Friday, December 14, 2012

Tis the season for quick updates

Greetings all,

It has been some time since we posted any updates so I thought that I would try an do a little bit.

It is funny how even though we are part of a little community it doesn't take long before it seems like you are running at 100 MPH (160 KPH ;-) In addition to swim lessons, this fall Ben and Whitney have both also become very proficient bike riders.KAUST really is a conducive place to learn to ride a bike. You can get to most places on campus in just a few minutes. My office is about 6 minutes ride from my house. The kids are all getting around campus and since we finally tracked a bike down for Barbara. Now she, Whitney, and Ben take rides up to the square on Monday (our hump day here) afternoons when they get out of school early. I think that they each enjoy it greatly.

Caitlynn and CiCi have been elected to the student council in the secondary school and have been very good with their desire to serve. Caitlynn has once again set down the violin and is instead studying the clarinet as part of the school curriculum. Though she had thought that she was going to put the trumpet away, CiCi is once again playing as part of curriculum as well. She thought that it would be difficult with her braces, but she has been able to very well in spite of them.

It is the Christmas season here in Saudi Arabia which means that the weather is much nicer and not much else ;-) That said it is great to be here at KAUST with many people willing to appreciate and share the views of each other. It continues to be a great place to experience. There was recently an article that ran in Science magazine related to KAUST at 3 years old and it painted a picture regarding some of the growing pains that KAUST has experience,and some of the challenges that still lay ahead. Regardless, if we look at it in terms of any 3 year old startup I think that it still is a great choice that we made. In some ways life continues to move by very fast, but in others it is really easy going. It is the first time in a long time that when I leave work, I leave work. There is still lots to do but generally I feel supported to get done what needs done, but to also leave a healthy balance between my work and life.

Next weekend we will get to experience part of that balance as we go to Dubai for our first actual family vacation. As part of the benefits here at KAUST we are entitled to a repatriation visit either home, or another desitnation of our choosing. I became elegible for this benefit at 6 months (which occured on Nevember 27th WOW!), but it is based on a calendar year so I basically have a month to use the 2012 benefit so we are headed to Dubai. Right now our Christmas eve is going to be spent dune bashing and barbequing :-) ( Isn't that how the old Christmas song went "Bashing through the sand, in a 4 wheel drive truck, over the dunes we go, hoping not to get stuck" (I might be remembering the song incorrectly)

Plus while we are over there Barbara and the kids are going to do Ski Lessons at Ski Dubai ( Whitney wants to do ice skating so we are likely going to be working that in as well ( Since it is the Middle East and the weather is going to be a chilly 80 degrees we will also spend some time at the Atlantis Waterpark (were just going to the waterpark and aquarium we can't afford to actually stay there YET ;-)

We are also going to work in some actual cultural stuff to, but that stuff is not as planned out yet (don't need to search out discount tickets for those). The Burj Kalifa, world's tallest building, is on the probable list plus we will take a bus tour of the town to get a better idea of places to visit.

Because it has been so long since we have updated the blog I realize that we have left out some exciting events that we will have to update on such as the kids ride on a camel, our trip to an old castle, some windsurfing, and other memorable events. I will try and put those together in the next couple of days as I know that Christmas and New Years might bring some family and friends around looking to see what we have been up to on the other side of the world.

Suffice it to say until then, Best wishes to all.