Sunday, November 27, 2011

Thanksgiving and the holidays as an ex-pat

Thanksgiving in front
of a map of the world
Belle's 2011
hand turkey
I love the holiday season - the stretch leading up to New Year's is one of my favorites in the whole world. At home, I would start playing Christmas music on November 1.  Yeah, you are feeling really sad that you don't live with me right now... I can tell. And I start baking... By Thanksgiving weekend, we'd have several pounds of fudge in the freezer, and I'd be hauling Christmas decorations up from the basement. The feast for Thanksgiving would be the start of the excitement because now, everyone would be okay with Christmas music, the Grinch (the old cartoon one) could be put on repeat in the DVD player - because I wore out the VHS, and we'd all troop off after the Christmas parade (and early Black Friday shopping) to get our Frasier fir so it would be decorated by the end of the weekend. 

Living overseas in a Muslim country means we had to change all these traditions. For one, I didn't bring all my Christmas cd's, our ornaments are packed in storage, there is no room in our freezer for pounds of fudge, and our family is all back in the states.  Plus, finding a Frasier fur is impossible. So, we are making some new traditions this year.... Because there was no snow on Halloween, I didn't feel compelled to put on Christmas music. And, with family thousands of miles away, we celebrated Thanksgiving with our UAE friends at a potluck.  We purchased our first artificial tree - which we decorated with new ornaments while watching the Grinch on repeat (there are some things you can not live without).  We've been spoiled by all the lights for National Day on December 2nd - it is the UAE's 40th birthday - so driving around town is lovely with lit palm trees and roundabouts, but it will be a hard stretch when the lights go away after the holiday.

On the dhow dinner cruise
Since the last post, we've been keeping busy. We went to Dubai for a dinner cruise on a dhow.  It was really beautiful because of all the National Day lights. Some buildings had the UAE flag, red, green, black and white, in lights down the entire length of their buildings, while other buildings had the national colors and intricate designs. The water sparkled with the lights and made the night time skyline of Dubai especially beautiful.  We are learning that we'll need a better camera to really capture all the images we are seeing... or you all will have to come visit to see it in person. ;)

Then we visited the Green Mubazzarah for an evening and found the hot springs... which were as warm as bathwater - maybe hotter. Belle played on one of the many playgrounds, and then we checked out another camel, a pony, and a horse available to rent for rides. There was also a horse drawn carriage carrying people around. We took a cruise down the "toboggan" for 5 dhs a car, and tried to find the lake. It was much larger than we expected, and will go back soon for a longer trip - perhaps even during the day, now that the weather is nice. 

Belle tried out rugby last week at the Rugby Club and Rob's going to try it out tomorrow after Belle's practice.  And rumor has it, there won't be school on Thursday, in recognition of the UAE turning 40 and the Islamic new year.


Mary Esther said...

I wondered if those beautiful shots from the dinner cruise were for something special or if it was always that beautiful. It was stunning. I wonder about the weather, does better weather translate into cooler? I mean it doesn't precipitate does it? Wind storms? What is it like? Whats better?

Jasmine said...

Yes, better weather is cooler weather - it is now in the 80s & 90s most days, very comfortable. I have seen rain twice since I have been here and both times the rain did not last long... As for wind storms - we've had one sand storm. The weather is pretty fantastic most days. My thick NH blood did not enjoy the over 100 degree days that we had in August and September, but now it is beautiful.

Steenie said...

I have heard that after the anniversary is over, they leave up the we will get to go on a "light ride" to see the sights/lights before the holiday. Some of these buildings are truly amazing.
I bought some decorations for my class, today, but the country could use a little "Anniversary Day" marketing schemes...

Anonymous said...

It is so special to follow your blog see all that you and your family are doing. I really think this will be an amazing holiday season for you. True it won't have the usual traditions but it will be one you will remember forever as it won't blend in with all the rest.