Wednesday, January 4, 2017

Merry and Blessed in 2016!

Our Christmas card says it best: Merry and Blessed in 2016!  And while it's hard to be away from family and friends back home during the holidays, we make the best of our time here in Dubai!  Some people are surprised to find out that even though Dubai is in a Muslim country in the Middle East, this place feels very festive throughout the Holiday Season.  Dubai loves a reason to celebrate, and they recognize and honor all holidays from all religions and countries (and nobody gets offended unlike back home in the US...but I digress!) The malls and hotels are decorated to the hilt, Christmas music is played on the radio stations and in the stores and the kids have Christmas concerts and parties at school!  We stayed very busy during our two week break: we went ice skating at the Dubai Mall, the kids rode a camel (real and fake), visited a Christmas Market and Santa Claus at The St. Regis, saw lots of movies and loved Trolls, Sing and Collateral Beauty, caught up on some Christmas movie classics (Home Alone, Home Alone 2 and A Christmas Story), went to the the arcade, boys attended a sports camp and Mason went to a go-cart and laser tag camp, played some baseball and we went to the beach!!  We spent some great time with new friends and old and overall had a awesome Christmas break!! Now we are excited to see what 2017 has in store for us!

ICE SKATING AT THE DUBAI MALL
Jake & Cash's first time ice skating (Mason also went but did not want to pose for a pic!)
Cash wanted to go as fast as possible and then skid out on his skates!
Jake was slow and steady!

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Caroline & Shyla came too!
Cheese!
Ice cream after ice skating is a must!
They love the camels!
I needed an extra dose of Soul and Core after all the skating!!

FESTIVE MARKET AT ST. REGIS DUBAI






Christmas Eve dinner with friends - that's 7 boys!!!


CHRISTMAS DAY AT THE BEACH!
Jake was excited to get his remote-controlled robot
Cash loved his new red baseball glove
Mason finally got a pair of Aggie maroon Adidas
Santa train at the Le Royal Meridien

Cheers!
Survival mode!
Eva, Jake, Cash & Liam
Mommy with Cash & Eva

Of course we have to ride a camel while at the beach!
Jake was the first one on and the first to want to get off!!

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Santa Camel!




We can't have a day without a game of kick-ball
Perfect Beach Conditions!


Dads are deep in conversation!
Flying their new remote controlled airplane at the ball fields (plane didn't survive the day!)

View from our apartment of boys' swim lessons 
KITE BEACH!



Mason and friends outdoor go-carrting!
Charlie Appleby had 3 winners for Godolphin, and I was the designated trophy recipient!
Jake's winnings at Magic Planet! Now he can buy more junk!

Mason caught up on all the Mission Impossible movies.  Here's a view of our apt in MI3.

NEW YEAR'S EVE FIREWORKS FROM BURJ KHALIFA







Friday, December 23, 2016

"Same Same"

Dubai is truly a melting pot of cultures with over 60 nationalities living here and more than 80% of the population are expats.  Needless to say, you pick up a lot of Dinglish (Dubai English), which is a good mix of English, Arabic and Hindi.  We also find ourselves using a lot of European phrases such as jumper (hoodie), holiday (vacation), lift (elevator), toilet (bathroom), soccer pitch (soccer field), school kit (school uniform) are just to name a few. Perhaps my favorite saying though is "Same Same," which basically means "same but a little different!"  This is also the best way to sum up our lives here...Same Same!

Our day starts out the same with the boys getting ready for school and out the door by 7:15.  Our school in Dubai and our TX school are both approximately 10 miles from our respective homes, but in Dubai we take a tollway and it takes us 25 minutes without traffic (45 minutes with traffic).  In Fairfield we take side streets and it's a 15 minute drive (we don't have traffic back home!!)  The parking lot in front of our Dubai School is now metered parking, so you must pay to park after 8:00 am!  Most people can pay for their parking via SMS, but I do not have that capability with my service.  Which means I have to have just the right coins (Dirhams) otherwise the machine won't take them!  Not too shiny or too dull!!  Or you can take your chances like I did the other day, and risk getting a parking fine for 150 Dhs or $40. Oops!

School hours are the same (7:50 am - 3:00 pm), except in Dubai grades PreK - 12 are on one campus.  We have 4 campuses back home.

The kids attend school 5 days a week (Dubai: Sunday - Thursday and Fairfield: Monday - Friday).

We play a lot of baseball in both places with practices several days a week and a game on the weekend.

We drive on the same side of the road here in Dubai, but as I mentioned, with over 60 nationalities, that's a lot of different driving norms, so it can get pretty crazy out on the roads.  There are a ton of round-abouts in Dubai, which you don't see too often back home.  There is so much construction going on, so the roads are always changing and traffic gets diverted.  Google Maps is merely a suggestion and Siri does a lot of "recalculating!"  It is completely normal in Dubai to flash your brights if someone is going too slow.  People will also drive on the shoulder to pass or even put their car into reverse on the major tollroad if they missed their exit!  I take a lot of taxis and Ubers while in Dubai, especially if I'm not certain as to where I'm going.  Driving here is not for the faint of heart!!

It's technically winter in both Dubai Texas,  but Dubai winter temps are not as cold.  December through March are the cooler months with highs in the 70's and lows in the 50's.  The temps start to climb back up into the 80's and 90's in March and April!  Bye Bye Winter!  Texas winters can be all over the place though; one day it's 70 and the next it's 30 degrees!!

CHRISTMAS CONCERTS and PARTIES at ASD

Jake is in K1 Giraffes!
 Cash & Liam are in the same class - K1 Camels
Jake had Santa limbo at his party
How low can you go!!
Mason, my architect, decorated gingerbread houses at his class party
It was fun to see all the creative houses!
Mason's class with Mr. Stone
The 5th Grade Holiday Concert
The twins were beyond thrilled to be there! Ha!

 Mason had the opportunity to meet Adrian Gonzales.  A-Gon is the 1st Baseman for the LA Dodgers, and they have partnered with Emirates Airlines to sponsor the Dubai Little League!
 Mason plays in the Majors Division for the Mariners
 Playing short stop on the Subway Field
 The DLL Concession Stand menu is not "same same" as back home!  Where are the pickle pops?!?

We spend a lot of time at the pool!