Saturday, January 31, 2009

itunes and another run at a visa

I can't decide if I love itunes or hate it. I miss Grey's Anatomy but don't yet have a TV. There doesn't seem to be such a thing as a cheap TV here. I have NOT seen anything but flat screens, so we decided we'd buy furniture to sit on first and then curtains for a little bit of privacy, and THEN TV. It has actually been kind of nice to get Grace out on the playground instead of sitting in front of the boob tube, but I have missed a few of my favorite programs. Grey's being one of them. I decided I'd go on and see if I could download the show, NOPE! You have to actually be in the US to use that function. Bummer...

So on to itunes. I purchased the few episodes available that I had not yet seen and then added a couple of shows for Grace including Dora and Babar. Well, I don't know if it is itunes or the lovely connection we have to the internet, but it took about 6 hours to download Dora - why I tortured myself twice (once to download and then again to watch the darn thing), I just don't know.

Now I'm sitting on the HARD tile floor in the computer room because all the chairs are taken (we should have internet in the apartment within a week - supposedly - I'm not holding my breath) and trying to get itunes to download the next Grey's. It keeps quitting for some reason. My cheeks are numb and ankles sore, but I refuse to give in and let the computer win. I will watch my crappy show and enjoy it! OK, it still has 2 hours to download, no 88 minutes, no 2 hours and my tush is starting to go beyond numb and into hurting. I can't really stay down here for two hours. Not if I'm going to get any sleep at all.

On another (and much more important) note, I may not have to go to work here after all. I probably will do some substitute teaching and I may consider working in a year or two, but I would really prefer to stay home until the little man is at least one, preferably three and in school. J went into HR and they said we should be able to get Mom's visa done if we get certain documents translated into Arabic and show that I have a permanent visa. We'll see. Rules here are more written in sand than stone. It all depends on to whom you are talking and who you are with at the moment. Apparently being a women alone can be an advantage in places that have lines. Hmmm... It is a balance between needing J to be there since he's the one employed and being better taken care of if we don't have him around - WEIRD.

Oh! itunes says only 12 more minutes. Maybe I'll make it if it doesn't crash again! I hope I didn't jinx it by putting it down in writing.

Monday, January 26, 2009

NIP - nursing in public

I've been very hesitant to breast feed anywhere in public here. I've been trying very hard not to be offensive to people as I am a visitor in this country and my religion and views on modesty are in the minority here. However, several people have told me they have seen other people, including muslim women, breast feed. So I've attempted to be as inconspicuous as possible and choose my locations carefully. I've ventured out of the ladies toilet and fed Little Man in IKEA on two separate occasions. So far my experience has been similar to in the US, that I am largely unnoticed as I hold a quiet baby to my chest under cover. Hmm... maybe I have been freaking out over nothing.

On another note, last night J and I were speaking to another pilot when he mentioned he was enrolling his son at the Canadian International School and that they were accepting new students and looking for teachers. We visited today. We might be able to get Grace in this year, but we definitely can get her a spot for next fall. They don't have any need for a full time teacher this year, but can use me as a sub and then get me on full time in the fall. I would just have to get the right paperwork with the right stamps to the right people. Ugh! I don't know how anyone gets anything done around here! I left my teaching portfolio in my basement in CO in an unmarked box in storage room that is packed to the rafters. I have NO idea which box has my diploma in it either.

So another paperwork nightmare begins...

Sunday, January 25, 2009

Abu Dhabi Mommy

Photo Sharing - Video Sharing - Photo Printing

Spit up and visas

Today started out OK. I got up feeling pretty good despite a restless night with the baby. He's been throwing up and spitting up more than usual. I'm not sure if he's getting milk in the solid food, if I've been eating too much dairy or if he's sick.

So barring the spit up, things were going pretty smoothly. I took a cool picture of the sunrise over the mosque which I've uploaded it to Facebook. I got LB (my daughter) dressed and out the door on time for school. J (husband) and Mom dropped LB at school and went on to try to get Mom her visa.

