In the past 24 hours, four dear friends communicated with me asking how I am and what’s going on? I thought I was pretty transparent and “out there” with life and adventures. Well, here’s my answer in a nutshell, for those who missed it and care:
Everything here is so great!!!
Mark loves his new job: he’s the Chief of Neurosciences (neurology & neurosurgery) at a huge hospital here (Mafraq hospital) and loving the admin part. He is still waiting for his licensure to complete.
The girls are wonderful and both starting new schools: Tara here in Abu Dhabi ~ the American Community School~ and Emily is at Santa Barbara city college, as a second semester freshman.
I find living here to be stimulating and calming all at the same time. The people are VERY friendly, helpful and worldly. The foods are enticing and flavorful. The climate (so far) is delightfully warm, yet for the past two days it’s been very foggy. I hear it will get fiercely hot (120oF) later in the summer.
I am mastering Centigrade, km, military time, money conversion and not stressing out when things don’t start “on time.”
We are still living in a hotel….that’s fine except we cannot cook so we eat out a lot! Mark and I have looked at about 30 buildings so far; we’ve only scratched the surface. My goal is to find a ‘home’ no later than Feb. 28. We’ll see….
I’ve toured Dubai; enjoyed Ferrari World; kayaked in the mangroves; dune bashed in the desert and seen spectacular sunsets. Mark and I went to the Japanese Ambassador’s home for dinner the other night and it was grand! I’m going to the Jordanian Ambassador’s home for lunch next month. I’m meeting amazing people!!! New friends, new fun, lots of adventure!
I hope everything is going well with you, your families, grandkids, career etc.
When looking for a home, there are important criteria to consider. Here’s ours:
Close proximity to the water (for us, it’s the Arabian Gulf.)
Close to Tara’s new school.
Comfortable drive to Mark’s work.
Close to the water.
Walkable area for markets, cleaners etc.
Great view of the water.
We’ve seen about 20 apartments so far….we haven’t signed any lease agreements yet. It’s not trivial to find the perfect home sweet home. The hunt is still on. Should I call “House Hunters International?”
On this Prophet’s Day, Mark and I had the good fortune to be invited to the residence villa of the Japanese Ambassador to Abu Dhabi and his wife for a dinner party. We arrived at the gate, gave the guard our names and were shown through the courtyard into the home of our newest friends.
We were offered a crystal glass of champagne, a few minutes of “get to know each other” conversation, then invited into the dining room for dinner.
According to my hand written place card, I was seated next to his excellency, our host, the Ambassador. Mark was seated across the table and at the opposite end of me, next to our hostess. Our embossed and formal menu stated what we were about to eat and drink….so as I put my napkin in my lap, food arrived over my shoulder from the house helpers.
Our meal was amazing: hand crafted, authentic Japanese foods (some from Japan) made by their personal chef and with exquisite presentation.
We talked, laughed, learned and enjoyed the whole evening. After dinner, we resigned to the living room, where our hosts chose Hawaiian music to accompany our tea and coffee selections. Without over-staying our welcome, we asked for a taxi and to our leave at 11:00PM.
Reminder: say “hello” to people, with a smile. You will find out you have many commonalities and you may be invited for dinner.
In Abu Dhabi, taxi cabs are very inexpensive, plentiful and educational. I have stopped in the parking lot, medians of the streets, side roads and at other hotels to secure a taxi. Most drivers are friendly, knowledgable and entertaining. They even teach me words from their mother tongues.
Today, I got around by taxi and on foot. I saw six apartments for rent; the Central Market (Souk); downtown and our neighborhood post office.
Learning a new city takes patience, time and a sense of adventure. I have all three…well, not too much patience!
One of the beautiful gifts in Abu Dhabi are the mangroves. These are trees that grow in this climate and out of sand and water. They are beautiful trees that are homes for egret and heron birds, foxes, crabs and other critters. Emily and I met our new friend Beth at a sandy, rocky plot of land off to the side of the highway. We signed our waivers, zipped up our life jackets and chose our paddles for a 4.5 km kayak tour of the mangroves.
It was a lovely, windy kayak journey; and Emily and I laughed and sang loudly the whole way! Beth and our guide paddled ahead of us and enjoyed the scenery too, I’m sure!
Beth treated us to a home-made lunch in her home! What a pleasure! We had dessert at a nearby gourmet market, at the cafe upstairs.
The day was wonderful! We laughed, ate and exercised. The most hilarious part happened as we got into the cab to come “home.” We told the driver where we wanted to go and he asked us for directions! He’s only been in A.D. for four days! He’s a taxi driver and he’s newer here than us!!! Emily and I guided him to our hotel and we just guffawed as we entered the hotel! Imagine, the new residents guiding the new residents!