In December of 2008 Brian Hartenstein and family left America for an adventurous life overseas to live and work throughout Asia, raising three daughters with a sense of wonder and awe at the possibility of the world. It is now 2016 and the adventure continues back home in Oregon. This blog remains as a time capsule to that period. Thank you so much to all our friends around the world. Please stay in touch. We miss you all!
Tuesday, October 8, 2013
The Final Straw: Sayonara Saudi Arabia!
When I returned from Riyadh everything changed... the Admiral pulled me aside one day and asked how I was doing? I gave him our list of demands. How the iqamas had not arrived. How they were forcing us to teach extra hours without pay. How we were expected to teach on day's off without pay. How they were extorting us to pay for transportation and housing... when our contracts promised us these things. How Senior Director Martin had said, "Your contracts are not absolute documents. They can be changed." How when I heard that... I knew I was trapped.
The Admiral had little pity. He said, "With the amount you're being paid, I'd think you'd show more gratitude." But I explained that yes, it was a very high paying job, but the company was jerking us around a lot for..."X Amount of dollars."
"X Amount?" The Admiral laughed, "That's not your salary. You're getting paid thousands of dollars more a month. I know, I sign your checks."
I just stared at him. "What do you mean?"
But then it hit me... the foreign company that hired me... they had been skimming money off the top of my salary and pocketing it. The teachers were so well compensated that they would never question the embezzlement of a few more thousand here or there. They would never realize it was more. That's why Senior Director Martin could afford to fly in on weekdays while still living in Bahrain... that's why the company Big Shots could fly in from around the world to check up on us and leave... the reason we weren't getting our iqamas... the reason we were trapped in Arabia... is because the company was stealing from us.
That was it. It was the final straw. The Admiral personally saw to the iqama. By the end of business the next day the iqamas were issued. I was handed my passport and an exit visa for the weekend. I had no other choice. Lie to me, cheat me, steal from me... sayonara! Saudi Arabia.