While they were gone I thought I'd have a leisurely breakfast. I got the oatmeal made, tea brewing and bread toasting. Then Little Man started to fuss, of course. So I put him in the high chair and made him some cereal, while my breakfast cooled, thinking I could eat and feed him at the same time. Ha! He was crying and fussing by the time I had it made so I left my breakfast to chill while I attempted to feed him. Nope, not happening. He just fussed and cried some more. So I took him out of the highchair, while my oatmeal congealed, tea turned bitter (I left in the tea bag) and toast grew stale and fed him "from the tap". The good news is that he only spit up a little bit and fell asleep.

He slept in the pack-n-play, which is so much more convenient than my arms. I was able to dress and groom myself in peace! I even got some cleaning and laundry done.

The bad news came when Mom and J got home. Regardless of the "no problem" attitude and J's employer, there will be no more sponsoring of in-laws. Mom can't be hired as a nanny because she's American. Huh? My guess is Americans are too expensive. So Mom will stay on a visitor's visa, making a trip out of the country every thirty days while we appeal (not likely to change anything) or Mom or I get a job. I don't think it would be difficult for me to find a job (J was asked if I was interested in a job when he signed LB up for school), but I would have preferred to stay home with the baby. We're going to see if there is anything available for mom first. Double Rat Farts!

Saturday, January 24, 2009

White chairs?

It's Saturday, but feels like Sunday. I wonder if I'll get used to the weekend being Friday and Saturday. I have to remember to pack LB's lunch (LB is little bean or love bug my 3 year old daughter) for school tomorrow.

I've been spending the last few days doing laundry and trying to find places to put things. I hope DH doesn't mind me rearranging his piles to put things away or at least hide them. I've decided that the apartment is far too bare and empty to have piles of junk. In our old house, it blended in and didn't look quite so bad, but when you've got an expanse of shiny tile floor that pile of crap really stands out.

Hubby's friends received their shipment from their last house so they have stuff flowing out the front door into the common hallway. They've decide they didn't need two little white computer desks and we've promised to put them to good use. At last a receptacle for the paper pile. The file cabinet I bought should help too... as soon as I get some hanging file folders.

In a few days we'll receive a delivery from IKEA with a couch, arm chair, footstool and 3 bookcases. We took home a coffee table and a child size table and chairs. I'm not entirely happy with the couch color. I really wanted a particular couch because I found it to be the most comfortable, but there wasn't a huge selection of colors. So I found myself making what I think of as a very American choice. Denim blue and the chair is blue and white strip. Oh well, I can also have a cover made for it later.

Maybe the same guy that made our friend's curtains can make covers for the white dining room chairs that aren't white anymore. It didn't take long, did it? I think I'll have him make roman blinds for our living room windows and curtains for the bedrooms. So much saving money!

I'm going out to a different grocery store this afternoon. I'll write tomorrow about that little adventure.

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

Sizzle and blood

Yes, we finally have gas! It took a while and a couple of phone calls. "No problem, we'll be there in 30 minutes." Hmm you said that an hour ago... They were supposed to be here yesterday at 10. I think they finally showed around noon and left a little after two. Apparently not only did the gas alarm not work, but the electricity to the solenoid valve wasn't working. I'm afraid to see how it is hooked up, J said something about rubber bands? My first meal was scrambled eggs. Since I hadn't had lunch, we needed something fast. J did buy me really nice cookware.

Of course IKEA arrived exactly when they said they would. So I have my mattress pad and a couple of bookcases. I think I need about 20 more of those bookcases. Where do you put things when there are no coat closets, linen closets, basement or garage??? I have NO idea where I'm going to put anything when my 20 boxes arrive from the states.

