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Riyadh?

(21 Posts)
ihearttc Wed 10-Jun-15 21:20:28

DH has been offered a job in Riyadh.

We knew it was a possibility and have been thinking very hard about what to to do if he got offered it and now the time is here I still don't know.

We have 2 children (one is 10 and in Y5 in the UK and the other is 4 and will start reception in september). DH is there at the moment and he had yet another meeting. They have now formally offered him what seems to be an amazing package but I still don't want to go.

DH does a 4 hour commute every day (2 hours each way) when he is in the UK and travels a lot (usually Saudi, Dubai, Jordan and Kenya) so isn't here a great deal anyway. For the package they are offering we could afford to keep our house here and me and the boys stay here. We could go and visit him (I assume we need Visa's though) and he'd come here and we'd take holidays in other countries as well.

Any thoughts?

Stinkersmum Wed 10-Jun-15 21:39:48

I live in Saudi. I've been in Jeddah for two years but just recently moved to Riyadh. I have to be honest, the country is a shit hole. It's great if you can just baton down the hatches, save like mad and get out again. That's what we're doing. We want to come back the the UK mortgage free. We didn't originally have an end date but now I'm due dc1, 2020 is the latest we'll stay as I do not want to educate my child here. It's ridiculously hot, women can't drive and public transport, aside from dodgy street taxis, is non existent. Yes, you'll need to get a visa every single time you visit, the which is a pain. And good job offers aren't always as good as they seem. The rental costs and standards are very variable. It can be worth it but there is lots to consider. I'm happy to field any questions if you want to ask here or PM me smile

ihearttc Wed 10-Jun-15 21:42:56

Ohh yes please...could I PM you. Ive looked on expat women but the Saudi part is really quiet! Im assuming because no one wants to live there!

Stinkersmum Wed 10-Jun-15 21:51:30

Ha ha! Possibly! PM away, you're more than welcome smile

ihearttc Wed 10-Jun-15 21:55:43

Fab thank you-PM sent. Its a bit rambling so I apologise!

jomidmum Wed 10-Jun-15 22:13:26

My husband lives in riyadh and we are joining him there in September. I've met plenty of people who love the country!
If you're on a FB then the group "Susie of Arabia" is really good for advise.

oldbrownboot Wed 10-Jun-15 22:38:10

this sounds a bit like my SIL's situation a few years ago - husband had been working overseas a lot, ended up in Saudi on his own with her here feeling like a single parent (2 young DCs). offered great package, after a lot of discussion/ soul searching etc they all went for 3 yrs. Not wonderful for reasons stinker says but they made a lot of money and she preferred it to being a 'single parent'.visas - for them and visitors - were a pain I remember. presume you would be on some form of compound? so don't have to wear burqua etc all the time and normally have access to swimming pool etc. no booze but lot of people make their own out of grape juice.

Stinkersmum Wed 10-Jun-15 22:51:15

jomidmum I've met plenty of people who love the country too. And have been here for decades, made more than enough money. I still don't understand why on earth they stay. If they came from Somalia, or Sudan etc I'd understand.... But coming from the western developed works and loving Saudi? Unless your some devout Muslim that is practically blind, but very rich and Saudi to boot, you must be bloody nuts to love this country.

ihearttc Wed 10-Jun-15 23:06:42

See oldbrownboot...thats my dilemma. Im actually quite used to be an almost single parent. The boys have a great life here and have good friends (as do I). Im an only child as well to rather elderly parents and the boys are their only grandchildren. I know they won't travel and it feels like Im taking them away from them.

Yes we would be on a compound. Its apparently called Al Bustan Village...there is an American School on the compound. I don't drink (for no other reason that I can't stand the taste!) so no alcohol wouldn't bother me at all. Im more concerned about not being able to drive and essentially losing all my freedom.

Yes Im on FB. Will look up that group thank you.

jomidmum Thu 11-Jun-15 09:03:43

A family visit visa is not too difficult to get. Maybe OP you could simply visit your DH there regularly?

Laptopwieldingharpy Thu 11-Jun-15 10:21:46

In your situation i really don't see the point of moving. You'll end up resentful and it will put a huge strain on your marriage for nothing.

yallahabibi Thu 11-Jun-15 20:28:37

They tried to make me go to Riyadh and I said No no no !

