الأربعاء، 12 يناير 2011

Road to Abu Dhabi

Well I think we are on day 11 and all is going well. We settled in quickly although there has been a lot to do. For a start the house was completely empty, no curtains, no furniture, no nothing, so a couple of trips to Ikea later (never want to see the place again, and I was that person with three trolleys) we have the house looking good and feeling comfortable although we don’t have curtains yet which means Nielsen’s singing echoes very loudly at ALL times. There are heaps of windows to cover and most of them are sliding doors, so that’s going to be quite a job.

The children have all started school, Joss loves it and now walks there on his own, there is so much to do in his school and he is heading off at the beginning of Feb into the Desert for a three day trip. He is doing extra film studies and Cricket. They have amazing facilities, outdoor pools and playgrounds for all the separate ages. It’s quite something. He has made a good friend who he first thought was called Vixon, but it turns out he’s Dixon and he’s American. The school is like a hospital, all white, clinical, open plan. The kids each have a locker and they have a theatre and huge library with couches etc. The reception desk always has about four people on it. Joss’s school hours are 7:45 – 14:25 and then three days a week, it finishes at 15:45.

Niels and Lotte started school this week, I kept them home with me for the first week just to slow things down a bit, they are on day four today and Lotte literally walked in with her hands on her hips and a smile. She talks about her friend J1, we haven’t figured his name out yet. Her class rep contacted me by email and has just been around for coffee, she’s Scottish and really nice. The class is having a family BBQ on Friday in a hotel nearby so that will be interesting. Their school hours are 08:00 – 14:45 every day apart from Tuesday when they finish at 1pm.

Niels is taking a bit longer to settle into school as expected and his best friend is a boy called Julie! Julie turned out to be Julius from Germany and he has been really nice to Niels when he gets upset. He’s getting there but he does miss his friends in St. Patricks a lot.

I thought I would find it very difficult dealing with two schools but it’s actually worked out really well. Joss loves me collecting him on my own and he feels like a teenager. He’s already been invited to a birthday party and it’s a girls one!!!

So I am a stay at home Mom again which takes a bit of getting used to but it’s wonderful to be here for the kids, I love picking them up and my challenge this week is to talk to one different Mom outside the school every day, interesting as they are literally from everywhere, and there is a huge amount of English people. I’m finding myself busy with admin things, like internet, garden, facilities etc. We have two small pools in the garden (small is the word but it’s all we wanted) and they are not working so we are busy trying to get that going but we are having our first BBQ here this Sat so looking forward to that.

Life is very different here, and there is a huge contrast between the expats living in their villas and the workers who come from Sri Lanka, India, The Philipines etc. They do everything for you, even in the car park of the supermarket someone has crept up behind you to lift your bags into the boot of your car.
Yes I have got a cleaner, at the moment she’s only coming once a week, can’t imagine I’ll need her more although most people use them twice a week if they don’t have maids.
These villas all have maids rooms with ensuites. They are tiny and I don’t really know how anyone could live there but they do. I really don’t plan to have a maid living with us. After two years of SEK students and our au pair, the greatest luxury for me is to live in our house on our own.

Our Neighbours are really lovely. They are from Jordan and have two children, 10 and 6 who fit right in with ours and they came in for Joss’s birthday which was last Sat. They invited us in two nights ago to smoke the water pipe with them which I have to say I quite liked. They are incredibly hospitable and can’t do enough to help us.

I have another Neighbour who is English and moving house, she has just arrived in with everything from her Freezer to store in mine, (which…..thank God is an American sized one), she’s also put on a wash, so some things are the same the world over.

Erik gets home from work every day at 15:30 so it’s like a half day every day and we are getting lots of family time. I didn’t anticipate that so it’s a real plus. I have to say Erik is really enjoying having me at home too……….a bit too much!

I am planning to go back to work but not until March maybe. I’m missing it a lot to be honest but the kids need me now and I am enjoying the school runs (never thought I’d ever say that).

We went to the Anglican church on Friday morning (beginning of the weekend here) and had coffee afterwards in the Vicarage garden!!! Met some very interesting people and the Vicar has just been awarded an MBE.

The weather is wonderful and I have to say right now it’s just perfect for me. We haven’t had to use the airco yet, well once or twice only, it’s 24 in the middle of the day mostly and about 18 at night. It did rain yesterday but it wasn’t much, still I hated it, it was the first rain in ten months. How’s that for Irish luck! I have already got some garden furniture so the first thing we do when Erik comes in, is to make tea and we sit outside and chat for about an hour, it’s pure luxury, I have not spent this much time with Erik in years.

The house is fab and I’m loving it, it has five bathrooms, which means, two baths and  four showers. The children have their own bathroom which is just great and I can bath them all at the same time now with Lotte in our bathroom and the boys in theirs. You have never seen anything like the dirty feet that come in the door in the evening.
We have four bedrooms, plus the maids room, and a guest room if that makes sense so there is plenty of room for you to stay when you come to visit us!!! Make no excuse!

We live on an estate, which is really lovely, there are kids all around us and green areas that are manicured to within an inch of their lives with playgrounds and fountains everywhere. They bus a heap of immigrants in each morning who work in the gardens all day long, so on the way to school we pass Indians squatting in the grass just resting, and lots of them cycling around, putting on the sprinklers etc. The bins are collected every day and that is wonderful especially when you have so much rubbish left over from the Ikea trips although they put the stuff together for us and took away the boxes which was great.

So I think I have bored you enough, I’m just trying to give you an idea of how is it for us here, I hear all is going well in our Redford Park house and the tenants are settling in and minding poor old Misty for us. That was the saddest thing for me leaving, not being able to say goodbye to Misty (it brings a tear to my eye now), she went walk about and I couldn’t catch her, this from a cat who never leaves the house!! Maybe she knew.

Sorry for the long long boring email but there is no postal system here to speak of and we have not had an internet connection really until today, I say that sceptically, as they have not arrived yet to put it in. We are managing on a remote wifi system Erik has from work but I don’t have access to it during the day and I miss it badly.

So that’s how it is for us, I will post some more pics on facebook in the next few days, just have not taken many so far but I’ll do my best. Don’t want to bore the pants off you all though either. But this is a picture of what our house looks like. http://www.hamptons.co.uk/en-gb/property-details/?propertyref=AEDULVI6113