After lunch we finally got going to the medical center around 3. It was NOT easy to find. Especially since it wasn't in the building we were told. There is a whole block of hospitals and medical centers and the immigration health tests are held in the Disease Prevention and Screening building (not exactly the same as the preventative medicine department at Khalifa Medical Center). Let's not even get into the dead ends, one way streets and parking lots with random double parked vehicles.,-95.677068&sspn=34.313287,56.601563&ie=UTF8&ll=24.468498,54.367561&spn=0.004814,0.006909&z=17

Once we were in the right place it all went smoothly and efficiently. The women's screenings are on a separate floor from the men so J couldn't go past the first waiting room. First, I got a number by presenting a copy of my entry visa and passport. Then I waited in line in a different room to pay 250Dhm. Once I had paid and had my picture taken, I went through another door and waited for the next available phlebotomist to draw blood. After that was done, it was through another door to wait for the next x-ray technician. She told me to take off my sweater and bra, but leave on my t-shirt....OK... After the chest x-ray (I'm pretty sure I don't have TB), I went through yet another door and ended up in the same waiting room where you pay and then out to the main waiting room where all the men are hanging around waiting (ironic). I have to go back today after 4 to get the results so I can take them to J's company's HR department for my permanent visa application.

After all that, I made a quick (ha ha ha) trip to Carrefour. J waited in the car so I got to go aisle by aisle as slowly as I wanted without anyone sighing or whining. It was really quite pleasant even if it was busy there. Of course I spent way too much time and way too much money, but there you go. I came home to a hot dinner (THANK YOU MOM!!!) and kids in jammies.

Monday, January 19, 2009


I've never lived in a high rise apartment before. I don't think I've lived higher than the 3rd floor in fact. But the last couple of days have been a lesson in physics watching the window washers. We're on the fourth floor (european style so really the 5th) and we got to watch the washers' rig swing on cables back and forth as they did a synchronized squeegee routine. Good thing I got dressed early this morning.

I'm starting to reevaluate my shopping priorities. Maybe curtains should be higher on the list. Right now the top of the list is a couch.

Today J got home about 2AM from his trip. He's sleeping in, but I can't afford to let him have a day off. We need to get to the medical clinic to get my blood test done for my residency. I need to be able to drive! I'm going stir crazy feeling trapped. I guess I could have taken a cab somewhere yesterday but I didn't really NEED to go anywhere.

We also need to go to the grocery store. We're running out of things we can eat without a stove. Maybe they'll really hook it up today. Maybe...

Cooker update

Yep, still no gas! The gas man came this afternoon as promised, tested the gas alarm and said he won't turn on the gas since the alarm doesn't work. He'll come back tomorrow with a guy who can fix the alarm. Seriously!? I have no idea why this is such a big deal to me. We're not starving. We have plenty of things that can be eaten cold, or warmed in the microwave, but I'm getting very cranky about all of this. Tomorrow isn't that far off, but I could just cry.

Sunday, January 18, 2009


I had Pizza Hut for dinner last night. It was pretty good, but I would have preferred to cook myself a meal. Unfortunately, without gas the stove (AKA cooker here) is pretty much useless. We had an appointment with the "gas man" to come between 2 and 5PM. At 4:47 after the gas man didn't answer his phone, I decided to find the number for the Pizza Hut that delivers here. For 73 dirham you can get two medium pizzas and a slice of cheesecake. Not a bad deal (3.67 dirham to a dollar).

At 8AM I called the gas man and... he answered! Woo Hoo! Even better he said he'd come today at 1PM. Wouldn't that be nice. I'm not exactly holding my breath.

Grace is staying home again from school today. I don't think her teacher would want to deal with her, umm... toilet issues...

Saturday, January 17, 2009

Sunday 18 January

We woke up early to get ready for school, but my daughter was still asleep. I was very happy about her sleeping through the night, but when I finally got her up and my husband was getting her dressed, she threw up. So no school today. At least I don't have to take a cab to pick her up from school this afternoon (hubby is working and I can't drive, grrr). My poor little girl. She doesn't have a fever and she seems to be feeling better, but still doesn't want anything to eat.

I used this morning to clean a bit. It seems like every time I turn around there is a layer of very fine dust on everything. So I vacuumed and mopped and scrubbed anywhere the baby had been eating. I haven't figured out what to use on the very shiny tile floors. The all purpose cleaner left streaks. So one more thing to adjust to, how to clean...

This afternoon the gas man should come to hook up my stove, or cooker as they are called here. IKEA should also deliver my mother's bed and mattress. At least the air mattress she's been sleeping on is high quality.

