Happy June, friends!
Though its been a busy spring, with a few more trips under our belt since last we posted, we’ve been quietly absent for, oh the past two months. Whoops! Though there’s been lots to talk about (a trip to San Francisco, a week in Dubai/Abu Dhabi, a weekend away to wine country in California), there’s also been a little secret that we couldn’t talk about yet — and the need to keep a lid on that kept us away from blogging altogether (no one is pregnant…why does everyone assume that first?)
Happily, I am hear to un-secret the secret today and then return to regular blogging. The news is…we’re moving to the United Arab Emirates!!!
If you’re like most of our friends and family, this will come as a shock. It’s a bit of a shock for us as well, excited as we are about it. The possibility of the move has been months in the making — back in the winter Tony and I took some time to really, really, take stock of our lives. Where we are vs. where we want to be. What we’re doing with our time vs. what we want to be doing with our time. We determined together that what is most important to us as a couple and a family is, in fact, being together — as long as the three of us are together, we are happy. We also realized that more important than accumulating “stuff” was experiencing the world — seeing new sites, experiencing different cultures, and having a sense of adventure in our lives. So we made some shifts to our thinking and our planning, making travel a more important goal and went merrily on our way.
The idea of working abroad has appealed to both of us for some time. Back in the winter, Tony did some research about education opportunities in other countries, and much of the information kept leading back to the massive education overhaul that Abu Dhabi (capital of the UAE) is in the midst of. They are seven years in to a 10 year plan and much of the plan involves bringing over Western educators (from the US, UK, Ireland, Australia, Canada, etc.) to work with local educators in an effort to improve the public education system in the Emirate. The UAE is a very safe, clean country and very hospitable to its large population of ex-pats (80% of the population are ex-pats). They also pay very well. After some discussion, Tony decided to apply for a vice principal position in the UAE via an education recruiting site. The entire time, it felt like something that wouldn’t actually come to fruition, but was a fun “what if” game. We continued planning for the changes in our lives that we wanted to pursue — moving out of Fountain Hills, selling our home and looking for a smaller, more efficient one, and dedicating our free time to spending time together and travel.
A few weeks after submitting his application, Tony was invited for a phone interview. It went really well, but things were quiet after that. We knew that there was a very large pool of applicants for few positions, and didn’t get our hopes up. Then, he got an email inviting him to Houston for an in-person interview. The email came on Friday and the interview was scheduled for the following Tuesday — not a lot of time to make a decision. Tony booked a flight and left for Houston. After a long, long day of interviewing and hell-acious travel issues, Tony left Houston feeling confident that the interview had gone very well, and that he would be offered a position. Two weeks later, he got the offer.
Once the offer was actually on paper, it was surreal. The offer itself was incredibly enticing — a two year contract, paid housing, paid flights for Tony and his dependents, paid health benefits, etc. The idea of living in Abu Dhabi, and having a jumping off point to see parts of the world we’ve never been to (Europe! Asia! Africa!) thrilled us. Knowing that I would be able to leave my job and spend two years home with Matteo before he’s off to kindergarten felt like a gift! Then there is the major con — moving halfway across the planet means being far, far, far away from family and friends.
We weighed the options. In the end, we felt like if we were to pass on this opportunity we would regret it for the rest of our lives. We’d always wonder, “what if…” After all of the thinking we’ve done this past year, all of the hard work we’ve done to change the direction of our lives, we couldn’t knowingly pass on this adventure and invite regret in to our lives. Life is short! We went out looking for an adventure and we’ve found one. Now we have to be brave, and take it.
There are so many details left to be worked out. For one, departure dates: we don’t have them yet. Tony’s visa is in the process of being issued, but I’m still waiting on paperwork needed to begin processing mine and Matteo’s visas. Our house is on the market, but we don’t have an offer yet. Tony’s last day of work is June 18th, but mine is still TBD. And we both want to make trips back to the MidWest to see family/friends before the big move. Lots and lots of planning — then there are the logistics of moving a family of three (with a toddler) to a different country. We have been working on minimizing our belongings since the winter as a part of other goals, so thankfully the inventory is already much smaller than it could have been, but still…I look at all of our “things” and know that it can’t all come with us to Al Ain (the city in Abu Dhabi where we will be living).
So that’s our big news for the moment. I still have lots to share, both about the move and about the travels we’ve been on this spring and a few more to come over the next months.
But that’s enough to digest for now. Thank you for for sharing in our excitement…or just pretending to if you’re among the group who think we are completely crazy!!