Moving to Saudi Arabia: Back to When Everything Started or How to Pack Everything You Have in Less Than 24 Hours

Since the beginning of this blog, I have written about pretty much everything worth mentioning about the live of a student in Saudi Arabia, except for the day I actually knew I would have the chance to start my life anew. So here is my second post for today, which will be talking about exactly that.

Saudi Arabia is one of the most difficult countries to get into. ESPECIALLY if you are a woman without a husband.  I have been waiting for a visa permit for about six or seven months and as I spent more and more time back home in Germany, my dream of getting to know another country, its culture and its people was in danger of bursting for ever.

The weather in Germany started to get worse. Sunshine and warmth were replaced more and more by a gray sky and constant rainfall and that adorable, pink warm sweater that felt like made of Cashmere wool, which it obviously was not, seemed to whisper in a tempting voice: “Buy me! C’mon I know you want to! I am so pink and fluffy!!”, every time I passed by it in the store.

At some point, at the beginning of September, I finally got an appointment at a so-called Tasheel Center, where I would leave my passport so that it could be forwarded to the Saudi embassy in Berlin. However, I was still kind of sceptic about the whole plan working out quickly.

So I was getting ready for a week home alone, as my hosts were planning to leave for vacation. I did all the necessary preparations and was looking forward to an undesturbed week, eating nutella with grissini bread sticks straight out of the jar, tin can ravioli and drinking coffee and ginger ale while either enjoying a good book or watching my favorite soviet Russian movies, which I like quite a lot.

And THEN, just as I got all excited about all the things I would do while on my own, I got the oh so awaited call, during which a voice with a heavy Saudi accent told me my passport was ready to be picked up.

So I immediately dropped everything and ran to the Tasheel Center to get my visa. I called my parents who were already in Riyadh, so nervous I couldn’t even speak properly.

My flight to Saudi was booked for the next morning. And after six months of waiting everything happened in a rush. I ran all over Berlin, doing the very last purchases, making an improvised “To- Do before leaving” list on my Ipod touch while on the train from one part of town to the other.

I have never been so excited about a new beginning as in that moment. I was so full of joy, I even dropped a 50 cent coin into the bag of a homeless young man and his dog, as I was almost running down the street on Alexanderplatz

So yeah, it was all hectic. I called up my best friend to tell her I’d come by and say good bye to her. I ran home to the other end of Berlin to get some of the things I would leave with my BFF before leaving and ran back to her house in the muslim district of Berlin.

And then there was the thing I hate to do the most: packing a suitcase. Don’t get me wrong. Traveling is absolutely awesome but packing sucks. Especially when you have only 20 KG available as you fly from Berlin to Frankfurt and then to Riyadh.

My job was to get everything that I possess into one single suitcase and that in less than 24 hours, in fact even less than 12. I was up all night packing and unpacking clothes, shoes and other belongings. That was definitely an amazing day and a stunnung experience but as of now, every time I get to chat with my Saudi friends or when I just walk up and down the souq or whatever, I know the trip was worth it. 🙂

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