Abu Dhabi Jan 14& 15

Back from another crazy day of shopping. Went to IKEA and got
stuff and ordered stuff. I got my bucket arm chair to sit in. We got
laundry hampers, shower curtains, room curtains and enough stuff to
fill a cart. We're having 3 shelving units delivered along with a
mattress pad to cushion my side of the bruiser of a firm mattress that
my dear hubby (DH) picked.

OMG! It's the 15th. We had the stove, washer and dryer delivered and
installed today. Simple right? Wrong! The stove is gorgeous, too
bad I still can't use it. That's right, we have a gas line, but we
need someone to hook it up. The good news is that we're finally doing
a load of laundry. The bad news is that tomorrow starts the weekend
so it will be Sunday the 18th before someone can hook up the stove. I
think the last time I cooked a meal was about the 5th or 6th. I just
want to have a home cooked meal, nothing fancy, just spaghetti or

DH is out trying to find a hardware store that will sell him anchors
for the concrete walls so he can hang the curtains.  I'm really looking forward to knowing where things can be purchased and even more driving myself there.  I can't drive our car until I have a UAE drivers license.  I can't get a drivers license until I get my permanent residency.  I can't get my permanent residency until I get my blood test.  I can't get my blood test until I drive down to the clinic, but I don't have a drivers license!  I guess I'll will wait until my DH is available to drive me, not that I can shop by myself until I get a bank card in my name...

17th Jan

The kids got up at 5:30 this morning. That's loads better than 3:30,
but I do look forward to the days when they both sleep through the
night and stay asleep until a reasonable hour.

My daughter wants to go swimming again so here we are at 7:00 AM and
she's already in her bathing suit. I told her we need to wait for
either her dad or nana to get up to watch her brother. It think I've
stalled her for at least an hour or so. In the meantime, we've got
catch up homework. Yep, my 3 year old has homework. Her teacher
wants her to do the worksheets that the other kids have done in
class earlier this year like tracing letters, circling words with the same beginning
sounds, etc.

I've been trying to get this place tidied up which is difficult when there really isn't anyplace to put anything. I did notice something
last night. All the piles seemed to have only one person's things, my
husband's. Hmm...

Yesterday was Friday and the first day of the weekend.  We went down to the Corniche where they have a family playground with another pilot and his family.  One of the climbing structures is shaped like a pirate ship.  The kids had a blast playing.  Then we walked down the waterfront to a cafe for lunch.  It is really beautiful here.  One thing that was a little different was that the cafe was on the men's beach which is separated from the ladies and family beach by a solid wooden fence.  Apparently single men can not be trusted around women in bathing suits.  

After lunch we went to IKEA again. We were going to take the kids in with us, but after a morning of romping on the playground both fell asleep in the car. Nana stayed in the car while hubby and I ran in and got a couple of things. I've been actually cold in the middle of the night. 

When I arrived in Abu Dhabi my husband had purchased mattresses, fitted sheets, pillows and pillow cases and a couple of very light weight bed spreads. They are not in fact any thicker than a sheet. He did buy our daughter a complete comforter and duvet cover, and my mother got her own at the first IKEA trip. I
was waiting until I choose a bed to decide what duvet cover I wanted, but
I gave in and bought something yesterday. I got black and white so
hopefully it will go with any bed we choose.

I also got extra pillows, light bulbs for mom's IKEA lamp, more drawer
bins... I don't know what I'd do without IKEA! I've started a very long wish list. The top of the list has sofas and more storage units, but a bed would be nice too.

Wednesday, January 14, 2009


Well for the second day in a row, I'm up at 4AM.  The baby keeps waking up with a snotty nose, so congested that he can't eat and fall back to sleep.  So we keep taking showers at 3AM to get his nose clear enough to eat.  It worked last night, and were were getting back to sleep by now.  Of course it couldn't work two nights in a row.  He's able to breath, but he's wide awake...

The good news is that he's now asleep in his own bed.  The bad news is that is is 5Am and I'm wide awake.  

I've decided I need a comfortable chair to sit in.  The dining room chairs are OK, but not not really designed for nursing a baby and those are the ONLY chairs we currently own.  Oh, I'm forgetting the highchair.  Maybe I can convince my husband and mother to spend money on one of those IKEA bucket armchairs. 


I smashed my computer, the laptop that I bought about 2 weeks ago.  Ugh!  The screen is a mess of cracks, but it seems to still be working aside from the appearance of the screen.  I was carrying the baby and the computer up the concrete steps from the wifi spot to our building.  I slipped and smashed the computer and my left knee.  They baby is fine, although scared.  My knee is a little sore and stingy from the scrape, but the computer took the brunt of the fall.  I'm not sure it can be fixed here.  My husband's friend seems to thing they may be able to just replace the glass, since the screen itself is still working.  I hope so.

Today was our first day without my husband.  He was flying to Cairo.  This also meant no car, and since he forgot to leave the cash he got out to give me, NO money.  He had to work at 11AM, so we just had time for him to drive our daughter to school and me to the grocery store.  Tomorrow we are supposed to get our fridge, stove, washer and dryer, so I couldn't buy much at the store that didn't need to be refrigerated or cooked.  It wasn't as much fun picking out appliances as I would have thought.  I think the time crunch and the fact that I still have jet lag kept me from enjoying the thought of finally having matching appliances.  Although, I have been playing with the new microwave grill function.  You add a metal rack, set it to "grill" and it actually toasts a piece of bread quite nicely.  

A friend picked up my daughter from school today and brought her home.  This afternoon she invited us to see her apartments.  She has one that she's moving into that's mostly empty awaiting their shipment of furniture from her house in Italy, and the furnished apartment that they are staying in now.  I need to get the name of the person who made her drapes.

I also rally need to go back to IKEA and Carrefour.  Carrefour reminds me a lot of SuperTarget.  Well, more like Safeway plus a Whole Foods, plus a BigLots or Kmart upstains.  I got my electric tea kettle and mop upstairs, and Lebanese olives downstairs.  Carrefour is about 20 minutes from the apartment and IKEA about 40.

My daughter was so tired that when we got back to our apartment after eating dinner at our friend's, she said she was going to her room.  I figured she was going to play with the dollhouse, but she changed into her jammies by herself and by the time I finished making her lunch for tomorrow, she was asleep.

The baby is asleep in his room and my daughter in hers.  That's a first.  His room may be small since it is intended to be a maid's room, but it is still nice that he has one.  Last night my daughter fell asleep in my bed right after her bath.  She woke up when her brother did, so no wonder she's so tired today.  At least I got a nap.  

On the way in between apartments, I noticed that the playground was full of kids playing and running around.  Maybe it is a good thing we won't have TV for a few more weeks.  The kids are all having fun outside.  Imagine.  Also there aren't any morbidly obese people here.  There is the occasional overweight person, but nothing like you see the US. 

The local food is wonderful if a bit salty.  My husband took us to his favorite place he found while staying in the hotel and everything was super yummy.  My daughter hasn't asked for mac n cheese once.  Of course, I'm making her PB& J for lunch everyday.  

I wish I could say that I'm all unpacked, but I don't have any place to put stuff.  I've got to get bathroom storage (all the baths are pedestal sinks) and dressers or some sort of bins for the closets.  I only brought one dress and long hanging is more than 3/4 of my closet.  I don't have a desk or anything to hold the computers and all our papers.  I don't have shower curtains.  Well the fridge and stove were the priority.  Maybe I can go shopping tomorrow with friends or my husband if he isn't called out to work (he's on reserve tomorrow).  

Well, I'm here.  This is the first time I've made it to the apartment complex's wifi spot with a charged lap top.  We were floating one plug adapter between several appliances after we finally got one from my husband's hotel room.  

It has been a crazy few days.  The trip from Colorado was long, but not as hard as I expected.  Airport security at 11PM is so much less stressful than when it is busy.  It's a good thing because we had a TON of stuff   We checked 9 bags and still had about 9 carry on bags.  The flight to JFK was uneventful and both kids slept almost all of the way.  

