When Paul and I first arrived at KAUST our housing wasn’t yet ready so we spent the first four nights in one of the two onsite hotels – the KAUST Inn 2 which was lovely, we had a two room suite and the staff were so friendly and accommodating – they helped to make an overwhelming move that little bit easier.
Anyway, we finally got our house today! It is unbelievable and we are so happy with it, for our first home together it’s set the bar prettttttty damn high. I’ll do another blog post with pictures of our house and explain about the other types of houses available too but for now, a walkthrough of the whole process, hopefully it helps 🙂
To get your allocated house you will go the the housing office which is on discovery square, sandwiched between tamimi supermarket and the post office. After signing the contracts and running through the paperwork you will be given house keys, a garage door remote (if applicable) and tv/set top box remotes for the televisions in your house. The whole process only took us 30-40minutes and then ourselves and our luggage was taken straight to our new home. We were given a quick tour, shown where the important stuff was and then left to it which we really appreciated because we wanted some time to explore and run around like kids at Christmas in our brand new Arabian palace.
You get given a great soft pack by KAUST which includes bedding for the master and the guest room, towels for both rooms, two tea towels, six glasses, cups, bowls and plates and six sets of cutlery. You also get a few food supplies which is great especially if you arrive late – bread, milk, cheese slices, teabags, sugar, juice, coffee, butter and cornflakes.
I also read somewhere online before I came that you don’t get shower curtains but we did, so I’m glad I didn’t bother buying any. A couple of things I’ve noticed you don’t have included that are going to be priorities to buy for us are an ironing board and iron, a kitchen bin and a toaster – obviously all can be bought here but it’s a slight problem when your work shirts are straight from a suitcase and all crumpled and you have work the next day.
KAUST are big on recycling too which is good news because so am I!! Each house has three dustbins – waste, recyclables (plastic, glass etc), and organic (food) waste making it super easy to reduce how much is going to landfill. Go KAUST! one common theme here is how much excess there is compared with what we were used to at home; oddly enough the bins are a perfect example of this. The rubbish bin is collected EVERY DAY and the two recycling bins every other day. This really made us laugh because in the UK your rubbish bin is collected every two weeks (on writing that down maybe you had to be there for it to be funny…?)
Aaaaanyway, depending on the house you have you may be lucky enough to have a front garden, a back garden or both – which we do. The front garden is cared for by the maintenance teams, however the back garden is your own responsibility to care for (ie keep the lawn mowed, weed, just generally keep in a decent state). As with most things around here, KAUST do help you with this and provide an easier option if you maybe don’t have time, or are unable to garden yourself or whatnot – you can book in with a garden team who will come out at the princely sum of 25 SAR an hour (about a fiver). To be honest we will most likely do this once or twice a month as we don’t have a lawnmower and it seems a little pointless buying one. All the plants are hooked up to a sprinkler system which comes on automatically through the day to give them a drink which is great.
All the furniture and fittings in the houses are beautiful, when you first get in you will be given an inventory of the house – it’s important you have a look at everything and make sure you note any prior damage because you will be expected to pay for any damage on leaving which is fair enough. The furniture is not cheap, shoddy stuff it’s really, really nice so I imagine you don’t want to be forking out for one of their five seater sofas when you leave $$$$. You need to return these forms back to the housing office within four days otherwise they are invalid. Be warned.
Similar to the garden gang (probably not the official name for the grounds maintenance team but it should be) you can get house keeping in to clean for 25 SAR an hour for two cleaners. Again, if you’re busy, working a lot, or plain lazy this is a pretty good option. There’s a layer of gritty grime over the floor of our house which is probably just attributed to it being unused for a while before we moved in, but as I don’t have a mop until my shipment arrives I have booked in a couple of hours next week for some professional floor cleaning. Main motivation for doing this is so I can skid around my marble floors in a pair of socks and pretend to ice skate. Don’t judge me.
When you first move in, tamimi (the on-site supermarket) can provide you with any basic stuff you need such as a tin opener, chopping board, sharp knives etc but you will most likely want to head into Jeddah to the malls and bigger stores to get the rest of the stuff you need before your air and sea shipment arrives. Free buses run from the campus to the city every day in the evening and they have ikea, a big homeware shop called Danube and so on there. We are going tomorrow so I’ll write a blog post outlining that experience when I get back. BYE.