What do you do for your holidays when you’re an expat? I mean aren’t we technically already on holidays, since we’re abroad and living in the sunshine all year long, surrounded by palm trees with the beach nearby?
To be honest living in Jeddah feels a lot like being on holidays. I’ve been trying to describe what living in a compound feels like to my family and friends back home and the closest I can explain is by comparing it to living in a holiday village.
Life in Saudi arabia
Where I live at the moment (my employer provides me and my family with free housing on their compound) looks like a gigantic holiday village. It’s self contained for one and it’s got everything you need so you don’t actually have to get out unless you want to.
Then there is the Jeddah weather, awesome weather, summer all year round with temperatures between 35 and 40 degrees Celsius at the moment (July 2015).
There are some swimming pools in the compound to cool us down, hundreds of ACed shopping malls not far to while away the hottest hours and spend our hard earned salaries.
And just look at the place! With the clear blue sky, the palm trees everywhere… it’s hard to feel like I’m going to work when I walk to my office in the morning. And at night when I look over the roof tops from my windows, I am still totally overwhelmed by the view of those rocky mountains.
Still, summer is the time for holidays so let’s talk holiday plans then. Life in Saudi Arabia has a lot to offer for a family like mine which is why we decided to spend the majority of our holidays in Jeddah. From here we have made quite a few days trips to Mecca and we plan to visit Madinah next, maybe next week.
After that it’s finally time for the “real” holidays as we are flying to Tunisia. If you’ve been reading this blog a while you know that Tunisia is my favourite country in the world and that we have been travelling to Tunisia for our holidays for years. But this year, our holidays are gonna be much more than just holidays…
holidays in Tunisia
A few years back (flashback) my husband and I started dreaming of Tunisia, not just for quick visits during the holidays but as the place we loved the most on this Earth and where we could see ourselves settling down.
This is Gabes, where my husband is from and where most of his family lives:
Well, thanks to our life in Saudi Arabia and the big fat salaries they are paying us here to teach English, we have managed to save enough money to build our dream house. It’s hard even for me to truly comprehend how fast it all went. All it took was 10 months of savings the best part of 2 salaries to afford to build a house from scratch. Can you believe it? Sometimes it feels insane! In the UK we were struggling to make ends meet, we couldn’t afford to dream let alone make our dreams happen, all the while leaving a very comfortable life.
And now, on our very first holidays since we signed a contract in Saudi, we are going back to Tunisia with enough cash (yep cash, no mortgage) in hands to start the construction of the house of our dreams.
This is terribly exciting, exhilarating and a little overwhelming. I feel (almost) like a grown up now with that whole building-a-house thing, and there will be challenges ahead of course and grown up decisions to make…
So this holidays, besides the family reunions, delicious food and trips to the beach, there will be meetings with some architects, the construction team, we’re gonna be talking budget and deadlines and materials, floor plans, planning permission and a lot of other things, which up until now I had only ever heard of and wasn’t sure what they meant.
So here we are, about to embark on yet another incredible adventure and once again the line seems blurred between our daily lives and our holidays. I don’t want to throw a big fat “I love my life” and rub it in your face so I’ll just say that I’m very grateful that the life choices we’ve made a few years back are allowing us to live life to the fullest and make our dream come true.
What are your plans this summer? Tell us about what you’re doing and where you’re going? Any exciting change coming your way?