I got a job offer! Yea! Now the procedure of references, criminal background check, nursing license and visa begins.
Let me back up. First, hello there and welcome to my blog. Maybe you found it by doing what I have been doing lately: searching for expat blogs. And while I am currently not living in Saudi, I am hoping to move to the Kingdom in February 2020. So far I am at the beginning of the process. I have a nursing recruiter, completed a job interview with the hospital via Skype, and accepted the job offer. I need to obtain references from my current managers and begin applying for a nursing license in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia. I need to get paperwork completed from my nursing schools, proof of my active licensure, and criminal background check. Also, I need a complete medical exam, but that is to be done within three months of arriving in the Kingdom. Then I can obtain a work visa.
Right now, I do not have many people with whom I can discuss this adventure. In fact, I have not been completely honest with the few people I have told about this opportunity. I have told a few friends that I might be getting a job in Dubai. I feel they will be less judgemental of the United Arab Emirates. Few years ago, when I first brought up the idea to a few friends that I wanted to apply for a job in Saudi, I only received negative reactions. “You are crazy!” “You will get stoned, and not in the fun way.” “You will have to wear a burka!” You won’t be able to drive!”
First, yes I sometimes think I am crazy. Second, I think I will be safe as long as I follow the cultural rules. Three, women are required to were abayas, not burkas, but some women will be in those too. And lastly, I have been to Middle Eastern countries before and not sure I would WANT to drive in one. If they drive like they do in India, I will be scared to cross the roads let alone drive. (This is not to offend anyone in those countries, but I am too intimidated to drive in non-Western countries.) Even now with women being granted permission to drive in the Kingdom, I do not think I will be brave enough.
I am feeling very guilty for keeping this intinerary from the person who means the most in the world to me. That is my boyfriend. He is wonderful and I love him, but he is not a wanderlust like me. He does not have a valid passport anymore. In the two years I have pestered him about it, he does not seem eager to get one. We have traveled locally and I took him to the US Virgin Islands this past winter for his first trip to the Caribbean. I was hoping it would inspire him, but eight months later he still shows no interest on the passport front. It is not my reason for this move, but maybe if I spend a year abroad, he will finally get a passport to meet me once or twice in a country. (Unfortunately I have been told he will not be allowed a visa to visit me in KSA. Only close family members.)
One very sore subject in our relationship is the topic of living together. I started to bring up the idea after our first dating anniversary and he avoided the issue. By our second year of dating, he had excuses. “But things are going good and you like your place and I like my place.” I got upset whenever I brought it up and he constantly dodged the discussion. I told him if we were not at least LOOKING at places together by our third anniversary, I was gonna look for a job in another country. “What if I got a job in London? What would you do?” He said he would have to get a passport.
The third anniversary is coming up in October and Jeddah is sort of like London, but hotter and drier. It has same amount of letters in the name. They speak English in both cities with accents foreign to an American. They both are across the Atlantic, and then some. Okay they are not alike, very different, and nursing jobs in Jeddah pay a lot more than London. One city he would be allowed to visit me and the other would be almost impossible for him to get a tourist visa. But I have been to London a lot of times and I don’t think I will ever be able to visit KSA without this work visa.
I have given him chances of looking at places together this past year. He has had very lame excuses. “The movie theater in that town only has one screen.” One place he said is too expensive but it was 2/3 of our combined rents. I try to point out if we shared living costs he could afford a new car. (The air conditioning in his car died last summer, but he says he only needs it for a few months out of the year.)
I understand he is comfortable with the way things are and he is scared of big changes. But I love exploring other cultures and growing as a person through traveling. I have dealt with difficulties of language barriers and transportation mishaps and losing items around the world. I am comfortable with the uncomfortablilty of travel. I am a little scared of what a year in Saudi will be like and it is definitely out of my comfort zone. I look forward to using my vacation time to explore the Middle East and maybe African countries. I want to learn how nurses from around the world do different procedures. I want to meet people from different cultures and expand my views. And I am hoping a year away will push him to consider cohabitating when I return.
I plan to tell him next week. This upcoming week is my birthday and we are going away the following weekend. I do not want tension between us until afterwards. I want to tell him before I ask for references from my managers. I am worried how he will handle it. But I do not want to back down. In my interview with the hospital, they told me a lot of applicants back out months after starting the process. Do I think I will back out or am I set on this job? I told them I have no intentions of backing out. I just hope he is supportive during this whole journey.
I will tell me mom and family after I tell him. But I will save that for another blog. I will tell my friends the truth after I get the visa approval. The nursing recruiter told me not to resign from my current job until I get the visa. If I do not get the visa, this blog will end. If I do get it, this blog will continue into my one year living and working in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia. Wish me luck!