Category Archives: Opinions

Jerked back into reality

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Sometimes, this place is sorta like a big ole Disney-ish bubble, you know?  Very little crime, awesome weather during the winter, interesting places to go and things to do, top-level entertainment, and then there’s the camels…. <smile>

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The other day, TBG and I were driving to Abu Dhabi, and on the other side of the highway, driving towards Dubai, there was a huge tank being pulled on a flatbed, painted up all desert-camouflage.  Kinda brought back to my brain that we live in a part of the world here in the Middle East where there are some pretty significant issues being worked out.  Or worked on.  Or protested about.  People and ideas finding their way, making their complaints and grievances and beliefs known, and looking for betterment.  Or change.  Or recognition.

Sure isn’t Disneyworld.  I got jerked back into reality.

Quite an honor

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TBG had an unusual invitation yesterday – he was invited to a fellow Emirati pilot’s promotion luncheon!  Now, to sort of put this into perspective, it’s really rare that expats are included in Emirati celebrations.   It’s simply a cultural issue that is a big divide to bridge.  But invited he was!  And he went.  Now for those of you that know TBG, he’s not a real big social creature.  He’ll generally go with me to some function, but it’s not his favorite thing to do.  But this?  This was different.  This was an honor.

He said “Yeah, we all sat on the floor, and ate some kind of interesting rice and goat meat dish.  Or maybe it was baby lamb.  Pretty tasty.  Had to eat it with my hands, though, and they had to show me how to do that.  I’ve never eaten rice with my fingers.  It was pretty cool.”

*Sigh*  Details, honey, I want details.  What did you talk about?  How did they ask you?  What did the food taste like?  Were there people serving you?  How was the meat seasoned?  How was it served?  What did you have to drink?  Was there entertainment?   What about the singing and dancing, was there singing and dancing?  Was there a big blanket, or did everyone sorta bring their own?  How do they sit on the floor without getting dirt stains on those blindingly-white kanduras that the UAE men wear?

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But nope.  That was all I was gonna get.  “It was pretty cool” was all he had to say.  I’m still in awe and pretty proud of TBG – this was quite an honor.  And grateful to his fellow pilot for trying to bridge that cultural gap just a bit.

EDITED TO ADD………….

Well, well, well…. It appears that TBG *does* read my blog!  He said “you never asked me all that stuff”.  Actually, I did – I think he has selective hearing…. <smile>  Anyhow, I have some additional details that I was interested in, so I’m assuming y’all are interested too!

He said there was some kind of cloth on the floor, he doesn’t know what….. and there was a man that was bringing big platters of food and placing them all around.  And, there was a bread, a giant flatbread “big as a garbage can lid”…. (*sigh*….. was that the ONLY comparision he could make??  Sheesh.)  Folks tore off pieces of it to eat as they liked.

One of the dishes he remembered was called a “biryani” which is a traditional rice dish, layered with meat and/or vegetables that have been simmered in a spicy and creamy sauce to flavor and tenderize them.  Then, they’re layered in a large dish and cooked over very low heat till the flavors are all blended, and the rice is perfect.  Now there are a ton of variations, different meats, vegetables, nuts, fruits, they can be really elaborate.  He said there were four different platters of foods.  And in order to help him eat the rice, they put a yogurt on it of some sort…. Made it sticky enough to eat.   Oh, and Seven Up or Sprite to drink.

There was conversation and laughter, but no singing or dancing….lots of congratulations and well wishes.   He said it was just a really nice meal with some interesting people, a good time, and he was glad he went.

 

Planning? We don’t need no stinkin’ Planning!

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One major difference that I’ve noticed between Dubai and the US is a difference in planning.  For example, I wanted to see when a particular TV show would be appearing so I could watch it.  We get a small “TV-guide” type booklet from our satellite provider (providing we go pick one up.  *sigh*) with a listing of times and shows.  Now, shows here aren’t exactly scheduled, they may start at 735, or at 1615, or even 1210.  They don’t start on the hour and half-hour.  But the booklet’s nowhere close to what’s showing up on the TV screen……lol.  So planning your TV viewing is a challenge.

Shopping papers, sales ads, or grocery fliers – you may get one the day the sale begins, or the day before.  Not like in the US, where most of them will appear on a Wednesday, with sales beginning on the weekend.  Gives one time to plan out meals and budget.

Recreation can be dicey too – there’s a really interesting looking entertainment complex called Global Village.  Image

It’s got tons of cultural exhibits, amusement-type rides, shopping, dining and performance venues.  I had read about some cool-sounding dance exhibitions, one Egyptian, one Jordanian.  I wanted to plan a trip to Global Village to see them.  I checked their website, http://www.globalvillage.ae which routed me to their facebook page.  I didn’t find a schedule, but I found a phone number -, so I called to ask when I might be able to see these dancers.  The conversation went something like this…..

“Hello”

“Hello!  I’m trying to find the schedule of entertainment so I can see some dancers from Egypt and Jordan.  Where would I find the schedule for upcoming dancers?”

