Tuesday 28 August 2012

On the hunt for a home

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


  1. Oh wow, I can imagine the girls being totally blown away by that Princess Jasmine room - and I can just imagine how you're feeling too. My goodness. I'm sure something will fall into place for you soon. Thinking of you xx

  2. Haha, Alladin's cave alright!!

    I feel for you hun, house hunting overseas is tough work. It took us a week of BRUTAL searching and open houses to finally find something. It was tiny, but located 1 street away from James's work and the main shopping hub. We loved it for 12 months but outgrew it quickly.

    Another thing to consider is a room for visitors/guests. We had one and it came in handy all the time when people came to visit us.

    Good luck finding a place, I hope you find something perfect for your family.


  3. It's funny that you bring this up - my brother has been house hunting for months now and is about ready to throw the towel in. The difference in what we find liveable and what other people see as suffice can be very different.
    I do not envy this part of your journey so I am sending you giant virtual hugs!!!!


  4. Is it just me, ormdoes it look like a brothel?!?!


    Oh Corinne, it's a frustrated laugh here for you. Because it's all you can do really ...

    Laugh :)

    1. Cherie, I thought the same thing but didn't know if I should say it!

      All I could think as I walked around that house was: "this is going to make a good story one day". x

  5. Oh my goodness Corrine, that is so interesting, but I can totally understand your frustration & eagerness to get settled. House hunting is hard when you DO know the area. Love the pic of Aladdin's cave, too funny xo

  6. I reallly love that purple room! Ate you sure it is too far?!

  7. Corrine, Boy do I hear you. Our lease is up and we are currently doing the rounds once more. It has the worst thing about Dubai and agents here make used car salesman in Australia look like the most honest man you have ever known.

    We have lived in the Downtown, Old Town, area for the past year and loved it. Close to everything, parks, shopping, restaurants (with alcohol licenses) all within walking distance. Just a suggestion but now I have probably confused you more..... sorry.

    1. Thanks Carly, we like that area and some of Skip's work mates live there, but with three kids we need space and couldn't afford the bigger places in that area.


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