Tuesday, 16 December 2014

Bound for Sydney

So the day has finally arrived. After 18 months away, the kids and I will be on a plane bound for Sydney. Just a quick holiday, but we're looking forward to it. 

There will be lots of visits with family and friends
There will be lots of laughter (probably a few tears too)
There will be lots of food - sushi, fish and chips, BBQ chook, good bread.
There will probably be some rain. 
I'm certain there will be lots of fun. 

Saturday, 6 December 2014

A sense of adventure

The sun setting on the Burj al Arab. 
Yesterday afternoon, I sat in the late afternoon sun with a warm breeze blowing, the kids were running off their energy at a beachside park in the shadow of the Burj al Arab. As the sun began to slink down the sky I had one of those moments. Those little jolts when you suddenly think 'how on earth did I get here?'

Is it just me, or does this happen to you every now and again? It's almost like watching yourself from a distance. I looked at the kids, who suddenly seemed older, more grown up. I looked at the amazing view around me. I soaked up how comfortable and relaxed the kids were in this setting. They're totally at home and at ease. I thought about Skip flying 20,000 feet above Saudi Arabia at that moment on his way Lebanon.

It seemed like five minutes ago the girls were just babies and I was waving Skip off to Brisbane. Now these walking, talking, opinionated people are in my care and I'm waving him off to Beirut.

While living in Dubai is not strange anymore, I still strongly feel the sense of having a big adventure, which is terribly addictive. While I don't get to jet off to places like Beirut, I love hearing Skip's tales on his return. It's meeting new people and hearing their stories. It's venturing to a new part of town in search of a good meal and feeling like I could be in downtown Mumbai. It's knowing that being in the centre of the globe you could trek off to somewhere new with ease, even if you don't.

I often wonder when this feeling will end and the pull of 'home' will take over. Or if it ever will. Sure there are moments when you'd like nothing more than to sit and chat with family and friends. Or wish that the kids had a lush green backyard to play in. Or to laugh with people you share a long history with. At the moment, the pull of the adventure is still too strong.

Monday, 1 December 2014

National Day 43

December 2 is the UAE's National Day. Forty-three years ago, the Emirates joined together and founded the country of the United Arab Emirates. National Day is a big celebration. The city becomes awash in the national flag, the colours red, green, white and black are everywhere. People decorate their cars in the national colours and pictures of the rulers. It's basically a big party and everyone's invited.

Today at school, one of my girls dressed in an abaya (the black national dress) and the other in the colours of the flag. They will dance and eat party food with their friends. There will be performances and they'll do art and craft. There may be camel rides and falcon displays. There will definitely be henna painting. 

In the complex where we live there will be a big party tonight. There's jumping castles, local displays, henna painting, lots and lots of food. There will be traditional dancers, coffee and dates. Of course, there will be lots of fireworks.

I love UAE National Day, there is immense pride from the Emiratis for their country. What I love most is that everyone is invited to feel the same pride and join in the celebrations. I'm not Emirati and never will be, but I feel lucky to share in this country. I'm thankful for the wonderful life this country is giving our family. I'm amazed at the hospitality the Emiratis share with the expats.

If we decide to go out and be part of the celebrations tomorrow, I won't need to worry about drunken yobs telling me to go back to where I came from. Instead there will be a look of pride from the locals that others are sharing in their culture. Because of this I know that this country will always hold a special place with me. How much better would the world be if others could adopt this way of thinking? The best way to create loyalty is share with each other. Next month we will celebrate Australia Day here and share a little bit of our culture and we'll all be richer for it.

Happy National Day!

Friday, 28 November 2014

Friday thoughts

It's strange how one event, one tragedy, one story on the news can impact you more than another. We're now saturated in news, we don't have to wait for the evening edition we find out instantly on our phones, iPads, computers what's happening around the world. To the point where I often feel a little overwhelmed and tend to let the latest tragedy just wash over me.

So, every now and then I'm surprised why a certain story stays with me. I'm not a cricket fan, but I saw Phil Hughes play (alongside Sean Abbott) in Dubai in October. I'm not a cricket fan, but the Phil Hughes tragedy keeps playing on my mind and it makes me wonder why this story impacted me over another. The whole situation is just awful.


I was reminded last night of the benefits of a belly laugh. Wherever you are, whatever you do, a regular great big laugh that makes your sides hurt and your eyes water is essential for good mental health. Keep people around you who can make you laugh like this.


