This week, in our Away From Home series, Alexia Johnston talks to Peter Heron, who lived in Waipiata, near Ranfurly, where he was principal of Maniototo Area School. He is now living in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia.
My wife, Debbie, and I live . . . in a western compound in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia.
This means that we are not tied to many of the restrictions of the kingdom and have facilities on hand such as a gym and swimming pools.
I work as . . . the high school principal at the Multinational School, Riyadh. We have 1600 students from 70 different countries.
My wife and I came to live in . . . Riyadh in 2015.
The great thing about my job . . . is the huge variety of cultures and nationalities in the school and the excitement of working in a country that is so very different to New Zealand or the UK.
A highlight was when my son, who teaches here, and I were also asked to play rugby for the Saudi national team.
It was an amazing end to my rugby career to not only play rugby with my son, but at an international game.
When not working . . . we like to travel extensively and being in Saudi Arabia we are closer to more countries than New Zealand.
So far we have been to 21 different countries in four years.
My memories of Central Otago . . . are of a close knit community, which we found incredibly welcoming.
Being in a remote location people look after each other in a way that you don’t see in any big town. This is something we truly loved about the South Island.
What I miss most about Central Otago . . . is the feeling of “home”.
Being an expatriate in a country as unique as Saudi Arabia has many benefits, but it will never be home.
I also miss the opportunity to watch live sports and when we return, Debbie and I will get season tickets to watch the Highlanders.
The first thing I will do when I go home to Central Otago . . . will be to take in the beautiful scenery and breathe in cool, clean air.
As I write it is 44degC outside with orange skies full of sand.
I would like to take this opportunity to say “hi” . . . to the staff and students of the Maniototo Area School and all our friends in the local community.