July 2016 – Moving to Saudi Arabia

In July of 2016, we were “wheels up“ from our home of California, on our way through Frankfurt, Germany with an expected arrival in Dammam, Saudi Arabia (or KSA, Kingdom of Saudi Arabia) roughly 22 hours later. 

Bags ready to go at SFO
Short layover at FRA

8 bags checked (200 lbs), 2 carry-ons (250 lbs), personal items, and the two of us made our way with little incident.  We arrived roughly 10:30pm +03:00 GST, and pulled into our new home about 2 hours later.  I remember the first wave of hot, humid Arabian air that hit us as we walked out of the airport.  Truthfully, I almost turned around.  I’m glad I didn’t!

Our landlord. Seriously, he came with the house.


So slowly Craig and I became friends.  I’m not sure if it was friends or that I decided that I was one of the guys and he became stuck with me.  We were in the same group of friends through 2008 and early 2009, and I even talked my way into a trip to Montana to Craig’s family’s cabin at Seeley Lake with two of our other friends, but our friendship didn’t really grow until I moved almost exactly half way around the world.  Funny how that happens.

Traffic in Kuwait

In July 2009, I was looking for a change and accepted a job with the USO at Camp Buehring Kuwait.  It was definitely a change.  In the meantime, Craig got sent to a project at the Denver Airport for 15 weeks.  As we were both settling in our new locations, we found ourselves to be a little bored and so began our new found life thanks to Google Chat.  We had lots to chat about too because as I mentioned, I had become one of the guys and “joined” (forced myself on to) the Lemons race team that Craig had started.  Not only did I join, but twice I flew back to San Francisco from Kuwait to be at the races.

Nascar Weinermobile

After months of chatting (I’ve always had a love for Google Chat) and years of friendship, I may have had some more feelings at this point in the story.  While I thought that I was hiding them well, my friends have since informed me that flying almost 36 hours roundtrip to go to races and hang out with Craig was a little obvious.  In any case, the second race was in early March 2010 and by then Craig and I were chatting just as much and I thought I just had a really great ‘friend.’

Me playing on an Osprey

A few weeks after I got back to Kuwait in March, Craig and I were chatting late one night/morning.  (I worked the night shift so I was basically on a California schedule the whole time.  I would talk with Craig after work during his evening and my mornings.)  We’d often talk about whatever was on tv, but this night Craig said he thought I was awesome and so started our relationship!

March Lemons Race

Memorable Meeting

What better way to start a family blog than with how we became a family?  So the story must begin with how we met.  I had recently moved back to the Tri-Valley from a 9-month Mission trip to Togo. (As in West Africa, not Tonga which is in the South Pacific.  There is your geography lesson for the day.)  I was looking for a church and went one Sunday to Cornerstone Fellowship, which is great if you just want to sneak in and out because it’s huge.  I was unsuccessful at the sneaking out.

I met a friend that I sang in choir with in elementary school (believe me, the pictures from those performances are amazing.)  Anyways, she invited me to a 20s-30s group at Cornerstone called Sanctuary that evening.  I gathered my nerves and decided to go.  After it was a over there a was a group going up to a great overlook of the valley to see the Perseids Meteor shower, which regularly happens in August. (And there is your Astronomy lesson for the day.)

I quickly found myself trying to stay warm laying half in a road between two people I somewhat knew from high school watching a meteor shower.  (That doesn’t sound random at all.)  Soon a BMW comes rolling down the road and this guy parks and gets out.  Obviously part of the group, he starts boasting about the speed he just clocked and the number of cars he passed coming back from the airport.  Now, I may be stereotyping a bit, but this guy was seeming to fit into every BMW driver stereotype I have. I may have thought to myself that this guy was possibly a little full of himself.  And though he doesn’t remember it, that is when I first met Craig.  I’m glad I got past the first impression!