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Welcome to The Sandy Shamrock!

 

"He who is not courageous enough to take risks will accomplish nothing in life."

-M. Ali


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هل انت جوعان؟

أهلا!اسمي مايكل,كيف حالك؟إن شاء الله إنتاكويز Welcome back! I’m happy to say that I have completed Level I Arabic and am moving on to Level II next week! The classes are offered free at my hospital and are taught by a Saudi woman who has been teaching for over 20 years. It’s been sooo nice …

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Saudi Update – August 2017

Hey Sandy Readers,   Here’s whats up. I’ve got 285 days left in my current contract (Who’s counting!?) here in Riyadh and I’m really looking forward to the next 10 months. Some new and exciting things are happening here in Riyadh: Everyone is leaving! That’s right, Saudization is in full swing and it’s pretty obvious …

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What’s This All About, Anyway?

After a month away from Saudi and I’ve never felt more like myself. Never has a month been more fulfilling. From kicking the soccer ball around with my brother at the nearby park, or my Dad’s backyard, to drinking beer and eating like kings on the back porch on a perfect Pennsylvania summer evening, to …

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A Small Miracle

The night is over. The extra shift, the king shift, the twenty third shift, is done. The whole night shift was going smooth until the last hour, when a combination of laziness, incompetence, and plain stupidity were all on display in full force. Ignorance is bliss they say and I wish sometimes I could just …

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Hi, I’m Addicted to My Cell Phone

Hey everyone, Just wanted to share a thought on something that happened recently that we all can relate to… well, at least those who have smartphones, which should be pretty much everyone by now. Just a little back story, my first cell phone arrived somewhere in 2006 once I got my driver’s license. Since then …

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Nowhere To Go And All Day To Get There

Coming at you with another post from the sand pit, I have to say I’m fresh off a very fulfilling motorcycle excursion through some fantastic parts of Sri Lanka. The country was never really on my radar until I heard from lots of folks I work with how lovely it is. Being only a direct …

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Technology and Traveling

It’s impossible to live in the modern world without technology assisting you in some way. I mean it, there is no way you can possibly do the things you need to do without technology assisting, or as some see it, interfering. The evolution of phones for example from landlines to mobile and eventually flip to …

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Burton-on-Trent and Liverpool

Leaving Riyadh for the sixth time now since my arrival here in June 2015, this was the longest I was going to be away. I would meet my brother in London and we would be living out of backpacks for the next 26 days as we made our way from England to Morocco. First time …

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A Journey – In Pictures

  Scroll down for a preview of my brother and I’s trip that took us from Liverpool to Normandy and Barcelona to Morocco! Enjoy 🙂 Omaha Beach.     For more pictures check out my Flickr page by clicking here!      

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Lee Ho! Jibing in the Med

After over 90 days of work, work, working, it’s almost more appropriate to call the ICU my home than my actual apartment. I watched as the days to my next leave dwindled down to mere hours and I could barely contain my joy as I watched the desert shrink outside the plane’s window. A short …

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21 Years Ago, 21 Years Ahead.

New Jersey, USA June 1995 The sandbox lie in the shade against the house, providing some relief from the sweltering hot summer day. Howard poured a bucket of water near one corner so he could start molding the sand into a small castle. He carefully edged the top of the walls to create the staggered …

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Dates and Laban – A Noob’s Guide to Fasting for Ramadan

Ramadan Kareem, Ramadan Mubarak! It’s officially Ramadan and I must say this time around I’m much more prepared. A year ago this time, I was fresh off the plane from America and Ramadan to me was nothing more than a month of stores closed down during the day, less people and traffic in the city, …

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A Trip Through Rural Nepal

With some simple directions penned out on a small notepad, I double-checked my Jerry-rigged sleeping bag/backpack combo before slinging my mid-size hand-luggage case over my shoulder and heading out the door. As I stepped out onto the deck, I was greeted by a gentle sun, hip-hop, and hash smoke. Before me were two Nepali’s, boy and girl, enjoying some breakfast …

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10 Day Vipasssana Meditation Retreat

Often we tell kids to “sit still” and “calm down” in order to achieve peace and quiet. An active child, as it turns out, is a lot like our mind. When told to be quiet, our mind tells us, “Not now, man!” and finds just about any excuse to avoid what can be so pleasurable …

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Alive and Well.

