Blast from the past 1: Jeddah Corniche circ 2009

Been some time since I’ve posted.  Well, to kick things off, I’ve decided to share some of the travel photos during my time abroad.  I’ve decided to start off with pictures that were taken of Jeddah corniche taken in 2009. This was just after I’ve just arrived in KSA.

Now, the place has been transformed into a vibrant area teeming with activities.

 

Jeddah Corniche 2009

Visit to NCSU Hunt Library, NC

One of highlights of my TRLN Management Academy (2015) was the library visit to North Carolina Hunt Library.  This library has won several honors and awards.  2 things that struck me was the book bot as well as the various types of seating available to the library users.

NCSU Book Bot video

Here are some of the 80 different types of seatings plus other interesting ones in the library for their library users. Awesome 🙂 Most recently, Hunt Library won the award – the 2016 National Medal for Museum and Library Service.

Nth Carolina State Hunt Library

Relocation -to pack or not to pack

Flashback: 2009 (Before the move)

Preparing for the BIG move was quite a headache.  We are given  weight quotas for sea and air freight.  We had to decide the stuff that would be brought over from Singapore over to the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia.

I’m a sentimentalist; my other half more pragmatic.  In this situation, pragmatism won over the other one.  Only the ones that were needed most were shipped.  Before the packing day arrived, my wife had an idea to create a space where we would gather all the stuff for air / sea shipment.  This was done to reduce confusion.  The packers would just pack those in the ‘staging’ area.

So, the day finally came for the packing:

Shipment arrival in KAUST: 

Delivery day:  I requested the men to assist me in unloading and unpacking plus placing them in the rightful place: pots and pans in kitchen, clothes in the respective rooms and so forth.  I was thankful and grateful for all the prayer(s) and help for the smooth delivery of all our goods/stuff.  Wouldn’t have done it without my wife’s initial planning, coordination of the logistics departments in KAUST and the freight companies.

 

 

Fishy ‘business’

In the previous blog post on my experience in eating in a Fish Restaurant, here are some snippets of my very first ‘fish-eating expedition’ with a few friends.  We didn’t paint the town red 🙂 but we managed to get a good open-air spot in the restaurant.  Soaked in the atmosphere and indulged in some good ol’ fish food.

By the way, I decided NOT to include the pictures of my 3 piece chicken meal 🙂

 

Do you ‘stamp’ books for a living? (Kerja abg ‘cap’ buku ke?)

I used to get lots of questions on what I do as a librarian.  Did I ‘stamp’ due dates on books; how many ‘stamps’ did I make in one day and so forth.  At times, it made me feel like ‘stamping’ their foreheads with the book rubber stamps.  However, I realize that it’s not all their fault as librarianship wasn’t a glamorous job compared to doctors, pilots, engineers etc.  Furthermore, back then, there was not much publicity about this profession.

facepalmSource:  https://flic.kr/p/eAcKKB

I had to explain to them that some of my major tasks back then revolved around these activities:

  • answering questions whether via email/in person/phone from our users
  • assisting users in their research process
  • manning the Reference Desk, alone (for almost 4 hours either in the morning or afternoon)
  • conducting training sessions for students/staff/lecturers
  • maintaining the library’s website
  • exploring new technologies
  • learning how to use electronic databases
  • assisting users on how to search and retrieve relevant results from these databases
  • promoting library resources: ‘roadshows’, poster exhibitions, thematic books displays etc
  • conducting freshmen orientation

We were also made to

  • shelve books to get a sense of how the books were arranged
  • initiate projects to improve workflows/procedures within department
  • do volunteer work
  • conduct research and write papers
  • sit in committees

Fast forward 20 years, my responsibilities have evolved.  Not all have changed though.  I still handle questions coming in from emails/phone calls/in person.  Sometimes, I do conduct training sessions for faculty members, students and researchers.  I shall elaborate these changes in my upcoming posts.

 

When I got here …

This is a continuation from my previous blog:  Flashback: Time to leave home ….

My flight from Dubai – Jeddah was delayed by more than 2 hours (if I’m not mistaken) due to some technical issues.  I was too tired to roam around Dubai Airport.  On hindsight, I should have done that, given the variety of stores and food restaurants that are available.  All I did was to find a nice spot to land my butt and catch some sleep.

Dubai airportSource:  https://flic.kr/p/qBGu2z

[ the waiting ]Source:  https://flic.kr/p/7SUQMY
(One of them is NOT me)

RIMG0052Source:  https://flic.kr/p/7Z65dV

The flight took off from Dubai late in the evening, around 6pm or so.  Reached Jeddah airport some 3 hours later (sometime past 9pm). Went past immigration and baggage check.  Met up with the Uni Meet and Greet Team.  The rep gave me a temp ID and they brought me over to my Jeddah ‘residence’ – Crowne Plaza.  This was my place of stay for a few weeks before I moved into my permanent home in the University Town.

Loved the food in Crowne Plaza.  They really served excellent dishes and were generous in their servings.  Too generous even; I had to request for them to reduce the servings so as  not to waste the food.  Like to thank the University for providing me a great accommodation even though it was a temporary one.

This was the start of my adventure in the Kingdom.  Stay tune for more updates 🙂

Did you know that I can ….

fly a plane?? Nah, Just kidding 🙂 But my brother bought me a ticket (Thank you bro) to check out the Boeing Flight Simulator located at the Singapore Flyer, Singapore.  He probably wanted me to know a bit more about his work.

Back to the story:  The day was downcast. But, it didn’t dampen my spirit and enthusiasm to take the controls of a Boeing plane.  Never had a chance to do this before. (Never touched Microsoft Flight Simulator game as well).  Got to the place and waited for my turn.  We were allotted specific timings to try out the simulator.  (I cannot remember how long the flight simulator session lasted).

My turn came up and off i went into the ‘cockpit’.  I was briefed by a pilot (he went through an actual pilot school and passed out) on all the controls, knobs, display panels etc.  My head went ‘dizzy’.  There were just too many things to absorb in such a short time span.  But I noted that there were several important ones that I needed to know.  To cut the long story short, I had the chance to ‘take off’ from several airports and ‘landed’ the plane safely as well; though I’m not sure whether we had any major turbulence during the simulation 😛  One thing for certain: I’m not making any switch to the aviation industry anytime soon 🙂

My flight experience in pictures:

 

Flashback: Time to leave home ….

I remembered the day when I flew out to the Middle East. (That was almost more than 5 years ago).  The start of my new adventure; something that I should have done a long time ago. Lots of emotions on that day. Family, relatives and friends at the airport. Teary eyed.  I was half awake; couldn’t sleep the night before. Knew that being away from my wife and kids would be a difficult phase for all of us.  The opportunity was too hard for me to turn down.  After all, I needed that change in working environment.  Alhamdulillah, this came along ….

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Emirates had a good in-flight entertainment system.  ICE.  But, no matter what movies I selected, thoughts of my family kept playing in my mind.  Worse of all, I could not sleep that well-enough and forgot to hydrate myself during the long journey 😛

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My stop-over in Dubai.  Headache – got to rest. The cause: Lack of water in-take and not sleeping enough during the flight.

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By the way, the Nike shoes lasted quite long. Served me well.  But alas, I had to dispose of it after it became too worn out.  Am glad to get those pair … one of the best that I used so far ….