Wednesday, July 28, 2010

The Big News, Part 4

(Part 1, Part 2, Part 3)

(I think this will be the last post about the process of deciding to move to Dubai, but I also think I forgot a lot of details. I'm reaching back to remember things that happened 2.5 months ago during a very stressful and busy time so please ask me to clarify if something doesn't connect!)

Obviously, Jeremy did accept the job, or I wouldn't be writing this post. So I'll just tell you that it was a very difficult, close decision and we considered every aspect of it very carefully. My mind was bursting with a complicated to-do list of tasks that needed to executed almost immediately if we accepted the job, so it was a great relief when the decision was finalized.

That happened on May 5, eight days after receiving the official job offer. On May 6, we started telling friends in Ithaca that we were coming back after our summer in Egypt but that we were moving away shortly after.

On May 8, we held a yard sale along with a few other families in our apartment complex. One of the benefits of the job was that they would pay to ship our personal belongings over, but since another benefit of the job was a furnished townhome (including appliances and linens and kitchen stuff), we wouldn't need much. When we were bringing stuff out for the yard sale, I felt like I was looting my own apartment. I made trip after trip inside, raided the cabinets, closets, and shelves, and came out with my arms full of stuff to put out at the sale. We sold almost everything, and what we weren't able to sell, we gave away. 

Near the end, in the day or two before we moved out and left for Egypt on May 14, we even had friends walk through our apartment and just take stuff they wanted.

The things we cared about enough to bother shipping across the world, we packed up into six huge grey plastic bins we got at Target. But of course it wasn't as simple as that. You remember I told you we designated a room in our house as Egypt. What I didn't tell you at the time is that we also had a space called Dubai, and a space called Dubai-but-keep-unpacked-because-we-need-it-after-Egypt, and not-Dubai-but-not-Egypt-either-just-for-now, and take-to-Salvation-Army, and sell-to-Mama-Goose. There were piles all over the place and the stress of it all definitely got to us (I relieved some of it by writing blog posts and now you know why). And I haven't even begun to talk about my feelings.

Because amid all the joy and excitement and sense of impending adventure, I couldn't escape the fact that I would be leaving Ithaca. And friends, in case you hadn't noticed, I love Ithaca. At first I cried and told God it was cruel of Him to have let me live in Ithaca at all when it was only going to be for a year. Far better to have not known that year of communion with a place I really loved living, than to have lived there only to give it up, right?

Over time, however, - weeks and weeks and weeks - I've come to accept the one year in Ithaca I was given as a gift from God. In so many ways, I feel as if I've grown up there. Not that I've spent my childhood there, but that I've entered adulthood there. It's where I became a real person in the real world for the first time. I learned how to sign up my kid for ballet and swim lessons. I learned how to help at preschool and be its treasurer. I learned how to put on makeup and swap babysitting and rely on neighbors for help and scrape snow and ice off the car and be a work-at-home-mom with two kids. And through it all I was surrounded by amazing people who were such good examples to me of hard work, sacrifice, and motherhood.

All of this I realized just when we had decided to leave.

And it isn't like we're leaving Ithaca for Switzerland. Indoor snowboarding courses aside, Dubai is probably more of a barren wasteland than Tucson is, and it's hard to read my blog without getting a sense of how I felt about that place

Of course I worry about my silly Reverse SAD. Of course I will miss seasons. Name pretty much anything about Ithaca, and you can be sure it will break my heart to leave it.

Sometimes I think I'm destined to never live in a place I love, but always meant to love the place we live as best I can. And it's true. That is the way of things when you're a professor's wife, because you can't just move somewhere and hope to find a job. The job has to find you, and it is where it is. Put that way, we were very lucky to live in Ithaca for a year where a job and our idea of a perfect location just happened to line up for once. For a very short once.

So come September, we'll move to Dubai and I'll learn to love it. I know I will.


Liz Johnson said...

You will. It'll be a whole new adventure, which we know you're great at. And you will probably jump in with both feet, just like you did with Ithaca.

I pray for grass and air conditioning for you in Dubai. Amen.

Tia said...

That's awesome that you guys are moving to Dubai. We have a friend who lives there and he loves it.

Cait said...

Ithaca sounds magical. Maybe one day you'll be back. Or maybe not. Either way, I think you'll do awesome. Plus, think about when your girls go to college and are introducing themselves. While Ithaca sounds like a cool place to be from, imagine if they can all be like, "yeah, I grew up in Dubai... so, what now?"

Crys said...

Wow the suspense was starting to feel like The New Moon saga :) I'm excited for you but I definitely can see how you could/would be nervous. As for your condition...just come home to visit in the fall :)

Susanne said...

Yeah, it is kind of ironic that a woman who loves clouds and rain/snow due to her Pacific Northwest upbringing ends up in the UAE, but the adventure, I'm sure, will be worth it!

I told Samer yesterday that you weren't actually going to Dubai but nearby and he said Sarjah was very conservative. His sister and BIL lived there prior to returning to Damascus. He said it was so conservative the emir didn't allow sheesha smoking! Maybe that has changed since Nahed lived there. We looked at the American University there online...lovely! Samer said it looks like a mosque. Can't wait 'til we hear stories from there.

Thanks for sharing this big news. I enjoyed reading the latest installment each day. I can't believe all this was going on (yard sale, various piles besides the Egypt one) all this time. No more funny tagging stories from the apartment yard, but I'll gladly trade those from whatever you share from Sarjah in the fall!

Have a safe trip back to NY and have fun in London!

Anonymous said...

That was a beautiful post. I've had some similar struggles myself with places I love versus places where I need to live for whatever reason. I do think most places have something to recommend themselves, and I know you'll find those things in the UAE.


Suzanne Bubnash said...

You didn't mention this but it's significant that the only piece of 'furniture' (if you can call it that) you now own is your piano. Right?

Anonymous said...

I haven't read your blog in awhile, and then I just stumbled upon this piece of news this morning. Congratulations! You are absolutely wonder woman, Bridget. I will always remember how brave you were coming to Vermont with a child in tow, and with Magdalena on the way. It seems like you are still as brave as ever juggling all the things a mom has to juggle, and moving to new places with new languages and new EVERYTHING all at the same time!

Best of luck in Dubai, although I'm sure you don't need luck - you make the best of everything no matter what.

I really really hope that someday I'll get to see you guys and the girls! They were such a sweet part of my Arabic-learning experience, I'll never forget you guys :-)


Bridget said...

Dani, you are so kind and we will never forget you, either! I'm sure we'll meet again someday, especially if you ever visit Dubai :).


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