Tuesday, June 21, 2016

Cancellation and clearances

Leaving is just as complicated as arriving and knowing I get to do some of the same things again upon our return is actually rather frustrating.

To date, I've cancelled the girls' and my visas, closed and cleared our Internet account, closed and am waiting for clearance of our utilities, moved our belongings into a friend's for the summer and am waiting to get my housing clearance form.... 

All while reporting to work, marking exams and entering final grades. Is it July 5th yet???

Thursday, June 9, 2016

Transition time

Right now everything is in transition. We are packing for the move, downsizing, packing for summer holidays, and trying to organize as much as possible for the changes that are coming. 

I'm excited about our new schools and starting to receive the welcome information from both of them (Belle will be at a different school). We have information for our new flat. But I'm still waiting on information from my current employer on how to complete the exit process. The good news is that my resignation has been approved and now it's moved onto the paperwork dance. 

At least Zofia is packed and ready. ;)

Friday, May 6, 2016

Counting the days...

I've been counting down the days left working in my current job. It helps keep me focused on the upcoming transition and I think is helping the girls prepare too. The end of the school year is always rough in the expat world because even if you aren't moving yourself, people you know are. We've known the whole school year that it was our last year in our current home, schools, etc., but now we are looking around at the other people making changes too. Next year, our community of friends will be expanding their global reach as they move on to new places and positions. Some will be staying in country like us, but also transitioning to new positions or schools.

We are looking forward to spending a month in the US and catching up with friends and family. But, we are also looking forward to the opportunities that moving to Dubai will provide. We received some free passes to Bounce Dubai and had a fabulous time.
I think it will be a nice place to visit more often! So for now, we are just going to keep downsizing and getting ready for our next jump. 

Saturday, January 30, 2016

Destination: Dubai!

Well, we thought we'd be leaving the UAE, and learned we are just switching Emirates.... In August, the girls and I will be returning to the UAE after a visit to the homeland, but living in the Emirate of Dubai. I've accepted a position at the Al Mizhar American Academy and am thrilled that the girls will be able to attend the same school.

Saturday, December 5, 2015

Starting the sales...

Being an expat for five years and watching so many of my friends move and leave has been invaluable in teaching me that it is never too early to start selling.

In the last month or so, I've started to sell little things, and in the coming months, I'll be selling more. It is hard to know what we will need to bring with us, or want to bring with us, as right now we have no idea where we are headed next. I also have a bunch of ornaments and things that I put in storage five years ago, that I have not spent a lot of time thinking about, which tells me that things are not as important as the sentiment we attach. Blessedly, my whole life has taught me that things are not as important as people, so I don't attach much sentiment to things...

So, are you looking for a good buy? I may have something you are interested in....

Thursday, October 29, 2015

Lost in translation (or all about transportation)...

I come from Northern NH, where cars are a necessity and trucks are even better.  When you move overseas, you learn about the transportation needs of new locations. 

Moving to the UAE taught me that my family could survive with one car (we had always been a multi-car family - and usually also had a back-up third car/truck)....  If we had been placed in Abu Dhabi city, depending on my school's location, we might not have needed a car at all because public transportation is so prevalent. Due to the location of our first flat in Al Ain, we learned that having a personal vehicle was the way to go, and after observing the driving here, we opted to purchase a new car.  Many people chose to buy, but I also know many people who enjoy the conveniences of renting.  
It took less than a week to find a buyer for the car, but due to some confusion with my registration (I really should have learned to read Arabic and be more fluent with speaking it), the sale took almost two weeks to close. After multiple visits to the traffic office, bank, and phone calls, as well as the assistance of a good friend, and her Arabic speaking husband, the registration issue was resolved and the sale could conclude with a final trip to the traffic office.  

Thank heavens for a patient buyer and for being a woman, as each visit to the traffic office allowed me to skip the queue and jump to the front of the line - even before they started to recognize me upon arrival! Definitely a cultural perk I will miss.

After concluding the sale, I learned that there are no refunds on your Salik account (the UAE version of EZPass), so for future exiters, let your Salik run low before selling your vehicle to minimize the loss.

Sunday, October 25, 2015

Becoming a critical thinker...

This morning, Belle and I were talking about my Goodreads review of Rick Riordan's new book, The Sword of Summer.  Riordan is currently her all time favorite writer and started her on her journey of fandoms. As such, I will be forever grateful for him and his writing, but that doesn't make him infallible. She acknowledges issues with his later books, and she has yet to read the new Norse book, only my review and what other Riordan fans have been posting.

To give you context, here's my review: 
"I really wanted to like this book, but it is even less developed than the Kane Chronicles, and not as well done as the Percy Jackson series. The story lacked strong character development and after spending a whole book in Magnus Chase's head, I honestly couldn't tell you much about him. There is not enough time spent world building in both the regular world and the other eight worlds that make up the Nine Worlds of Norse mythology. It reads like an early draft rather than a developed story that is marking the beginning of a new series.
Also Riordan attempted to add some diversity to the story by the addition of some Muslim characters, including one of the leads. While this is admirable in thought, it is unfortunately not well researched. A Muslim can not serve Odin as a Valkyrie as that directly conflicts with the central tenet of Islam, that there is no God but Allah... it made the character ring false and grated whenever her hijab came up in the story.
I am unlikely to read anymore in the series which is sad because I've always enjoyed Riordan's work and how accessible he makes cultural mythology. It had such potential. "
Having spent the last years in a Muslim country, we have truly been lucky to learn more about the Islamic faith. We have many Muslim friends and have had many discussions to learn more about their religion and also examined how it relates to ours. Riordan never made any of his characters religious before, so it was an easy sell to have them recognize their demi-god status and acceptance of historic mythology. In making one of his character's religious, he's removed that part that is true faith, allowed her some of the trappings of her faith without the substance behind it, and made it more like a dress up experience. As a person of faith, it was upsetting and, and as a human being, I find it disrespectful and as Belle put it this morning, ignorant. She recognizes that our time abroad has allowed us to be thoughtful in this instance and to be aware of what many may miss. We have been blessed with the opportunity to learn and see faith in practice in both our home church community and while living in a Muslim country. 

All faiths deserve true respect. Religion isn't about the trappings, but the beliefs and values.  Adding diversity is great, but be educated about how you do it. Look at what G. Woodrow Wilson has done with Ms. Marvel - that's a better example of a Muslim girl standing by her beliefs in a fictional world.