Sunday, September 19, 2010

UAE thoughts

So far the UAE is a pretty smooth place, at least compared to the other Arab countries we've lived in. It's like you could almost believe you were in Europe or the US and then you come across a sign like this - check out their courtesy policy:

In other news, we are spending most of our time unpacking and settling in. I'll tell you what, it took me until today to get over a strange aversion to emptying our suitcases. I kept thinking thoughts like, "why should I bother? We'll just be leaving soon again anyway. I don't want to take anything out of the suitcase just to have to put it back in again." Of course this doesn't make sense now that we are at our final destination for the foreseeable future. But it's no surprise I feel that way since we've been on the go for the last four months. I tallied it up and since May 14 when we left Ithaca for Egypt, we've spent the night in no less than 19 different places (if you count that night in the Newark Airport, and I do). It feels good to finally hang something up on a hanger for once.


We went to church on Friday, and yes, that means we attended church twice in one week (we also went last Sunday in Portland. We're righteous like that). The makeup of the congregation here reminds me a little bit of the one in Beirut, namely that it is heavily Filipino with everyone else being from miscellaneous countries. And man, do those Filipinos know how to run things. Relief Society (the women's meeting) was like a well oiled machine. I was so impressed. It's a good thing they have it together, too, because the Sharjah congregation meeting is filmed and broadcast over the internet to Mormons living in parts of Kuwait, Yemen, and Saudi Arabia. Jeremy says he's really excited to give a talk and say something shocking over the live webcast. And talk about pressure to keep your kids well behaved during the service!

Even though we've lived in the Arab world before, the UAE is plenty different. We've experienced a few hiccups already, like when Jeremy bought an assortment of liquid handsoaps to stock our freaking FOUR bathrooms (as Miriam pointed out, we could each choose our own!). Two of the brands were familiar (Dettol (my secret love), and Lux) but the other one was LifeBuoy. And wow, is that stuff disgusting. I used it for the first time at the kitchen sink and it was like waves of sensory revulsion suddenly descended on me. There was the initial gross smell, then as you sudsed it, an even more revolting smell was released. It seriously made me gag. So yes, that soap will be going in the guest room bathroom, thank you very much.

We walked around campus the other afternoon and it is gorgeous. It's a little bit Taj Mahal, a little bit US Capitol, and a little bit ancient desert outpost. Just beautiful.


One crazy thing is the plug shape system they have going on here. The outlets are those funky, crooked UK three-prongs. So are many of the things you can buy here. Many, but not all. Anything tech-y seems to have the round two-prong generic European plug, which doesn't fit in the UK socket. Then of course we have a few American plugs among our stuff so it turns out we have to get a bunch of plug adapters in all different variations. Thank goodness for universal power strips. Someone is making a fortune here selling those.

But things are going well. We're happy even if the jet lag is still brutal and we look forward to getting to know this place better.

11 comments:

Susanne said...

How nice to read an update! Your blog looks great with the new theme. I can understand why you went with "Bridget in Arabia" as something different to the usual "My Adventures In..."

Glad you all are settling in well. I'm sure now any guests who read this post will be suspect of the hand soap you passed off to them. :) If you have four bathrooms, your house must be huge!

Glad to read about your congregation. I suppose unlike in Syria, it's OK to openly worship in the UAE. Is that right? Or maybe it was OK in Syria just no evangelizing was allowed. I still recall the funny post about you playing "Onward Christian Soldiers" there. :)

I hope the girls are adjusting and enjoying life. I'm sure it's wonderful to finally be settled. Have Miriam and Jeremy started their school year yet?

Best wishes in your new life!

Crys said...

Well Bridget, looks like it is time to put away your short sleeve shirts and your PDA :) I'm making a mental note that should I ever come to visit I need to use the girl's bathroom!

Liz Johnson said...

Hahahaha good luck with that whole "kids behaving in church" thing. May your girls be easier to keep quiet than my boys.

I'm curious to hear if/how the courtesy policy is enforced. Could you hold Jeremy's hand? Or would that be inappropriate?

breanne said...

I love the new header and background. Glad to hear you made it there safely!

Brittany Cornett said...

Jeez, its wierd ever thinking I played "Knights" with you. I feel like sometime in the future you will write some hugely popular novel about all your experience moving around. And then I can tell people "I knew that girl once". Anyways I envy your sense of adventure but I dont think I could even dream as big as you have. Good luck and congratulations on having this new adventure.

Myrna said...

This is Nancy's mom popping in to read your adventures. Is there a lady in your ward from Canada named Kathy? I think her husband might be Jordanian. She is from my home town, my friend's older sister. If you are in Dubai?

The Ensign's said...

I'm with Brittany. It's crazy to think that not THAT long ago we were hanging out at playgroup together. I can't even imagine life outside the US. Probably because I've never been. In fact as much as I will embaress myself I'll tell you I'm intrigued they have malls. Maybe I should have paid more attention in school. You'd probably die laughing if you knew how I viewed the rest of the world. Maybe I still imagine it in BOM days... hehe. Seriously I'm laughing at myself because I think that's pretty much how I view it. Ahhh man.....

Matthew said...

It seems like you folks have more greenspace than Beirut. Would you say that's true?

Bridget said...

Matthew, space, certainly. The green has to be coaxed but I'll take it. I think Beirut is naturally greener.

Myrna, I think I met a woman from Canada - does she have five kids? We are in Sharjah and if she's in Dubai she might go to that ward. I haven't figured out the intricacies of the boundary yet.

Mikael said...

Glad you arrived safe and sound!

American Muslima Writer said...

Ewwwwww LIFEBOY!!!!

*GAG* in Lebanon they were all over it and I didn't liek it then, a docter even prescribed not to use it.
My daughter saw a commercial for it and was trying to get me to buy it, I"M LIKE NNOOOOOOOOO!!!!!



And for UAE knoweldge the dresscodes aren't being REALLY enforced unless someone is really hanging it all out. But public affection will be. Holding hands is fine, staring lovingly into eyes is fine, a quick peck on a cheek is fine, anything beyond that.....dont try...

Glad you're settling in here. What a beautiful house You've maanged to get, it must be a villa style. (small villa as villas are twice as big). And I agree why are you torturing your guests with bad soap. Take it to the hospital and leave it at the sink, the smell of the disinfectant will be natural there. And if anyone vomits fom the smell they can recieve assitance right away....

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