Preparing to go home is exciting and daunting. The kids and I haven't been back to Oz for 1.5 years, so it's kind of a big deal. There are gifts to buy, dates to plan and time to organise. The time will whizz by and I want to make sure we enjoy it and aren't stressed out about it.


This coming week is the National Day holiday. The city is being decked out in flags and everything you can imagine in red, while, green and black. The girls have been planning their outfits for the school celebration. It really is an exciting time to be in Dubai.


I'm really enjoying parenting three kids at the moment. They're all at great ages and so much fun in their own ways. You've got to enjoy these moments when you can.

Monday, 10 November 2014

Cranky pants

Why is it that some mornings you can just wake up in a bad mood. Everything and anything annoys you. Things that would normally make you giggle make you seethe. 

I'm was like that yesterday and nothing seemed to be able to shake me from my mood. 

I'm usually a pretty laid-back, optimistic person. I'm a lot less moody than
I once was. Still, there are days when the gloom and doom descends. 

I've talked to Aussies who have lived in the UK or certain parts of Europe and say the constant greyness gets to them. That they feel down and crave the sunshine and blue skies.

I'm having the reverse. Since we went to Europe in July, I haven't seen a drop of rain. Or even a dark cloud. Or really even a cloud for more than five minutes. Blue skies, sunshine. Blue skies, sunshine. Rinse and repeat. The temperature has dropped dramatically and I'm walking around feeling chilly in 28 degree weather and wanting to put on a cardi, but it's still blue skies and sunshine. 

I'm longing for a rainy Saturday afternoon. The type where it pours and pours and you can curl up with a book while the kids watch a movie. Put something in the oven low and slow. 

This black mood will pass, but it makes me realise that you need the rainy days to appreciate the sunshine. 

Sunday, 9 November 2014

Continental confusion

It's funny when you've grown up in a place, just the hint of cool in the breeze, the scent of jasmine in the air or a certain shade of the sky can tell you exactly what time of the year it is. The heaviness of humidity is always February, cool breezes and bright blue skies mean it's April, salty warm air means December. Straight away my internal compass is set.

In Dubai, I seem to spend a good amount of my time confused. Especially when the school year begins in Septemeber. The amount of times I've thought "Is is almost Easter?" and realised it's actually October. Or "Christmas must be soon" and it's June. Pretty much all of the time I need to stop and consciously think about what month or time of the year it is. Days, months and years blend together. They often feel topsy-turvy or upside down.

For many months of the year the weather is blistering hot and you dream of a cool breeze and being able to sit outside again. Just when you think it will never end the temperature drops dramatically and then it feels almost too cold. Ridiculous really when it's hovering 30 degrees, but after months of searing heat that coolness in the breeze brings goosebumps to skin with thin blood pumping below it.

The way you adapt to your environment can happen quickly, but the memories can also run deep.

A friend here and I often laugh about how we feel indecent if we venture out with our shoulders bare or knees exposed. Dresses that I once wore and felt were modest are now gathering dust in my wardrobe.

In Sydney, I wouldn't even think about wearing jeans for four months of the year, but they're pretty much year-round apparel now. It's amazing how quickly your mindset can change.

When the time comes to move again I wonder if I'll be still be caught in cross-continental confusion.

Sunday, 2 November 2014

Only in Dubai part 5

I haven't done one of these for ages and ages, so I though it was high time.

Only in Dubai……

* do people gush to each other about the lovely cool weather when it's 36 degrees and there has a lot of gushing about it recently. Just this morning I took Darbs to the park at 8am and kept thinking "This weather is so lovely and cool", when I got in the car they said it was currently 31 degrees, I'm not sure how my thin blood will acclimatise to cold weather again!

* do you sit on your balcony and literally in the space of 15 seconds see a Lamborghini, a Maclaren SLS, a hot pink Ferarri and two Bentleys drive past.

* will you overhear a group of 8-year-olds earnestly discuss whether the best ice-cream comes from Paris, Rome or Llubjana.

* do you chuckle when the weather announcer on the radio predicts there is a slight chance of rain later in the evening.

* do your friends go to places like Sri Lanka, Istanbul and Jordan for the weekend.

* do you expect every meal out to be all you can eat and drink.

* do you see clouds and wonder whether the schools will close early.

* do you call to make an appointment with a specialist and are sitting in the specialist's office 40 minutes later.
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