Wednesday, January 18, 2012

Our 411

1.  Where are you staying?
We are waiting for our furniture to arrive sometime in February so we can move into our Villa (house).  Until then we are living in a 44 story apartment building that really functions more like a hotel.  We are perched upon the 35th floor in a fully furnished 2 bedroom apartment complete with kitchen and laundry room.  We love that it provides us with AMAZING views of the Burj Khalifa~ the World's tallest building as seen in the latest Mission Impossible movie 

and the Burj Al Arab~ World's tallest and only 7 star hotel. 

2.  Why aren't you going to home school while you are there?
We have prayed about this a lot.  We felt led to put both children into an American School here in Dubai for a couple reason.  The first being that by doing this they will be given an incredible opportunity to meet and interact with children from all over the world.  It was not by chance that when touring the various schools Chris and i found one school that we both were really impressed with and it happened to be the ONLY school that would have openings for both our kids.  (This is considered a miracle around here.)  i have always felt that our homeschooling adventure should be on a year by year basis based on the kids and where we feel the Lord is leading us.  

3.  Do you feel safe there?
i wondered the same thing before i visited in October.  And after being here for the short time we have i give you the same answer i received from all the other expats i questioned.  "We feel safer here than we do in most cities in the States."  i don't have to watch my kids like a hawk and clutch my purse close to me when i walk down the street.  In fact while staying in SF a few weeks ago, Kyle wanted to go up to the room by himself while we were in the lobby having dinner.  That didn't set quite right with me but here i would have no problem sending them down to breakfast or to the pool on their own.  i felt completely at ease the other day when i had to search out an entirely new and unfamiliar part of the city with just myself and the kiddos.  

3. How's Mama really doing?
i am pleased to say that i am doing great.  The hardest thing is missing family and friends and not being able to reach them anytime of the day.  My free time is when the rest of the USA is sound asleep in bed which obviously is not ideal for chatting.  i continue to feel a complete peace and God's hand upon us as we navigate through our new surroundings.  Life right now seems to be a strange concoction of mental exhaustion from trying to figure out life while feeling completely pampered and cared for by people around me.    Simple things like laundry, school admissions and making a local phone call is exhausting because it's not our typical protocol. 

(Welcome to my "laundry room."  This is my washer AND dryer. 
Two different cycles ~ one machine. 
Yes, i have used something similar in other countries, it isn't uncommon.  However, instinctively i still have a problem with it because isn't it theoretically the same thing as dropping a running hair dyer in a bathtub filled with water?  Then again i guess i should have no need to worry because even after 2 hours on dry cycle our clothes are still not dry.)

Even navigating around the mall is an exercise in patience and physical stamina.  Today it took us 35  minutes to walk from the food court to the cell phone station.  (That doesn't include the 3 stops @ the information booth.)  

When the mall directory is 22 pages long and there are 1200 stores it is best to ask directions.

Needless to say after a few hours of trying to figure things out with two sweet children in tow i am pretty tired.  But the yin to this exhaustion yang is the over the top service.  Everyone is so incredibly friendly and willing to go out of their way to help you.  (More to come on this later.)  

Perfect morning example;  After being warmly greeted, we are seated to a table of our choice.  Before we can fill our breakfast plates with morning treats,
two hot chocolates and a latte with the exact number of sugar i take is waiting for us at our table.  After our second day here, they knew our favorites and provide it without us asking. 

4. What is the food like?

Much like the country itself there is anything and everything and it has all been delicious.  We could choose to eat typical favorites from local food chains from the states.  Starbucks, Pizza Hut, Johnny Rockets, Papa Murphy's, PF Chang's and there are many European food chains available also.  Since i happen to be married to a Foodie, we tend to branch out and try all sorts of different cuisine.  Thankfully, the kids are up for sampling any plate from anywhere in the world with Kyle being the most adventurous.  Lebanese, Indian, Iranian, Japanese and everything in between.  Mexican food is the most difficult ethnic food to find while pork and alcohol can only be found in 5 star restaurants which are everywhere.   The other night we enjoyed a fabulous Moroccan dinner in a picturesque booth.

