31 December 2016

Goodbye 2016

So.  This wasn't the best year ever, mostly because of the five-letter word, but let's focus on the good parts, okay? At least mostly.

Last year's list:
  • Finish Washington DC.  I don't want to have a lot of things I wish I'd done. I'll be back, but it probably won't ever be both as easy as it is right now to see all the things.
  • Have school go well for everyone
  • Get to Saudi by train and ship and not so many planes (at least with a few trains?)
  • Figure out how to live in Riyadh reasonably well by the end of the year
  • ARABIC
  • Moderation in all things 
  • Write something?
This wasn't a long list and I was only moderately successful. DC was great and I feel like we did got as much out of our time there as possible.  I'm certainly not finished, but it was enough this time.  Also, I loved doing the field trips with my son.  

Some of us are getting the hang of Riyadh.  The weather makes a HUGE difference, and so does getting out of the city more often.  We've been having a lot of fun exploring (and I really need to get caught up on those posts). 

I could spend more time on Arabic, but I'm at least taking a class twice a week and I'm moving forward even if it's not very fast.  I have definitely remembered how much I like the language and that makes a difference.


We weren't able to be creative with getting to Saudi because of work schedules, but that turned out to be a wonderful thing because we stopped in Europe and met up with my sister for a day in Germany.  That was one of my favorite things ever and now I want to meet up with all of my sisters and their families in lots of interesting places.  Those almost-24 hours was the best day of the entire year.

So, 2017.  It will be an eventful year no matter what.  Some of these are inevitable, others are hopes.

Oldest child graduates from high school and second child ready to go in 2018
Line up an amazing place to move next
Student loans paid off
Do something good for our 20th anniversary 
No moves
Travel more 
Jerusalem 
Do a big refugee project
Figure out other good ways to oppose Trump
Lots of histories and history
Explore Saudi and try new food
Buy a condo?


20 December 2016

Sandstorm

The top photo is normal sandiness in the air, the bottom is moderate sandstorm.


I have things to post about but we have to get organized with the photos.

There's Diriyah, Wadi Hanifa, the Tuwaiq Escarpment, Batha market, and some more things.  Hopefully all the photos can be gathered into one place and we can find the camera so they all get taken from one place again.

03 December 2016

Raghba

Today I went an entire hour's drive outside the city.  That's the furthest I've been from my house since we arrived.

We had something else planned this afternoon so we couldn't do anything that took too long or that might have gotten us into a pickle so we decided to go to see the old mud brick ruins of Raghba. I wasn't able to find a lot of information about the place, but it's supposed to have been around since the mid-1600s.  There used to be watchtower on the west side of the ruins (as recently as a couple of years ago), but it was a heap today. 

You can still go inside the mosque and climb up the minaret to get a view over the ruins.  Don't miss that.  There are also some buildings with some interesting decoration inside.  You could poke around diligently for a couple of hours, but I'd suspect most people wouldn't stay more than an hour at most.

It's easy to get here from Riyadh. Go northwest out of the city on King Khaled Road (535) and just keep on going till you get to Raghba. There are plenty of signs along the way in Arabic and English.  It's about an hour from the time you leave the edge of the city. When you get to the circle at Raghba, the ruins will be to your left.  Turn left at the circle and drive down into them.

These were not the best ruins we have ever seen, but it was so nice to get out and they were interesting enough for an hour's drive.  I loved looking out the window and I learned lots of new Arabic words along the way.