I recently finished a great book about a man’s journey from Cape Town to Cairo. Like the Middle East, I have an interest, which borders on obsession, with all things related to Africa. I figure that more I know the better so I read about it. Of course in the case of the Middle East I found a topic I like, did my masters thesis on it, met some of the most exceptional people I know while researching my masters topic, and BAM we ended up living over here. However, I digress.
In this book, the author writes that no one can complain about a country like an ex-pat. True, very very true. We are now ex pats, and find ourselves faced by challenges and adventures on a daily basis. Some are fun, like driving across a patch of desert on our way back from the grocery store instead of going on the road, which is about 2 minutes longer
other things, like waiting outside the US Embassy for additional pages in our passports, or navigating thru rush hour traffic just leave us exhausted and sometimes feeling beat up. But we really do not sit around the table complaining. Yes, it is different from our home, but isn’t that one of these reasons why we decided to come over here? No one forced us to come over here, and we often remind ourselves that we are guests in a very gracious country.
Is everything perfect everyday? Of course not. It’s not perfect everyday at home, so why would it be here? There are a lot of things that have us missing our friends, family, and comfort of “home” regularly. But we have a new home now, and we are learning our new likes and dislikes. I am not going to waste my time complaining about how things are different over “here” versus “there” because that really does not accomplish anything. Different is good, and we are on an incredible adventure. Where else can you go camel riding, kayaking, snow skiing, and watch an F1 race in the same day? Yes, you can do all of that right here!
Many of my friends (and people who I don’t even know) have flooded me with questions about this part of the world – some people looked at me in pity when I mentioned we were moving here, and their first question went to safety. I feel safe, I feel comfortable, and no, I am not “covered” all of time. Yes, I can drive. Dr. H and I have both started to think about how good we have it over here, and I have collected a few of my favorite things. Little things in Abu Dhabi that put a smile on my even thru the madness of it all…
2. On Dr. H’s birthday, he received 3 cakes in less than 24 hrs from the hotel and restaurant in Dubai – that is customer service!
4. The Call to Prayer… I still remember the first time I heard it in Morocco, and the sound is mesmerizing, eerie, magical, and calming all at the same time
5. Gasoline in a car costs significantly less here than back at home
6. Smiles from the locals
7. The Arabic lights that hang from ceilings, doorways, and standing lamps
8. The sound our washer/dryer makes when it is finished (even though it drives Dr. H crazy)
9. On our first night here our neighbor across the way rang our door bell, introduced himself, and gave us a house warming gift
10. The “Beware of Surprises” road sign that is on the major highways
Most of all, I love this adventure that Dr. H and I are on together, and I cannot wait to see what the next day brings