Thirsty Alexis

Journey to Quench that Insatiable Thirst for Knowledge

Moving to LA and Work Trip to Saudi Arabia!

I’ve recently moved to LA from NYC since living in LA has been in my bucket list since my first visit to the US back in high-school. Living in NYC for almost 3 years definitely hit the mark, and it was time for me to make a change in my life and to pursue another challenge. Moving to another state without really knowing anyone and especially when you visited once back in high-school might sound absurd. Actually, when I visited LA briefly for an apartment hunting, the weather in LA was oddly cloudy and rainy. And, I thought “what was I thinking?” 🙂 However, I always say, “time is the most precious commodity”. How long do we wait for the perfect condition/circumstances to happen for us (i.e. better economy, higher salary) in order to try something you really want? Blaming on bad economy or your current situation for any reason doesn’t get you anywhere. I’ve got to say that the first week in LA was definitely challenging while doing everything on my own within a budget. However, it wasn’t as hard compared to the difficult times I had to overcome when I first moved to the states by myself. 🙂 I guess, the level of hardship is all relative after all.

After living the so-cal dream for a couple of months, I’ve heard about this new
project opportunity at work – 3 months in Saudi Arabia (3 weeks on-site and 1 week off). As soon as I saw the email, it just gave me butterflies in my stomach. I replied to the email right away and the whole process from talking to the project lead to getting visa took about 3 weeks.

And here I am in Saudi Arabia! Some of my friends had concerns especially due to the segregation toward women (refer to “Women’s rights in Saudi Arabia“). For instance, all women here need to wear black abaya/nigab including foreign visitors. Under Saudi law, they need a male guardian’s permission to travel (if under 45), and they cannot drive vehicles. In public, there are sections for women only in malls and restaurants. Even at the hotel I’m staying at, there is a separate gym for women. And women cannot use outdoor fitness facilitation such as tennis courts and outdoor swimming pool. Another gender gap I read about was that 4 male witnesses are needed for a rape conviction, and women who report rape or sexual assaults can be charged with adultery.abaya

Despite the extremely limited women’s rights and culture change, I sincerely welcome this challenge and am very excited about this opportunity! And, one of the popular quotes from Mark Twain inspired and helped me with the decision to come here.

“Twenty years from now you will be more disappointed by the things you didn’t do than by the ones you did do. So throw off the bowlines. Sail away from the safe harbor. Catch the trade winds in your sails. Explore. Dream. Discover.”

It’s my only 1st day in Saudi Arabia, and I plan to share some of my experience especially as a woman expat via this blog. While researching about the logistics and the culture for women expats in Saudi Arabia, I wasn’t able to find many helpful resources. Thus, my upcoming posts would be informative to those who are interested in travelling and/or working to Saudi Arabia.

Who is ready to navigate any sea, any air space, and any situation with me?