27 August 2014

Undercover: Dressing Conservatively in Dubai

When writing my first impressions of Dubai, clothing and dressing conservatively was one of the first things I observed, even though I had researched and thought I fully understood what this meant before I arrived. 

After I began writing how I felt about it, the topic seemed to warrant its own posting, although I must admit that I'm a little nervous about releasing this post or even addressing this issue in a public forum.

Since I was feeling so perplexed in my emotions regarding Muslim attire, I decided to back up and reflect on what it is that I wear, in addition to, my very first dealings with someone in Middle Eastern apparel.

25 August 2014

First Impressions of Dubai - Part 2

These are just a few more observations I've made in my first few days in Dubai (click here for Part 1). As people described to us, Dubai is like Las Vegas on steroids without the gambling. Everything is big and blingy. And now I'm going to add: Dusty.

The Sand
This may be a little predictable, but there is quite a bit of sand in the city. Not outside the city, but all over the downtown area. I wasn't expecting this.

First Impressions of Dubai - Part 1

After the first few days in Dubai, there are definitely some early impressions that have created a lasting impact on me. 

The Heat
We knew it was coming. People warned us and warned us. We'd lived in Las Vegas in the summer, so we knew hot. But nothing -- no, nothing -- prepared us for the scorching inferno that is Dubai. Daily temperatures of +100F with +30% humidity (one day was 66%) make moving outside feel like every drop of energy in your body is dissolving.

The air is so thick and heavy that it's like trying to breathe in syrup, unlike Vegas where the sauna-like air is so dehydrated that your lungs feel like they might dry up and crack.
Feels like 114F.
As Alyson said, "Every good Southerner knows,
it's not the heat. It's the humidity."  

14 July 2014

The Process of Moving to Dubai

This moving process has been a bit of a roller coaster for us (and I have the high blood pressure to prove it). 

I'll start from the beginning and recap a few of the first parts.

Back in late April Chris accepted the new job to be located in Dubai. They wanted him in Walnut Creek, California (outside of San Francisco) A MERE two weeks later to begin training on a new accounting system the company was installing. The training would last two months.

As anyone knows who has moved, especially overseas, this put us in quite a bind by having such a quick turnaround.

06 July 2014

Typhoon Neoguri **UPDATED - TUESDAY, 8 JULY**

Murphy's Law strikes again. Chris is about to be hit with a Super Typhoon. 

A few weeks ago, Chris's company won some work in Okinawa, Japan to build some schools on a military base there. As exciting as going to Japan would be, Chris didn't think they would send him because he would have just arrived in Dubai (he arrived on June 26), plus Japan is not his working region. Chris is over project controls in the Middle East, Africa, and Europe, and someone else is over the Asian projects.

20 June 2014

How NOT to Take a Passport Photo

To move to Dubai or most Middle Eastern countries, you will need about 30 to 40 passport photos. Passport photos must be attached to nearly every piece of paperwork you submit -- from a driver's license (which makes sense) to setting up a post office box (which doesn't make sense).

11 June 2014

Living in San Francisco (for a few weeks)

I guess you aren't technically living somewhere unless you've packed up all your belongings and moved into a place for the long haul. However, packing a big suitcase and living in a hotel apartment for weeks on end feels a bit like taking up residence.
Chris at the Gilbane offices in Walnut Creek
For me it's only a few weeks. For Chris it'll be two months. After exploring Walnut Creek and Pleasant Hill extensively, it is starting to feel like a home away from home. Northern California is such a beautiful area and a great jumping off place for seeing other cool things in the region. In fact, I thought I'd be blogging more these weeks with extra time to spare, but it seems each day is filled with something new to see. 

06 June 2014

Dubai's Luxury Police Cars

If I have to get arrested in Dubai (just kidding, Mom!), a bonus could be getting to ride in the back of a supercar to the police station. 

Lamborghini Aventador Police Cruiser in Dubai
Photo by

30 May 2014

Sunny in San Francisco

Fortunately for us, it's been gorgeous and sunny in San Francisco. Unfortunately for California, it's because there's a major drought. 
Not enough water to make the hills to sing

Despite crispy grass and brown hilltops, I've been lucky enough to have uncharacteristically beautiful San Francisco weather, which makes for the perfect opportunity to explore the area.

07 May 2014

A Little about Dubai

Despite already knowing a little about Dubai before this job assignment, there is still plenty to learn about our new city. 

Probably the most asked question I've gotten so far is "Where is Dubai?"

United Arab Emirates is the little red dot

We're Moving... Again

At the risk of sounding like a broken record, WE'RE MOVING... AGAIN.

Chris has accepted a position with Gilbane Federal in Dubai, United Arab Emirates. It's a really great position and a fantastic opportunity for his career. He will get to do some pretty interesting traveling as he manages some of the projects in the Middle East, Africa, and Europe, and he will be able to utilize skills that he had acquired years ago but had not had the opportunity to employ in recent positions. So far he is thriving in his new role and meshing right in with his colleagues.

