Tag Archives | summer

how hot is it? if you have to ask…

It’s summer.

We moved here last August and it was Very Hot.

It’s June 1 today and already it’s hotter now than it was last August.

How hot?  Really hot.

For those of you thinking “it’s a dry heat, though, so it’s not that bad,” let me adjust your perceptions: the city perches on the edge of the Gulf, which creates a lovely swamp-like effect, similar to what you get in New Orleans (but without the consolation of Cajun cooking or jazz).  Think air like hot wet towels, think Bikram yoga studio after a full day of sweaty-bodied yoga classes, think sauna.

And even in New Orleans, I bet residents don’t get warnings like this one:

“As advised by the UAE Defence Ministry, car owners should not fill their fuel tank to full, as for the next few weeks temperature will climb up to 53-54 degrees which can cause the fuel tank to burst/explode. Please pass this message to all your contacts, as all of us here are in the habit of filling our car tanks to full. Please remember that prevention is better than cure and enjoy safe motoring.”

For those of you not celsius-savvy, 53-54 is about 120F.  And yes, I do believe you could cook an egg on the sidewalk.

Or maybe this notice in the newspaper the other day:

“The midday break for outdoor labourers will be from June 15 to September 15, the Ministry of Labour said yesterday. Working outside will be banned from 12.30 to 3pm, and companies must provide water and shaded areas for labourers.  Each violation carries a Dh15,000 penalty.”

True, it does seem that water and shaded areas should be provided as a matter of course, but… hey, we’re talking about laborers here, which in Abu Dhabi seems to be a category sometimes unrelated to “people.”

So yeah. It’s hot. So hot that I bet even Cole Porter couldn’t make a song of it.

Continue Reading · on June 1, 2012 in Abu Dhabi, environment

Memorial Day

Memorial Day weekend has never been a big deal for me. I do a mental “thank you” to the military and then go on with my business. I don’t like parades; I’ve never had a summer house that needs to be “opened” for the season; for most of my adult life I’ve never even had a backyard within which to barbecue, should the mood strike me.

So mostly, Memorial Day weekend has meant hoping that someone would invite me to one of those big fun summer parties you’re supposed to go to (but might exist only in magazines or the most froufrou echelons of The Hamptons), or sniffing around (oh so casually) for an invitation to someone’s summer house, or finding some Fun Family Activity, dammit, to fill that no-school Monday.

A  non-event, really, is what I’m saying.

Which is why you can imagine my surprise when I got all verklempt reading Anna’s blog post about various red,white, and blue recipes.  I mean, the little star-shaped pancakes are pretty cute, but they’re not worth getting all emotional about.

No, it wasn’t the pancakes (sorry Anna), but a sudden pang about missing the rhythms of home.

It’s comforting, knowing what’s coming, knowing how the year will unfold. Out here, where I’ve still not spent an entire year, everything is sort of a surprise – but nothing much seems to change. It’s more or less hot; it’s more or less sandy; it’s more or less windy.  I guess it’s summer here because it’s already so hot: so hot, in fact, that the boys’ school cancelled after-school swimming lessons because of the heat. Too hot for the instructors to be walking around on the pool deck, apparently.

How will the summer unfold here? I don’t know. I know when the boys’ school ends for the year; I know when we’re traveling back to New York; I know when we’re coming back here. But other than those punctuation marks, I’m not sure what the other markers are. Ramadan happens in there somewhere, as dictated by the lunar calendar, and the end of Ramadan is marked by the festival of Eid, which is determined by the first sighting of the crescent moon.  As near as I can tell, between now and early October, most of Abu Dhabi goes into the malls and hides until it’s not so steamy out – the opposite of what happens in the Northeast, where people climb out of their dark apartments, blinking like moles in the sunlight, and recklessly bare their wintery skin to the warmth.

Not knowing the rhythms of a place is one of the (many) unexpected things on my list of “stuff that’s weird about expat life.”  It’s like you’re always just the slightest bit off-kilter because you’re missing signposts and landmarks you didn’t even know mattered.  I mean really, missing Memorial Day? That’s weird.

It’s not the red-white-and-blue I miss, though (and yes, there’s probably a political metaphor in there somewhere, but we’ll leave it safely buried for now).  I miss that sense of belonging, I think: everyone knows it’s Memorial Day; everyone (mostly everyone) gets Monday off or gets to commiserate about not getting Monday off.

Here? Monday is just…Monday. And it’s gonna be hot. That much I know for sure.

I took this picture on my whirlwind trip a few weeks ago. I guess there is a reason they call New Jersey the Garden State. I may not miss the red-white-and-blue, but I miss green a whole hell of a lot.

Here’s something I try never to miss: the yeahwrite linkup. Every week we “small” bloggers (we may be small bloggers but we all have very tall personalities) link together under the curator-ship of the elegant Erica: click, read, come back and vote for your faves.
read to be read at yeahwrite.me

Continue Reading · on May 26, 2012 in Abu Dhabi, expat, Travel, urban nature

Monday Listicle: (Not) The End of Summer

This week I remembered that it’s Monday! Stasha’s prompt is quite seasonal: the end of summer recap.

