Sunday, May 29, 2011

Sunday not Always the Funday

My Wednesday Fun Day, as I
am unemployeed.
So I know one of the best phrases back in the states that brings joy to every 20 somethings ears is "Sunday Fun day."  This usually consists of some sort of afternoon activity outside, often BBQing, playing some sport, or just lounging by the pool.  This does not translate over here because Sunday, my friends, is very equivalent in fact identical to your Monday.  Everyone goes back to work a little grumbly and gets the week started.  A slight change, but something that has thrown me off my game a bit.  I just cannot grasp what day it is.  Although, if you must know my favorite day of the week has always been a nice little Thursday, which now in the UAE is even that much more enhanced as it carries the weight of a Friday!

Our Ferrari World Friends
We hit up Ferrari World yesterday.  On the way down we stopped at this roadside Indian restaurant.  Can I tell you a secret?  I do not think that I have ever really had Indian food.  I always heard people complain they do not like curry or the food is too spicy, but heck it was delicious.  I had chicken masala and ate with my hands for the second weekend in a row.  After our fine dinning, where I think we literally ordered about 7 different things, plenty of food for three and the total bill was less than $15, we all loaded back in the car and onwards towards land of ferraris.  They toted the fastest roller coaster in the world, but it was also quite short.  Much packed in a small punch I suppose.  I did not dare ride it although the boys strapped in and their reviews seemed fair.  We strolled around and partook in a few other attractions, hopelessly missed the acrobatic show due to the G-Force ride having a false fire alarm and called it a day.  I can say I am glad that I went but more than likely would not return.  It was a bit sparse, both in attractions and crowds.  If this was in the states it would have been packed, stroller to stroller, dads in high white sports socks directing their families to the next attraction,  but it was a pretty lackluster crowd. 

Can you tell it is a bit quite over here?  Just job searching and getting acclimated.  I hope you all enjoy your three day weekend, stretching out that fab Sunday Funday to a Memorial Weekend Monday (I know if I was in Phoenix I would probably be rocking tomorrow in an Enterprise Office and I am thankful that I am not doing that).  Stay tuned, we booked tickets for Turkey and arrive in less than two weeks!

Monday, May 23, 2011

Lovin' the Romance

Last night was the first night we had all three roommates together.  This is how the conversation went down:

J: So how many days have the two of you actually spent together in a row
E: Ummm, I think we counted and it was about 16.
J: So what are you guys going for now?
E: I think we should have a goal.
Me (in my head): eternity...
E: (writing on the white board) How about 19 days!  Short term goals are good.

This is a perfect example of A Hollywood Ending, me romanticizing every situation and envisioning Eric to do these grandiose statements of love and affection and then reality sets in, which usually is not romantic at all but funny!  Last year around my birthday I could not get a hold of my two best friends or Eric, so while I was driving home I started to get excited that they were all going to be on my doorstep to celebrate my birthday with me for the weekend.  All that was there was my trusty doggy Jack.  It is not that I have these ridiculous expectations just visions romantic hollywood endings.  As my old roommate always told Jack, "Your mama, she loves the romance."

Happy Monday!

Sunday, May 22, 2011


So many contradictions here.  It is preferable to be covered up at the shoulders and at the knees that I understand, but then you go out to these hotels and all bets are off.  And I mean really off.  I must say we went to a pool party this weekend that would rival any Vegas rehab (for those who do not know, those are out of control pool parties in Vegas, Spring Break for Adults to the extreme).  And Vegas does not have the back drop that Dubai so beautifully has on display.  It by all means was a fabulously fun afternoon and I got to meet all sorts of people from literally all over the world.  I have yet to master the guess my accent game, which really miffed a Frenchman off, but I should have realized when he was so put off that I had not a clue where his intoxicated mumbles originated from that he was indeed French.

