We are finally home in Fahaheel. I am totally blown away by how nice this is.
Today begain at 0630 with the ITT team picking us all up and taking us to the Middle East Office for briefings. It was the first time I actually felt like I worked for a company instead of the military. HR, finance stuff, etc... We got a talk from the head honcho that oversees all of our contract. He's a great guy with great vision and everyone speaks very highly of him. I was impressed.
After the all day briefings, me and the other 2 guys staying in Kuwait were taken to another set of offices, actually a villa (large house with several floors and rooms) which serves as offices to some, and also as an in-between house for people moving in and out of the area. We waited there for our supervisors to arrive and take us to our living quarters.
They arrived, and me and the other guy (Stan) who are going to be room mates left with our direct supervisor for Fahaheel. He took us to our room, which is up several floors in an apartment tower right next to a lovely mall. There is another mall across the street. There is all sorts of stuff all around us, small shops, big electronics stores, a grocery store, a bazaar area, the gulf is walking distance. He took us to the end of the mall next to us and took us to a middle eastern cuisine restaurant which was very good, and also looked out over the gulf. We talked about lots of stuff, some work. Tomorrow is an off day for me and Stan, and on Friday we get to go into work for the first time. We'll be picked up a bit later than usual and taken onto the base.
Both Stan and I are totally overwhelmed with how nice everything is. Our apartment is humongous! 2 rooms with what look like king sized beds, 2 shower/bathrooms, 1 straight bathroom. 1 extra room we are just going to use for storage. Living room all fitted out with furniture, a tv, stereo, and dvd player. And best of all, our Internet is already hooked up and ready to go. Just needed to plug my router in and fiddle a bit, and here I am. It's pretty slow, but hey, it does the trick.
Oh there is also a kitchen, equipped with new stove, washer/dryer and refrigerator. And a dining room complete with full dining table and chairs. The ceilings look 12 feet tall. It's incredible. I've uploaded some pictures, but they do not do it justice.
I asked about how much to rent a place like this and he said about 400 to 450 KD (3.5 dollars to the KD). So pretty spendy stuff. Before Kerri gets here, I'll need to find a place for us, but I do like this area a lot. There are lots of expats who live here apparently, and it's fairly recently developed around here. Apparently the farther north you go, the more affluent and the nicer things get, and Fahaheel is pretty far south, but it's very nice here IMO. If the prices go up farther north, then this is probably where we'll stay. That combined with the fact that it's pretty close to work will cinch the deal. I'm told you can find places for as low as 200-250 KD, more in line with the space Kerri and I are used to (i.e. 1 or 2 bedroom apartments). I guess we get about $900 apartment/car allowance if we move out of company provided quarters, which will be very welcome at the prices around here. Still not sure how the car thing is going to work out, but we'll see.
It's all pretty heady stuff quite amazing. I feel bad for the folks heading onwards to Iraq and Afghanistan, they are not going to have such niceties and many will continue to live in the conditions we have been subjected to of late. All will be confined to their bases, none can travel in country. True, they are being paid more, but for me, the reason I wanted to do this was to live in a foreign country, not on a base. It's really looking like that may be possible.
One thing about work is the hours, which I already new would be 12 hours, 5 to 5. My suspicions were confirmed today when I heard my supervisor mention that he'd been up since 3:30am, as you then have to drive to the base and get in by around 5am... And I leave at 5pm that puts me back by around 6pm. So on a day shift we're looking at abour 6pm - 8pm to see Kerri and Rowan before hitting the sack to get 7 hours of sleep. It won't be so hard on me, it's them I'm more concerned about, getting through the rest of the day... But it would be better than them being stuck in the US, that's for sure. At least we'll have the weekends.
And vacations...looks like I basically get around 4 weeks of vacation a year, not counting holidays (which can be moved around and taken in conjunction with weekends so as to not eat into vacation). That would be way more vacation than I've had in prior jobs, with so many interesting places to go. A full week is plenty of time to fly over somewhere, spend some quality time, and fly back, so we will definitely be doing that a lot. And I know Kerri has some places she would like to visit even if I can't make it.
Everyone here at ITT is talking confidently about having this contract here for a long time, and even if it does run out or get handed off, they are a great company that really tries to keep their contractors and redeploy them elsewhere where needed. If they continue to prove to be as great a company as they appeared to be today, then I don't know that we'll ever leave them. Where else can you work for a company that takes good care of you, allows you to work overseas, and constantly has opportunities to move around? So far this is really looking a very good move for us. I am really thankful to God for where he has lead us and hope to keep my eyes open for the real reason He let me come here. It is easy to get distracted by all the cool stuff, but I know that ultimately I am accountable to God for what He has given me, to invest in things that are eternal, not temporary. I am sure there is a reason we are here and I'm looking forward to discovering what that is.
Well I need to throw my things into a drawer and fall asleep pretty soon as it's getting late. I also need to get these pictures uploaded, not sure how long that'll take. I'll take more pictures tomorrow during the daylight. Here are the pictures I have from tonight: