Tuesday, 29 April 2014

Omani adventure

A week or two ago, we decided to have sneaky mid-weeky getaway. Fly the coop and get out of Dubai for a few days, a place that can get a little suffocating at times. The kids and I hadn't been to Muscat in Oman yet (although Clint had been a number of times), so we made that our destination.

It's an hour's flight from Dubai, but we decided to be a bit adventurous and drive. We headed out of Dubai, through the big red sand dunes, over the rocky Hajar mountains to the coast of Oman, following it until we hit Muscat.

The only disappointment of the road trip was when we hit the Omani border and had to get our visas, Darbs cried out: "Hooray! Holidays! We are here!" and we had to inform him we still had quite a way to go. Oh and the 50 billion roundabouts along the way.

The Omani coast is spectacular and so different to Dubai. When I thought of a city like Muscat before I moved to this region I dreamt of the exotic, mystical middle east, of dhows and gold and old world traders. So far it hasn't disappointed. The locals and friendly and generally the people I have come across are not as brash as in Dubai. Traditional dress for Omani men in the white dishdash (similar to the Emirati men) and a distinctive embroidered hat (they way I've always been able to spot Omanis in Dubai).

Today, we've been lazing around our resort, swimming and playing and eating. We'll hit town and the souk tonight, where you can buy gold, frankincense and myrrh under the same roof. Hopefully pick up a few momentos and trinkets.

We haven't been here a day yet and I already feel recharged. There's nothing like an unexpected mini-break.

Saturday, 26 April 2014

We will remember

Taken on Anzac Day 2012, our last in Australia. 

Lil has always remembered and talked a lot about Anzac Day. She remembers the time we lined the street in Byron Bay, sprigs of rosemary proudly pinned on our chests, waving Australian flags as the diggers walked down Johnson St.
Afterwards, Skip joined the end of the parade at the RSL and had a schooner and a toss of the two-up coins, while the kids and I sat on the beach and talked about the meaning behind Anzac Day and the march we'd just seen.


My grandmother waved off the love of her life from their small NSW country town to the jungles of Papua New Guinea, aged just in her early 20s and three babies at home. I can't imagine what that was like, it must have been desperately awful.

I'm sure to her pure joy he returned home and they had another child. Then a few short years later she lost him again suddenly to an illness he contracted while away fighting.


In year three we learnt about Gallipoli. I remember being intrigued and horrified all at the same time. I bought a book about Gallipoli at the school book club and read about Lone Pine and Simpson and his donkey. I was fascinated. I remember spending hours imagining what it would have been like to be there, what I would've felt if it had been me on those boats, wading through the water at ANZAC cove. The stories from that book remain with me to this day. I can still see the illustrations in my mind.


Asking about the significance of Anzac Day, Goosey was worried. "My friend Irem is from Turkey. Did we hurt her family? Will she still like me?"


I feel incredibly lucky today. I've never had to send someone off to war. Conflicts are something I read about in books or saw in movies. In my 20s I often went to an RSL club on Anzac Day to play two up with friends and diggers. I got to sit and listen to stories from old men about being young men and arriving in Egypt or France or Papua New Guinea. I never got the opportunity to sit with my own grandfather and hear his tales or how he felt, so this was a way to get a glimpse into what that might be like. The diggers were always pleased that a young girl was interested in their stories and happy just to listen as they yarned to each other, for me it was a privilege.


I have a wonderful family of my own now. They're happy and healthy and we live the most blessed life. We live far away from Australia, but you can't help to take a moment and remember on Anzac Day. Reflect on all the Australian servicemen and their families whose lives have been affected by war and continue to be affected.

We'll make Anzac bikkies, because it's a tradition. It's a small way to involve the kids and keep Australian tradition alive for them. Teach them about the lives of their family, the sacrifices their ancestors made and remind them  how blessed they are. A small way to commemorate.


Lest We Forget

Tuesday, 22 April 2014

This and that

Look how long it is since I've been here. So many times I've thought, ooh I need to write about that or that would make a good blog post and then the moment has past and I haven't typed a single word. It's frustrating.

But it looks like I have a little more time on my hands so hopefully I can be a bit more diligent with the blog posts and writing in general as I do miss it.

So a quick recap - the kids and I had a lovely spring break. We did exactly what I hoped and hung out at the pool a lot, made sushi, had playdates and took Darbs to his first movie - Rio 2, which I probably won't do again for a while! It was a really nice week and the kids and I thoroughly enjoyed hanging out together. It was brilliant.

The kids are back at school and in the swing of it for the last semester of the school year. This year has just flown and I can't believe we're starting to think about end-of-year concerts and after school activities wrapping up. I'm not ready for the loooooong Dubai summer or for the next school year. The crazy thing is Darby will actually be eligible to start school (in the British system) which seems like madness to me, so that won't be happening. The baby will be kept a baby for a little while longer yet!

We've got lots to look forward to in the next few weeks - a quick getaway to Oman, family coming to  visit and all those end-of-year school things. I'm hoping to get out and do a bit more 'Dubai stuff' before the heat becomes too searing and maybe even do a few 'grown up' things, too.

Whatever the next few months bring, I really just want to concentrate on the kids (they seem to be growing up in fast forward at the moment - I swear Lil has grown a foot recently) and Skip. As well as me. I want to write more and find my little place in the world as the kids grown and need me just that little bit less.

That's what's happening in my world. What's happening in your world?

Sunday, 6 April 2014

Spring Break!

It's spring break in our part of the world at the moment. I know it sounds like a dodgy American teen movie, but that's what they call this week of holidays. Our last week of school holidays before the final term of the academic year and our big, long Summer break over July/August. Seriously, where has the year gone?!

Unfortunately, we weren't able to go away as Skip is flat chat at work, but the kids and I have a fun and relaxing week planned at home. Now it's day one, Sunday, and we've sent Skip off to work, the kids are still in their PJs watching Cloudy With a Chance of Meatballs 2 licking the vegemite crumbs from their chops. Loving not having to rush out of the house at 7am to make the school bell by 7.30am.

We're planning on spending a lot of time at the beach, because in a matter of weeks it will be too hot to hit the sand. There will also be plenty of time spent in the pool. Using up every ounce of energy and making every glorious mild day a winner.

The girls love nothing more than going out for lunch, so we're going to attempt to find some half-decent sushi and maybe even a sneaky Maccas. We will of course grab a falafel roll – we'll watch as the bread puffs up in the wood-fired oven, as they freshly fry the falafels, then pile up the salad, the fluro pink pickles and homemade minted labneh and hand over the equivalent of AUD$4 for the privilege.

We'll visit the mall and check out the Lego Friends (the latest craze for my 7-year-old) and we may even watch Rio 2 at the movies.

We'll organise some playdates and catch up with school friends - which will undoubtedly involve some pool time, some Lego friends, sand balls and scooters. Silly jokes and lots of laughter. Making up dances and performances to Frozen and Katy Perry tunes.

There will be time curled up with books reading about the Wishing Jug or Rainbow Fairy adventures. Quiet time spent on Studyladder and Sumdog.

Then hopefully there will be three kids falling into bed exhausted at the end of every day! Fingers crossed.

Not a bad way to spend a week, I'm quite looking forward to it.
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