Become A Member

Jeddah: My Second Home?

expat jeddah relocation saudi arabia travel Dec 23, 2023

Jeddah, a city of contrasts, stands as an enigma in my life—a second home, or is it? The intricacies of a split expat family, with my husband working in Jeddah while the children and I reside in Dubai, weave a tale of transient connections, cultural familiarity, sparking a journey of rediscovery, adaptation and the quest for a sense of belonging. 

Our history with Saudi Arabia isn't foreign; we once called another city in this vast country our home from 2010 to 2012. While the culture isn't foreign to me, the prospect of making Jeddah feel like home beckons as a new challenge. The familiarity of Saudi Arabia, paradoxically, sets the stage for both comfort and exploration.

In the scorching heat of the Saudi summer, I found myself in Jeddah, not just for a fleeting visit but to transform an apartment into a sanctuary— an attempt to infuse familiarity into a city that, for now, remains a sporadic rendezvous point for our family.

Jeddah, with its diverse cultures, offers the promise of potential friendships. Yet, the challenge lies in the temporary nature of our visits. Is it possible to build lasting connections when our stays are brief, dependent on school breaks and the flow of my husband's work schedule? The absence of a community leaves room for introspection on the very nature of what makes a place feel like home. Can a place you visit intermittently truly be considered a second home?

Jeddah remains a paradox—an echo of familiarity in a foreign land. As I explore the concept of a second home, I find comfort in the impermanence of our situation. The occasional reunions, the solitude, the cultural rediscovery—they collectively shape a unique narrative, a tale of a family balancing worlds and transcending borders. At the same time, I am reminded that the concept of home is fluid. It is not solely defined by permanence but by the emotions and memories we create. In the end, whether Jeddah becomes a lasting second home or a transient chapter in our expat journey remains to be seen.

- Written by Navine Eldesouki