Saturday, April 13, 2013

Looking to the Future

Our Family!
Where to start... I have started a new career.  Number three since I have graduated college.  I think this one my just stick though!  I have found an industry I am passionate about, food!  Selling local and organic veggie, I get see a lot of unique places in Dubai and meet some really talented chefs.  And the biggest news we have gotten our precious new puppy, Brussels Sprout.  Such a good girl.

Brussels "Sprout"

Life in Dubai has become somewhat normal.  Well I guess normal is all relative.  We are still managing traveling, headed to the Philippines next month.  We haven't been away since my absolute bestie came out to Bali and surprised me!  I was in complete shock and so grateful for that trip.  E and our other friend D were amazing orchestrating it all and it was a pure birthday surprise.  I wonder what he will do for my 30th?!

Surprise Besties in Bali!
It has been interesting emotional transition for the first year and a half I really dreamed about our time to come home, but those feelings have been gradually slipping away.  I am not sure if it is the job, or the dog, or our great group of friends but I do not think about home as much, in the terms of going back.  Of course I always miss and think about our family and friends, but day to day life we have it really good.  Do not get me wrong there are many conveniences that I miss about the states, but when we come back I wonder what all I will miss about Dubai?

I plan to check into the space a little more often than I have in the past, its so fun to look back and see where we have come.  And it's fun to look to the future and all of the incredible places we have to go.
One of the coolest places we went this year,
safari in the Serengeti!

All dressed up celebrating Molly & David!

Tuesday, August 14, 2012

No One Likes Grumpy

My Girls down South, reuniting is fun!
Go Buffs!!
(Special thanks to Pam in helping name this Blog Post)
Hi y'all!  I have just come back from 10 days back in the good ole 'US of A,' spending time down South, so I am feeling the y'all is just the greeting I need.  So...I have been a way for sometime, but with some prompting hoping to find my way back to A Hollywood Ending.  Not that I have not been living one, but back to writing about it.

My mom once told me that life is like a circle and during your life you might be on top, maybe on the side, or possibly on the bottom but it will always swing back around.  Now do not go and get your smallest violin out, I certainly have not, but I have just been waiting for things to swing just a tich back up and they have in a really good way.  So sorry for not posting, but no one likes grumpy.

So what's new?  Well, I have left the world of recruitment.  I tip my hats to those that recruit, especially in an agency setting.  It was a tough day-in and day-out for little old me.  And when I told my boss it was time for me to go my simple explanation was, "I just do not feel needed."  I did not feel like I was accomplishing anything or truly helping anyone, and besides that my ass began to double from sitting so much!  So, I have gone out and got myself a brand new j-o-b.

Just another lil snapshot, unrelated to the post but
everyone likes pictures!
My future mother-in-law always says, "Do what you love and money will follow."  I know I have rambled on several times about looking for my passion and I always go back to cooking and most of all EATING (and that does not help my rear end either :) and so I have found a job in food.  I saw a positions posted looking for a Sales Manager for a company that runs farmers markets out here in the Middle East, providing patrons with organic and local veggies.  I was shocked that they had a position open as I had randomly sent my CV months before on a speculative basis to get no response, but all be darned I sent it again and got a response.  I went through several interviews and Viola...A job I am so excited about a company I am so proud to be apart of.  I really could see myself in this industry, we all know how trendy "Local & Organic" is at the moment and I am banking that it lasts.

Before this brilliant job starts I get to go see Lions, and Tigers, and Bears, oh my!!  Maybe not Bear or Tigers, but Zebras and Giraffes!  Maybe Elephants too?  We were going over some trip details last night and there are some very specific wardrobe requirements for this lil safari.  Apparently white or bright colors are not allowed, also it suggests not to wear camouflage as you might get shot at?  By hunters?  HUH, so confused?   I am thinking the boys were teasing but you can trust I will not be wearing any of that.  Actually I never thought I would say this but I am actually going shopping tonight for those pants that zip off into shorts.  Yep, I am totally going to rock that look with a wide brimmed hat and maybe some zinc on my nose (not the white color though).  Sexy!

