Saying Goodbye

The past couple of months have been very emotional for me.

I’ve said goodbye to several of my friends who left the country and returned to Canada, California, or Manchester (including one who left last month and 2 just this week).

Last year was my first experience with saying goodbye to a friend.

I met Mariam when we sat next to each other on a visa run to Oman. It just so happened that our sons were born only a few months apart, so we immediately set up a play date the following week. We ended up getting together at least twice a month. Our sons, Khizer and Micah, had so much fun playing together, while Mariam and I spent hours drinking strong coffee and bonding.

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Mariam was a Canadian citizen, and she knew that one day soon she would go back to Canada to raise her son there. I knew that she was going to leave someday, but it hit me hard when she told me that their tentative departure date was in a few months.

Before I knew it, they were gone.

I miss Mariam’s delicious vegetable and ground beef samosas, and I regret never learning her recipe.10945108_10152507634002294_8244879884715691478_o

I miss our heart-to-heart chats.

I miss our sons’ friendship. Khizer was the first friend that Micah made out here. He was the first child that Micah really bonded with who wasn’t his cousin.

I even miss Mariam offering me cigarettes. When I would politely decline, she always responded, “Good, smoking is horribly bad for you,” while she lit one up for herself. :mrgreen:

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Micah & Mignon reading at the Dubai Mall

Mignon and her husband Arte just left back to California. They lived on the 88th floor of the Burj Khalifa, and Arte was the one who asked Anthony to come to Dubai to work with him on designing theme parks.

When we first heard that we were moving to Dubai, Mignon immediately became my ‘go-to’ source to help us fill out the mountains of paperwork needed to leave the US and work in the UAE. She wrote me detailed emails about getting our documents attested, what women wear over here, and just general support about our move.

When I was nervous about something, Mignon immediately put my mind at ease.

And, even better, she absolutely loved Micah, and the feeling was more than mutual. Every single time we passed by the Burj Khalifa, Micah would always say, “Who lives there? Mignon!” And then he would wave to her and ask when we were going to the Burj Khalifa to see Mignon again.

Well, the Burj Khalifa is still there, but Mignon and her husband Arte are not.

Without them, this whole journey would never have started.

For that, they’ll always have a special place in our hearts and our family history.

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The view from Arte & Mignon’s apartment on the 88th floor of the Burj Khalifa

Last month, Lynsey left Dubai to return home to the UK.

Our sons were in the same class, and Connor quickly introduced himself and became Micah’s first friend in class. That same week, Lynsey introduced herself to me, saying that Connor couldn’t stop talking about the new boy in his class. 🙂

Lynsey and I ended up scheduling play dates outside of school so that we could  get some much needed adult interaction while the boys played.

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LA – “crazy girls”              UK – “nutters”

I miss her funny sense of humor and how much we laughed together. Her accent reminded me of Mel C. from the Spice Girls. 😛 THAT is a compliment cause as everyone knows, I am obsessed with the Spice Girls.

On one play date with our boys, I told Lynsey, “Micah’s so full of sass.”

She responded, “What was that word you used? … ‘Sass’?”

“Yes, sass.” 😀

She laughed, “That’s so American!”

Another compliment, I’m sure! 😉 I always loved to hear Lynsey’s British sayings, like when she called us a “bunch of nutters,” after we played a silly hair clip game at one of our kids’ classmate’s birthday parties. 🙂14672671_10153760944472294_1779650353_o

I miss our conversations every day while we waited for our boys to get out of school.

I miss smart & sweet Connor and how close he became with my son. I’ll never forget how Connor proudly introduced Micah, “This is Micah. He’s my best mate.” ❤

 

D15205642_10153876800142294_712975378_oebbie found me through a Facebook community playgroup. She virtually introduced herself to me after seeing that I was from California too, and (surprise) we lived across the street from each other! What a small world.

Although we only met this year, we got together at least once a week.

I miss how Debbie would randomly call me to go out for coffee, breakfast, or a random trip to the grocery store or Ikea.

I miss having someone, besides my husband, who knows exactly what it feels like to just miss shopping at COSTCO!

I miss talking with Debbie and her husband, while Micah had a great time with her darling daughters.

