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.