Namaste Sandy Readers!   It’s apparent to me now. Blogging is a full-time job! I’ve recently spent time outside of the KSA in Nepal and Istanbul. Much needed R&R! It’s been great fun as my travels begin to unfold naturally and each experience I’ve had has helped me grow outside my comfort zone. As someone …

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The On/Off Switch

Remember that time you couldn’t find your glasses only to realize a few seconds later they were on your head? Or you thought the remote control had vanished from the living room only to find it in plain sight on the entertainment center (both were black by the way) These are “Duh! Moments” because for …

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Diwali and Demons.

Looking out the window, the placid Arabian sea that had stretched on below was soon producing breakers that slowly crept their way up the sandy beaches of Goa. Our jumbo jet touched down at the tiny airport and we loaded onto a bus that took us to the terminal. Inside, I became at peace when …

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Where Beef Wanders

Winter has come to Saudi… It’s getting to be nice and cool here and boy, what a relief! It’s a very pleasant 50-60 degrees Fahrenheit in the mornings and evenings, cool enough so that wearing pants and drinking hot coffee actually makes sense now. It’s still sunny pretty much everyday and I’m patiently waiting for …

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Dreaming of a New Place

Hey Sandy Readers, I apologize in advance for my infrequent and possibly random posts as of late. I’ve been voluntarily working as much as I am allowed lately and although I’m still keeping healthy and feeling good, writing has fallen to the wayside. I’m looking to fix that and start writing bi-weekly posts. The last …

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A Saudi Minute

The alarm clock goes off on my phone.   The abruptness of waking up from a deep, delta sleep pains my brain for a minute or two, requiring me to hit the snooze button at least two times before my mind and body are equal to the task of moving the bed sheets off my …

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The Modern Saudi

Some questions that people asked me when I told them I was moving to Saudi Arabia went something like, “Do they have fruit?” “Will you have internet?” “Will you be able to talk to women?” and “What do you mean they don’t drink alcohol??” It’s apparent that Westerners have little  to no  idea what Saudi …

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Being an RT in Saudi Arabia

There isn’t too much difference from this patient room compared to the one’s back home in the United States. There was the monitor displaying vital signs on one side of the bed with the small difference being the colors of the values displayed. The heart rate and oxygen saturation were both yellow instead of green …

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5 Things I’ve Learned After 90 Days

So after being here for almost three months there are some things that at first seemed weird and foreign but now are normal and familiar. This list could be longer but I’ve picked 5 of the main ones I’ve noticed.                 1) You can eat out every meal and not break the bank. In …

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First Day of English Soccer

I’ll refrain from calling soccer football as much as I’d like to. Everyone else calls it football so if you can’t beat em, join em in my opinion. So there’s Abdul Kareem, the Manchester United fan, Muhammad the Arsenal supporter, and myself, the Liverpool fanatic. Today we put our differences aside and rejoice in the …

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Breaking Fast

Thanks for being patient! I’ve been putting in the hours at work which has been positive in both experience and financial ways. I have to tell you, coming from strictly taking care of adult patients, I was nervous about pediatrics and neonates but the Respiratory Department here has made the transition really easy as nearly …

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Drinking Mud

Amazingly, after about fifteen minutes of driving, we arrived at a Holiday Inn, the same Holiday Inn that takes us fifteen minutes to walk. How did we end up a mile away from where we left yet it took us so long to get here? I tried to wrap my head around it but the …

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The Power

So the biggest thing that has happened since my last post is the beginning of Ramadan, the time of the year where all Muslims fast from sunrise to sunset for about a month. It began in the early hours of June 18 which according to the Hijri calender (the Islamic calender which runs concurrently with …

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The Anatomy of a Shawarma

I followed the senior Respiratory Therapist toward the automatic doors that gave access to the parking garage basement where his car was waiting. Pat was behind me, glancing in awe at the Brobdingnagian chandelier that hung high above the floor, shattering white light through it’s crystals onto the marble floor as we walked. A feeling …

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First Weeks in Riyadh

You know you’re getting acclimated to the weather here when you think 102 is a pretty mild day. I’ve probably drank more water here in two weeks than I have in two months back home. Something around 3-4L a day keeps your thirst quenched. And even then you still have to drink more. One thing …

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8 Days in the Kingdom

Hey from the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia! I’ll be putting pictures up as soon as I learn some more Arabic and feel comfortable asking people if I can take their picture so I can avoid upsetting anyone. I feel like I’ve been here a lot longer than 8 days and the good thing is I …

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