So trip details to follow!  I am back, be excited :)  I am.

Monday, June 4, 2012

One Year Later


Since I have been away I have celebrated a milestone.  One year in Dubai!  Six new countries, a magnitude of new food encounters, 2 10ks & 1 half marathon, great new friends, one phenomenal fiance, and I think it is safe to say it has been a very full and rich year.

It is hard to say what will happen next?  Much to my mother's dismay at a wine tasting, we had this Scottish Gypsy (equivalent to physic in "American") tell us that in 1 year and 9 months, not to be specific or anything, we would be moving to Hong Kong and then finally settle down some where in Germany.  Now I have an open mind and I am okay with living the expat life, but I think that is taking it a little bit to the extreme.  I do still get very much homesick.  We have a fab life over here but I miss my family, friends, and their many milestones.
Family in Dubai!

My latest endeavor is trying to discover my passion.  It sounds cheesy, but this is something I think I have always struggled with.  I have tried running, which has been fun, but let's get real, I can definitely take it or leave it.  Lately, I have been cooking a lot more and going to the farmers market, and reading blogs on whole foods and cooking.  We have mad some pretty great dinners!  Maybe I am onto something.  The gypsy did mention to me that I will go back to school at sometime?  It is a little far fetched, but maybe culinary school?  Or maybe just a cooking class, either will suffice.

This past year has been full of changes, almost all of them for the good, let's see what this next year brings.  My Hollywood Ending will undoubtedly continue, "A true love story never ends..."

Bring it on year two!  I am ready.

Sunday, March 18, 2012

A Hollywood Ending

So with a little prompting I am back in the blogosphere.  What happened while I was away?  A lot.  Number One and really the only thing that matters is that E created the most perfect Hollywood Ending on our holiday in the Maldives.  I mean with a setting like that how can it not be romantic? So let's start from the beginning....

On our third day in the Maldives E did a great job getting me, a classically trained pool girl, into the big bad ocean.  He knew he would have to ease me into it as I am a wader, I have never fully believed in jumping straight off of the edge into the water.

We started out the morning on an incredibly rocky boat.  There were about 10 other people suiting up and eagerly awaiting their impending dive.  Once everyone suited up, shipped off, and properly submerged, I found myself on the boat reading and answering to the boat hands why I am not diving.  I have found myself in this position several times and without fail I always get grilled on why I am not diving.  Yes I realize it is very safe (until you get trapped 90 feet under water or eaten by a shark).  Yes, I realize it is not scary, but really very peaceful (maybe to you but I freak out when a ladybug lands on me).  I am not a priss, I really am not but I just really do not want to dive...Okay?  So I happily bobbed along on the boat...for an hour...until complete sea sickness set it.  The boat was going from side to side and I honestly thought we were going to flip over at one point and when you are on a boat in the middle of the ocean, there is no place to go, so you just have to grin and bare it.

After about an hour, or is it 50 bar?  The divers started to surface.  E happily hopped on the boat, saw my green face and just told me we would be home soon.  Thank goodness it was only about a 15 minute ride back to shore, I was more than ready to get back pool side.

Earlier in the week we had checked out some snorkel gear.  We attempted to go the day before but my nerves just were not up to it, the entry point was far too intense and I saw way too many fish from the surface, which I realize for most of you, that is the point but for me, that is my fear!  So we decided that we would wade out into the crystal blue water and there were little pockets of the sea that were deeper and we could safely snorkel and I could easily swim back to safety in the shallow water if I felt a meltdown coming on.

It was beautiful, I must admit.  We saw all sorts of neon fish and later in the day even came across three massive sting rays.  E did a good job protecting me and not rushing me into it.

It was always planned that we would have a quiet night in.  Maybe order some room service and watch a movie, but E had mentioned that he wanted to go across the way for Sun downers, on this island that he had gone off to explore the day before.  E is so good about planning around the sunset, and to be truthful by that point in the day I was so burnt from having my backside up in the water I just wanted to soothe my sunburn, but I said to myself, "no, E wants to watch the sunset, get it together and let's go."  He suggested that I wear something nice because the bar on the private island was a bit more upscale.  I threw on a maxi dress and away we went.

