About Kiwi

Welcome to Kiwi Living In Saudi.

Like the Kiwi bird after which this blog is named, I'm a native from New Zealand - Maori and proud.  I married a very patient man over thirty years ago and he is still around having been been simultaneously entertained and horrified as he's watched me grow, make mistakes and, because one of us is a slow learner (ahh, yep, that would be me), make them again.  In 2010 I upped sticks and moved to Riyadh, in Saudi Arabia, to join him.  He had been here for a little over a year already and was getting lonely so my wonderful job was chucked in on the promise of an exotic lifestyle where I didn't have to work.  It sounded a wonderful prospect.

Turns out the grass is not that much greener here. Actually, there is very little grass.  

Self discovery is a wonderful thing and I quickly came to the conclusion that sitting around with the brain and body dis-engaged on a daily basis doing all those lady of leisure things one used to dream about doing is like, boring.  This blog came out of a that realization.

Kiwi Living In Saudi was started on a whim which is typical of me - thinking things through is not one of my strong points.  I'm more of a 'Do It Now and Think About It Later' type and, many times, that method of operating has left me with a lot of thinking to do!   I'm still not sure I'm doing this blogging thing right or not, but no matter, it has served to keep my family updated on our travels and myself with a hobby other than the Saudi sanctioned female activities of shopping, manicuring my nails and contemplating my navel in the desert sun by a beautiful pool on a bright red sun lounger.

Surviving in Saudi Arabia as an expat woman requires getting out and creating a life, else it can be a very frustrating, soul destroying place.  I decided very early on that the best way to make the most of my time here was to get out and about meeting the people and seeing the country - within the confines of its customs and quirky rules of course.  Oh, and my husbands schedule because for weekend trips out of town, he has to drive.  That plan sent my husband into a bit of a tail spin because of the standard expat rumour mill that said this country is dangerous and the locals unwelcoming.  It turns out mud slinging is a Saudi Expat hobby. 

Certainly this place is different and it has it's challenges but as you read my blog hopefully you will discover, as we did, that it is not as bad as I was first led to believe.  It's not perfect by any means, but show me a place that is.  Even good old New Zealand, voted one of the best places in the world to live, has a few issues that could do with improving.

One of the downsides of life as an expat is being a long distance grandmother and missing out on a large part of my grandchildren's lives.  But, in saying that, I'm not ready to retire to a small corner of Middle Earth and be the Nana who bakes, knits and babysits.   Heck, even if I was ready for that I'd still have to decide whether to live in New Zealand, Australia or the UK because mine, like many others in the world these days, is a global family.  So, instead, I'm a Nana who makes the most of technology that allows me to communicate with my family and friends via phone, email, Skype, Facebook, Instagram, SMS.  Heck I'm even registered on YouTube.

I'm far from perfect - a dreamer, a time management nightmare, stubborn with, every now and then, a bit of a fiery temperament, and occasionally somewhat ditzy.  I do wonder sometimes how I manage to get through life!  Perhaps it's because I try and see the brighter side of people and situations and I like to spend a bit of time each day thanking the Universe for all the good things in life that have come my way. (Except on those days when something trivial will break the camels back and everything becomes total crap till I can sort my attitude out.  You know those days.)

If you're more visual than auditory, then perhaps this page, Things I love, will tell you more about me.  And if you would like to contact me nip on over to my Ask A Kiwi contact page.

Thanks for stopping by and I hope you enjoy your stay.

Ka Kite,

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  1. I am a New Zealander too- I'm of Greek ethnicity and proud of it. I've known Saudi through business since 1996. I have lived in Riyadh and Jeddah for more than 4 years. I am a partner in a Saudi company with Saudis from Riyadh. I live outside the compounds. I eat, drink, sleep, socialise and actual Saudis. It's great people are getting your perspective on life in Saudi but you must agree it's a narrow perspective. Much of what I know and see I wouldn't repeat out of respect for the people, who are very private and trying to deal with a traditional way of life that is changing very quickly. I have been travelling for business and pleasure for more than 25 years, I have visited more than 40 countries, worked and lived in many of them. Some where rich, some were very poor. Some were very like my native NZ and other were so alien. All were amazing and Saudi Arabia is the place that I have enjoyed and continue to enjoy the most. I challenge you and all New Zealanders to open your minds and try to know and understand- as my family did when they integrated into NZ society learning the ways of the Maori, Anglo-Saxons and others that were both so alien to them. We are all part of the human species and every ethnicity and nation has had their own journey and has a story- invest and you will be rewarded. Spread the word- travel frees the mind and lifts the spirit!

  2. I might be moving to Saudi to work as an engineer in the next few days and i am looking to find out a bit more. I have been to ME before but i know this is totally different. What do you miss from a western lifestyle that you cant get in Saudi?

    1. Hi Georgios, what I miss are the normal things - like sitting at a street side cafe with a group of friends of both genders and enjoying coffee and conversation. It doesn't sound like much does it? I presume you have arrived in Saudi by now. How are you finding it?


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