I’m certainly not writing this to make anyone feel guilty about leaving Dubai to start a new chapter in their lives. 😀 I knew what I was signing up for when we became friends. 😛 Just the fact that so many of my friends have left in such a short time really made me think about the harsh realities of an expat country. It’s all fleeting. Nobody really wants to stay in this new country forever. This isn’t home, just a layover for your future life in your home country.

By definition, an immigrant is someone who permanently leaves their home country in order to start a new life in another country. An expatriate, or expat, is someone who also lives outside of their home country, but typically only temporary, like just to work somewhere for a few years. The expat life feels like your heart is constantly in two different places, with half in the home that you left behind and the other half trying to really love the new country that you’re in. It even feels weird saying, “Let’s go home.” Because even that is open to interpretation. Which home? California? Or the one in Dubai?

You will eventually meet other expats who are going through the same struggles. If you’re lucky like me, these people will eventually become your close friends.

I hope that all of these fabulous women don’t just become someone who “I used to know all those years ago in Dubai,” but people that I can connect with no matter how many miles are between us. I hope this kind of longevity for all friends who somehow find one another and bond through shared experience, thousands of miles away from their home countries.

So this post is for all the expat friendships out there, the ones who understand what it’s like to learn how to live a completely new life in a totally different country.

To those friends who politely listened while we reminiscence about the taste of Double Doubles at In-N-Out, or the perfect Southern California weather, or even the random fantastic clearance sales at Target.

To the people who know exactly what you mean when you talk about Dubai’s crazy drivers, questionable customer service, or interesting-tasting meat.

To the equally homesick ones who know how it feels to wish more than anything that you could be home for the holidays or for a birthday party or just for a simple Sunday at your parents’ house.

These are the people who helped make Dubai feel like home for me. Although we’re no longer in the same country, I hope that the memories that we made together sustained you through this journey as much as it did for me…

We’ll always have Dubai.

Goodbye.

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Dubai Anniversary: 2 Years Later

Two years ago today, we stepped out of the Dubai International Airport after a 16-hour nonstop flight across the world.

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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.

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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.

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5 Things I Wish Were Sold In Dubai

Living halfway across the world has taught me a lot about appreciating the little things in California that I don’t have here.

Sure, Dubai offers a great selection of American food and products to purchase; however, there are some products that are just a mirage in this desert city.

I dream about this stuff. I wish for it. I crave it. I pray that a helicopter will drop these products from the sky in a wooden box addressed only to me. It’s all just wishful thinking.

Here is my list of 5 things that I wish were sold in Dubai, in no particular order:

1. Baking Soda

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Source: Arm & Hammer

I know this seems terribly odd, but you never know how often you need this until it’s not available to you. :/

The coveted orange Arm & Hammer box (or any other brand) is nowhere to be seen over here. I have no idea why…

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Cookie Monster’s Famous Cookie Dough

I’ve started baking a lot more, on the search for the perfect chocolate chip cookie. It doesn’t seem like that’s possible without some GODFORSAKEN baking soda! I practically pull my hair out as I look through the hundreds of chocolate chip cookie recipes on Pinterest in order to find one that does not require baking soda. And tip – baking soda and baking powder are not interchangeable. 😐 I have some baking powder in my cabinet, but it’s practically useless.

OK, I found ONE chocolate chip cookie recipe that used baking POWDER instead of baking soda, and, lo and behold, it was from none other than COOKIE MONSTER, my childhood hero and cookie inspiration. This recipe can be found here, but it still wasn’t the right cookie for me!

I’m no baking scientist, but baking powder seems to yield dry, cakey cookies. And I don’t want that. If I wanted something dry, then I would eat chips, and if I wanted cakey, then I would eat cake. I have a months long craving for ooey, gooey, soft chocolate chip cookies, and it doesn’t look like those will be coming out of my oven until I GET MY BAKING SODA!!!

2.Ouchless Hair Elastics –

Growing up with 5 sisters, we coveted our hair bands! If one sister lent out her hair tie to another sister, then we made sure that we got it back. Or at least slipped it off your wrist while you slept.

Of course the UAE sells hair elastics, but I have yet to find my favorite Ouchless brand.