Actually if the money was super and it was for a set period, I would consider it . We have lived in the Gulf for a while, however it is at the bottom of the pile . We have driven through Saudi from Bahrain, UAE and Qatar and what i've seen isn't pretty .
We are now in Doha and the people who really LOVE it here tend to have been in Saudi before.

addictedtosugar Thu 11-Jun-15 20:46:25

iheart and Jo think I've PM'd both of you previously. My husband is out in KSA right now. I'm working out my notice, and the plan is for me to go out when schools are sorted. Y2 looks OK, but we are struggling for a reception place.

Summer clothes and driving ON COMPOUND is OK apparently, however we are over on the east coast, which I think is slightly less conservative.

Good luck, whatever you decide. Were going. Eeecccckkkk!!

desertmum Thu 11-Jun-15 21:07:02

just to add my two penny's worth - we went when kids were in Year 8 and Year 6 - they were born and raised in another ME country so not a huge shock, but the schooling was awful and so after 2 years the DC and I left and now we are elsewhere and Dh is still in KSA. He commutes to us, we don't commute to him. We meet up every 6 or so weeks.

Would I go back? Yes,but I wouldn't take my DC there again and in hindsight I wish I had never taken them there in the first place. The children at their school were horrible and most of the teachers weren't much better. We lived overseas for 25 years and I met the worst people of my life in Saudi - it seems to bring out the worst in people. Racist, bigotted and insular. Too much time on their hands.

Having said that I made lasting friendships with a group of women as I was lucky enough to get a lovely job working with a fantastic group of Lebanese women who I will love forever.

addictedtosugar Thu 11-Jun-15 21:13:39

desertmum was that international schooling that was poor?

desertmum Thu 11-Jun-15 21:48:24

it was the British School - the secondary level tho so not sure what the primary level is like. We left a few years ago so it may have improved. It is a tough place for teenagers as they can only mix in mixed sex groups on the compounds. Problems with alcohol and drugs were rife - teenagers coming onto the compound we lived on (which was considered a good one) were searched on entry for alcohol and drugs . . . . My 11 year old knew who dealt drugs on the compound . . . (Not because he was dong them but because it was so blatant).

It is a crazy place, full of crazy people! I met women who had lived in KSA for 20+ years and their values and morals and sense of reality were skewed.

I love the Middle East, love the desert and the smells and sounds of the Middle East, I miss hearing the call to prayer at day break and sunset (and in between) and I miss the purpleness of the dusk as the sun goes down over the desert, and to me the ME (trite as it sounds) feels like my spiritual home. But I would never ever put my kids through that again. And it as nothing to do with the Saudis but with the ex-pats.

Sorry I'm not being more positive - anywhere else in Me i would say yes go for it. KSA you need to have a definite cut off point - and a get out plan for if it doesn't suit the DC.

Also check your husband's package (childish giggle here) - make sure it includes accommodation, education, health care, flights home, utilities, car,. If you get everything included you can save shed loads of money as there isn't much to spend it on (except for escaping on nice holidays!). Have a plan, either the amount of money you want to save, or a time limit and stick to it.

PM me if you want more info

Stinkersmum Thu 11-Jun-15 22:31:38

Saudi is known as the armpit of the Middle East. And it really is. I echo just about everything desertmum says. We're definitely out of hers before 2020 as I will not put my child through school here. Considering what it costs, it's shocking.

Stinkersmum Thu 11-Jun-15 22:35:58

addictedtosugar all over Saudi, in the compounds, you can drive if you like and wear what you want. That doesn't really change from coast to coast. As a city, Jeddah is a bit more relaxed than Riyadh. Less mutawa horror stories. In Jeddah I would go outside the compound with just my abaya. In Riyadh I always carry a scarf just in case.

addictedtosugar Fri 12-Jun-15 08:53:39

Oh, there is a cut off:
I'm back in the Uk in time to apply for secondary for DS1. Late 2019 is the absolute end point. We are only going to do primary out there.

No car, but everything else included in his (big) package grin

Were not in Jeddah or Riyadh.

Sorry for the hijack ihearttc

Stinkersmum Fri 12-Jun-15 09:28:20

Eastern province the, Damman, Al Khobar etc. Its all the same. I don't recommend buying a car. Lease one instead.

alteredimages Sun 14-Jun-15 11:52:01

This is a bit of a hijack, sorry, but I thought these street photos of Saudi Arabia were really interesting. Very different from the idea of a wealthy country that is prevalent at least here in other ME countries.

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