But you know what? I can’t do it.  It’s 100 degrees out there, with a breeze blowing hot from the east and the air feels like soup.

So…nope. No end of summer here.  I’m going to do the reverse of this prompt, I guess you could say: a list of what I’m NOT doing during these end-of-summer weeks.

1. I am not forcing kids to try on last year’s winter jackets so that I can order new ones if needed before everything sells out and we’re left with only with hot pink coats trimmed in fluiffy fur.

2. I am not wondering when the rain is going to stop.

3. I am not gathering up every late-summer vegetable I can find to make vats of tomato sauce, ratatouille, pesto…things I usually freeze to use in the wintery months when I can’t stand the sight of another root vegetable.

4. I am not experiencing the shock of socks after months of bare feet…but that also means I am not reuniting with my worn-to-perfection Blundstones and my beloved motorcycle boots.

5. I am not living in an apartment filled with discussions about the World Series…

6. …and I am not living in an apartment filled with the gnashing of teeth about this season’s iteration of the disastrous NY Mets.

7. I am not getting ready to “switch my closet.” In New York, where ample closet space is as rare as a Mets winning season, I can’t keep all my clothes in the closet. So the off-season wardrobe stays in plastic tubs in our storage space and at the change of seasons I spend a few weeks with clothes spread all over the bedroom–one day it’s 85, the next it’s 40. How’s a gal to dress for that?

8. I am not urging the boys to GET OUTSIDE AND PLAY at every sunny moment.  Starting in late September I feel as if we’re racing against the clock: at any moment the cold wet bowl of winter will close over our heads and everyone will be inside getting in each other’s way.  Boys are a lot like dogs: they need to be walked on a regular basis and they’re a lot happier after a game of chase-the-stick.

9. I am, ironically, waiting for it to cool off a little bit so that we can go hang out on the beach.

10. Well, don’t laugh but you know what I’m still doing? I’m still having to shave my legs. I hate waxing (actually it hurts and I am a big ol’coward); Nair and things like that stink to high heaven, so I shave. But in New York, come the end of bare-legged season, I mostly stop and let my legs exist in their au naturel state.  Here? No such luck. Maybe if I start wearing an abaya, I could give up on the shaving here, too…. hmm.

So that’s my not-end-of-summer list about the end of summer. Before you go read the other lists, you should maybe click over here and look at Stasha’s beautiful photographs, on her new professional photography website.  Probably you’re going to want one of her prints for your own…so you might want to pay attention to the give-away she’s doing on Friday!

Continue Reading · on September 26, 2011 in Abu Dhabi, Monday Listicle, NYC, UAE

the mommy tree

Like I’ve been saying in these last few posts, our family has been spending a LOT of time together. Like, every waking hour, all day long, from July 6 (the day we moved out of our apartment in New York) until…well, right now. There were five precious mornings while we were in Long Beach Island where the boys went to soccer camp for a few hours, but even then–they were together, if at least away from me.

Today is Thursday and school starts for the boys on Sunday (Sunday to Thursday is the work week in Abu Dhabi) and as far as I’m concerned it’s not a moment too soon.

We’re more or less moved into to our new apartment, which, inshallah, has a third bedroom that we’ve turned into the “play your computers in here and leave me the hell alone” room, and that’s been a lifesaver, because by now? By now that whole family adventure thing is wearing just a little thin.  There aren’t any playmates for them in our new building; it’s too hot to go outside–and even if it weren’t, what would we do? Wander around together, that’s what.

Our building has a pool on the top floor–inshallah again–that has become our escape hatch. When the boys get too scritchy-scratchy, we go up there and splash around for a few hours.  The boys can play splash wars, do cannonballs, throw matchbox cars into the deep end and dive for them…the other day they took a flexible cloth frisbee we have and turned it into a pontoon boat: balanced matchbox cars on the top and floated the whole thing back and forth across the deep end.

When I get in the water, though, they only want to hang onto me. One kid on each arm, or one kid on my back and the other on my arm, or one bouncing on my knee and the other swinging off my hand, or both clinging to my waist and splashing each other.

I’m sure the other English speakers at the pool think I’m a complete bitch: “let go of me!” I say, and dive into the deep end, but damned if they don’t follow me.  “Stop hanging on me!” I mutter, and pull off the limpet fingers.

Yesterday, as they pulled on me, climbed on me, clung to me, swam through my legs and over my shoulders, I said (okay maybe I was yelling, but only a little bit) LET GO OF ME WHAT AM I TREE?

Both boys looked at me. “Yes,” they said in unison, “you are.”

Do you think their school would mind if I dropped them off early? Like, maybe, today?

Continue Reading · on September 1, 2011 in Abu Dhabi, Children, family, Kids, Parenting

Hyde Park

Husband chides me for already thinking about what I’ll miss when we get to Abu Dhabi, but I can’t help it. Just as I like to fight with him about hypothetical situations–you know, just to mark out our positions in case the situation arises–I like to get myself worried about that which hasn’t happened yet. You know, borrow trouble and all that.

What am I going to miss? Today, in Hyde Park, I saw what I’m going to miss:

Big fluffy green trees.



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Continue Reading · on August 3, 2011 in Abu Dhabi, Travel

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