I’m currently on my last 4 Ouchless hair bands. They’re all I have left, and I’m impressed that I haven’t lost them yet. Funny how you can keep track of your hair bands when you don’t have sisters around to steal them. 😛

3. Chicken Broth/Stock –

This goes along with all of my other food stuffs that I miss and really require in order to make my recipes. Ahh, I miss those carefree days where I could drive to any of my local grocery stores and find a variety of delicious chicken stocks & broths from all sorts of brands. You could even choose whether you want it canned or in a box. What a time to be alive.

I know that I can make my own, but I’m afraid.

My cooking/marriage/home garden/party/life-in-general guru Barefoot Contessa AKA Ina Garten has a recipe for chicken stock that seems like all you have to do is just dump everything in a huge pot of water and let it stew in its juices for hours. After it’s all said and done, Ina always says, “How easy is that?” But surely it can’t be THAT easy, can it? Perhaps it’s easy for her since she spent years cooking in the gourmet food business, and I’m just a housewife, 2 years / 5 years cohabitation. Is it easy for the average Joe Taxpayer?

First off, I don’t even own a large enough pot for this recipe. And what if I spend all this money on fancy vegetables and herbs, and then my stock comes out tasting like “dirty water”? (That’s how Ina describes chicken stock that has epically failed).

I know that I’m Barefoot enough for this recipe, but I just don’t think I’m Contessa enough.

Has anyone out there made homemade chicken broth that can give me any tips? Anyone? … Besides Barefoot Contessa. 😐 😐 Put your hand down, Ina Garten, I see you in the back and I don’t want your fabulous advice. You don’t live the same life I do.

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4. Hostess Snacks

Cupcakes, Ding Dongs, Twinkies, Ho Hos, Choco-diles, Donettes.

I need them.

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5. Vanilla Extract

As I wrote on my Baking Soda tirade, I’ve recently taken a liking to baking, however there is no GOOD vanilla extract out here. Vanilla extract is pretty much just alcohol + vanilla, which is a big no-no for a mostly dry country like the UAE.

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Source: Cook’s Illustrated

I’ve looked up recipes to make your own vanilla extract, and Barefoot Contessa says that all it requires is a few vanilla pods (which they do sell out here) and a jar of vodka! Then you just sit the vanilla in the booze for a month! But this frightens me. First of all, it’s not humanly possible for me to wait ONE MONTH for my vanilla extract. Secondly, I don’t know how I feel about putting vanilla-flavored vodka in baked goods and then handing them off to my little boy. Will the alcohol cook off? Will my child get drunk after a couple of cookies? I’m terribly confused.

Has anyone tried making homemade vanilla extract? ….

Oh my God, Ina Garten! Not you again! Who let her in?!

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Well, this was fun. Thanks for listening to my whiney first-world problems.

Thank goodness we’re going back to California soon, so I can load up on all of my essentials and make Barefoot Contessa proud. 😀

 

 

(Notes: When I went to California last month, I brought back 6 boxes of baking soda. Hopefully they last me until I leave. Still have no real vanilla extract and Ouchless bands. Found some sorry chicken stock at a grocery store… it’ll do. And don’t get me started on the lack of my precious Hostess snack cakes.)

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The Force Is Strong In My Family

The Force, luck, karma, fate, whatever you want to call it, it’s on our side lately! 🙂

Let me explain:

Back in California, there was a huge Virgin Megastore at the mall close to us, so my sisters and I would always stop by to listen to CD samples and buy imported CDs with exclusive songs from our favorite artists. All of that seems so old-fashioned now, considering how people rarely buy CDs anymore and most songs can be streamed for free online…

Anyway, the Virgin Megastore near my home closed down a few years ago, so I was so happy to see that they still exist over here in Dubai.

I follow Virgin Megastore on Facebook, and a couple of weeks ago I saw that they were partnering with the video game website IGN Middle East to give away Star Wars edition PS4s, with the new Battlefront video game, to 2 people. 12316231_10153889689510864_3656272823321516866_n-1All you had to do was post what your favorite Star Wars moment is. Of course, I had to enter.

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I wrote up something really quick, added a photo of my little boy for good measure, and waited for them to announce the results.

Lo and behold, WE WON!

