Hello and greetings from Riyadh where it’s another day of sun!
This has been a busy week for social events and meeting new people.
This morning I experienced my first ‘Coffee Morning’ – this is where one compound hosts women from other compounds for a social event. They are a mainstay of compound living and each compound takes its turn to host. A breakfast buffet is put on and there is a bazaar with a wide range of craft stalls.
There were about 250 women at this morning’s event so there was a great buzz all around. It is the first Coffee Morning our compound Wadi Qurtoba has hosted so there was a bit of extra excitement about that and people were interested to come and see what our new compound is like.
The coffee mornings are social events, but they are also an opportunity for the compounds to do a bit of self promotion and perhaps get people thinking about signing a lease and moving in so they had been working hard in the few days previous to make sure everywhere was looking perfect!
The food was amazing too:
I should have taken photos of the stallholders and some of the lovely crafts for sale, but I am going to another Coffee Morning at a different compound next week, so I will get some there. (I was too busy talking!)
This week I also went to an event held by the Irish Business Network. It was a breakfast event at the Sheraton Hotel in downtown Riyadh. The speaker was Dan O’Brien a Chief Economist at the Irish Institute of International and European Affairs. He was over to talk about (you guessed it!) Brexit and its impact on the Republic of Ireland (by chance it was on the morning of the Westminster vote).
It was v interesting and so good to be in a professional environment again. I met lots of people from Ireland, Scotland and US who are working and living in Riyadh. Apparently there were over 6000 Irish in Saudia Arabia – who knew?!
Finally, I also attended an event held by the Women’s Skills Bureau KSA which is a networking and professional development organisation. It was at a really cool venue called the INTO Center which offers space for training and talks. It has a New York loft decor and has a very chilled and friendly vibe. (One of the good things is that as it was a women only event we could take our abayas off which immediately made it more relaxed).
I met some really interesting women – including a lady originally from Co Armagh, Northern Ireland who has been living in KSA for 38 years! She has her own business making and selling natural fragrance candles. Find out more about Shamouaee on Facebook. (Shamouaee in Arabic means little light).
We had two talks, one on mental health and another on yoga.
Yoga, it turns out was only legalised in KSA last year (2018). The woman who gave the talk is from the US and she opened the first licensed yoga studio in Riyadh last year under another new law, also introduced last year, which allows foreign nationals to open their own business – you can check out her business: OZ Yoga on facebook.
And that’s all for this week folks! Hope you have a good one,