Thursday and Friday

Another day in the books for our first week in Abu Dhabi.

Yesterday, Tony had his physical for work in the morning, which was the final item on his orientation week to-do list. The work week in Abu Dhabi runs Sunday through Thursday, so the weekend began early for us. We were hoping to see a few apartments on Thursday afternoon, but as we’re learning, things here are very different than in the states and we had trouble getting people to return our calls as many (if not most) started their weekend early. No matter — we scheduled a few showings for Sunday. Since Sunday is Tony’s first day at his new school, the morning appointment will be just me, Matteo and the listing agent — I admit, I’m nervous for my first solo outing!

Friday (today) has been a good day. After breakfast, Tony took care of our car rental. We ended up with a Nissan Tiida — a small, four door, fuel efficient little hatchback. In a sea of white cars, I was so glad to see our car is blue! So much easier to find in the parking lot. Most importantly, Matteo approves.

Once we had the car, we made a drive out to Tony’s new school. He will be working on the outskirts of the city — but its only about a 30 minute drive from the hotel we’re staying at now, and only 15 minutes from our target, hopeful neighborhood.

My number one complaint with Abu Dhabi at this point in my time here? The lack of sensical addresses! It took us FOREVER to find the school because there are no street addresses here — you’re lucky if the street you happen to be on has an actual, labeled name. Directions here go off of landmarks, as in “I live near the airport, in the white building behind the Ace Hardware.” Even though I had been prepared for this detail of life here, I dislike it! Thankfully, a kind man and his wife asked if we needed help finding something and then quickly gave us accurate directions to the school. We were only a block away!

After seeing the school (and plugging the location coordinates directly in to our GPS so that Tony has actual directions on Sunday) we drove back to Abu Dhabi, stopping to check out the neighborhood we’re most interested in living in. Its right on the beach and water. I hope we’re able to find a place there — restaurants and shopping so close by so Matteo and I won’t need any long taxi fares, and it seemed to have a lot of families and expats. Fingers crossed that we see something we like on Sunday and can get in to a place sooner rather than later — though our hotel room is nice, its quickly feeling claustrophobic and we need a kitchen.

This evening we went to IKEA on Yas Island to start scoping out furniture ideas for our apartment — it was my idea, and I don’t know why I always think a trip to IKEA sounds like a good idea. It is never, EVER, a good idea to go to IKEA! So crowded, Matteo was grumpy, noisy. Oh well, we were able to grab a catalog, see the current delivery lead time, and figure out which line of couch/bedroom furniture we want to go with. The rest we’ll try to do online.

We finished our evening with dinner at the KFC across the street from the hotel. Neither Tony nor I was excited about this option, but it was close by and it was getting late so we decided to give it a chance. Um, KFC in the UAE is way better than the USA (enough initials for you?)! It was clean, the food was inexpensive but decent. And we were in/out in 35 minutes — you can’t beat that when you’re working with a jet lagged family!

Sleep overnight continues to be elusive for all of us. This ll hour adjustment is ROUGH! I thought we were making progress with Matteo, but today we could not wake him from his nap for anything, so he ended up sleeping 6 hours during the day. I am dreading the overnight already. Not sure what can be done to encourage him to sleep at night, other than just waiting things out and allowing him time for his internal clock to reset.

Phew! I think that’s it for now. The stress we’re feeling is palpable — this is not going to be an easy transition, but we’re hanging on to our excitement and optimism. I think things will be much easier in many ways once we’re in our apartment, so keep your fingers crossed that we have luck on that front soon.

Love to you all…

Jen

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