Two years ago today, we stepped out of the Dubai International Airport after a 16-hour nonstop flight across the world.
It was my first international flight, and Micah’s first time on a plane.
We came to Dubai with our lives stuffed into 6 suitcases, unsure of exactly what the hell we were thinking moving across the world to the Middle East. Living as an expat in another country is a constant learning experience, figuring out how to make new friends, adapt to new cultures, and maintain relationships with family & friends back home.
I left with the mentality, “It’s only 2 years. We’ll be back in no time!” This was a mantra that I repeat when things get difficult over here – or when I’m really craving King Taco – “Only 2 years. Only 2 years.” Before we left, I threatened all of the women in my family, “You better not get pregnant while I’m gone! Just wait 2 years! Give me 2 years – I’ll be back!” Of course nobody listened to me. 😛 I really was kidding though. OK, half kidding.
Because, really, so much can happen in 2 short years.
Our family’s lives of course continue on even though we’re not there. And although it saddens us that we miss precious moments in our nieces and nephews’ lives, we know that the sacrifices that we are making now will prepare us to come back and be there for them forever.
Not to mention the absolutely amazing things that Anthony, Micah, and I have experienced as a family over here. Just to name a few:
We’ve been to the Sheikh Zayed Mosque in Abu Dhabi 6 TIMES!
We’ve been to the world’s biggest mall countless times.
We’ve met penguins & camels.
We’ve witnessed sandstorms.
We’ve been back home twice (the first time was a huge surprise to our families!).
We went on the most magical Christmas holiday to London.
Not to mention our memories with our army of visitors who also braved the 16-hour flight to visit us. ❤
And our Micah is almost a completely different person than who he was when we left September 2014.
Micah was almost 2 1/2 years old when we left California. He’s spent 2 birthdays out here. Half of his life has been spent away from our families – missing birthdays, holidays, and the birth of 4 of his cousins. We potty trained him and got rid of his pacifier here in Dubai. He started school over here. He’s grown intellectually and physically, and Anthony & I have also grown together as parents and as a couple. Many people told us that living in another country with just the 3 of us would change our relationship together, and it really did. For the better!
Just look how much my little boy has grown!
When we first left to Dubai, Micah didn’t really understand what was going on. He didn’t really ask for anyone or any place, as long as he had his parents, he was content with his life. Now he understands that he can’t be with his cousins, grandparents, and aunts and uncles. He asks us if he can go to his cousin’s house or go to Disneyland. It makes us sad that we have to tell him that we can’t go. As of now, Micah is satisfied when I tell him, “Our plane isn’t ready yet.” He thinks that when they’re done filling the huge plane up with gas, then we’ll leave back to California. I’ll see how long that answer keeps him happy.
But we’ll be staying a few months longer… at this point, it’s all up in the air.
Sometime in 2017, we’ll head to the Dubai International Airport with a one-way ticket to Los Angeles, and we won’t come back. It’ll be early in the morning, around 9 am, and as we fly away, I’ll try to take my last glimpse of Downtown Dubai, with the Burj Khalifa rising up out of the modern concrete jungle. I’ll watch Dubai get smaller and smaller as we leave the place I’ve called home for the past 2 years.
Eventually, it’ll be time to close this chapter on the other side of the world, and all of this will just be memories. No doubt, one day, Anthony, Micah, and I will just wonder in disbelief, “Can you believe we lived in Dubai?”
I still can’t.
2 years later.