We hope that the festive season finds you all in good health and in even better spirits. 2015 brought about many changes for the Galietti family, the biggest of these involved a small 8,500-mile relocation from the desert landscape of Arizona to the desert landscape of Abu Dhabi. Never content to stay in one place for too long, we embarked on a new journey, leaving the comfort and familiarity of the US for a new set of challenges and adventures in the Arabian Gulf. After nearly an 11-month long process from interview, offer, acceptance, and work visa issuance the three of us are officially residents of the United Arab Emirates. Tony accepted a job as an academic vice principal at an all-boys public high school (approx. 1,000 students) in the outskirts of Abu Dhabi. Jennifer is taking some time off from a traditional 9-5 job and has devoted herself to the much more arduous and ambitious task of looking after Matteo full-time. Matteo has decided to keep his vocational options open and is currently keeping busy building pillow-forts, raiding pirate ships for treasure, singing mish-mashed nursery rhymes, and playing monsters with daddy monster and momma monster.
Prior to our move in September, the two of us took an 8-day trip to Abu Dhabi and Dubai while Matteo stayed in Fountain Hills with Noni and Poppa. We also kept busy in the U.S. with a lot of travel with trips to San Francisco, Santa Rosa, Austin/San Antonio, and then a great trip with the whole Arizona crew that started in Los Angeles with a train ride up the coast all the way to Seattle. We spent a week in Seattle and Portland and thoroughly enjoyed seeing the Pacific Northwest and spending the night on the Amtrak was a highlight for all of us. In preparation for our move, we sold our house in Fountain Hills, (which took much longer than we had hoped, thanks again to mom and dad for closing up the place so we could fly out to Abu Dhabi). After Tony finished his job in Fountain Hills, he drove Max across the country with stops in Albuquerque, Denver, and St. Louis before finally reaching Detroit and Cincinnati to visit our family (for what we thought was the last time before we moved). We will be forever grateful to Julie and Nate who have graciously taken Max while we are overseas and he is now being spoiled more than ever with multiple walks daily, and plenty of attention from Millie and David.
After driving across the country, Tony returned home and managed to squeeze in one more trip with a good college buddy (Hi Dave) to Washington DC for three nights where they got to see the nation’s capital and (more importantly) got to watch a pre-season exhibition match between Tony’s beloved Chelsea Football Club and Barcelona Football Club at Fedex Field in mid-July. Jennifer wrapped up her job as co-director of the Fountain Hills District Information-Technology Department in mid-August as the original plan was that Tony would leave around the same time to move overseas. Consequently, Jen and Teo headed back east to Ohio and Michigan to visit family before the move though Tony’s ticket did not arrive as planned. The delay in travel meant that Tony was able to join back up with the whole family over the Labor Day weekend and we got to be together to witness the beautiful wedding between Kyle and Candice Thom which was another highlight of our year. On the way back to Arizona, we received our tickets to Abu Dhabi which gave us about 4 days notice to finish selling, donating, and packing our possessions.
Since we have been in Abu Dhabi we have been able to explore parts of the UAE, Oman, and Istanbul, Turkey. Over the Christmas break we are traveling to Austria and Germany for 10 days and will be meeting up with the rest of the Galiettis to enjoy the trip. We are truly blessed and fortunate to be able to have these adventures and are loving our time here overseas. The decision to move abroad and was made for a number of reasons; the biggest being the desire for the three of us to spend more time together and to give us the opportunity to travel and bring Matteo up with an appreciation for many cultures and worldviews. Though it was difficult to leave friends and family behind, we have really settled in nicely in Abu Dhabi and are taking full advantage of our time and opportunities to see the world.
With that, we hope that the new year brings each of you peace and prosperity.
Tony, Jen, and Teo