Thursday, September 16, 2010

Welcome to the UAE

Let's just dive right in.

We made it to the UAE in one piece with all our bags and carry-ons and children and selves. Fifteen and a half straight hours on a plane wasn't nearly as bad as you'd think, at least not when you fly Emirates. In some ways (actually in many ways, as you'll see later) I feel like I'm living out a dream that I never knew I had. When we lived in Syria and Jordan I always felt a little sigh of envy at those Emirates Air commercials that showed the swanky flight attendants in their mysterious veiled hats. Seeing them in reality was poignant.

Inside the Dubai airport was like walking into the future. Outside the Dubai airport was like walking into a sauna. Oh, the HUMIDITY. Jeremy's glasses literally fogged up.

I was anxious the whole drive to Sharjah, where our new home is. I really had no idea what the house was going to be like. I had seen a sample floor plan and that's about it. So when we pulled up to what the driver said was our place, I could hardly control the butterflies in my stomach.

My very very first impression was a little bit meh, but as I explored the rooms it quickly turned around into something more like "I don't think I'm good enough to live in a place like this and I can't believe they are giving it to me for free." This is another dream I'm living out. In the past when we've lived in the Middle East it's been shifting along in apartments that are good enough, I guess, while we caught glimpses of really nice places where other people lived. Well, I think we are now other people. (The exception to this is the apartment we had in Amman during the summer of 2007, which until now was the absolute nicest place I've ever lived in.)

Our house here is not palatial by any means, but it does have many things that Jeremy and I have never had before in almost nine years of marriage. A laundry room. An actual bed instead of just a mattress on a frame (or the floor). A guest bathroom. Heck, a guest bedroom. A full-size ironing board. Enough seating in the living room for more than three people. And one of these, which represents an adulthood dream fulfilled:

That's an electric hot water kettle and I have coveted one ever since we lived in Russia and everybody had one. And I didn't even have to buy it - it came with the kitchen. Yes, I've already used it.

The great irony of our nice, new place is that it has tons of storage space - floor-to-ceiling, wall-to-wall closets - and we don't have a whole lot of stuff to fill them with. Jeremy and I had a good chuckle over that one.

It's not all sunshine and roses, however. Our little lane is apparently the newest residential section on campus so it is not fully developed yet. What I'm trying to say is that there is no grass in the public areas like the other housing rows have. Sigh. I just might make it my personal mission to badger the facilities department until it gets put in. We're also slightly farther away from the pool than I thought we'd be, but then again, I don't have a good sense of distance yet so it might not be that far after all. And now I'm starting to feel dumb for complaining about my free grass and free pool being so inconvenient for me and my free house. But you know what I mean.

Our Sharjah fun fact of the day is that it is illegal to hang laundry out to dry.

I'll post some pictures of our house when there aren't suitcases and jet-lagged children strewn about.


Matthew said...

Welcome to the time zone!

Susanne said...

Congrats on having your own hot water kettle! Nothing like having hot drinks in 100-degree weather, right? :)

I enjoyed hearing about your new house. I'm sure you'll have it looking cheery and Palmerish is no time. Glad you made it safely!

Liz Johnson said...

I covet your tea kettle. That is seriously the only thing on my Christmas list this year.

I'm very curious to hear more about your impressions of both Dubai and Sharjah... but especially Dubai, since I've only heard outlandish stories about it being incredibly over the top.

And it's illegal to hang out laundry? I mean, I guess I could understand it being illegal to hang out underwear or something (since it's supposedly so conservative there), but all of your clothes?! Does this mean everybody owns a dryer? Or you have to dry them on a rack inside?


Cooper Family said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Cooper Family said...

I am still in aw after reading your post. A great place to stay for free, in a new country filled with adventures, and of course an electric water kettle. I didn't even know those existed. I am assuming there is air conditioning so you don't die from the heat all day and night and so you are able to use your electric water kettle for some yummy hot cocoa! I know once Todd reads your post he will want to book the first flight there! Can't wait to see pictures of your place!

Lisa Lou said...

Cool! I'm super jealous of the electric tea kettle. I've often thought of buying one, but then thought, no, how silly, I can just boil the water. But I really think the water and tea taste better with electric boiled water!

Sherwood family said...

I'm happy to know that I'm not the only one who complains about free things. Welcome back to the sandbox!

Liz Johnson said...

Me gusta the new look!!!! Very awesome.

And seriously, "it's a party in the UAE" is fantastic. I'm going to sing it like that from now on.

shock of life said...

welcome to the UAE! I am laughing because we have bought ALOT of things since we've been here and the electric kettle is by far my very favorite purchase.also, you may want to tune into 104.4 Virgin Radio- the morning show actually has a song parody they play every so often called "Party in the UAE". It's great.

Kristen said...

I love that it's illegal to hang laundry to dry. You're far from the ghetto now!


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