• Tag Archives Saudi
  • On The Move

    Fall                                           New Autumn Moon

    While we slept, the busy folks at English Gate Academy in Saudi Arabia were solving Mark’s visa snags.  Dr. Ahmed called a person he knew at the Saudi Embassy in DC.  Mark submitted two new forms, a letter certifying that he lived in the U.S. and a copy of his ESL certification, and tomorrow, if all goes as expected, he will have a visa granted by the Royal Government of Saudi Arabia.

    Of course, there will remain the return of the passport with the visa stamps and the purchase of an airline ticket, packing, flying.  At this point though, almost a month after the visa material went to Travisa and almost two months after we started collecting material for it, something happening this week is a cause for joy.

    At the end things change.  Frustrations melt away and the awaited blossoms into reality.  This will be true for Mark when he steps off the plane in Riyadh to 104 degree day and for Kate and me when we walk up the gangway and board the Veendam.  In true Ellis fashion we will set out for parts unknown within a couple of weeks each other.

    Holding a passport is not a common thing; an estimate that made sense to me reckoned the percentage between 20 and 22% of American citizens over the age of 18.  Neither is the next step beyond holding a passport, international travel.  It’s easy to forget these things if you have, as I do, many friends who travel often to foreign shores, but most Americans and many members of Congress don’t see travel, at least outside the homeland, as a important.

    For some, it’s a matter of economics, but ask any college student how cheaply you can travel abroad.  My own 2004 trip to Southeast Asia proved how inexpensive travel is there.  My room in the heart of Bangkok cost $16 a night and my room in Siem Reap, Cambodia, the town closest to the Angkor area, was $32 and included an all teak room, tiled bathroom with high end fixtures, a refrigerator, breakfast and a sign that told me I had to check my explosives at the front desk.  No kidding on that last.  I forgot mine in Bangkok.



  • Lemons and Very Little Lemonade

    Lughnasa                                                   Waning Harvest Moon

    So.  Yesterday I got up, got ready to go into the museum, got in the car and got no engine love.  Click.  Click.  Click.  Of course, I only had adequate time to get there since I never leave early.  What to do?  I put the charger on it and got back…wait for it.  An error message meaning the battery won’t take a charge.

    Anyhow we have that new Rav4.  I hopped in it and made it on time.  Or close enough.

    Got home after a long stint at the museum in time that Kate could go to work in the Rav4.

    What greets me at the kitchen table?  A nice note from the IRS saying they had checked our 2009 return, 2009?, and now feel we owe the government an additional $45,000.  Say what?  The letter of “explanation” did not communicate in any language I understood.  WTF?  OMG.  Well, a good thing we pay that accountant to handle this kind of stuff.  Could ruin a perfectly bad day.

    While I read this cheery note, Mark says, “Rigel’s bleeding.”  Uh, huh.  A small nick on the ear.  Unimportant.

    Earlier, I discover, the Saudi embassy wants Mark to take an HIV test.  Good thing we have a doctor in the house.  Kate circles the HIV results on the lab work already sent.  Oh.

    Also, some power of attorney for somebody for some purpose seems to be needed, requiring yet another communication back to Saudi, which will produce an e-mail to Mark, which he will then sign and Fedex to Travisa which will then hand it to the Saudi Embassy in Washington.  Geez.

    Other than that Mrs. Lincoln…

  • Life Lesson Learned

    Lughnasa                                               Waxing Harvest Moon

    Looks like Mark was more right.  Not sure yet, because all the data isn’t in, but he understands the culture of English language schools and I don’t.  Life lesson learned here.  The lesson?  20 years of experience beats book learnin’ and casual travel.  Sorta makes sense, doesn’t it?

    No matter what happens with the visa, Saudi situation, Mark’s time here will come to a close in the next few weeks.  We leave for our cruise in October and he doesn’t have a job here.  I hope he still ends up in Saudi.  We’ll see.

    Mark and I are here by ourselves for the next 5 days.  Kate got on the 7:40 am Northstar this morning, headed for the Hiawatha Line and MSP.   Having the Northstar close by has dramatically changed getting to and from the airport.  Now, we can board a morning commuter train, catch the light rail to the airport and when we get back, we can reverse field and end up within a short drive of our home.  Just like a big city.