OXFORD — The Owens family has something of a publicity streak.

The Advertiser Democrat last spoke with Andrea Owens about a year ago at the behest of her father, whose ‘amazing daughter’ had a job few could imagine: the nanny for the Saudi Arabian royal family.

The Oxford Hills alum spoke about the awe of working in in the Middle East for a royal family, the cultural differences, and her daily life.

On a recent trip home, the Oxford resident was surprised when sister Amy had a message waiting for her when they met at the airport – for the first time in many months – that she had another interview with the paper.

Owens’ most recent venture took her to Fiji for a break from the hot dessert sands, spending about a week on the tropical island nation vacationing with a few friends.

Also to deliver school supplies and shoes to young students.

Over a month ago, Owens’ visited the Fiji town of Savusavu, on one of more than 300 islands dotting the South Pacific. The majority of the country’s population occupies one of two major islands.

After almost a year on the job, in Fiji she was able to indulge in things she missed, such as pork and a beer, which is forbidden.

‘One of the thing I miss most is a good farmers’ breakfast,’ she said.

Though she stayed at a resort, Owens didn’t want to sit on sand beaches and soak in the sun during her trip.

Her concept of travel, she says, isn’t to avoid culture by dining solely on Americanized experiences, but trying to find where life happens for the places she visits.

‘I have the opportunity to do it,’ Owens said.

Before researching the island, she said she was unaware that many children there lack basic goods such as sandals, pens and pencils, and paper.

After volunteering with the students for a day, she received a local elder’s permission to pay respects to a revered waterfall, ate fish and lime salad favored by locals, and drank a grainy, root-based brew prepared by locals. Her time, she says, was rewarding, and already she’s thinking of making another trip.

Despite the differences, her year-to-year contract in Saudi Arabia suits her for the moment. Owens has always had a noise for finding the exotic.

After graduating college, Andrea began working as a nanny for celebrities and models in Massachusetts. Her experience eventually led her to join an online placement agency, which matched her with a then unnamed client in California. She flew out. There, she met her soonto0be employers sister, who interviewed her for hours, and offered Owens a job immediately.

Founded in 1744, the royal family of Saud, led by king Abdullah bin Abdulaziz, numbers in the thousands and is a pervasive presence in the oilrich country’s government.

Despite its her unusual surroundings – a Saudi Arabian palace – Andrea’s job has all the hallmarks of a typical job. Living with a member of the royal family outside the palace – it’s under construction – she reports to work early in the morning, prepares breakfast for the children, plays with them, makes lunch, oversees their middle of the day nap, and eventually makes dinner for them before seeing them off to bed. Afterwards, she sneaks in a few moments for herself, reading, watching TV, and using the Internet.

Owens said that although there’s not much for women to do at times, there’s a growing women’s rights movement that she supports. While she didn’t drive herself, she cheered as women took to social media to protest against not being allowed to drive.

While she doesn’t criticize the current regime, she would like to see the opportunities women have access to expand.

She’s unsure when, or if she’ll find a time when she wants to live in the U.S, or even one spot, for a duration.

‘Can’t put an end to it,’ she said.

‘I’m still trying to absorb it all.’


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