-My new favorite breakfast is: Foul Moudammes It's served at our "continental breakfast" every morning. They don't do a typical American breakfast, they have sandwiches, hummus, black and green olives, various cheeses, etc. They do have fruit, muffins, pancakes w/ syrup and hard boiled eggs which feels a bit more "normal" .. oh, and they have beef bacon (!!) and hashed browns .. there's some sausage lookin' things but I'm not touchin' those. ha ha. SO, there's some familiar breakfast items as well as some new stuff .. I like me some Foul Moudammes .. not even gonna attempt sounding that out for ya. :)
-The air here kind of freaks me out. There is a constant haze, which I think is mostly sand, but there's definitely some crazy pollution, too. I've noticed that my body is trying to adapt to this new air .. I feel like I'm clearing my throat all the time. Here's an article I found about the air quality: click here
-Yesterday, we went to the girls' school and took the tour. There's a good chance that they will be attending Dubai American Academy They can't tell us FOR SURE until they have their assessment (which is today) if they get in to the school. Everyone tells us not to worry, but it's still a source of stress. I'll feel so much relief when we get the girls in school!!
We were very impressed with the school. Our tour guide was a mother of two students there. She said that one of the reasons she stays in Dubai is because of the quality of education her kids are getting. That was encouraging to hear! Time will tell! I'll keep ya posted!
-After the school tour yesterday, we did the drive to our new home to see how long it would take .. I'm so thrilled to say that it took us 10 minutes! yay!
-While in the neighborhood, we stopped at the Spinneys (grocery store) closest to our house. The grocery stores are in a sort of small indoor strip mall. In the one closest to our home, there is a Hayya athletic club, a small preschool (yay for Max!!), a Costa (coffee shop), Marble Slab, Hallmark, a Pharmacy (where you can get antibiotics over the counter), a Vision center and I think that's it. We stopped and got a small ice cream, took a tour of the Hayya, and the kids played on the playground just outside. While the kids were playing, Mark wanted to see if he could find a pathway to our house .. he kept pointing and saying, "I think our house is right.over.THERE!" .. so he went to check it out .. he was back in 5 minutes, smiling, and said, "I just walked to our house and back." .. I got teary .. it is SOO convenient and great. Oh, and I haven't even mentioned the coolest part .. it sits on the edge of a beautiful lake with a fountain in the middle of it. If you stand on the pathway that goes around the lake, you can see the skyline .. it's really, really beautiful. I told Mark that it's going to feel like we live at a resort!! SOO .. we need some visitors to share this with!! COME SEE US!
-Yesterday we tried to set up the Wii in the hotel room. We blew up the power cord. Oops. Mark went to 4 different stores in Emirates Mall to find a replacement .. no luck. Our friend in Abu Dhabi said she found one for hers. It might take some hunting, but we'll fix it!
-Speaking of the Wii, we are SO grateful for our electronic gadgets and games for the kids .. they have their toys, too .. Max has his cars and trains, the girls have their Barbies and dolls .. definitely crayons, etc. HOWEVER, I'm SOO ready for bike rides and swimming, and playing OUTSIDE again .. I know with the heat here, we need to take advantage of the nice temperature we're having now .. I think we're in the middle of the "nice" temperatures .. it's been in the mid to high 70s since we've arrived .. soo nice! Anyways .. short version: I'm grateful that the kids are happy with their "inside" toys, but SO ready for OUTSIDE!
-On Tuesday the 10th, I have been invited to attend an AWA meeting. AWA stands for "American Women's Association." I was invited by a friend of a friend .. It's actually Mark's high school friend's cousin! Such a fun connection. Carrie has been SO helpful in helping me feel through all of the adjustments that we're going through. We've talked on the phone several times, emailed a dozen times, and she has been SO helpful! I'm excited to meet her on Tuesday!
-We have been invited to dinner by two other new friends. Both are through connections through friends back home. I'm already beginning to experience the amazing sense of community people have described to me. On Thursday, we are going to Macaroni Grill with the pastor's family from Redeemer Church (where we went on Friday) .. they have kids the same ages as ours .. YAY! Then on Saturday, we are headed over to a new friends' house who also has kids the same ages as ours. She's a pediatrician from America .. they, like us, are out here for her husband's job. I'm anxious to meet her, too!
-Mark just said we have a temporary move-in date of the 18th!! YAAAAY!! That's only 9 days away!
-OOOH, and CNN just showed highlights from the Bronco game yesterday. (Mark is SOOO bummed he missed that game .. even though he knows the outcome, he's trying to find somewhere that might show it.. poor guy!!)
-OH, you don't drink the tap water here. It doesn't make you sick like Mexico's water, but I guess they're just not sure about the pipes that it travels through .. whether they have lead in them or whatever. So bottled water it is .. and bottled water is not expensive. We'll have a water cooler in our home with a delivery service.
-Purchasing anything is a process .. especially at Carrefore - which is similar to a Super Target or Super Walmart. Mark went there yesterday to buy a GPS -- to get it, he had to wait in line to talk to someone about it, then they had to charge the unit that he wanted to see, then once he decided to get it, he had to wait in line to get an invoice, then take that invoice to another line to pay for it, and then, because he was buying other items, he had to go to a different check-out line to purchase those items. He said every line was long, and so many people cut in line, it's not even funny! Mark vows never to go Carrefore again. We had a good laugh over it this morning!
-All in all, we are feeling incredibly blessed. It just all feels sooo exciting and new .. even with the frustrations. I'm so grateful that we were advised about the hiccups .. knowing what to expect has definitely lessened the blow - and helped with our patience levels. I'm still very much in awe of this opportunity! More to come!
update re: school assessment: The assessments went well .. The guy who assessed Paige was very complimentary and said, "if there's a spot, she's in it" .. Brooke's was different .. it had 5 other students in it, and they didn't say much afterwards .. only "we'll contact you by the end of the week" .. it's maddening, but once again, we "wait and see"