When we got to JFK, we had to pick up ALL of our bags and take them to the international terminal.  We put our jackets in the suitcases and followed a porter with a cart piled haphazardly with many of our bags.  He, for some reason, decided we needed to go OUTSIDE in sub-freezing weather to get to the adjoining terminal building.  He had us chasing after him for about 1/2 a mile carrying the other half our luggage and pushing one stroller and one carseat with wheels attached (with my 3 year old in it).  Nice!  At least we missed the 6 inches of snow in NY the very next day.   

Once checked in and in our gate area we had a few hours wait.  My mother occupied my 8 month old son while I played on the moving walkway with my daughter.  I was surprised by how many young men in uniform were in the terminal.  

The flight to Abu Dhabi went much quicker than expected.  My son was a lap child, but my daughter and I were bumped up to business class.  Because we bought my mother's seat instead of having it provided by the airline as part of the signing package, she was stuck in coach.  The business class was pretty cool.  The seats recline to a bed in it's own little pod and we each had a TV.   We all slept for a good portion of the flight.  The rest was surprisingly pleasant with the inflight entertainment computer/tv and really fabulous flight attendants. 

Once we arrived, I found that the apartment is EMPTY!!!  I need everything from coat hangers, trash cans, curtains, a stove, fridge, dishwasher, microwave, shower curtains... the list is ever growing...  I even need a mop!  

We did manage to get a few things at IKEA the day we arrived including the delivery of the bed and mattresses that my husband ordered before we got here.  Day two we ordered appliances, although we decided to leave the dishwasher for later.

The weather here is beautiful.  There is just a  slight breeze and a few clouds keeping it cool.  At night my toes get a little cold, but there are people in shorts at midnight.  This place is flatter than Kansas, but with all the construction on every corner (literally), traffic (seriously crazy drivers - rules seem to be optional), and palm trees, I really feel like I could be in LA.  We're just missing the Mexican food.

I've had a girls night upstairs at the apartment of my husband's classmate and another classmate's wife took me to Carrefour, the supermarket.   Carrefour has a moving sidewalk between levels that you can take the shopping cart up and down.  

My 3 year old started school on Sunday as Friday through Saturday is the weekend off.  She LOVES it!  Her class is called the Cuddly Camels.  She'll be learning Arabic three times a week with her class.  It's a good thing considering everywhere you look things are in both languages.  They have many US name brands with Arabic printed on it.  

I can't get my driver's license until I have my permanent residency, which is still a few weeks off.  So, I can't drive the car my husband bought and we are relying on the same friends that took me shopping to drive my daughter back and forth on days that her father is traveling.  Fortunately, the have a son enrolled at the same school.

Well, I know this post is a bit disjointed, but I haven't had enough sleep and only a few moments to get on the internet at all...

Welcome to my blog

At the request of friends and family I'm starting a blog about my adventure.  I arrived in Abu Dhabi 4 days ago and I'm not sure how I feel about anything at the moment.  Since this is a public site you won't see me naming names.  Email me if you get confused and if I actually know you, then I'll try to answer any questions.  

Last spring my husband found out he may be laid off from his job as an airline pilot.  The timing wasn't great because I was nearly ready to have our second child, but it could have been worse.  I was able to have the baby before the lay off notices came out.   My first child, a daughter, has been really amazing through everything.  Becoming a big sister, having Daddy GONE for nearly 3 months (over Christmas no less), and moving across the world.  

My husband looked into jobs all over the world and, in fact, took the first job offered.  Not long after,  he left for training in Abu Dhabi.  He left me to pack and rent out the house, sell, store or ship our belongings including two cars while taking care of two children under four.  

I would be in the psych ward if it were not for my mother dropping everything to join us on this adventure and my friends and neighbors pitching in to make it happen.

Things seem to happen either ridiculously fast or slow.  There is no in between.  We got our tickets finalized the day before leaving.  We got our visas the day we left.  It has all been crazy.

The following two posts are from the emails which prompted my friends and family to bug me into this blog.