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I was very surprised because it seemed like thousands of people had entered the contest, from the Virgin Megastore Facebook, the IGN Middle East Facebook, and both of their Instagram accounts. So I’m very grateful to IGN for ultimately choosing my post as the “most impressive.” Just amazing! ❤

We’re a family of video game lovers, and Micah really does love Star Wars just like his daddy. For example, Micah has Star Wars learning books, and one of them is Star Wars ABCs, so he knows something from Star Wars from literally EVERY SINGLE LETTER OF THE ALPHABET. -_- Did you know Z is for Zam Wesell? LOL Or R is for a reek? I didn’t know that before all of this, but Micah is now a Star Wars ABC Champion. His favorite Star Wars characters are Darth Vader (just like my sweet nephew Jacen when he was this age ❤  ) and, oddly enough, Fisto. Although I’m not a huge Star Wars fan like Anthony and Micah, I am a fan of seeing my 2 favorite people very very happy. 😀 And I’m so going to get Disney Infinity! 😀

To top it all off, Anthony also won a one-night stay at a very fancy resort called the Fairmont here on the Palm Jumeirah island.

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He won through a random raffle that his bank conducted, where every purchase transaction counted as an entry into the contest. We’re only staying the one night there in February, but we can’t wait to take a mini vacation at this beautiful resort!

We’ve been pretty lucky lately, so if anyone back home wants to buy any lotto tickets, we have a few numbers that you can use. 😉

SURPRISE!

It’s not really a SURPRISE anymore, since we’ve been back for almost a month, but here we are.

(。♥‿♥。)

We told everyone that we were flying in on Wednesday, May 13, but, back in January, we bought tickets for Sunday, May 10 – Mother’s Day! 😀 Anthony & I had to constantly remind ourselves not to blurt out our REAL arrival date. See, people, we really CAN keep a secret! 😉

We landed at LAX at 2:30 in the afternoon, and after going through customs, getting our luggage, and picking up our rental car, it was nearly 5:00 pm before we started driving home. We planned to go to my parents’ house first, but they weren’t home… ಠ_ಠ Thankfully, I can always count on my sisters to tag themselves on Facebook, so I Facebook stalked them (by getting WiFi in a Taco Bell parking lot), and we drove over to the restaurant where they were celebrating Mother’s Day with our mom.

We recorded our family’s reactions, and here’s a video compilation from our big reveal:

The first group that you see is my family. They were eating dinner at the Old Spaghetti Factory in Rancho Cucamonga. We stayed with them for a little while before leaving to Anthony’s parents’ house, which thankfully was only about 10 minutes away.

Next, the video shows us at Anthony’s parents’ house. His dad answered the door and, needless to say, was VERY happy to see us! (。◕‿◕。)

After that, you see us hiding in the shadows in Anthony’s twin brother’s house. We really spooked him. Poor guy!

Finally, when Anthony’s brother and his wife got to his parents’ house, they saw our luggage in the living room (we didn’t think about that lol) and then they rushed outside to see us. This was also the first time that we got to hold our niece Rilee, who was almost 4 months when we finally met her. ❤

REWIND – ABOUT OUR FLIGHT

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This is the route that we took from Dubai to Los Angeles. I took a photo of the map with Arabic writing, but it changed to English right after. 😉

Emirates really is a fantastic airline to fly with. I really appreciate that the planes are so quiet and there’s hardly any turbulence. There are so many movies and TV shows that you can select from too. Unfortunately, I don’t watch anything cause I have to watch Micah, but he loves the little video games that they offer! Emirates gives a little blanket, a stuffed monster, and some extra treats for the kids as well. Our flight was delayed because too many people were being annoying, and it was nice to see how the attendants kept their cool when they had to have wanted nothing more than to snap at the rude customers.

Micah playing with his in-flight entertainment monitor. He loved the Winnie the Pooh video games!
Micah playing with his in-flight entertainment monitor. He loved the Winnie the Pooh video games!

On the plus side, as we were taking off from Dubai, I got a photo of The World islands! It was a foggy morning, but you get the picture. 😉

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Our 16-hour flight was way tougher coming back to California than it was going to Dubai. It’s because flying out to Dubai, we leave LA at around 5 pm. Micah’s bedtime is between 7 – 8 pm, and he sleeps about 12 hours – most of the flight! However, flying from Dubai to California, we left at about 9 am. So that’s the whole day that Micah still wants to stay up and play. He’s good at sitting down and concentrating on things but trying to entertain him the whole time definitely made the flight seem longer and more exhausting. But we survived! 🙂

Some more photos from the plane (leaving Dubai):

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Rest assured, we won’t surprise everyone again, so next time we come home from Dubai, we really will arrive on the date that we say. This is really something that we can only do once…. we think. 😉

What I’ll Miss About Dubai

We’re only days away from going back to California, and although I couldn’t be happier to go home, there are a few things that I’ll miss about Dubai, my home for the past 7 months.

