Twelve days ago, after a fairly smooth flight, we arrived in the middle of the night in Dubai.
Stijn picked us up with his “big dirty white truck” (as Alixe would call it), finally reunited after seven weeks of solitude. I was positively surprised about how kind and helpful everyone was at the airport. They must have thought, “woman, how on earth are you going to manage two small super energetic children, four suitcases and a stroller”, so I gratefully accepted any help they offered.
When stepping outside the airport building, the midnight heat acted as a wake up call: our Middle East adventure was about to begin. I think that’s the only thing e-ve-ry-one agrees about, that it is dreadfully HOT. On days when humidity levels are as high as 60%, it is impossible to stay outdoors. Five minutes without AC and you’ll sweat like you just ran a marathon, even without moving at all. Luckely not every day is like that, so we don’t complain.
The girls seem to handle it perfectly, but please don’t mind their tomatoe-red cheeks when looking at their pictures. The good thing is, it will only get better (read: cooler).
We obviously did move to the Emirates when every other sane human being does exactly the opposite and tries to escape the country in these hot summer months.
We will have stayed in four different hotels (two in Dubai – for the weekends – and two in Fujairah) before moving into our house in the White Village. Our container is still on its way, with an ETA in Jebel Ali (Dubai) tomorrow Wednesday 11th of August. If you would check on Google Maps, you can see that it has passed by Fujairah. But hey, we imaginably waved at our stuff and hope now that it arrives by truck in a few days.
Our renovated house is very spacious, but it needs our furniture to feel like a real home. It’s located in a gated compound that is still under construction. By mid September the common area’s like the pool and gym should be ready for us to use. Because it’s an old building, we already had to deal with some serious cleaning up, lots of defects and pest control to get rid of nests of ants.
These problems, together with our current suitcase life, being in a residence visa application process (which doesn’t allow me to drive for almost three weeks), trying to provide a “home” for the girls while not having one (or many toys or Netflix on the tv or a decent kitchen to make their food) doesn’t make settling in any easier.
I know, it’s just temporarily, we’ll get through it and later probably even forget about this period. The most important thing is that the girls are okay with the whole moving situation, that they are not anxious or sad and that they have fun at their new school so they can learn, play and explore together with their new friends. It’s nice that the house is only one street away from their school. At least one track that we can do on foot or with the bike/step, like we were used to do in Milan.
For everything else, you need to take a car, not only to avoid the heat, but also because Fujairah is very spacious and public transportation doesn’t exist.
There is a big difference between Dubai, the Emirate that everybody knows and Fujairah. While Dubai is a hectic super modern metropole (a bit like Singapore), is Fujairah more like a calm Middle Eastern Oostende :-).
This week we’re lucky to be in a hotel at the beach. So even though the girls already started (summer)school and we’re still in this not so comfortable transition period, we can have a bit of a holiday feeling before the big moving day.