We finished the warm weekend off on the total other side of the spectrum at Bu Qtair, a local fish hut.  And when I say hut what I really mean is trailer, because that is exactly what it is.  With plastic tables and stools all put together on the sandy front yard.  As E said, "they have a pretty low overhead here."  And that they do.  We walked into the trailer and up to the window where we found our selection of fish for the day.  It was already rolled in spices and ready to be pan seared.  And it was just like eating lobster, we got to pick out the exact fish we wanted to be fried up.  They throw it on a metal tray and away it went for preparation.  We headed back out to the front terrace, and when I say terrace I mean the dirt yard in front of the trailer, and we scanned the area for an open table.  It looked like it was going to be a pretty decent
As you can see the humidity is doing a
number on my hair!!
wait as happy dinners munched on fish, but that out of the corner of my eye there was a very small Sri Lankan man (do I know he was Sri Lankan? absolutely not but lets go with it!) with a white picnic table on his head and he was headed toward us.  He plopped the table town for us, threw down some green plastic stools, wiped it down, and we were ready for our fine dining.  We nibbled on some bread with curry sauce and about ten minutes later a man had his head poking out the side of the trailer window yelling Eric's name.  We motioned and dinner was served.  Armed with tissues and an orange soda for refreshment we dug into the fish and prawns, and I mean literally as we ate with our hands.  No forks here thank you very much.  The prawns were delicious all though I had to eat massive amounts of bread with them as my Iowan taste buds have flexed their spicy muscles a bit in Arizona, but it has not even begun to conquer any of these curries that this side of the world has to offer.  The fish was subtle not as spicy but amazingly fresh and flaky.  It really was some great food, and it was the perfect location, with the best company.  And there went my horizons expanding again.

Friday, May 20, 2011

Amazing Race is Afoot!

The Atlantis Hotel is in the center, the arch with the lights
on it.  Tres Jolie (I do not know how to get my letters to
have the appropriate french accents I appologize, oh well)!
Happy weekend to one and all!  Quick little post to get some pictures up.  We went to Happy Hour last night at a place called, "The Observatory."  It was on the 52nd floor of the Marriott and it overlooked The Palm.  I think that is probably one of the  most well known features of Dubai, the man made islands that from an ariel view one can see is in the shape of a palm, pretty self explanatory there!  It is really something to see, The Atlantis in the background.

Dan is the Amazing Racer on the left, me in the center, and
Joe.  They had just flown in from Turkey and are here
for the weekend.
I had some friends in town, well really friends of friends.  I had only met Joe once, but he said he was coming to Dubai and so I told him to look E and I up!  There is that travelers code you know, when someone is out on the road any tips, or connections, or anyway you can help you do.  It's a kinship of sorts.  I am a reality tv nut, like most Americans and I was so excited to meet Dan because he was on The Amazing Race.  (You will remember him from his infamous marching session in Russia I believe it was.)   Eric's mom and I love that show, she thinks E and I should do it.  But doesn't everyone want to do it?  Don't you watch it every week envisioning you and your race partner trying to decide which roadblock you would dominate and which you would pass off on your teammate?  Maybe that's just me, but I doubt it.  So anyways,  I was working to get all the inside tips from him, without being too incredibly annoying about it.  But as the night went on I think manners went out the window and I was just asking question after question.   But I believe a good time was had by all. 

Off to a beach party.  I will be sure to take some pictures.  I haven't the slightest what to wear.  That has been the trickiest thing here in Dubai.  It's supposed to be conservative but then there are so many exceptions.  I think the primary goal is to be  polite and of course respect the culture, but how do you dress that up and still have some panache?  All in good time I will figure it out, Inshalla...  

