Friday, March 21, 2014

One Week

We have one week of school left before spring break.

That is all.


An Address (Kinda)

We have an address (kinda).

Turns out there aren't any available PO boxes at the Emirates Post Office or any of the hundreds of PO box kiosks that seem to be on every Abu Dhabi street corner.

And where we live, we don't even have the option of home delivery. BUT Rob works with someone who does - hooray!

So, our address (kinda) is:
Michael Burke
PO 131885
Al Reef Villas
Arabian Village
Street 3 Villa 13 E4C525
Abu Dhabi, UAE
PH: 050 877 0431

Michael Burke and his wife our from Australia, so it'll be pretty obvious which letters and packages are for us!

Yes, it is the longest address in the world. Yes, you have to address things to Michael Burke. Yes, you must include his phone number. And yes, everything in Abu Dhabi is more complicated than it needs to be.

But we have an address (kinda) - hooray!


Wednesday, March 19, 2014

A Little Bit Off

Our new life in Abu Dhabi always feels just a little bit off.

I'm currently sitting in our very new, very sterile 13th floor apartment on the still under construction Al Reem Island in Abu Dhabi (population: 613, 368 and growing every day).

I'm sitting on my IKEA couch, streaming Netflix. My feet are propped up on our IKEA coffee table and my coffee is flavored with the same hazelnut creamer as I drink back home. There is a Michigan State basketball game waiting for us to watch on the DVR.  By all accounts and views, this is the exact same way I might spend a Saturday morning back home. 

But then, differences begin to appear, slowly and subtly at first. But differences all the same. It is these differences that contribute to the "offness" of life here.

The first one is that it's not actually a Saturday morning. It's Friday. But Friday is our Saturday and Saturday is our Sunday (because the Muslim holy day is Friday, our weekends are Friday/Saturday). I still haven't quite gotten used to it: at the end of the week, it feels like we should have to teach one more day and when my alarm goes off on Sunday at 5am, I think, "Aw, man.  I should have one more day to sleep in." 

In order to watch Netflix, access Twitter, or even add posts to this blog, we have to use a VPN (basically, a service that tells the internet that we are in the USA), due to the internet accessibility over here in good ol' Abu Dhabi.

When I go to the grocery store, I can't wear my go-to shopping outfit: running shoes, shorts, and a tank top (because if I'm in workout clothes, people think, "Oh, she just got done working out" not "Uh, look at that lazy, lazy, woman...but I digress). But let me explain: all malls (which is where all the grocery stores are) have dress code rules, largely influenced by the Muslim community, which state: please cover your shoulders and knees. So...I can't go grocery shopping in Abu Dhabi in workout clothes. 

But, in all honesty, when I say "can't", that might be a bit of an overstatement. There are some westerners that parade around into what is deemed "next to nothing" and they get dirty looks, side-stepped in the mall hallways, and sometimes, get asked to leave the premises by security. So, I guess I could wear whatever I wanted to the stores, but out of respect for the country in which I am an expatriate (and can be deported), I try to play nice and respectfully follow the rules. 

And that is the world we live in: Friday is Saturday, Netflix is blocked, and I have to wear real clothes to grocery shop. 

Again, it just makes life feel just a bit off.