The theme of this move is: This ain’t my first rodeo.
Moving, re-assimilating, relearning everything you know, somehow gets easier every time you do it. The change becomes a constant flow in your days and your brain finds a settled peace in it. The unpredictable becomes predictable and is your new baseline and comfort level.
We’ve been here in the UAE for a month now. With this move, we knew what to expect and were ready to dive in headfirst, no treading water and getting choked up. Within minutes of arriving we had phones, within days we had a car. Every expat knows that those two things can make or break your ability to survive and flourish in a new home.
(Our apartment cul-de-sac)
We wasted no time in getting rid of furniture, bedding and random (but very kindly provided to us) junk we didn’t need or love and went bankrupt at Ikea in week one, because the rule is: if you don’t buy it now, every week that goes past you will think, I can just live with this and what if we leave, it will be a waste at this point. So we stick with the motto of: go buy it now. Don’t wait for comfort to find you, you have to create it on your own.
Within 2 weeks our living room was decorated, we had a front bench with storage and a bag hanging system. There is art in the hallway. Plants in every corner. New bedding. The kitchen has plenty of Tupperware and my office was fully functioning.
We’re home. We know where the grocery store is. We’ve been to the pool and have called the plumber 3 times so he can teach us how to flush a toilet (totally real). We’ve cooked dinners, made crafts and spilled things. We’ve returned stuff that didn’t work or we didn’t know. Plants have already died (d*mn you root rot) and we’ve hosted events.
Jen Hatmaker talks about decorating your home in her book Of Mess and Moxie because it’s not materialistic, but its a way of serving others. I don’t say all this to convince you of my decorating skills, but because we have a purpose for it. To open our home as a safe haven, a place of laughter, celebration and good food. That’s all we really care about in this life. Loving the people around us.
Expats know how to make friends. They understand the importance of community and that it needs to happen right away. We’ve been to parties, dinners, play readings, birthday celebrations, pool dates, juice runs, city explorations and more, all in a month. Relationships are what ground us in a place and we know that the sooner we are grounded, the more we are able to thrive.
A few other notable accomplishments from this month:
We’ve begun the membership process at a local church.
I’ve started teaching Zumba at the on campus gym.
I’m guest lecturer in a design class.
We have bikes and ride all over campus.
We have found a favorite coffee shop and brunch cafe.
We’ve left the country on a visa run.
We’ve snuck into a fancy resort to use THE fanciest pool by beach and gotten caught immediately.
We’ve seen lots of camels just chilling by the road.
All this to say, we are here and doing well.
Now for some visuals, but don’t worry I know I owe you lots of posts detailing and explaining things in so much more detail.
Below is a bit of campus, that is beyond gorgeous and we are so grateful we live here and can ride our bikes to a full cafeteria/food court, grocery store, salon, art store and library.
The on campus Mosque.
Oh Professor Hooper, stop being so cute. Also, THE cutest thing: students stopping him on campus to say ‘Hi Professor!’. Im all emoji heart eyes face…