My Last American Christmas


This might be my last Christmas in America for a long while. And it is a depressing Christmas. I am still hurting from ending my relationship with my boyfriend-of-three-years, and made the mistake of asking him to see a movie with me this past weekend. I thought we should see the last Star Wars together since we saw the last 3 together. Seeing him again reopened healing wounds. And I have found myself tearing up at work, during yoga, and while waiting for a cup of coffee at a coffee shop.

So I have been trying to focus on moving to Saudi! In my downtime, I have been practicing NCLEX questions on my phone as preparation for the prometric exam for Saudi Health Council Licensing. The exam consists of 150 questions, divided into two 75 question segments to be completed within 3 hours. I must achieve a score of 500 out of 800 points. The content will include 10% nursing fundamentals, 14% medical nursing, 14% surgical nursing, 8% maternity/midwifery, 8% pediatric, 10% critical care, 10% community nursing, 8% psychiatry/mental health, 10% leadership/management, and 8% research/epidemiology. All my nursing experience has been in neonatalogy. So I need to brush up on the rest of the topics I have not studied since I graduated nursing school in 2002.

Saudi Commission for Health Specialties has completed and approved the background check of my nursing license, education, and work history. I assume I will be eligible to take the prometric exam after the Christmas holidays. Once I pass that, I will go for my medical exam as my last step for the visa process. It is feeling more real.

I plan to give my landladies notice with my January rent that I am moving out March 1. Even if I am not to move to Saudi by March 1, I will put all my stuff in storage the last week of February and find a temporary, local rental on AirBnB until I leave the USA. I am using up the last of my vacation days in the end of February after I learned that my hospital does not repay you for unused vacation days. It will be a perfect time to put my life in a moving truck and store near my mother’s house. (Ok, not perfect if a snow storm hits at that time.)

I am making a list of things that I need to order before moving and what to take versus store. Gonna donate a lot of stuff to Goodwill. Been trying to use up spices and lotions and everything that has accumulated in my home the last five years. I want to order a few pairs of beige Thinx underwear because I will have to wear white scrubs at the Saudi hospital. I want to pack my snorkel gear and hiking gear and been picking out books that will be worth the weight. I have a Arabic For Beginners book and some of my French-language learning books. (Even though someone told me I will have a better chance at learning Tagalog than French, but I still want to work on it.)

This is all a good distraction. I am making progress on my upcoming move. I have had two friends who have been very supportive with my breakup, but they both live far away. It makes me very depressed that I have no local friends cheering me up or even more friends texting me to check in. I am hoping for “a nu start” in Saudi. (Fans of Arrested Development will get that joke.) I know the grass is not always greener on the other side, especially since there is not much grass in Saudi, but it will be a new opportunity. I have celebrated Christmas in other countries as a tourist in the past, but next year I will be celebrating it as a resident of another country. I will be celebrating as an expat, which is something I have been dreaming of for a long time.

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