Monday, June 18, 2012

Downside of the Expat Lifestyle

Goodbyes.  They suck.  Big time.

I know that Expats get used to the goodbye thing.  At least I suppose they do since they deal with it all the time.  For me – not so much.

We lived in our last community for 14 years.   We had friends there for years.  Friends we made when me moved there who are still there and will probably be there when we return.  That’s what I love and what I appreciate and what I crave.  Long, strong friendships.  I have friends from high school and elementary school that I stay in touch with, regularly.

But this is sooooo hard.  This flash in the pan, hard and fast, just for a season friendship – ouch.  It’s so emotionally draining right now.

This is the end of the school year and the beginning of Summer.   It is the time that everyone flees the UAE.   People leave for vacation and people leave for new adventures.

In the past week Cameron has said goodbye to his best little neighborhood buddy, Alexander has said goodbye to one of his best friends here.  I’ve had to say goodbye to a few very dear friends and it sucks.

It reminds me of all the times I’ve said goodbye and brings back every one of those sad, sad emotions.  It reminds me of when I left for the military and I was sooo excited to be heading off into new adventures and it wasn’t until much later that it hit me that where I was leaving was a place that I was NEVER returning to, the people I was leaving were people that I would probably NEVER see again.

When we left WA state for here it was heartbreaking.  I was leaving dear, dear friends behind.  Friends that I know I will see again but will I live there again?  Will I have the same life I had then?  Who knows.

I have friends leaving here and they often say we’ll see each other again but you know there’s a good chance you won’t.  It was a friendship for a season and it was a rockstar, fabulous season but it’s done.  You’ll send a few emails, you might skype and you’ll follow eachothers families on facebook but it won’t ever be the same and it sucks.

I know the new year will bring new people and I’ll make brand new amazing friends for another season but it doesn’t make losing these ones any less sucky.

Wednesday, June 13, 2012

Alexander says goodbye to Elementary School

Today was Alexander’s last day of Elementary School.  Sniff.

We received a notice home from school a couple days ago.


Alexander handed it to me and said he had no idea what it was and he couldn’t think of anything he did wrong.

I opened the envelope and was welcomed by the following:


Alexander asked what it was right away and I made up something about it being a letter requesting us for a meeting with the counselor.  He was concerned but confused.  I told him that he probably wasn’t in trouble and it was probably just about regular school stuff.

I had no idea what kind of award he would be getting and was planning to attend the assembly anyway, but told Brian about it so he could be there too.

Alexander’s Elementary School goes from pre-Kindergarten to 5th grade so when you finish 5th grade it’s a big deal because the next year is Middle School.  Alexander has had a fantastic year and is looking forward to moving on up.

As a final goodbye, all three 5th grade classes had been rehearsing a song that Alexander has been dreading singing.  This was why we were planning to go initially.



After the song they did some awards.  There are 3 5th Grade Classes with a total of 61 students.  Each class awarded a Presidential Award for Most Improved student and each class awarded a Presidential Award for Outstanding Academic Excellence.  Alexander received this award for his class.  We were so proud of him!

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Feeling Creative

I was feeling creative for Bella’s end of year party.  I wanted to make fruit kabobs and thought I’d try spelling the word “Summer” out of the fruit.

It worked out pretty well! 

First I designed it on excel: 

Rainbow Kabob

Then I purchased fruit and skewers.

I proceeded to cut the fruit up into pieces.


I decided afterwards to cut the big globe grapes in 1/2 and take the seeds out.

Then we assembled them.

Here is the final product!


Thursday, June 7, 2012

Feeling Crafty

I was browsing on pinterest ( today and was feeling crafty.  I had a list of crafty pins to choose from and had Cameron take a look to see what he liked.  This is what he picked:

Pinned Image


I figured this looked easy enough.  It only called for colored duct tape a big tarp pens and a ruler.  No problem.  HA  I knew I could run to Ace Hardware and probably find it BUT Ace is about 30 minutes from my house and I wanted to try somewhere closer.

I left my house about 8:45 this morning and headed to Carrefour (local grocery store – super-walmart like but not as big of a selection).  I found colored tape for 5.25 dirhams a roll.  This totaled 21 dirhams for four different colors.  It wasn’t as thick as duct tape.  It is more like really thin and super-crappy packing tape.  I also managed to pick up a little racing car set for Cameron for about 22 dirhams.

I couldn’t find a tarp.  I had this picture with me and tried to explain what I wanted .  It was suggested that I try a nearby carpet store.  Great.  I went to the carpet store and had no luck.  They sent me to a furniture store around the corner.  I went to the furniture store and had no luck. 

