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Monday Listicles: Things I Miss

I woke up this morning in Abu Dhabi with a bad case of the blues. The see-for-miles view out our 37th floor windows didn’t help; the gulf gleaming in the distance didn’t help.  Then the Monday listmaker struck again: Stasha at The Good Life said the topic for today’s list is: 10 things I miss.

Well. That’s easy-peasy, folks.

Numbers 1-8:

Mother, sister, brother, brother-in-law, nephew, 2 nieces, stepfather, gathered in Provence for mom’s 70th birthday. Actually, I miss Provence, too (but that’s not an official entry on the list).

9. Not people at all but things:

I love magazines. I know, I know, hard copy is so 20th century that it’s positively quaint. My subscription to The New Yorker comes to my iPad but it’s just not the same. I can’t flip through the pages, dip in and out of articles, skim the cartoons, dart around to whatever strikes my fancy. Yes, yes, I could just hit a link on the table of contents but somehow a dedicated jump like that lacks…serendipity. (And yes, Richard, I fully appreciate the irony of a blog writer bemoaning the loss of print culture!)

10. Coming on the heels of #9, this “miss” will seem a little odd, but here goes. I miss my iPhone 4. I am unmoved by gadgets, mostly, but I loves me my iPhone4. Mostly, I love all the camera apps I’ve got–I think of it more as a camera than a phone. Because the iPhone 4 can’t be easily unlocked, it can’t use an international sim card, so I’m relegated to my (far inferior) iPhone 3.  Please note that “easily unlocked” and “international sim card” are phrases that I do not fully understand, so please don’t ask any questions. I parrot only what DTS (domestic tech support, aka Husband) tells me. The phones don’t look that different, but a day hasn’t gone by that I don’t itch for my 4.

11. Finally, as I suspected I would, I miss green. The dominant color here is…tan. Lots of different shades of tan, but mostly? Tan. In the white heat of day, even the gulf waters look bleached out, a silvery blue-ish beige. Nowhere yet have I found this:

Continue Reading · on August 15, 2011 in Abu Dhabi, expat, Monday Listicle, tech life, Travel, UAE

Bon Voyage

Tomorrow we leave London and go to Abu Dhabi.  We’ve been talking and planning and worrying and wondering about this move for months…and now it’s finally upon us.

We left our apartment six weeks ago, almost to the day, and we’ve been floating every since.  A rather grand tour—Paris, Provence, London—but still, floating. Haven’t read a newspaper, haven’t read my New Yorkers (I’m hoping they’re stockpiled for me in AD); it’s both exhilarating and disorienting to be so out of touch with what’s happening in the world.

Six weeks of no deadlines, no appointments, no responsibilities (other than tracking down the nearest Pizza Express or noodle-selling grocery store for my kids’ dinner).  I’ve been hauling around drafts of writing projects in what I like to call the bag o’guilt (writing projects, syllabi for upcoming fall course, Important Nonfiction Book) and have done…none of it.  Made my way through most of the Jo Nesbo detective stories (brilliant! amazing! Makes you think “Stieg WHO?”), read a lot of wonderful blogs (Marinka! Kelcey! Varda! Stasha! Empress! Wendi! The Bloggess! Shari! but mostly? Floating.

The upside of this discombobulated floating is that we’re all ready to go. Ready to Get There, Be There, Get Started. Hell, we all just want to unpack.  It’s been six weeks of “oh yeah, that book/lotion/important file/power cord/folder is…well, it’s in one of the suitcases. We’ll find it in Abu Dhabi.”

Both boys have had some serious bouts of whining (okay, pretty much every day has had at least one or the other or both snarling and mewling about the hell that is his life) and there have been a few sobbing sinkers, but overall they’ve held up pretty well. Five different perches in six weeks, almost no soccer, and a LOT of walking, which Caleb claims is incredibly boring, because when you’re walking you’re not really doing anything. I guess we’re lucky they’re still speaking to us.

Tomorrow morning we head for the airport with our eighty-five thousand suitcases, carry-ons, backpacks, and shoulder bags, trailing cords and plugs and wires and chargers, like a kind of techno comet tail.

Tomorrow night we sleep in another hemisphere.

When we wake up, it will already be about 95 degrees and Ramadan fasting will have begun.

We won’t be in Kansas any more, Toto. And as for over the rainbow? Well…we’ll just have to see.


*the picture of the boys is taken at the Royal Observatory, in Greenwich. They’re straddling the Prime Meridian, which marks the divide between the Eastern and Western Hemispheres.  That whole GMT, Greenwich Mean Time? That’s the line, right there.  Seems appropriate, yes?



Continue Reading · on August 11, 2011 in Abu Dhabi, Children, expat, family, Travel, UAE

Summer Blog Social: Waxing Philosophical

I’d rather wax philosophical than wax anything else, so I’m going to wax about where I see this blog in six months, maybe a year (prompt 10):

Well obviously, once we get to Abu Dhabi and I start blogging from there, I will become an international celebrity, perhaps get arrested for my outspoken and totally perceptive comments about women in the Middle East, my case will become a cause celebre, and I will be inundated with book and movie deals (after I get out of prison, of course, where I will be underfed just enough to finally kick that last bit of postpartum weight [um yes, my youngest child is seven, so what?]), and then Angelina Jolie will battle with Sandra Bullock to see who plays me in the movie. Viggo Mortensen or Johnny Depp (or maybe Taylor Kitsch) will play my husband and in the course of filming he (whichever one, I’m not choosy) and I will engage in a torrid affair, which I will end for the sake of our children. Bittersweet, we part, pledging our troth but knowing it’s best for our families. The movie wins all kinds of awards, makes beaucoup euros, and I retire to the south of France where I write brilliant essays in many languages for all the important journals.


Um. Sorry. Did I actually write all that down? I was just sort of daydreaming there for a minute.

Let’s try again, now that I’m done mopping up the spilled chicken noodle soup (from a can) that my squabbling children just ate for dinner.  With potato chips on the side (counts as veg, right?)

In six months, I’ll be writing this blog from Abu Dhabi. I suppose that on some level, I’ll keep writing about the same stuff I always do: education, my kids, politics, books. What I’m hoping will happen–what I will have to work to make happen–is that I use my writing to explore a part of the world that way too many people in the West (including me) don’t know anything about other than what we read in the newspapers.

If anyone has ideas about how to work this expat thing, I’d love to hear ’em.  I already got some great tips from Eli/Rose Social Media (thanks!) but I’d be delighted to hear what others have to say.

Because, you know, Angelina’s going to be calling just about any day now.


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Continue Reading · on August 2, 2011 in Abu Dhabi, expat, movies, NYC, Summer Blog Social, Travel, UAE, writing

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