Under the Abaya (Hardcover)
A convergence of factors led me to Saudi Arabia: Professional calling, wanderlust, and race fatigue. In my truth, I went to Saudi Arabia to borrow some adventure, enjoy a change of scenery, and secure more meaningful and impactful work. That was also during a period when some sectors in the US economy were still regrouping from the latest financial crisis. In academia, full-time university teaching positions were in short supply in a vacillating and crowded market. I was in a state of ennui with it all and found it daunting to step back into the full-time professor roles I had years prior, and I really did not care to try - for want of something fresh and new.
I surprised myself by accepting the professional contract offer from Saudi Arabia. It was a heavy decision that also intimidated me, for up to then, I was hearing nothing good about Saudi Arabia. The door had opened in answer to my desires and goals; however, I did not in my wildest imagination see myself planted in the Middle East, let alone Saudi Arabia. But as it would turn out, the Saudis needed me, and I needed them. My role would be Professor and Chair of the College of Business Administration (Female Campus) at Prince Mohammed Bin Fahd University. It was a young and private University established in 2006 in the Eastern Province city of Khobar. My work would later extend into the business community and burgeoning campaigns to advance Saudi women into the workplace and as business leaders and entrepreneurs.
In my mind, since I had no direct experience with Saudi Arabia, I knew nothing; I trusted my decision and was not going to allow other people's fears and phobias to interfere with my plans, however much they loved and cared about me, and vice versa. During the would-be 5-year journey, it became clear to me that I was 'called' to the Kingdom by a higher hand.