Aramco ExPats celebrated its twelfth anniversary in 2014, a year marked by continued growth in all areas. By year’s end, our website will have logged over 4 million page visits and the number of subscribers to our weekly newsletter will pass the 8,000 mark. These numbers are dramatic evidence of global interest in Saudi Aramco and life in the Kingdom. Here are some of the highlights of the past year:
Saudi Aramco Ex-Employees Association
January: Saudi Aramco Ex-Employees Association (SAEEA) celebrated its ninth annual reunion at Lavish Dine Restaurant in Karachi, Pakistan. Eighty-eight people attended the function. February: Travel stories are a regular feature of our Newsletter. In February, for instance, subscribers were treated to a colorful account of a meandering journey across France that began in Paris and stopped in the Médoc. Further episodes of that saga are promised for future editions. March: Abdulateef Al-Mulhim is a regular contributor to our Newsletter. In March, we featured fascinating articles by him on the holy city of Madinah, Amelia Earhart and pearl diving in Bahrain. March: We regularly highlight the literary accomplishments of past and present Aramcons. In March, for instance, we wrote about a new book by Natasha Burge titled “Expats of Arabia.” April: One of our most prolific contributors is Tim Barger, an Aramco brat and son of a legendary former Aramco executive. In April his article “Wajid Zain” recounted a humorous tale told to him by a former expat housewife of her encounter in Abqaiq with a door-to-door vendor of “natural” fertilizer generated by goats. She thought at first they might be pearls!
Big Wind Storm in Dhahran
May: News of current events in the Kingdom make up an important part of the content of our Newsletter and website. In early May we reported on a major wind storm in Dhahran with 90-mile-an-hour winds that downed hundreds of trees and damaged dozens of cars. June: As we all know, most Aramcons suffer from serious cases of Wanderlust. Catering to their needs, our Newsletter frequently features announcements related to trips being offered by the Aramco ExPats Travel Club. Witness our June 4 issue in which we carried notices about safaris in Kenya and Tanzania, tours of China and Istanbul and discovery tours in Nepal and Tibet. July: For many years, the Aramco newspaper “Arabian Sun and Flare” brought news of the Kingdom and the world to eager readers. In July we announced that four new archived issues dating back to 1945 would be released each week and provided a link. August: Often we provide information on publications on interest to annuitants, and August was no exception. In our 13 August issue we provided links to “Alaela” (“Family”), Saudi Aramco’s twice-yearly magazine produced for annuitants, families and friends of Saudi Aramco and Aramco Overseas Company, and to another of their publications, “Al-Ayyam Al-Jamilah.”
Aramcons Gather in Asheville NC
September: The big event of September was the Asheville Hafla Reunion held at the Omni Grove Park Inn in Asheville, North Carolina. Nearly 400 annuitants took part in a weekend crammed full of exciting activities. October: We like to publish accounts of the special memories of our readers. In October, the article “Play Ball! Memories of Udhailiyah Revisited” appeared, recounting the excitement and fellowship that surrounded softball games in the oil patch camps.
Tricia Franck
November: Aramcons are famous for their generosity and big hearts, and Tricia Franck is no exception. In November an article appeared relating a unique program Beta Sigma Phi in Dhahran put together offering Saudi-themed gifts, with the proceeds going to the support of international charities. December: We try to offer practical, useful advice from trusted sources. To wit, in December we featured an article from Bernd & Brooke Schumacher identifying the complex set of expenses associated with retiring in the U.S. after years of living in the Kingdom. We look forward to continuing to serve you and keep you informed in 2015. Happy New Year!