He is currently training with his new company in San Francisco while I finish packing up the house in Lexington and filling out the paperwork for the international move. He will be in California for two months before mobilizing to Dubai, and I will join him for part of that time.

15 April 2014

Watch Out, Wall Street

So much for dusting off the blog... I've been too busy working. 

When we first moved to Lexington, I unsuccessfully looked for a job, then thought maybe I'd try adult education or corporate training. That was also unsuccessful. Either companies weren't interested in teachers switching careers or the job market just wasn't great in Lexington. Regardless of the reason, I finally faced the fact that unless I wanted to be a substitute teacher (I couldn't even get a job as a tutor), I'd have to either not work or come up with a different plan.

06 March 2014

Dusting Off the Blog

It's just short of a year since we packed our bags and said goodbye to our Australian home to move to Lexington, Kentucky. I really thought I would write at least a bit once we arrived in Lexington, but it ended up being a funny year. Not funny in the 'ha-ha' way (I guess in modern terms, I should use the 'LOL' way). More like funny in the 'odd' way.

25 March 2013

Our First Week Back in America

There's much I've wanted to document about our moving process from Brisbane to Lexington, including the fabulous and bittersweet goodbye celebrations we had those last couple of weeks. However, I'm finding less and less time to write as we hurriedly work through the resettling process.

Here's the recap of what we've been up to the past week. I'll try to get some back posts finished from those last few days in Australia soon.

08 March 2013

Chris's New Friend **UPDATED**

When Chris got home from work on Friday, he heard a different type of bird chirping on the balcony (actually, I had heard it all afternoon and ignored it). When he peered through the sliding doors, he found a small yellow cockatiel sitting on the plants. When the bird heard Chris call for me, it banged into the glass trying to come into the house.

Chris opened the door and extended his finger. The bird immediately hopped onto his finger then bounced up to his shoulder. It happily sat perched on Chris's shoulder for the next 30 minutes.

This is obviously someone's pet bird who found its way to a birdlover.
Chris's New Friend

16 February 2013

My New Kentucky Home

Over the last six months, I've noticed the amount of writing I've done has decreased significantly from my earlier blogging days. In large part, it's been due to the active schedule I keep as my life has settled into Brisbane and my roots have been spreading -- albeit shallowly but spreading, nonetheless.

05 February 2013

Girls' Camping Trip to Straddie

Front Row: Gena, Holly, DD, Cyndi
Back Row: Kathy, Deana, Terri
I'm using the word camping here loosely. Anyone who knows me knows I'm not much of a camper. Staying in a three-star hotel is about as much roughin' it as I'm up for. 
Bear Grylls has nothing on us...
especially when Deana and I use a public restroom in the wild.
In fact, we were joking that this is more like glamping... glamour camping. 

27 January 2013

Brisbane Flooding Again

We took this storm pretty lightly on Thursday. We even rented a car for a possible trip to the beach on Chris' day off on Monday (today) for Australia Day. I'm not even sure I realized we were dealing with an ex-cyclone yet.
A Sailboat Having Troubles in Newstead on Monday

Friday afternoon. Icky day. Saw something on the news about the remnants of Tropical Cyclone Oswold hitting Brizzie this weekend. Chris and I stayed in for dinner and watched it spit rain intermittently throughout the evening. We both worked out.  I started reading The Hobbit.

Why I Like Australia - Reason 3 (Exercisers)

I didn't say I was going to do them in seven consecutive days, did I? Well, clearly, I'm not.

Today I am toasting the runners, boot campers, rowers, cyclists, and general health nuts of Brisbane. I've never lived in a city where there have been such an outpouring of exercisers on the streets. No matter where you look someone is walking, jogging, boxing, running the stairs, ride a bike, or rollerblading along the sidewalk. Whether in groups, as couples, or just a soloist, the people in Brisbane don't let grass grow under their feet.

My parents observed that the people they encountered in Australia were slim and healthy looking. The gyms here stay packed. Fitness classes fill up quickly. There are yoga joints on every corner. Boot camps in every park. What's up with this phenomenon? 

For a country Australia's size, they have an extraordinary amount of world class athletes. Swimming is a real speciality here with school-aged children taking both Phys Ed class AND swimming class during school hours. Oh, how I would have loved that! 

Brisbane supposedly is a bit more healthy than the other Aussie cities, perhaps because of its fabulous climate and people's love of the outdoors in a state similar to Florida. Whatever the reason, it's a delight to see so many Brisbanites outside burning some calories.

If only I would join them.

23 January 2013

Why I Like Australia - Reason 2 (The Birds)

I never really noticed the birds back home. Well, you couldn't help but notice the mockingbirds, but aside from a few other standouts, the birds of home seemed to blend into the background.

In Australia, I have become a bird enthusiast. I love to watch the trees and the skies as they squawk overhead. Sometimes Chris and I go to the park just to watch the rainbow lorikeets chattering away at each other like old ladies.

Rainbow Lorikeets