Life on the Red Sea

Life on the Red Sea near the ancient quarter has not been easy.  People relied on the fishing trade to survive.  There were, and still are few resources like much of Arabia.  Al Gassim has agriculture and the Arabian Gulf has vast oil reserves.  The people on the Red Sea have a culture all their own.


The area is being developed, in very recent years, for coastal development, centers of trade and new manufacturing, the production of electricity and education.  These developments are working and supporting better lives for the people along the coast.  Jeddah and the influx of pilgrims to Mecca are a source of travel into the, to be opened shortly King Abdulaziz International Airport.


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International Teaching has such a strong appeal.

Got another job offer contact. This one may be hard to refuse. The money is good. Last year my school closed so was out of work for a number of months. Not going to let this happen again.The Rub Al Khali Desert tourism destinations

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Time to write about some travels


So many times have people said, “you should write about your travels”.  I was asked by TES four years ago to write about my experience teaching in China.  Never did it.  International School Community asked me to write a blurb about a place we visited.  The one I wrote about is:

What fantastic people including the mayor and head of tourism who made sure we had a place to stay.  A family we got to stay with and Tom who returned us to: Fairmont Peace Hotel

water town

One of the famous bridges in Zhouzhaung.



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Almost summer

The end of another school year is upon us.  Saturday, 3 June, 2017 I attended the largest, high school graduation I can remember.  Twenty-four hundred students.  The largest since my own with some 700 students, years ago.  The past year has been quite an adjustment, and everything expats cannot prepare for.

Two things, one being a budget.  The generous income, and benefits, paid by private, international schools allows numerous opportunities for saving, travel and generosity with children (grown-ups now).  It has been a discovery that the time for a budget, now that the wife and I are both working is coming into focus.

The second is personal health.  Being on the go and living in other cultures keeps you on the go.  Living in bigger cities, for short periods of time, requires a great deal of walking and innovative means to get from place to place.  In the past I was required to meet new people, get to the grocery and of course explore new destinations.   Being back in the U.S. my life is way more motor-driven.  That is most tasks require getting in a motorized vehicle and get on a highway.  This equals, unhealthy habits.  I have gained 30 lbs. since leaving Germany in July, 2016.  Deplorable, and my blood pressure is up.

The last day of work is 9, June.  So lining up projects around the house.  I have been doing steps lately and got pretty good at a set going into the garage!

ECOT graduation

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Back in Ohio, USA

American cookout

American cookout

Something culturally unique is the American cookout.  The Lebanese, Jordanians, Egyptians, and others, travel to the park or have an elevated cooking space.  Typically one may not have the luxury of surroundings such as are available in the U.S.   Our son-in-law embraced having his home (castle) and mastering his grill.  A great feeling.

The return to the U.S. is a great feeling.  So glad to be here and starting a lifestyle embracing the culture in Central Ohio.  Today, I made a phone call.  I realized:

The receiver’s response was in English.  I think I know the speed limit on a rural road.  I have seen many familiar faces the last several days.  People who create run-on sentences, and I understand what they said. You get in your car to go somewhere.  My buddies at the YMCA.  People with similar beliefs.  The church I grew up in, a grocery store with what seems like, unlimited choice. A high school reunion. TV in English. People look and act like me. A cookout. Lot’s of adorable wildlife.  There is more.  As I told my Sunday school teacher; “everybody wants to come to America.”  All this despite being greedy, consuming too much, the majority of Americans weak in faith but strong in love for their country.

Nice to be home and catch up on what I missed.  Also blessed to be living in a country where to feel safe.

John A Lawrence

Granville, Ohio USA








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Hiking at the foothills of the Alps


Great way to spend a day.  Four staff members and 12 students did an International Award day trip.  About one-half way the group missed a turn.  What we were told was a railroad track was actually a dike which we followed to the end.  The route we took had us crossing a log across the river, down a mud-covered trail (and I had tennis shoes).  Then we ended up on some kind of peninsula three sides surrounded by water and the side we ended up crossing was bound by a steep hillside.  We had to cling onto the hillside grabbing small trees, roots and mud covered with leaves.  Just a crazy day.  Those who wanted to eat lunch early were doomed.  Instead of 12:30 it was almost 13:30.

Still a great time and a great way to get to know your students.



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Bavarians love items made of wood.

Great Bavarian wood

Great Bavarian wood

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