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I'd heard horror stories about getting through customs in Saudi, but I had no problems. I had packed everything that I thought I would need in our suitcases. Clothes, toys, books, my art supplies, my spindles and fiber..and my Bible (that is what I was really worried about). But we had no troubles there. After we passed through customs, Jason was there waiting for us. He looked so happy and relieved that we were finally there with him.
He drove us from the airport in Dammam to the ARAMCO compound in Dhahran. It was a bit surreal passing the machine gun nests as we entered the 10 square mile compound. Jason was excited to show us the house that he had prepared for us and the car he had bought and fixed up so that we would have transportation. I was so exhausted from the 24 hour-plus trip to get there, that I just wanted to sleep. But when I went to bed that night I just cried. I missed Steph and Paul so much. Everything was so different there.
Henry loved it there. There was a park right across the street from our house. The compound was kind of like 1950's America. Women stayed at home and went to club meetings. The kids were in little league. We got Henry registered for school and were amazed to find that the class sizes were small. There would only be 15 kids in his class. He and Jason got to come home for lunch every day.
I didn't even have to clean house while I was there because we had a house boy. All I did was read, paint and spin. They even had church services there (on Fridays... the weekend was Thursday and Friday there). But I was miserable and I was making Jason miserable.
I can look back now and remember the good things about my time in Saudi, but when I was going through it.... it was terrible. I felt so guilty about leaving Stephi and Paul. Steph seemed fine when I talk to her on the phone, but Paul. Oh, talking to Paul made me feel so bad. He was as depressed as I was. He missed me, he missed his sister, he missed his friends. Jason kept telling me that they would be fine. That if I stayed I could travel home for holidays and for 3 months in the summer.
I knew that God wanted me to be there with Jason, but I became less and less sure of why. I was so sad. Jason and I argued all the time. I thought for sure that there was some great purpose for me there... but I never learned what it was. I complained and complained until Jason couldn't take it anymore and we came home in November, less than 5 months after I got there.
Jason came with us and we had a great Thanksgiving with our family and had lots of interesting stories to tell. Jason returned to his job in Saudi a few weeks later and I started job hunting at home. I thought that I had made it through the toughest time in my life - but my greatest trial was just around the corner.