Thursday, May 19, 2011


Me getting ready for my first job interview.
I always feel you can tell better from a pic
than from a mirror how you look?
I know I am strange.
Oh the joys of job interviews.  Actually I kind of like them.  I feel like its a bit like a poker game, revealing your cards slowing trying to read the mind of the person across the table from you .  I had one very successful interview this week and one that really just isn't a fit.  But this week it wasn't only doing job interviews it was getting to the correct tower and then the correct elevator.  That's right everything around here is a tower and nothing has addresses (have I mentioned that already, weird right), luckily the architecture is so unique most people usually know the appropriate tower to direct you towards, but my taxi drivers are not most people.  Wouldn't one think that those driving all about the city all day long would know better than anyone else where to go?  I digress.  Anyways first interview went really great and I am considering working for the company I won't bore you with any details but one.  Ready?  The only reason I got the interview is because they were very familiar with Enterprise.  That's right!  So all of you out there washing those cars in suits, and dealing with those lovely Canadians take a breath and know that it is true, "Enterprise (does in fact) has an excellent training program."  There is light at the end of the tunnel, and it's not green!

A cool building, look closely at the one on
the left it is built like it is turning upward
not finished yet....
After I mastered this awesome interview I put my big girl pants on and decided to master the metro.  Doesn't seem like a big deal to you, but mind you I have been in this confusing city less than a week and I had to figure out 1) which direction on the metro do I need to go 2) where do I live?!  I was mostly successful, I chose the cheaper of the three tickets and that was wrong I went more than 1 zone (although I still am unsure how to decipher the exact amount of zones) and so I was "stuck" behind the gate in the metro system, the red X beeping at me, and my cheeks becoming the same hue.  So a man who worked there, was a lovely gentleman in a green military uniform, charged me whatever I owed and released me from the other side (he had a night stick on his belt as part of his uniform and he must have figured the red X was enough punishment as he spared me any public lashing).  See Grandma, they are nice over here!

Second job interview, just soooo not me.  It was for a concierge company that caters to the upper echelon, a very niche (pronounced neeesh) market of the upper crust, ages 25-35, so sorry if you are 36 nope, non entre s'il vous plait.  Within five seconds of me walking in to the interview everyone in this very open office had sized up what I was wearing, more specifically what trends and brands I was supporting.  I felt like I was on some E! reality show.  They peppered me with questions of my knowledge of luxury goods, how well traveled I was, how great I was at sucking up to super rich people, how much I love going to the most fab restaurant, and infamous clubs (if you know me, you know this is NOT me).  They also wanted to quiz me on their company, I had done some research enough but not enough to pass this test:

THEM: Do you know how many members we have?
ME: I do not know how many members you specifically have but I know the different levels of membership, there is the general...
THEM (interrupting): We look down on selling the general membership, we really do not do that here, very passe
ME: Okay, and then there is the dedicated membership level, and the elite.  So I do know that, but no I am sorry I do not know how many members you have in your club.  How many is it?
THEM: (Laughing) We cannot tell you that!  There are people that work for us that do not even know that.
ME: (Confused, ready to leave)

Yepp that is how it all went down.  At the end I asked directions to the metro, which is a five minute walk and literally 1/3 the price of a cab.  They looked at each other and struggled to point me in the right direction.  I guess the metro is passe as well.  My final question for them, which I just kept to myself, how do you afford lux goods and the most fabulous lifestyle on a salary of $38,000 a year?

Sunset from the balcony
So that's been my week!  Interesting, yeah?  (I put that one in there for you mom)  It is now the weekend!  TGITh.  I will work to take more pics, so far they have merely been taken by my phone but I promise I will get my grown up camera out.  

Monday, May 16, 2011

UAE Style

The view from our balcony
Well, well, well, I have arrived.  I remember last time I came over here I was all hyped up at the airport worried about bags and passport control and what do you know but it was a breeze.  It is a little bit intimidating to a little Iowa girl to have passport control be people in full Muslim garb and the women have their faces covered.  But the last two times through I have only been responded to indifferently, no grilling, no integration, just very matter of fact.

The pool below
I found a very happy Sri Lankan man to help me with my 170 lbs of luggage, which is about 76.5 kiloGRAMS, (I made that minor error on my last entry, thank you very much for those of you that had my back on that one.) we went up a little ramp with huge sliding doors and on the other side there were about 75 people awaiting my arrival.  Just kidding!  There were about 75 excited faces but only one of them was thrilled to see me.  I scanned the crowd and my eyes locked with my very handsome boyfriend.  There were some implications earlier on Facebook that there would be a special kiss when we reunited but this is a fairy tale UAE style where public displays of affection are very disrespectful and punishable, so instead there was a very loving side hug, so romantic, and my journey had begun.