The Dubai Mall

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I know there are malls in Southern California, but there’s nothing like the Dubai Mall. It’s the biggest mall in the world, but I don’t feel overwhelmed by it anymore. It feels almost homey to me; I think because when we first moved to Dubai, we only lived 1 Metro stop away from it, so Micah and I were at the mall at least twice a week since that was the only place I really felt comfortable going as a newcomer to Dubai.

I just love all of the stores, especially the gigantic bookstore, the Virgin Megastore (Yay!), and the huge toy stores. There are upscale boutiques (Dior Kids, anyone?), yet more budget-friendly places like the maze-like Daiso superstore stocked with tons of cheap goods imported from Japan. I love the adorable Pinocchio World store where you can buy wooden cuckoo clocks or other cute trinkets. There’s cuisine from all over the world, and even though I haven’t been too adventurous yet with trying different food, I appreciate that the opportunity is there!

I love that if you need a break from shopping, you can see a real dinosaur skeleton and the world’s largest aquarium.

I’m still fascinated that the call to prayer plays over the loudspeakers of the entire mall, but everyone just goes about their business. It’s something that happens multiple times a day and nobody makes a big deal out of it – it’s just life.

 

Our Neighborhood

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We live only a few streets away from a shopping center that has a grocery store, a bookstore, a pizza place, a pharmacy, a hair salon, and a Marble Slab Creamery & All-American Cookie Co. (to name a few of the stores).  It’s great to be able to live within walking distance of so many helpful places, but even better is the walk over there. There’s a path that winds around a lake with fountains. There are tons of trees and greenery, with birds singing and calling to each other all around you. I enjoy seeing the crew of stray cats lazing about in the grass, being fed by other people in the neighborhood. It’s not an outrageous amount of cats, maybe around 8 so far, but I’m a total cat person, so I love it! Micah likes to meow to them too.

Sometimes after dinner, we walk down to treat ourselves to some ice cream, and Anthony & I talk about our days while Micah relaxes in his stroller and enjoys the scenery… I’ll miss that.

The Sights
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I still marvel at the sights of the Burj Khalifa and the Burj Al Arab. I remember what awe I felt seeing the Burj Khalifa for the first time, just a gigantic tower glistening in the night. Micah loves “the sparkles” that light up the Burj Khalifa, and sometimes he mistakingly calls it “the Eiffel Tower.” 🙂 IMG_4760

We also live very close to the Burj Al Arab, and, again, I can’t help but stare at this incredible building whenever I see it.

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I’m only leaving for a few months, but I know that there will come a day where I will never see these buildings again.

Until then, I’ll stare at and appreciate them.

My Husband

More than anything, I’ll miss Anthony.

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We talked about it over and over, reminding ourselves that the sacrifice of not being together for almost four months is worth it. It breaks my heart that we won’t be together for three really important days: Father’s Day, his birthday (July 10), and our first wedding anniversary (August 9). We’ll have a lifetime of these moments together though so that’s what we focus on. And we certainly know that things can be worse and people have been put in far more serious predicaments. We’re fortunate that this is just a temporary separation in a very safe and happy situation… I’ll be home with our family and Anthony will be working hard doing what he loves to do.

But I’m worried about Micah.

Micah is so attached to his daddy, asking about him while he’s at work and running down the hall to meet him when he gets home. Whenever Anthony sits on the couch, Micah runs to sit in his lap. Micah always requests, “Let’s play Batman, Daddy! Let’s get the bad guys!” He sits in Anthony’s lap and draws on his tablet – our future little 3D artist!

Anthony & Micah have so much fun together.

They’re best buddies.

I hope this separation isn’t too hard on the two loves of my life.

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Shopping Drama in Aisle 3

From trying to stay one step ahead of the killer floor cleaning machine, to being baffled at price discrepancies, shopping is always a grand adventure in Dubai.

