Friday, January 27, 2012

Our week in review

This week has been crammed full with BIG firsts for us.  Ok yes, the last 19 days have been filled with nothing but inaugural events.  Simply walking out the door can be an adventure for us; Ry encounters her first Arabic bathroom, i fumble around 10 minutes to dial a phone number, and STILL trying to learn what price tags really are charging me.  (The US dollar is equal to 3.67 dirhams and THAT is not an easy estimate to do in your  my head)

This week was big though because the Littles went from getting away with studying in pajamas to sporting new school uniforms.

It was their first week in school in Dubai.  They were welcomed like celebrities.  The school staff insisted the student body will just swallow our kids up and make them feel at home and it was so true.  The first day of school before Kyle and Riley even made it into their designated classroom, kids were waving to them in the hall saying hi to them by name.  Kyle was working on scheduling a play date with his new friend from Denmark the afternoon i picked him up.  By Wednesday (which is really our Thursday) the kids were worn out from such long days at school.  8-3 school day is a big change from our home school routine.  A few tears were shed towards the end of the week by Miss Riley Roo but she pulled it together and did great.  Their schedule includes art, PE, Music and Arabic in addition to all the regular curriculum.  Kyle can already write his name in Arabic and has been teaching us some of the letters he has learned as he sees on the signs around town.

The biggest complaint about school is our ride home.  Taxi is our current mode of transportation most of the time.  After hanging out on the playground with new friends we have found that 3:45 can be a VERY bad time to catch a cab.  Cab drivers are just ending their 12 hours shift and many of them are trying to make prayer time.  Being "the glass is always half full" sort of mom, i decide to make a game of it.  "Let's count and see how many full cabs drive by before we catch an empty one."  After 2 phone calls to the cab company and 112 full cabs later the kids decide it's a stupid game.  Our best time is snagging the second cab that drives by.  WHOO HOO!  We all do a victory taxi dance when we keep it under 10. 

 Now my cell phone is filled men's first names i can't pronounce with last name "taxi."  When i ring one of those wonderful magic numbers, a man on the other end insists he knows who i am and makes every effort to come get me within the next 30 minutes.  

As you can see we needed something a little stronger than just Digestives and milk to celebrate our first full week of school.  (Digestives are a super yummy treat.  Especially the chocolate ones!!) 

We were greeted by our friends downstairs with a "Congratulations" and chocolate ice cream cones!

Kyle has suddenly become Mr. Social.  He now calls soccer football and will play with any child he find regardless of what language they speak.  Football is after all an international language all its own.   

Lest any of you feel sorry for this poor Mama who is left all alone at home while her kids are at school.  Don't worry, Mama knows how to venture out into new places!

i know, sort of like a where's Waldo?

The second day of school, i joined in with a group of moms from our school to travel an hour from Dubai to Abu Dhabi (the capital of UAE) to visit the Sheikh Zayed Mosque.  (See it here.)  It is the largest mosque in the UAE and one of the few open to tourists.

  In order to enter the mosque area all women are required to wear an abaya and a head scarf.  There is a separate room with freshly washed articles should you not have any with you.  (For those of you curious, this is the only time i am required to wear an abaya and head scarf in the UAE.)  Woman are not allowed within the mosque area without the appropriate dress.  You are also NOT allowed to have your photo taken in front of the mosque if you are without an abaya and head covering.  Should you be spotted doing so a security person will kindly assist you in locating the picture on your camera and helping you delete it. 

The tour is very informative regarding the ornate details of the mosque, Islam and the culture of the people of UAE.   It was a rare opportunity to ask any question you may have.

Women's foot washing area.

World's second largest chandelier.  Egypt just past this up 3 months ago.

Prayer times

 Only men are required to come to the mosque to pray while women are allowed to pray at home.  This mosque is ornately decorated with flowers running throughout. 

Can you find the line used to line up for prayer?

This really was an amazing opportunity to get a better understanding of the culture i am living in.

Plus, the bonus of meeting new friends. 
(Side note... it is REALLY hard to make new friends on the ride over and then try to find them again in the sea of black abayas.)

