saudi from England last week, & apparently we did our interview together in London. Between the two of us we were able to piece together what happened to everybody in our interview (five of us). One didn’t get an offer, one couldn’t pass the typing test (!!), one had an offer retracted, & then us two. It’s interesting to find out what happened to them, because I was just wondering about it this morning.
Anyway, the other girl (Georgia) was really nice, & gave us lots of tips, & seems to have lots of friends already. She is going to dinner tonight with some girls, but Louise & I had plans already so had to say no, but hopefully over the weekend we can see them. One of her friends is a girl that I’m going to be working with (Jade), & apparently she has plans to have lunch with me on Sunday, which is nice. I didn’t know about these plans, but hey ho. Georgia had loads of tips to share with us, so that was really handy. She has only been in Saudi for a week & has already been off compound twice, which gives me hope. I’m a bit scared of going outside to be honest. I’m sure it will be fine, but it’s still scary because I’m not sure how woman will react to us. My work is off compound, so I’ll have to leave every day anyway, but apparently I don’t have to wear my abaya. However there are lots of Saudi’s in the office, so they are quite strict about what to wear. I’m quietly freaking out about that because I don’t know if I’ve got anything appropriate, but I’ll figure it out.
Anyway, after our induction we came home, then Louise & I called the Furniture Warehouse to upgrade our beds. The apartments come with single beds, but we wants queens, so there is a number to call to change your furniture (take it away if you buy your own stuff, or swap the beds, bring another sofa etc etc), which we arranged it through. After that we went down to the commisary (which everybody calls the comms, to order our PO Boxes (which will be ready tomorrow), get spare keys for the apartment & try sort out our storage.
The storage situation was funny. Basically- every apartment gets a storage unit, & mine had a padlock on it. So I went to the keys office to ask them for the keys, & was told that somebody was using the locker, so to call the office & complain, & they will sort it out. I said “well I’m here, can’t you just log the complaint now. Why do I have to call?”. He kept on insisting I call him. So I get home & twenty minutes later I called & straight away the man said “Ah, yes, Miss Alexandra. Somebody will sort it within two days”. I was frustrated, but also had to laugh. Apparently, this isn’t unusual in Saudi.
After we did our chores, we met Morag (who took us for our tour yesterday) for a 5k walk with one of her friends, which was good to get moving, & also to meet another new friendly face (except I forgot the friends’ name). They go for walks most evenings, & invited us to join, so I think I may take them up on that offer. Because we finish work so early here (4pm), we were back from the walk by 6pm, which is loads of time to go out in the evening afterwards still. I really want to get back into the gym & eating better, so hopefully walking everywhere will help with that.