We took the boat to the island across the way and then walked across this open wooden bridge until we came to two massive double doors that read, "Residents Only."  I looked at him, back at the door and tried to turn the handle.  "Babe, it's locked, I guess we cannot go in?  We aren't residents."

"It's fine," he said as he hopped down to the beach 4 feet below.  This seemed like a lot of effort for sundowners, but whateves.  So he lifted me down to the beach and we walked hand in hand.  The whole time I am looking out for staff, and residents to spot us and tell us that we are not allowed in here.  I tell E again, "babe, we are breaking and entering...breaking the rules, I think we should leave!"  He squeezed my hand tighter as we passed the bar.  "Come on there is a coconut grove back here I want to show you."  Staff came out from the coconut groves and gave us the weirdest look, and again I thought, we are caught, they know we are imposters!  I followed E closer for protection and he began squeezing my hand harder and harder.

We are now mid grove when E randomly says, "There is a pot up here with crabs in it."

"Why would I want to see crabs?"

We approached the said pot and E immediately points out again, "yeah there are crabs in here let me show you."

Now I do not know why but I really did believe him that there were crabs in there and that he wanted to show them to me and that I for some reason wanted to see him.  For the next 90 seconds E faked like he was wrestling crabs in the bottom of this pot and I was sitting back jumping and yelling, "watch out babe, don't let them bite you!"

Then after her proclaimed that he had caught the illusive crab he turned.  Got down on one knee.  And I gulped thinking to myself.  Oh yes!  This is happening!  Pay attention Laura.  This will only happened once.

Tears welled a diamond, a gorgeous beautiful diamond, was presented and I of course said yes!!  From behind me traditional Maldivian drummers came out of the bushes rogue style, and a man approached with champagne.  We did our celebration dance (and if you have seen E dance you know that it is fingers pointed and very bouncy dance). We kissed (thankfully he didn't propose in Dubai!) and took pictures and drank our champagne by sunset.  E revealed that champagne was all set to be had on a boat but after that morning dive he called the front desk and said, "Sara, call off the boat!  She got sea sick this morning!  Call off the boat!"

After about 15 minutes a man appeared and asked if we were ready.  Ready?  For what?  We are done.  We are perfect!  But my amazing E had the night all planned.  We took a boat to our own private island were we toasted some more, feasted on an amazing dinner under a beautiful white tent, gorgeous flowers, with our own chef and waiter.  And we just loved each other and celebrated.  The boy didgood.  My phenomenal fiance...He did amazing!  

I can truly say I am the luckiest.  And I really did get A Hollywood Ending.

Jumping up and down with excitement!

Sunday, January 22, 2012

'Round Here

I guess it is pretty obvious by now my New Years Resolution was not to write more blog posts, or if it was I get an epic fail.  I have been floundering around for sometime trying to really define what this blog is about.  To be fair Dubai and I do not always love each other, we have our ups and downs like any normal person/new city relationship, but I do not want this to turn into a "a woe is I and Dubai," montage.  So I have kept my silence but with some persistence things are getting slightly more exciting in our world.

We move into a new apartment next week.  We do not have the epic views but it is a fabulously spacious place and I get to organize it just so, I am sure the other two will not mind a bit.  E and I jet set off to the Maldives in a few weeks, which is bound to be awesome.  If you do not believe me, just google it, check out the images section...I will wait...  While E is on the island my friends and I have been working as a collective team to get out of the house and do more adventurous activities.  Two weeks ago we went rock climbing.  I was literally shaking up there ready to hyperventilate but I made it to the top.  Last week we went to a Dubai Meet-Up, a group of random people who happen to have common interests.  Naturally, we went to the wine tasting group, made some new friends and had a good night on the town.  We have also implemented Yoga Mondays, enough said.  And next up I am planning to dig very deep into my past, buy a new pair of cleats and hit the soccer field, ahem football (to be UK/Dubai/the rest of the world appropriate) and join a women's league.  It has been at least five years since I have touched a ball, but it used to be something that I love and I am coming back to my roots.  And hopefully making a few friends in the mean time.  

