Tuesday, June 5, 2012

How Do You Find It?

*i promise this isn't another post about my driving woes.*   

Just so you don't think Dubai is all climbing palm trees, camel sightings and days at the beach...

(Ok it is all that, but there is also a lot of normal in between.)

i've been quiet on the blog lately as we've been busy making plans for our trip back to the States while moving to the groove of daily life here.  In a few short weeks we will be surrounded by the friends and family we have been missing and can't wait to squeeze!   Chris will stay back for work and join us later which will be a new experience for us.  It feels like straddling a strange fence as we are just beginning to feel settled here in our home and our daily routine yet preparing to go "home" to the States.  (i have to keep reminding the kiddos we are actually homeless in our homeland but i don't think any of us truly gets that yet.)  We have been processing our thoughts on life here as we are about to step away from it for awhile.  
As new residents to Dubai we are constantly being asked by the seasoned expats,

"How do you find it?"  

(American translation.... "Whadda ya think of it?")

As a family we have been talking about how we could possibly encapsulate the planting and settling of life here to our friends back home without endless rambling and boring them to death.

The past few months have been a strange concoction of fabulous experiences and moments of frustration centered around everyday activities.  And in some odd way we are beginning to find it

We have back yard BBQ's with friends from Texas and meet people for lunch.  Chris works hard and the kids attend birthday parties and play dates.

At school they take field trips to the local Children's Museum 

where they learn about camels and

play ginormous computer games.

 We make trips to the zoo and learn about exotic animals.

Little bodies cool off from the heat with shaved ice in the pool.

We still have messes all over the house.  
(Although interestingly enough, kid clutter seems to stay confined within the perimeter of soft rugs which makes clean up much easier.)

Many weekends Chris is still creating yummy meals in the kitchen

and Kyle plays "football" in a yard that will force him to improve his skill...

Weekends consist of day trips to try new places with new friends.

In many ways life here has eased into a very normal ebb and flow of regular life.  

We have finally come to expect the fact that rounding out the corners of our normal are the constant companions of both 
Fabulous and Frustrating.

For example, the endless choices of spices at the market falls into both categories.

Never being able to find parking but never getting a ticket for parking on the sidewalk

This keypad constantly popping up on my iphone, but my kids being able to spell actual words on it.

Even though we live in the desert, the birds manage to leave me an endless supply of gifts.

The constant repair a house in the desert requires.  
At least once a week a man comes to my door to fix some malfunctioning object and guarantees me, 
"No Problem Madam." 

We pretty much have given up on all TV and spend lots of time together as a family in beautiful places.

Another amazing bonus is that our world has suddenly become smaller.  We have been fortunate to come to know and love new friends from all over the world while exploring new places.  

Meet Texas, Bolivia, California, Brazil, Canada and the "random visiting friend" that always represents in Dubai outings.

Our favorite French Chef ~ Chris loves the food and i love the French!

When i sit with new friends i get to experience the flavors and languages of places like Lebanon, Columbia, Ukraine, Nigeria, and Kyrgyzstan just to name a few.

At times it can be mildly frustrating to keep all the cultural food boundaries in place while entertaining.  But fabulous is the conversation that occurs at that same dinner party when you toss together 5 co-workers that fall under 9 categories: Indian, Philippine, Pakistani, Lebanese, American, Hindi, Muslim, Catholic, and Christian.  Hilarious and eye opening all at the same time.

As we join the masses of Dubai who make the great summer exodus, we are super excited to escape the heat and come running back to the people we love in the US!  But please don't be surprised if we have a hard time answering your, "Whadda ya think of Dubai?" question. 

It is easy to process our thoughts with other Dubai residents living out the same dichotomies of everyday life.  But as we shove 10 weeks worth of clothes into our suitcases for the summer and step out of our new life here, i am wondering where to stash our 5 months of Dubai.  Where is THAT going to fit?! 

As Chris stays back in Dubai for a bit and the 3 of us board a plane, it feels as if we are standing on a teeter-totter where one foot is in Dubai while the other in the States.  Life in Dubai is beginning to teeter more on the side of settled than not, i find myself wondering if our trip back will unsettled all the planting we've done here.

Just when we were starting to see the normal at the end of the tunnel...