Before we came to Abu Dhabi, everyone, including ourselves said, “Wow, what an adventure that will be!”
Truth: “Adventure” is code for unfamiliar and really, really challenging. A book, a movie, an experience – these things would not be classified as adventures if everything was just exciting and easy. My favorite series of all time is the Lord of Rings trilogy. I’m sure that if Frodo and Sam could have known in advance the struggle they would have been facing on the edges of Mount Doom, they would not so easily have set off on their “adventure.” We all embark on new ventures with a vague idea that there will be difficulties, but thankfully, we don’t have a freaking clue what that really entails, so off we go!
I debated whether to write about where I’m really at, because I’m feeling low and I prefer to be optimistic and positive and lean into hope and promise. Negativity, whining, and pessimism don’t get me anywhere. But, I also long to be authentic. And I think people want to know how it’s really going. And one day, when my stories are more upbeat, which I’m confident they will be, I’d rather that everyone know how it really was in the beginning, because then it will be so much richer to see how far this story has come. Then you can really rejoice with me. And then, maybe it will offer hope and encouragement to people in the rough spots. So, I will tentatively let you in on my low day, but please know that I am very aware that I still abide in the hope and the promise. That getting through these harder parts is what makes this experience truly an adventure. That I’m currently in one small part of a much bigger story, and I will see the redemption in these difficulties. And most of all, that this low day is not really so bad, and it will pass.
I probably shouldn’t speak too much for Dwayne, since his story is his own to share. So, I’ll just summarize it by saying his job is rough. And his spirits are low. And his daily battles right now, are harder than mine.
And I won’t say much about the kids, because I recently wrote a post about my heart for what they’re going through. Although, honestly, kids are resilient. As I write this, they are laughing hysterically in the other room playing some game with stuffed animals and dolls. (As a side note, Josiah is a really great big brother.) They finished what school work we have on hand, this morning. They are well fed and healthy. So, really, they’re fine.
For the sake of my husband and my children, I am doing my best to create a familiar and loving home where Dwayne is embraced after a difficult day and where my children are nurtured. But, we’ve lived in our apartment for one week, and I’m on a steep learning curve here, trying to create a home with few of the things I’m used to. A small apartment, no dryer, no dishwasher, no oven, unusual food. I do have a fridge, for which I’m very thankful, but we have a counter top oven and a two burner hot plate, both of which require some adjusting, on my part. The groceries are different, even though I’ve found many familiar things. So far, our meals at home have not exactly been delicious or familiar.
We discovered, the day before we moved in, that our building is not yet wired for internet service. I’ve received gentle pokes of mockery for how much this has affected my psyche, considering how people have managed for millennia without the internet, but let me just say that when you’ve moved across the world, things that should be manageable, sometimes become unreasonably difficult to handle. And in typical UAE style, it could be days, weeks or, more likely, months, until this situation is rectified. I had mentally prepared for having some familiar comforts that we could rely on while we made new friends and hunkered down inside during the heat. But alas, we are without NFL Game Pass which we subscribed to for Seahawks games, and without Netflix for the kids or for movie nights, and without access to the homeschool units I bookmarked online, and generally without any information about anyone and anything outside our apartment. We are without Skype, for the love of Pete!! The horrors! (seriously)
(PS. I recognize these things are luxuries that many people in the world do not have, and I’m grateful just to have electricity and air conditioning. I’m just sharing what has thrown me for a loop and is forcing me to emotionally adjust on the fly.)
For three of the last four days, we have had very little water pressure. Like dripping. Although, through some miracle, the toilets still flush, but water just dribbles out of the taps. We can slowly manage to wash our hands, but not the dishes. We can’t shower or run the washing machine. Don’t think I haven’t briefly considered how to use the toilets for these functions… That temptation was fleeting. And when there is full running water, it is lukewarm at best, not hot. Which, again, luxury. I know. So today I called Raheem. His name is on the sign in the entryway of our building for plumbing problems. I’m quite confident, after a 4 or 5 minutes conversation, that he had no idea who I was, where I was calling from, or what the problem was. This is pretty much how every phone conversation goes here. The language barrier is exhausting and makes me want to sleep for 12 hours every night. Except the calls to prayer wake me up at 4:30 and 7:00am, so I don’t.
So today, I’m greasy. There’s a pile of laundry and a pile of dirty dishes I can’t wash. Although we only own 4 plates and 4 bowls and 6 glasses, so the pile isn’t that big, thankfully. We can’t go outside. We don’t have a car. We have no internet or TV or phone.
I should work out. I should work on the courses I enrolled in. I should work on something healthy to make for lunch and dinner. I should clean things that don’t require water. I should re-read one of the books we brought. I should play another card game with the kids.
But I just want to sit on my couch and eat cookies.
There it is folks. The reality of our current adventure. Super fun and exciting, right?!? Stay tuned though…this is only the beginning.