Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Brian's note to me

I went to ACS today to see if I could schedule Isabella's assesment test. Unfortunately, everyone has left for the summer and won't be back until mid August. I will keep checking back to see when the test can be scheduled.

On another note. Start thinking about the gym options. While ADHFC is nice it seems to be the most expensive and kids activities are extra. For a family membership we are looking at about $380 a month and that does not include creche and/or kids activities.

The Armed Forces club, , is nice and 5 minutes away. The prices are reasonable and they seem to have a good play area and swimming pools for the kids. I dont know about creche services but I will check. The other option is if you work out before I leave to work or after I come home then we wouldn't need the creche.

The Tourist club would be about a thrity minute drive as it is down by the corniche and there is construction going on in that area.

Some other things to prepare you when you get here:

While I know you have heard horror stories about the driving it really is not that bad. Of course there are a good share of idiots on the road but no more than any other city in the states. If you stay out of the left lane except for passing you should be fine. I'll give you a few more pointers when you arrive.

Pedestrians don't always use the walkways and will cross a four lane highway at anywhere they see fit. Just be aware when in parking lots, whether driving or walking, to pay attention.

If you go out to eat an order diet coke just beware they will bring a can with a glass of ice. No free refills. If you order water, ask for cold mineral and they will bring bottled water. I guess you could get it warm if you wanted to. When you are done eating they won't bring the bill until you ask for it. Service for the most part is really good.

It will be a deifinite culture shock at first. I think the biggest will be how peopel look and dress. While you find people dressed in more westeern clothing at the malls for the most part you will see alot of locals dressed in dishdans and abayas. Especially at the local Carrefours. Which brings me to grocery shopping. Once the new mall opens I think we will probably do most of our shopping there but in the meantime you can pretty much find anything you need at Carrefours or another LuLu's. If you want pork products then you can venture out to Spinney's.

Shopping. Like I said before the malls are nice and you can find everything you need. Just beware that some of the coffee shops in the mall or anywhere for that matter still allow smoking. Strarbucks is smoke free as are the malls but you do see more smokers out here than back home. Most restaraunts are smoke free. I have not had any problems but just want to give you a heads up.

Gas is less than $2 a gallon. There are ADNOC stations all throughout the city. They are all full service, you just want to hit them at the right times since I have seen long lines and no lines depending on the time of day.

You will have 24 hour access to the embassy once we get you a badge. There is a no fee ATM as well as a section with books, movies, and magazines for the taking. The mail facility is also inside the embassy and operates 9-5, Sun-Thur. Of course I will probaly check the mail most of the time since I have to walk right by it. The health facility is also located at the embassy. They have two nurses and a PA on full time and an MD that rotates between embassies in the region. The PA can write presrciptions if you need anything.

Like I said, it will be a shock at first but once you get settled I think you will relaize its not that bad. The weather can get hot during the day but there are many things to do from swimming, bowling, ice skating, to Chuck Cheese like stores in the mall with rides and games. Once the winter months come and the weather cools down there are tons of parks for the kids.

The money is pretty easy to understand. They have 500, 200, 100, 50 , 20, 10 and 5 dirham bills. And 1 dirham coins. They have smaller coins but most places round up or down. There is no tax so the price you see is the price you pay unless you are at hotels which add a service charge.

If there is ever the need to take a taxi they are clean and cheap. You could also take a female only taxi if you wanted.

When you get here I will take the rest of that week off and show you around to all the important places and get you comfortable driving.

Thats all I can think of for now.

Cant wait for you to arrive!

- Posted using BlogPress from my iPad

Monday, July 25, 2011

Getting scared

Alright, I'm down to my last week here and things are starting to set in and i'm getting freaked out. Not another anxiety-attack-end-up-in-the-hospital-moment, but still getting freaked out.

The thing is, I've been freaked out, but I've been trying to keep it at bay. I've been staying really, really busy and trying not to comprehend that this is in fact happening to me.

It's all been a bit of an out of body experience, really.

When people talk to me about "what a great experience this is", "what a wonderful opportunity for the children this is", "oh, I'm so jealous, I wish I could do that", "how exciting", etc..... All I keep thinking is that it's a great xyz for SOMEONE else. I'm scared out of my gourd, part of me doesn't want to go and I really am happy in my little bubble, thank you very much.

But, I nod and say thank you and yes, it is and talk about how wonderful and exciting it will all be because that's what people want to hear. It's easier to say that it will be great and fun and wonderful. I don't want to say: I don't want to leave and I'm scared that I'll hate it, the kids will hate us, the people will suck, I'll never make the kinds of friends I have here, my neighbors might be horrible, the kids might hate their school, I'm sure I'll get lost, I'll never find a good doctor or pediatrician, the weather will be unbearable, I won't understand lots of people, the embassy wives will probably be cliquey, Cameron won't understand where all his friends have gone, I'll miss my mom too much and on and on and on.

If I say all that then everyone will be sad and I'll be sad and I'll never manage to hold it together for my kids and get on a plane and function.

I am sure it will probably be fine, but what if it's not?

- Posted using BlogPress from my iPad

Saturday, July 23, 2011

All Moved Out

The movers spent all day yesterday and all day today packing up the house. It was a chaotic whirlwind of activity.

I had a limit of 800 pounds for my air freight shipment and had a bunch of stuff set aside. They would box the items into small boxes and weigh them and then put four into a bigger box and weigh that before labeling it all. After they got through my stack of items, we found out I had 200 more pounds to work with. So, I went through the house and grabbed more stuff and after weighing, realized I had more to go. So again I went around grabbing random items I thought I might want shortly after arriving and eventually I hit the limit and that got put aside.

Then, we moved onto the items for cargo that will arrive on boat by mid-October-ish and items for storage that stay in Ferndale/Bellingham area for three years. What a project. I had to make sure things got labeled right and placed in the right area and that furniture went to storage, while the contents got placed in boxes for cargo. While double-checking one dresser, I found it almost got placed in storage filled with Bella's clothes! Eventually, things got where they needed to go. It was exhausting in an emotional, physical, mental kind of way.

But, it's done!

My mom has been such amazing help that I can't imagine doing it all without her. Items need to go 20 minutes away to the boat place? Done. Cable boxes need returning because they flaked on coming to get them? Done. Watch the kids so a friend can take me for my rental car? Done. Stay with movers so I can get to a rb game and dinner with a friend? Done. Groceries to stock the hotel fridge for when we wake up? Done. On and on and on.

In the next few days I have the maintenance guy coming, the house getting cleaned, carpets steamed and some carpets replaced. In between there are activities to attend: a birthday party, going away party, baby shower and baseball game. Hoping to arrange playdates too!

At least I had a wonderful farewell with dear friends, amazing spa overnight with two dear friends an dinner out with another close friend too.

I'm finding that staying busy keeps me from dwelling about the inevitable.

I am sooooooo blessed to have such a fantastic mom and such amazing friends and I can't believe I am leaving in 9 days.....