First, let’s cover the basics. Check out some of these products with Arabic writing! I still get so excited when I see this stuff in stores. 🙂

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Laughing Cow cheese

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When Micah wore diapers! :D

When Micah wore diapers! 😀

How cute is this? It says "Nappy Cream" :)
How cute is this? It says “Nappy Cream” 🙂

In terms of price differences from the US to Dubai, here are a few prices from various shopping trips:

  • 20-pack of Slow Melt Popsicles – 27.95 AED about $7.63
  • Small bag of Flaming Hot Cheetos (at home, they cost 99 cents) – 2.00 AED about $0.54
  • Box of Duncan Hines brownie mix – 12.95 AED about $3.53
  • 6-pack of Coca Cola – 9.00 AED about $2.45
  • Can of Tesco pinto beans – 4.95 AED about $1.35
  • Pack of tortillas – 14.95 AED about $3.66
  • Can of refried beans – 6.95 AED about $1.89
  • Coffeemate French Vanilla creamer – 20 AED about $5.45

These prices are from places like the French ‘hypermarket’ Carrefour located at Mall of the Emirates. Carrefour is like a huge Super Wal-Mart. They sell everything from groceries to furniture to clothing to toys to electronics.  Some of these prices are also from an Australian supermarket called Choithram’s. We live in walking distance from a Choithram’s, so we do a lot of our shopping there. It’s a much smaller location, so we pick up only the basics from there. I would compare that atmosphere to Ralph’s! For our big grocery shopping trips, we go to Carrefour, Géant at Ibn Battuta Mall, or the very fancy, and adorably named, Spinney’s. If I had to choose my favorite place to shop for groceries it would be anywhere but Carrefour. 😀 It’s always so crowded!

Here are some more scenes from a shopping trip to Carrefour.

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They have a person there who drives around all day on this floor cleaning mobile. He owns the aisles, so you better move out of his way cause he honks until you move! Behind the little car, you can see the floor squeegee that wipes up all of the soap and water that he leaves behind. This just adds another layer of annoyance to my typical Carrefour shopping experience. It’s very rare for me to have a good time when I shop there. And I LOVE grocery shopping. -_-

Up close and personal with the floor cleaner!
Up close and personal with the floor cleaner!
at Carrefour, you have to purchase your cigarettes from a separate shopping area.
at Carrefour, you have to purchase your cigarettes from a separate shopping area.
Shopping at Carrefour in Mall of the Emirates
Shopping at Carrefour in Mall of the Emirates

On another Debbie Downer note, I have to say that my biggest pet peeve about shopping in Dubai (maybe even about living in Dubai in general) is that the price tags are wrong way too many times! And back in California, if the price tag is wrong, then the customer is always right and receives the price marked on the tag. Store employees always try to keep customers happy. However, over here, cashiers just brush me off when I show them the prices ring up wrong and are more expensive.

Like today I bought a lotion gift set and it rang up 10 dirhams more than it should have. When I told the cashier, she just shrugged, “Oh, just ignore that, Madame.” And she peeled the sticker off in front of me. Um, no, I’m NOT going to ignore that you’re charging me more for something that clearly has a different price! (╹◡╹)凸

A few months ago, I walked out of a Sephora because I was so angry that they treated me like I was stupid when I tried to explain that they were charging me over $20 more for a mascara. The price tag was clearly marked, and they rang it up wrong and argued with ME about it!  ಠ_ಠ Ridiculous!

I’m not trying to be a snobby shopper, but I think if the cashiers at least tried to show some sort of apologetic attitude, then I’d be more understanding. Yeah, everyone makes mistakes! I understand that people work long hours and are tired. Things happen and prices get marked wrong. But don’t look at me like I’m an idiot when I point out a mistake and then don’t even try to double-check your end to see if it was the store’s mistake! Ugh, that kind of customer service just drives me crazy!

I haven’t had a good Dubai blog rant, and I think I’m still riled up from my experience today when I bought my lotion set.

All in all, nothing has happened yet that has made me want to swear off of shopping in Dubai forever. The malls are amazing, and most of the people there are very helpful to us. There is nothing like the shopping experiences in Dubai, and I’m looking forward to buying lots of things for our family and friends to bring home with us next month! 😀