'I came to Saudi Arabia to travel and see the world'.
Riyadh: "So, before my arrival in the kingdom; you would not believe the crazy advice I got from friends and family. My brother Adam told me not to ever use my real name (Christian)! He said it could cost me my head if I did! And he was serious! Adam is normally a very rational person-but not in this case. What's he been listening to in order for such wild ideas to take hold? I think it's just the media. Another friend asked if I would use a camel for transporting patients! Really?! Before my arrival in Riyadh, I remember wondering what it would be like here. Would I be living in a tent? In the desert? Away from people? Would there be running water? Yes; I really wondered about that. " Christian Turner American paramedic working at King Faisal Hospital recall his first days before coming to the Kingdom. "Like everybody else, I came to Saudi Arabia to travel and see the world. Also, we can't forget that the paychecks are pretty good. I'm an American paramedic working at King Faisal Hospital. I've been here in Riyadh for five years now." Turner added. He also said that when he met with his Saudi recruitment officer in Houston Texas that he should not worry about moving to Saudi and that he will have someone from the hospital pick him up upon his arrival to King Khalid International Airport upon his arrival at 3 AM. Christian was nervous because he did not speak the native language and was not a frequent traveler. When he arrived to Riyadh he was surprised to find out that the pick up from the hospital did not arrive and he was worried because he did not have any local currency or speak Arabic. Christian said the first experience he saw in the airport was the security yelling and the people sitting next to him and he was intimidated from the situation. "After I came to the realization that I was not going to get picked up I went outside to take a taxi to the hospital. When I reached the hospital gate I informed the security that I was here to start work and a gentleman who worked in the hospital paid for my taxi." described Christain. The next day he met with his work supervisor and explained what had happened and his supervisor replied to him that he did not have to worry about paying the man who paid the taxi back. Little did Christian know that the man made several attempts during his first week to get his money back which when he realized he was more than happy to reimburse his coworker. Christian was a little shocked on arrival. There were stores and restaurants just like back in the United States and felt like he was back in Atlanta. He added by saying Riyadh was a big, modern city just like back home and his mind was so full of silly, romantic ideas. I blame the movies. It never occurred to me that Riyadh would be so-Modern! I imagined Riyadh as a very old, ancient city. I thought living in Riyadh would be like stepping back in time. Back to earlier times when life was slower and less complicated. Wow, was I ever wrong! Riyadh has all the hustle and bustle as any big city. "Turner stated and added that his first year was very difficult and came very close to going home. But as time went on things got better and that some expats never get used to being in the kingdom and isn't for everybody. But it was for him. "I only came for two years and am now in my fifth year here. How long will I stay? Many people ask me that all the time. The answer is I don't know. I'll leave when the time is right. I have a great job. I have many good friends here. I love my little apartment. I enjoy buying veggies at the little market downstairs. I really love having more than fifty vacation days a year. I love arguing price with the local shopkeepers. Saudi Arabia has become a second home. I never expected to end up feeling that way. The truth is I don't have plans on leaving. Whatever the future holds, one thing is for sure: Saudi Arabia has a bright future," concluded Turner.
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