We are celebrating two weeks in the apartment by finally getting our internet/cable set up! It is absolutely HUMILIATING to realize how much one depends on technology — for things like keeping in contact with friends and family, researching directions, looking up recipes, and entertainment. Being in the apartment without internet made things difficult — Matteo was looking to me for his main source of entertainment and no matter how many cool ideas for games I came up with, they would only entertain for a little while and he wanted something new and different. Exhausting! And boring for all of us! On the practical side, not being able to look up procedures or directions made things difficult for the adults in the family. No matter, we are set up now and grateful for our connection back to the land of technology. This move across the planet would be far too overwhelming with out the ability to keep in touch with family and friends.
We are very happy with our apartment. It’s really nothing spectacular — a two bedroom, 2 full baths + one half bath that also serves as the laundry room. But it has everything we need with beautiful views of the marina and nice high ceilings. We’re thrilled with the size (right around 1300 sq feet). Back in the spring before we knew we would be moving to Abu Dhabi, Tony and I had already decided that we wanted to sell our 2150 sq. ft. house in Fountain Hills to look for one smaller, more efficient home where we would utilize all of the available space. We have found that with this apartment — there is no wasted space! It doesn’t feel too small either. It helps that our apartment/condo community has wonderful facilities which make it feel like we have plenty of outdoor space to use as well. There are several expats here with small dogs, so we’ve had fun playing with dogs in the afternoon as their owners walk them. It makes us miss Max SO MUCH, but checking in with Julie proves that he is incredibly spoiled (he’s conned them in to 3 walks daily!) and is loving the fall weather in Cincinnati. Thank you Julie and Nate for taking such great care of Max.
In new-to-expat-life housekeeping news, Tony’s work visa came through last week! He’s hoping to get his Emirates ID (government issued ID) this week, and once he has that he can begin the process of officially sponsoring Matteo and I as residents. For now, Matteo and I are here on tourist visas. Tourist visas are limited to 30 days — since we hit the 30 day mark last week we had to do a “border run” to Oman. Basically, you drive to the border in order to get an exit stamp from the UAE and then at the Oman border facility you get an entry and exit stamp back to back. Then back in to the UAE for a new entry stamp to start a fresh 30 days. I was incredibly nervous about this process, but Tony took us through it and took the anxiety off of my shoulders.
I’d like to share a few pictures of the apartment, to give you an idea of where we are calling home these days. We live on the 4th floor of our building, Al Naseem C. There are 6 apartments on our floor, only 4 appear (including ours) appear to be occupied. We’ve met one of our “floor neighbors” but haven’t seen many coming and going on our floor. It’s very quiet! The apartments are well insulated, we don’t have noise from the hallway or other apartment.
Forgive the lack of photo quality, I tried to get photos quickly before my child destroyed each room. This is the view of the apartment from our door. You walk in with the kitchen to the left, hallway to the bedrooms/bathrooms on your right and the living/dining space in front of you:
I really like our kitchen. Glossy white cabinets, dark quartz countertops, and bosch appliances. I’m happy to be back to using a gas stove top, but this is my first time cooking with a gas oven (still getting used to it + Celsius temperatures):
When I first saw the apartment, I wasn’t sure we’d have room for a dining table, but we do. Tony found this gem in IKEA’s “as is” section and its perfect. It has leaf drops on either end, so can be made smaller if needed. We can pull it away from the counter in order to fit more than three chairs, but this set up works great for our family of three:
Don’t mind Matteo climbing all over the furniture. Obviously, 3 year old boys and new furniture DO NOT MIX. We are constantly begging/pleading with him not to jump on the furniture, put sticky nutella fingers on the furniture, or (heaven help us) have accidents on the furniture (it’s like having a puppy). Thankfully, almost everything has a washable cover.
This is the view standing at the door and looking to the right, down the hallway to the bathrooms/bedrooms:
The bathrooms/hall closet are on the right side of the hallway, and Matteo’s bedroom is the first door on the left. His bedroom is HUGE. It’s hard to tell from this photo but his bed is in the middle of the room, with two large play areas designated with area rugs on either side and a little two seater love seat next to his bed on the far side. His room is awesome and he loves it (not pictured, the cool robot wall decals above his dresser and love seat). You’ll notice the bed has been lowered — the ladder just wasn’t working out. He’s too little to climb in and out of bed on his own (especially as a new potty trainee):
Our room is at the end of the hallway. Our room has two separate areas — one with the on suite bathroom, as well as a large dressing area/wardrobe. The built in wardrobe is great — the hanging space plus drawers and shelves has given us all the room we need — no need to buy dressers. The bedroom has plenty of room for our queen size equivalent bed, a chaise in the corner and two bedside tables.
The best feature of every room is the water view. We don’t have a lot up on the walls and don’t intend to — though I love to decorate and have plenty of ideas of things that could go up, we are enjoying a more minimalist aesthetic in our home. We did bring some family photos that we will frame and add, but with every purchase we’re asking our selves whether we really need it and if we’ll be willing to move it. We hope to stay in this apartment for the duration of our time in the UAE, but that depends on many things out of our control…not to mention, we don’t know how long we will be here. The less we have to move/sell when the time comes, the better!
So that’s the apartment. It feels great to get to settle in and make it home.
p.s. Carl and Brian — note that we only have ONE television. I asked Tony if he still felt like a Galietti Man. He said that the laptops/ipads/phones make up for only have one.