Thursday, August 26, 2010

The Middle East????

The Middle East????
Brian has been mentioning going overseas for quite some time now. However, until a few months ago, I have not been on board with the idea. I've never lived (or visited) anywhere outside of North America. I'm a little hesitant to give up our entire lives to venture into the unknown. Have you met me? I don't do well with the unknown, the unexpected, and things out of my control.

But, over time time he has worn me down.

So...a few months ago when Brian said that a job had opened up in Austria that he was thinking of applying for, I decided to give him the go ahead. I then spent the next several weeks OBSESSING. What is the housing like? Where would we live? What are the schools like? How expensive is it? What do they speak there? How could I get around? Could we travel to other areas in Europe easily? What could we rent our current house for? What activities are available there for the kids? and on and on and on.

Unfortunately, because it's a government job, we have no way of knowing where he is in the process. There are no phone calls saying..."we got your resume"..."we are in the process of interviews"....."you are in our top 20"......"thank you for applying, we went another direction". doesn't work like that. All that happens is he gets a confirmation EMAIL that his application has been received and then we get to wait and wait and wait and wait and wait until eventually you find out the job is filled and it wasn't by you. ARGH

So....when that job didn't happen - it was frustrating. My goodness - I was mentally prepared to go there and my head was in it and we were set. I even started looking up teaching jobs for my mom so she could move there too!

So...a few weeks later, Brian came to me and said that a job opened up in Argentina and I said, "no thanks". I had it in my head that I only wanted to live in Europe. I don't know why. I felt it was more in my comfort zone to go to a bigger city in a more English speaking area and blah blah blah. I later found out that Argentina would've been a pretty good spot to get for a variety of reasons but the ship sailed on that one.

Then....London opened up. I thought, great! They speak English there and it's in Europe and that would be good. He applied and we waited and waited and waited and waited and NOTHING.

Another one in London opened up a few weeks later. He applied and we waited and waited and waited and NOTHING!

This is no a process I enjoy, let me tell you.

Brian explained that some places have a lot more people applying for them and so his chances go down.

Fine, I get it. But...mentally I'm prepared for the day when we will get an overseas assignment.

Then....a couple weeks ago he came to me and asked what I thought of Abu Dhabi, UAE. I told him to find out more information. He was surprised that I didn't shoot it down right away. I'm working to be more open-minded.

I have a friend who's husband is from Dubai (1.5 hours from Abu Dhabi) and she had just visited there with her family (husband and two kids) a few months ago. She came back and spoke about how clean things were and how good the food was and that she could handle living there if/when the time came.

So...I figured, why not?

I started throwing it out there to see what I could find out and to put some of my ignorant, naive ideas to rest. No people don't ride camels there to get around. No women don't dress in clothing covering them from head to toe. Yes, women can drive there. Yes, women can talk to men looking in their eyes. Yes, it's very safe there and you can walk outside at night by yourself no problem. Yes, people speak English there. Yes, there are lots of Americans and British there. Yes, there are soccer clubs and rugby clubs and gymnastics there. Yes, there are Fast Food Places and Clothing places that we would recognize there. Bonus - labor is cheap and maids/cooks/nannies are available for pennies on the dollar. Bonus - Dry Cleaning is cheap. Yes, the Government would make a house available to us (yes, it would be nice and comfortable and not a tiny apartment). Yes, the Government would place our kids in an International or US School and pick up the expense. Yes, the Government would pay for our move there. Yes, the Government would pay for us to visit back here once a year. Yes, there are Mommy Groups out there. Yes, there are gyms out there. Yes, Brian would get a cost of living adjustment out there. Yes, you can drive cars out there. Con - it's hotter than heck out there getting into the 120's July - but everything is Air-Conditioned. Pro - you can enjoy different things like Camel races and Dune Buggy rides. So....the more I read about it and saw about it, the more I thought that I could do it.

I found out that I had a friend of a friend that works at a University there. Another friend of a friend that works at a Public School there. Brian works with someone who is friends with the Supervisor at the office he would potentially be working in. He emailed him and called him to talk about the job and living there (the guy is married with a couple kids himself). He had positive things to say too.

Brian thinks that his chances would be better for Abu Dhabi then for London or Austria because less people would apply.

The job would be for two years with a chance to extend if he liked it. I would want to come back here after....but my mind is open. Brian is hoping that I will enjoy being overseas so much that I'll be ready to try somewhere else for a couple years.

As for the kids....Isabella is ready to go today, Alexander wants to live with my mom instead of going and Cameron has no clue.

As for me....I'm open and ready for anything. I would miss my friends and my family and my life here but I value the experience that would be had for all of us by going somewhere else. I look forward to having an excuse to pare down on all our stuff if we go somewhere else. I have a MILLION questions still that will get answered as the process moves on. My biggest concern is, what do I do all day??

Brian will have a job that he will go to. I don't plan to work. I can only shop and do the touristy thing for so long until it's not enough any more. Hopefully I would just find things to be involved with. I wonder how expensive it is to talk on the phone from there??

Brian officially put in his application yesterday and now, we wait.........