House hunting is never as fun as you imagine it to be. At least for me it isn't. I always imagine I'll be looking at loads of wonderful places and be able to find something in an instant. Instead I usually trawl places and get more and more depressed as the search goes on.
That's what's been happening here the past few days. I've only spent two half days house hunting and to be honest it feels like I've been doing it for weeks.
Getting kids in and out of the car in 40+ temps to drag them through another house doesn't help ease the tensions either.
At the moment we have to decide between a gated community, an independent house (or villa as they call them here) or a townhouse in a compound. There are pros and cons to every choice. A nice, new clean home in a community where the kids can roam with a bit of freedom. Access to pool, gym and all those facilities. The cons being a 40km round trip to school each morning and afternoon. Also it's a little cookie-cutter Stepford Wives, which isn't really me.
An independent villa would mean being a bit more isolated. The kids would have to stay inside the gates away from the busy roads. But it would mean lots and lots of space and a more local experience.
It's hard when you don't know areas and what they'd be like to live in. Other people's needs/perceptions and wants are often different to ours.
Then just when you think you're going mad, something happens and you're just not sure whether it's a dream or someone is playing a trick on you and you realise - "Oh, I'm really in another country."
Yesterday we met an agent who told us to follow him in his to the villa he was going to show us through. He turned into what looked like a large construction site. It was all gravel and sand and half built houses. We twisted and turned and the road got sandier and sandier. The wheels were spinning and I thought for sure we were going to get bogged.
After what felt like an age we pulled into a "street". There were half a dozen homes, only two were finished. We slipped and slided over some sand to the front door where an Arab man sat on a large cushion in all his robes. "This is my home, please look around."
I felt like I'd walked into Aladdin's cave or something. There were chandeliers, velvet cushions everywhere. Each room was painted ornately with gold trim and in a different colour scheme. Shiny multi-coloured marble coated the floor. The home came furnished and the girls claimed the room pictured below as 'theirs'.
I didn't know whether to laugh or cry. I politely thanked the man and told him his home was lovely but "a little far away for us".
We drove back to the hotel with our relocation agent, who I think is getting a little frustrated with us. I pointed to some houses near the hotel and said "They look like nice homes in there. Would we be able to find anything in there maybe?"
"That's the Sheik's palace," he said without a hint of any kind of emotion.
"Right-o. Probably not then," I said as the car filled with awkward silence.
We're hitting the trail today. Wish me luck, I think I'm going to need it.
|The street of the sandy house|
|The opulent decor|
|The girls claiming the purple room as theirs|