5. How are the kids adjusting?
They are on cloud nine right now as it truly is vacation for them.  They sleep in, see new sights, swim and play in the hotel.  Reality will hit them in a few days when they start school.  They are missing their friends and emotions run the highest right after Skyping with those we love.  However, when i ask them if they are ready to go home they both answer "no" because there is still so much to see here.  They have been to visit their school campus and the more they see it the more excited they are to start.  They have amazed me throughout this process.  They rarely complain and are up for anything.  Jet lag was fairly painless and we we think we are over the worst of it.

6.  How are you getting around? 
Once all of our paper work is finalized we will buy a car here.  We currently take taxi's everywhere which is a great way to learn the city.  i personally am hoping that my Visa will take a long time to process because i do not look forward to driving my little self around.  i have been told it is not the worst place in the world to drive but also not the best. 

7.  Do you really take your camera EVERYWHERE?!
Uh, yes.  i am shameless when it comes to taking pictures.  My family used to be so annoyed with me when i was taking a photography class this time last year and was constantly whipping out the camera for random shots.  That was the day where i would get nothing but eye rolls from my clan.  Now, if it isn't handy and ready to snap in a seconds notice i am busted by all three of them.

8.  Blogging thoughts?
i typically am more of a private person.  i originally started this blog as a virtual scrapbook for ourselves along with close family and friends.  However, i quickly learned that once i hit publish people from all over the world have access to our lives.  It is really intimidating and humbling to discover how many people are taking the time to read our blog.  Your comments have meant so much to us as it helps us feel connected to those we love and maybe meet new some friends along the way.  So, if we haven't already met i'd love to hear from you because your comments help drown out the crickets i often hear shortly after i hit the "publish post" button.


Anonymous said...

My dear, you answered a whole bunch of questions that mom and dad, have asked, been asked, and we even asked this morning. Thanks for sharing your adventure with us each day, and also for sharing your lives with so many friends from all over the US>
Have a wonderful night, and a great day tomorrow. Love Dad

Noelle said...

Thanks for the great update! Love you!! Xoxo

Lovella said...

You always seem to know just what we want to hear! I love you bunches!!

Anonymous said...

This blog is wonderful, Tammy :0) what an adventure. Thanks, too, for being honest with ups and downs, being busted for taking photos, uncomfortable at the pool in your bikini, and everything else. I love your transparency :0) love to all, Jade

Stephanie said...

So glad to hear everything is going well. As someone who has only been out of the country to Tijuana, MX I am living vicariously through you:) It looks like an amazing little place over there! Thanks for sharing with us all.

Betty said...

Thanks for answering all the questions - that probably most of us had! I'm so glad to hear that everyone's adjusting...I'm guessing that Chris is finally working now - or is he still taking care of paperwork?

Bridget Homer said...

Hi Tami - I am a good friend of Noelle's here in Brentwood and also friends with Stephanie Morgan, too. :) Noelle has told me all about your adventure to Dubai and shared the blog with me. I LOVE reading all of your posts and just want to say that I think it's amazing that you and your family are having an opportunity to do something like this! :) And I LOVE all of your pictures!!! You are a great photographer. I have my own photog business here in Bwood and just love seeing other peoples work. You are capturing things beautifully! :) Look forward to seeing what else you guys will be up to! God Bless you and your family! Love - Bridget :)

Tami said...

BRIDGET!!! I have heard so many great things about you from Noelle! How fun that I get to meet you here! Thank you for the kind words. I will check out your photography because I am always stalking photogs! ;-) I have SO much to learn about the new hobby I love. Steph got me started on an online workshop and of course now I am consumned with it. Thank you so much for taking the time to encourage us!!