Then I decided to try the Co-op (not to be confused with the amazing, organic grocery co-op back home).  The Co-op has a little of everything but NO tarps.  However they did have rolls of vinyl covering.  It’s the type of stuff you would cut to size and use as a tablecloth.  I figured – why not?   So I picked out a cow print and had 2 meters cut.  This cost 18 dirhams.  I also had Cameron pick out another kind to have cut as a kitchen table cover.

Now I had to try and explain what a grommet was.  No luck in them having what I wanted.  You can try your best to explain what you want and salespeople try to be helpful but what I was getting shown was nothing like what I wanted.  They showed me a stuffed animal that you sew (that must have come from my frantic hand movements of where a grommet goes and how you put string through it and hang things).

So I decided to head to Green Branch – a craft store about 20+ minutes from my house.  They had quite a variety of things there but NO grommets.  I decided that giant clips would work fine and purchased 6 of those for a total of 6 dirhams.  I also managed to get a wipe-away smock for Cameron and some colored tissue paper (always hard to find here) and another glue stick and a couple rulers.

We got home and I gave Elnor the racing set and Cameron to figure out and play with while I got to business.  I brought down my sewing cutting board and giant ruler and rotary cutter.  I drew a few shapes on the back and then went back and cut them all out.

I then proceeded to use the super-crappy tape to outline all the cuts.  Note to anyone trying this – the circle seems like a neat idea but it’s a pain in the butt to have tape outline it.  A hexagon would’ve been much better.

As I was doing the tape and holding things up I realized that the vinyl is thin enough that if it hangs outside that you would see the back so I went through and made the tape on the backend of the whole thing line up and look nice too.  I trimmed up the sides and it was set.

I wanted to hang it outside but couldn’t find a good place to put it and so decided to hang it long instead of wide and put it up in one of the doorways.

I was finally finished and found some rope that I couldn’t manage to tie with so I just banged a few nails above an open doorway, clipped the final product and voila! ready to go.

Cameron loved it!  For about 10 minutes until he got bored.

So….total money spent for the project:   21 + 18 + 6 = 45 Dirhams or $12.25  Total time spent….4.5 Hours


Monday, June 4, 2012

Celebrating the Diamond Jubilee

The Queen celebrates 60 years as Monarch in 2012. This is called the Diamond Jubilee.

Since Cameron goes to a British preschool the Jubilee was a big deal.  They encouraged the kids to dress up in British-themed clothes or colors or to wear crowns.

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Cameron got all dressed up for school and we he got there the “queen” was waiting.

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The kids had made a neat flag with all their handprints and there were queen flags flying around as decoration.

They had a Jubilee celebration at school with a picnic lunch, treats and the kids even did a parade.


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There was also a giant bus being driven by Mr. Bean at the grocery store and a replica of the bridge right outside the store too.

My gym was decorated with a few balloons and our instructor even wore a crown to class.

Sunday, June 3, 2012

Additions to the Family

We went to a shopping festival at ADNEC tonight.  There were a variety of things there, like there always are at these things.  It’s a mix of fine jewelry, costume jewelry, purses, shoes, cheap clothes, cheap toys, dates, local pastry things and this time around – ANIMALS.  There was a “pet shop” booth.  

Bella was begging from the get go.  She has been wanting a pet since we had to pass Roxie (our dog) on before moving to Abu Dhabi.  I knew that there was no way we would get a furry pet since it would have to be indoors and Brian is allergic so that clearly narrowed down the field.

At this booth they were selling baby turtles and it didn’t take much for me to agree that it would be an okay idea.  We explained to her that we wouldn’t be able to take them back to America with us in a couple years and she would have to sell them or give them away (maybe donate them to the school to add to the 3rd grade turtle tank???).   She understood and was more than thrilled to be able to finally have a pet.  She used all her own money and purchased a turtle for 35 dirhams, a tank for 50 dirhams and a container of food for 10.  We walked out of the area to the lobby and sat down for quick bite to eat.  After looking at the lonely turtle for about 5 minutes, I sent Bella and Elnor back in to buy a friend!  So for another 35 dirhams we got turtle #2.  For a cost of 130 dirhams or about $35 Bella was ready to go!

Meet Ramona & Beezus:





I also shopped a little too and found a great little booth that was selling Turkish jewelry.  I bought three rings there.  One is painted ceramic and the other ones have touches of turkey (turkish eye or arabic writing for Allah).  I also picked up another costume type ring at another booth.  The turkish ones were 150 dirhams each and Buy 2 Get 1 Free.  So – 3 rings cost me 300 dirhams or $81 and the costume one was priced at 70 dirhams but since I had either 60 dirhams or a 500 dirham bill so he took 60 for it ($16).   Afterwards I realized I was going to Turkey and could buy rings when I was actually IN Turkey, but oh well!