Monday, October 14, 2013

Half a day in the RAK

Eid is the feast of the sacrifice, a celebration of when Abraham didn't have to sacrifice his son, so naturally, ram is on the menu and we saw a LOT of sheep headed for feasts on our trip to RAK! 

We also saw a lot more camels than on our trip to Abu Dhabi, but we couldn't get any decent pictures! 

We spent the afternoon in Ras Al Khaimah with a few friends and had a blast in our host's lovely pool! 

After hours of food, friends, and great conversation, we headed back to Dubai, with a quick stop at a public beach along the way. The kids were in heaven, and so was I! I just love the beach and I have been aching to go since we arrived! It made me so happy to see my kids enjoying the best free water entertainment there is: waves!

 We will definitely be doing this again!

Abu Dhabi for a day

We all have the whole week off for the Eid Holiday, so we are trying to make the most of it! Day one was a trip to Abu Dhabi, which is a little less than an hour and 30 minutes. Easy Peasy.

Our first stop was the Emirates Park Zoo. It was little, but fun and inexpensive! Win!

This was a magic show, and drum lesson! Fun!

 Athen was a little creeped out in the reptile house.

 Feeding the animals was my FAVORITE part, hands down! These giraffes we so cute and sweet! Athen was holding some greenery out for a zebra, when a giraffe came down behind him and ate it, to his great surprise. I wish I had caught it on video! 

Diego's favorite part was feeding the little monkeys dates from the trees.

And of course there have to be camels! We we saw some in the desert on the drive up, but this was a better photo option. They seriously always make great faces!

This is the Zayed Grand Mosque, which was closed for tours for the holiday, but still so awesome from the outside! Mosques are an every other block thing here, but this one is HUGE, and amazing! We will definitely be back to see the inside! Abu Dhabi had lots of beautiful parks on the corniche, and we were sad we only had time for this one. I guess next trip will be just the Mosque and parks!

My husband, the mind reader...

 I took this picture one day as I was walking through the mall, because I was distracted by how pretty this bed was and I wanted to remember it for future reference or pinterest or whatever.  Meanwhile, when it actually came time to leave the hotel and buy a bed, I happened to be having a doozy of an arthritis flare up, so JR went alone, never knowing of this bed I had daydreamed about.  

But just look at the bed he picked out for me: 

I LOVE IT! I never imagined having a bed so dreamy! It was one of the lest expensive beds he could find, so win win!  Isn't he a mind reader!!

A Lucky stop

The other day, my friend and I ventured out to find a furniture store called Luckys. We heard it was awesome, and oh my, it was!! 
 It doesn't have a store front, it's just a couple warehouses. But don't dismiss it to quickly because inside is a treasure trove of gorgeous perfect wood furniture stacked in rows like an amazing game of antique Tetris! 

 I was immediately in love and I want to go again and again. I ended up getting a creamy dreamy cabinet and a bench, which they painted to match each other (for no extra cost!), and delivered (for no extra cost!) the same day. When you come visit, I will take you here!

The new place

Here's the prettiest front door I've ever had! Well, a lot about this house is the prettiest i've ever called my own. We are quite spoiled! It's a 4 bedroom, 5 bathroom villa, and it's better than we expected. This is our toy room with nice big windows! And here's the kitchen, the appliances don't come with it, so we bought those second hand.

This is the living room... empty except the computer desk.  And the dining room,  with our new Ikea scratch and dent table that I LOVE and got for a steal of a deal!

 The pool! 

 From the street.

 Oh and the cool master bedroom with rock walls!

 This is just around the corner, and it is awesome! You drive up, honk, and point to the store you want, and they bring you a menu. The bakery on the end is my favorite, and has the most delicious flat bread for super cheap! 

Oh, and here's our walk through of the place:

School in Dubai

We knew finding a school for all 3 kids in August would be a long shot, so we planned to probably need to homeschool this year, but wonder of wonders, we found a school close by, on the american curriculum, in our price range, with openings for ALL 3 school kids in our family, and we are loving it. HOORAY!
Here are some interesting things you should know:
 1. School uniforms are the cutest things.

2. The kids like their new school. They were pretty sold on the cool uniforms, but they like the classes too! They are out the door at 7am, and are plenty busy until they head home at 2:30 (the 5 year old is especially tired, but so happy). I love hearing what they did that day: "We had computers today, we got an email and sent our teacher a message, oh and I got my art kit! We get to take home our recorder flutes to practice for music class. I wrote my name in arabic, it's much shorter than you think." "I got my science kit today, and it had real vials! I told my teacher I would teach her to speak african if she let me make an explosion in the science lab. I need to bring my swimsuit and towel next week, we are swimming in P.E. " "Frequency words means words you use a lot. We got our science kit! Something funny happened, I fell asleep in arabic class today because she was talking and I was tired because I didn't understand the words." Of course there are complaints too because school is only magical on the first day, but overall, it's great!

3. I spend a LOT of time driving. There is one road in and out of each town, and EVERYONE needs to be on it at the same time every morning and evening so we have to plan for plenty of time in the car. I take the kids to school, then JR to work. Then hang out with Lincoln all day, then bring the kids home, then bring JR home. I think I have it down the the quickest routes, but we still end up needing to fill up the tank twice a week. Luckily, gas is not very expensive here and a full tank of gas for our little car is the equivalent of about $16 USD. Crazy right?

 4. Random observation: The Porsche seems as common here as the Honda was in the states. There's the sporty model, the sedan, the family car... a Porsche for everyone! Well, not everyone, because we certainly wont be driving one.
 Speaking of cars, here we are pushing our rental to the road... the battery died. 

Moving Home

We moved out of the hotel and into our villa exactly a week ago (It has been more than a week now, but this post has been waiting in the drafts box for a while!). I was sad to say goodbye to our hotel friends! I know it was just heir job, but they they went out of their way to be so so kind to our family. They knew our kids by name, and snuck them packets of Nutella for their pancakes, and just made us feel so special. I think Lincoln thought they were our relatives because would find and hug the hostess every morning before breakfast and they would shower him with hugs and kisses. We just love them! On our last night, after we finished dinner, the restaurant staff called and asked us to come back down because they had a surprise for us- a delicious chocolate cake for our whole family. I really was on the verge, and over the edge of tears to say goodbye to them. I wish they were all my next door neighbors! Have a look at all these sweethearts!

This cake they gave us a a farewell was so yummy!

We are in our own place now and it is pretty much empty, except for the basics. We actually like it this way, so maybe we are minimalists at heart. Time and paychecks will tell. We were terribly lucky to get internet in a few days instead of months, and having communication to the outside world makes it feel downright homey.
Happiness does not depend on what happens outside of you, but on what happens inside of you.

Harold B. Lee