Just two days ago, I wrote about waiting for my number and worried how long it will take. Today, I emailed my agency to get an idea of a time frame so I can figure out my living arrangements until I leave for Saudi. As I was about to head out to the gym, I received this reply:
“Your email come at excellent timing! I was just going to email you with an update.
Your Saudi Health Council application has been reviewed and you have been issued an exam number, which means you can register to take the exam. Based on the exam and work visa timelines, an April 3rd departure is more likely, so we will tentatively aim for this date. I would suggest staying in your current housing until you pass the exam and your work visa has been issued.”
So now I have my Prometric Exam appointment set for February 10. It is the earliest I can take it due to my work schedule and after a short vacation I have planned starting next week to the Maldives. (I booked these tickets before I knew about the job in Saudi, otherwise I would have waited to journey there from the kingdom.) Should I take study material with me on my trip? I was planning to read some books on the beach about life in Saudi.
And the agency gave me a tentative date! April 3. It means I will arrive before Ramandan! I was hoping to do that so I can see a little bit of normal Saudi life before the odd store hours and such during the holy month. I heard you can not drink or chew gum in public during that month because it is rude and can cause problems. And hopefully I start in April so my 3 months of living in Saudi will end by July, when I will be allowed to travel to other countries. There might be a chance for me to go to climb Kilimanjaro in July or August, if I can get approved for the vacation time.
The agency also told me to schedule my medical exam around the same time as my Prometric exam. I will have to do that next. I am ten pounds heavier than what I put on the medical form that was submit with my original application. Maybe I can drop five pounds before the exam, but it is now closer than I thought.
Its feeling real. I have a little more than two months to get my affairs in order. I can start a countdown! So exciting!