I feel like we've gotten a little ahead of ourselves on this blog. I've written quite a bit about adventures and oddities but not so much of the basic background information.
We live on campus in faculty housing. There are cul-de-sacs and lanes and grassy roundabouts and - my personal favorite - wide, attractively cobblestoned sidewalks with raised crosswalks so you don't even have to step off the curb to cross the street (anyone who's ever pushed a stroller understands). In the campus "neighborhood," there are playgrounds and a pool and a kids' pool and a gym and fitness classes and rainbows and bunnies - well, you get the idea.
not saying a whole lot, but still. We have three bedrooms, a guest room, and four bathrooms. Of course there is a living room and a dining area and a kitchen and we actually turned the under-stairs storage area into a playroom. We also have big front and back patios. The back yard is currently a giant sandbox but it will be grass "soon."
This is the first time in the Middle East that I've had hot water on demand, a washer that does not shock me, a comfortable mattress, an oven that works, a stove that does not threaten to explode, and, blessed be its name forever, central AC.
Jeremy's office is a seven-minute walk from our house. OH YEAH.
Miriam's school is a 10- to 15-minute walk/kid bike ride from our house, depending on how willful any or all of the girls are being.
We're close enough to the beach to actually go but not so close that the humidity is stifling (except sometimes it still is). Ask Miriam about swimming in the Persian Gulf and she'll tell you the water is so warm it's like a gigantic bathtub.
We're close enough to Dubai to, you know, go there, but not so close that the traffic offends our sensibilities.
The cost of living isn't too bad at all, when you're given free housing and utilities. Some items at the grocery store cost more than back in the US (like fresh milk, which is a whopping ten dollars a gallon here). Some things cost less (like gasoline, which is about $1.50 a gallon here).
And did I mention we have a house cleaner guy? Yes, it's a man. He's from India and I pay him to clean my house three or four times a month. I used to be conflicted about this issue. Before we moved here I knew it would come up and I just couldn't decide whether I would actually stoop to pay someone else to clean my house when I am perfectly capable of doing it myself. Then one morning I spent 2.5 hours doing just that, when in that same amount of time I could have been a) working at my WAHM job and earning enough money to pay someone to clean my house a couple times over, or b) spending time with my kids. So I caved and brought in one of the university's house cleaner guys. And I am no longer conflicted. There are some tasks in my life role that I will never outsource. Mopping floors is apparently not one of them.
Did I miss anything?
(I'll write another post containing generalities about what the UAE is like. It's a very unique place, an amalgamation of different cultures and styles and routines that is unlike anything I've ever seen. More on that later.)