We loaded my luggage into the car and got on our way.  (I arrived in Abu Dhabi and we live in Dubai, which is about an hour car ride.)  It was the most surreal moment of my life so far.  Here I am in very different land, so far from home, but with E by my side.  We have been waiting for this moment for a really long time.

A view at night
I have eased into life as well as any 11 hour time difference would allow.  The apartment that we live in is truly beautiful, it over looks Dubai Marina, the water is such a deep aqua, and there are swimming pools, palm trees, and incredible architecture.  The city is even more beautiful at night, its just all lit up.  One of my most vivid memories last time I was here was the insanity of traffic, but that seems to have calmed down a bit.  The conversion from Dirhams to Dollars has been somewhat of a challenge at the grocery store but each time it gets a bit easier.

So far much of it has been quite the blur as it already is day two of the work week, which is Sunday-Thursday, as Friday is the Holy day.  Next missions: move into this lovely apartment as all of my KGs are still stuffed in my luggage, and get a job!  Easy right?  One step at a time...

Wednesday, May 11, 2011


It's all a science.  Fitting your whole life into three suitcases that are each going to cost me a small fortune to transport half way around the world.  I have been shifting clothes, bags, shoes, make-up, even sports bras, into three different bags to find the exact right poundage, or now that I am middle east bound maybe I should say kilometers?  Is that the appropriate measure?  I will get back to you on that...It has been a hilarious feat.  My mother, step-father, and I have all taken turns weighing ourselves and then lifting my gargantuan bags, stepping back on the scale, while another peers down at the rolling numbers, saying "off."  The minute the number pops onto the screen the heavy lifter immediately drops the offending luggage in a heap.  I think it only took about 7 hours to repack, what I had already packed back in Phoenix, and find the appropriate equation.  So officially I am checking just a hair under 170 pounds and carrying on two very adorable Vera Bradley bags, so that's five bags in total.  Eric requested just two bags, but that was just not in the realm of possibility.

It has been a great five weeks here in JALE and now it is time to move on.  But not before I get chipotle first!


Monday, May 9, 2011

It is time

Looking at Looking Glass Trail
In just a little over 48 hours I will board a plane headed for my new life.  I have said goodbye to family, friends, dogs...It is time.  The butterflies are ever present as I am anxious, I am excited, I am scared.  One of my friends Andi, who has already made this transition put it best:

"It didn't really hit me until the day I left, and even then it didn't hit me hard till I was alone, in the airport, at the gate.  But then just as my sadness was starting to creep up, my excitedness gave it a good hug and merged with it, then overtook it.  I was just excited for my new life and to see my love."

I cannot believe Eric and I have done this long distance for two plus years.  It has been hard but in the end it is going to be worth it.

We made it, 3 mile hike up, climbing 1600 feet!
My very beautiful and wise best friend Becky just left after a weekend of memories, advice for the future, and really just relishing in what an amazing friendship we have.  You always know that you have great friends but this weekend I was so reminded of why we are best friends.  No one knows me like her.  And we both like sour kraut!  A match made in heaven.  She gave me a going away gift, something that has been passed between us on birthdays,
We even squeezed in a 5K
weddings, or any occasion that we deem special.  He was
our house mascot in college, his name is Bandit.  He is a Build-A-Rabbit, that has not one but two hearts inside of him put there by each of us.  He came to us in whitty-tiddys and cowboy boots but like us he has classed it up a bit since college and now even has a "pawsport," so he can travel to the UAE too.

Bandit and Becky the day of her gorgeous wedding

It is time.  I will arrive on Thursday May 12th to my new life, my new adventure, and my love.  But I will cherish always all that is back home.

Love you!