Some of you asked about this picture.  It was a really just a serendipitous shot.  It's a bunch of women in awe of their reflection in a glass elevator.  It's the first and only time we get to see ourselves in our newly donned abayas.  The flowers on the ceiling make it look surreal.  

End of the tour ~ abaya drop off.

Between lunches with other women new to Dubai, waiting for taxi cabs and mommy field trips we also got the keys to our VILLA a.k.a. our real home while here in Dubai.

The bonus was that our air shipment showed up too!  That means more clothes and toys for us but still no furniture.  For now we are working on getting the villa move in ready. 

Dude managed to score the best balcony!

Delicious dates, our first house warming gift.

Appliance shopping

The first golf ball in our pool. 
Contemplating making a counting game out of this...

First Hopscotch game at our house villa. 
 i'm thinking this may be the longest one EVER!

And finally, the biggest first of the week.... this mama drove!!  TWICE!  It may not have been very far but it is my greatest accomplishment this journey to date.  If my hands weren't white knuckling the steering wheel, i might have pictures for you.  But no such luck.  The only one allowed to talk in the car while either of us is behind the wheel is our British GPS chap.  He ever so kindly and calmly tells you when to enter and exit the roundabouts.  i guess his voice is suppose to soothe your nerves from the blaring horns around you.  Now, if only he could tell me where the exit is really heading before i take it.

Just to assure you i am not exaggerating here are random quotes from the kids.

 "Mom, i know why we couldn't bring our Tahoe to Dubai... the horn isn't loud enough."  ~ Riley

"Dad, let's just take a cab, i don't feel like hearing you yell at the roads tonight."  ~ Kyle  

Happy Weekend!   


Anonymous said...

Thanks Tam, What a trip and a week. Thought alot about you all today, as you were getting ready for church. It will take me a while to get the feel of this. Kido's looked like they are really working on the adjustment.
Now if dad can just not talk to the roads. even in Dubai, they can't answer and they don't hear. Sorry bud. Have a special family loving week. Dad

Lovella said...

OK, I just have to say, I laughed out loud all the way through this! You might as well start searching for a publishing company, Tami!! I love the kids' quotes at the end.

jennifer west said...

Love the latest addition!!! The boys read every one as well:). I feel like I'm taking a really fun history class!!! Glad your kiddos are getting adjusted to school, and sounds like Kyle's going to give Landon a run for his money in the "Futbol" department when you guys visit!! Looking forward to your next update!

Betty said...

What an eventful week! How fun that you could meet some other moms - that 'field trip' must have been amazing! Glad you've been driving - do you understand the British GPS guy??

Kathy Cragin said...

I'm feeling "immersed" after reading this update! It is so neat to see the Dubai adventure through your eyes. And I'm pretty sure your kids have aged 2 years since we've seen them - those uniforms make them look like big kids!
Missing you all!

Noelle said...

Wow!!! What an AMAZING week!!! You fieldtrip looked epic! The kiddos are adorable and I am laughing so hard imagining you gripping the wheel and your hair standing straight up! I KNOW that's gotta be nervewracking and scary. Praying for your driving adventures,friend! Yay, your stuff is coming in finally and you are on your way to the next phase of planting! LOVE you!!! Xoxo

Chris B said...

I am not just yelling at the roads here......I am also cursing the british GPS chap who tells me to go the wrong way. I know that twit can hear me so you need to back off Les ;)

bernadine barnes said...

oh Tami, i love hearing about your adventures! so happy the kiddos are adjusting well! miss you guys tons! loved the abaya! :)

Stephanie Morgan said...

I"ve been waiting for your next post! I just love reading about your lives over there. It's so interesting to read about what it's like in Dubai. (coming from a girl who's only been to Tijuana!) Keep them coming! Oh your pictures are amazing! I think Blurb can suck your blog info and pics and put it into a book. You should totally do that for yourselves as a keepsake of your time spent there.

Kelley said...

I have been missing you so i though I would play catch up today on Tamily :) Your stories are awesome! Loved them! Laughed outloud. Missed you more! Kelley