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Book details
  • SubGenre:Personal Memoirs
  • Language:English
  • Pages:75
  • eBook ISBN:9781624886065

Surviving Riyadh

by Alma B. Apostol

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My book is about my experiences as an expatriate in Riyadh, Kingdom of Saudi Arabia working as a Research Associate at King Faisal Specialist Hospital and Research Center. Saudi Arabia is also a country incredibly difficult to visit and a male dominated society where rights of women are just 50% of that of men. I described overcoming many obstacles in my work environment as well as the restrictions imposed upon me as a woman. I also described the uniqueness of these experiences whereby I learned to empathize with the flights of women whose rights are restricted. It has given me a passion to encourage women whose rights are restricted to unite and keep moving forward towards a complete freedom. How I’m rewarded for the publication of this book. I share my journey, my experiences and observations as an expatriate in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia through my writings and speech engagements.
My book describes the persistence of an employer to hire me, meeting him in person in Anaheim, California during a scientific convention at his request. I turned down his job offer three times, and finally he decided to negotiate the conditions where I was willing to accept his job offer. It took over a year to finally arrive in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia. The difficulties I encountered deciding whether to take the job offer or not after my demands for a better salary was granted. I described the difficulty of handling my responsibilities at home as well as at work after I decided to accept the offer. My heartbreak and guilt for letting my mother moved to stay with one of my sisters in spite of her begging me not to let her go and let her take care of the house while I’m gone. The feelings of emptiness as I watched my house being emptied, getting rid of things I’ve accumulated for years, my pets (two dogs and seven birds), and etc. My feeling of guilt for letting down my supervisor at work who had trusted me for six years to complete every project he assigned to me. I experienced culture shock upon arrival in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia. All women required to wear abaya (a long, black gown) and scarves to cover our hair while in public places, otherwise, the Mutaween ( Saudi police who enforced the dress code) would harass us. Not being able to drive, and not allowed to enter some building facilities or segregated from men. Observation of prayer times announced from loud speakers. All facilities closed five times a day. Forbidden materials and other restrictions imposed upon women, when violated were severely punished. The expatriate’s unable to leave the country because their passports were replaced with a Saudi passport for identification purposes, thus making it impossible to leave the country without their approval. Problems with my male co-workers who were not in favor for a woman arguing with a male at work or offering feedback. Conflict with a male co-worker was not resolved because male were always favored. I had to change to conform to my work environment. I became more tolerant and analyzed things before making any suggestions. I became less aggressive in pursuing what I wanted and I was losing my self-confidence. I had arrived in Riyadh a strong woman, bold and self-confident with high self-esteem; and left weak, defeated and devoid of self-confidence and self-esteem.
About the author
Alma B. Apostol is a Naturalized American Citizen. In February, 1974, she arrived in Chicago, Illinois, USA as a Professional. She has a Bachelor in Chemical Engineering degree from the Philippines. She is a dynamic Chemist, a Scientist, an Inventor, and a Medical and Clinical Research Specialist. She is an inspirational and motivational Speaker, and an accomplished, Published Author. She co-authored several Academic Research Articles published in Scientific Journals from 1978 to 2003 She also wrote several articles of various subjects. Alma shares her passion for a healthy and unified world through her research, writings and speech engagements.