“Yes, we have dancers from Egypt and Jordan”

“Great.  When do they perform?  When can I see them next?”

“Yes, they may next be dancing from time to time”

“OK.  When next?  Where is the schedule?”

“Schedule posted daily ma’am.  On website.  In the morning.”

“OK. Where is schedule to tell me next time these dancers will perform?”

“Our schedule is posted daily ma’am.  You can check it online.  If not there in the morning, check it on the twitter.”

“So, you cannot tell me the next time the Egyptian or Jordanian dancers perform?”

“Schedule is daily – you can check daily.”

So.  If we want to see these dancers, we have to check their online schedule daily, or “the twitter” to see if they’re performing.  Because they publish the schedule in the morning for that day’s events, “so as not to cause confusion” according to their facebook page.

My solution?  We’ll just pick a day to go.  If the dancers happen to be performing, it’ll be a happy bonus…. If not, no worries!

We interrupt this blog to bring you –

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The Cliff Notes.

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Hmmm….. apparently the actual process of moving isn’t nearly as exciting for me to write about as the moving itself was – I think I’ll just jump ahead a bunch – lemme do the executive summary here……

  • All the stuff got packed up somehow, someway.  Pretty much.
  • After a few false starts, TheBigGuy is staying in Dubai, and I will definitely go there.
  • Our Boys, Bucky2 and LilJack (2 rescued Border Collies) were re-homed, and they now have their very own boy to play with – and if I talk about this I will still cry.
  • Our dear friends Donna, Kenny and Colby did want to rent our house, and we love knowing who lives there.  So do our neighbors!
  • Much much much renovation was started when I thought I wasn’t going.  For the most part, what was started is mostly finished.
  • The stress level of retirement, job change, major home renovation, an international move, my Daddy being diagnosed with stage 4 cancer and subsequently dying, re-homing my dogpack, and being separated from my husband was beyond belief.  Truly, anyone that encountered me during that time, I SWEAR to you I’m not like that at all, really.
  • Friends will be the best thing you ever cultivate in your life.

I think I’ll sorta pick up where things are back in my brain, and see if I can’t get sorta caught up on alla this.  Bear with me, and if you have questions about how something came about – feel free to comment or ask me – it’s likely I forgot to include some bits of info that would help clarify things!

The decisions start

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August, 2012  The sheer number of decisions that needed to be made in short order were staggering.  I had literally four legal pads of lists going at one time!

  1. Stuff to Sell
  2. Stuff to Store
  3. Stuff to Ship
  4. Things to Take

It got to the point that there were boxes all over the house with day-glo tags on them that said stuff like

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Tons of boxes.  Everywhere.  Covering all flat spaces.  Everything in our house had to be handled somehow, and I was starting to feel like it was gonna be an impossible task.  But the decisions continued.  The big one was  – what about the house??

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Are we gonna sell it?  Rent it?  Lease it?  Leave it empty?  Empty probably isn’t the best choice.  Leasing it sounds like a good idea, but seems like it would involve someone else, a real estate agent or something.   TBG has this *big* opposition to paying anyone to pretty much do nothing – and that’s how he thinks of leasing agents…. not that there’s anything wrong with being a leasing agent…. <seinfeld/off>  Selling it in this market would definitely involve an agent, and the market is NOT in any shape to provide a sales price close to its value.  Besides, we really like living in Dothan, we like the neighborhood we live in, and we like our house.  The logical decision was to rent it out.

But we also considered the impact that rental property can have in neighborhoods where the majority of the homes are owner-occupied…. we didn’t want to cause any negative effects – after all, we plan on returning here.  It came to me that we have dear friends that were looking to move but wanted to stay within the same general area and schools.  Boom!  This was a perfect solution!  Candy and Donnie are the perfect choice, they’ll take care of our house like it was their own, Donnie’s really handy and can fix stuff, Candy’s just the same, so this is just perfect.  They’ll fit into our neighborhood really nice and will not freak out the neighbors.

Wait – we’ve got to be adult and consider all aspects of this arrangement.  What do we do about insurance?  The security system?  Will they use my raised bed gardens that have been nurtured and now produce great veggies?  What if they paint the house pink?  What if the dishwasher quits?  How do we tell them not to have loud parties because we live in a pretty quiet neighborhood?   Are all the young plants just put in gonna be taken care of?   And the lawn, TBG’s lawn…. mercy.  What if they skip town and take all the drapes with them and dig up the mailbox?  Where would we go if we suddenly had to come back to the US?  What if they hate the floorcoverings?  What if they don’t pay rent and we have to evict dear friends, are we prepared to actually do that??  There were a brazillion different things that came up, most were silly, some were quite serious.

Ultimately, when TBG and I looked at each other and said “Let’s ask them”….. I had this sudden, sinking feeling and a really really bad thought.

What if they didn’t like our house and didn’t want to live here?