So we are keeping busy round these parts.  I do need to give a very special shout out to my love who turned 28 last weekend, we even squeezed in a little beer pong, to take us back to our glory days.  We had an amazing time and we were surrounded by some fab people.   Happy Birthday E!

Monday, December 26, 2011

Christmas Cheer and The New Year

Well we made it through our first Dubai Christmas.  When you are an expat and so far away from home what do you do on Christmas Day?  Brunch!  E and I hightailed it to the Atlantis to drink bubbly and feast of the magnificent spread.  We donned Santa hats and dined by the gorgeous Atlantis pool.  There was even a cotton candy machine, which was my go to for dessert.  It really was lovely and we had lots of fun. BUT I missed the cold, grey skies of the midwest, the fire crackling, and the family all together.  As much as we tried to mask the day in opulent fun it just was not the same as home.

My Hollywood finish, my prince
found me to cross the finish
line with me!
Now we are looking towards the New Year.  Currently we are planning to stay in Abu Dhabi and attend the Coldplay concert after a few days down on the island that E works on.  But we all know what comes with the new year...resolutions.  I know everyone says that they do not believe in them but we all still make them so often just to be broken.  In past blogs I have discussed E's health kick and it has jump started my running, most recently completing a half marathon.  So I thought that I am going to make a resolution that I can work towards everyday.  A mileage goal.  E brought up the thought of running 1000k in the year, which would be about 621 miles, which is only 1.7 miles per day.  That's less than 20 minutes of running.  Completely doable, so I am going to do it.  So from here and there you may be reading about some milage updates.  Here's to keep resolutions!!

What's your New Years Resolution?


Saturday, December 10, 2011

To Home and Back...Home

Back home in Iowa with my brother and his lovely lady!
And we are back in action.  E and I made our way to the states for Turkey day and got some much needed family time along with my two most important creature comforts: chipotle and target.  Yepp, those are the two things that I miss the most (barring family and friends obvi!).  My biggest fear at the end of the trip was that I would not want to return back to the concrete jungle of Dubai.  But after staying with two lovely ladies and enjoying their homes I was anxious to get back and attempt to "homify" our apartment.


First order of business was to assemble Christmas in our Middle East apartment.  I must admit though, and my last roomie will attest, I tend to be a bit of a grinch when it comes to decorating.  I think that is because I logged so many hours at my last job that I really never even got to properly celebrate Christmas or even be home, but not this year.  We went to the local grocery store/Walmart type outlet and scooped up a 4 foot fakie and some plastic ornaments.  The biggest obstacle was to find lights, a tree skirt, and a topper.  I can tell you a week later we now have outdoor icle lights draping our tree (and E negotiated 60% off of those bad boys so we made them work!), a tree skirt that was meant for a table cloth but some scissors and I got to work and viola, and still no topper but two little love birds are perched up there.  It is a bit eclectic and the lights are practically electric that I do believe planes have been distracted by them flying over, but we are celebrating darn it.  Today I scooped up some yummy candles and E bought pine scented air freshener, which we dowsed our tree in to make it a bit more authentic.  We are two crafty kids.

A view from JBR beach, it looks like a postcard!
I have hit my 6 month anniversary and Dubai is starting to be more like a home to me.  I cannot really claim myself as a newbie any longer.  Dubai has some absolutely amazing things to offer, but one thing it is truly lacking is a sense of community. Yesterday E and I participated in the Dubai Creek Striders Half Marathon and I felt that community a bit more.  Races always seem like a place were there is a kinship and bond amongst strangers.  It was a huge feat for me and it was nice to run along 1500 people, watch the sun rise of the Burj Dubai, and run through the souks of old town Dubai.   I never, ever thought, I would run a half marathon, but not only did I complete it but ran the entire way!  That was really my goal.  I am  fighting some soreness today, definitely proud of us, but not running (ha!) out to do another one any time soon.

So we have gone home and come back home in the last few weeks.  How nice it is to have two homes and appreciate living life in such opposite spectrums.