Wednesday, October 31, 2007

Dubai, the Saga Continues

I'm sitting in Starbucks (surprise, surprise) in the Mall using the free Internet to catch up on e-mail and my blog. Sammy's Dad just upgraded his Internet, but Sammy needs to do something with it when he gets back from Abu Dhabi because the concrete walls have decreased the signal and it's very, very slow.

We have our house!!! We finalized the rental about the 11th of October and have since been getting it ready to move in.
Our complex - view from the spare room upstairs

I decided that living with white walls was too depressing so we painted the walls. Actually I started the paint job and one of the laborers in the complex finished it. It was much easier and he did a really good job for very little money.
We also had to buy a stove and refrigerator because they are not included when you rent a house (unless the last tenant left it). Those were delivered and installed at the beginning of the week, as well as our new washing machine. As everyone knows one of my biggest pet peeves living in London was the teeny tiny washing machines. Well I have a big one now - not as big as I could get in the US, but it'll hold about 23lbs of wash. I can wash my bedding and choose the water level in the machine!
It's very exciting!

We still have some things that need to be completed but they can wait until we move in. One of them is landscaping the back yard. It's pretty big, but it's only sand. We have to find someone to put in a patio and grass. The landlady would have done it but it would have increased our rent and we found it would be cheaper to do it ourselves.

The right hand side of the yard

Sammy and I brought Gabi to the house one night and she ran around the back yard like a mad dog. She really likes the sand over here. Too bad dogs are banned from the beaches she'd have a blast.
We also need curtains but I'm going to try and make those myself (see the birthday entry)
Our furniture is scheduled to arrive on November 3rd, but apparently it takes 7 -9 days for it to clear customs so if we wait for the furniture we won't be moving into the house until the week of the 10th. But we just got cable and a new TV set (Sammy said it was critical that we have it set up asap!) in the house already - so we've been thinking about buying a guest bed for the guest room and just sleeping at the house anyway, after the Internet is connected of course, which should be next week.
Sammy and I also joined a gym - Fitness First - we belonged to it in London but the Dubai branches are HUGE and memberships include all of the classes (including yoga and Pilate's) Internet connection and movie rentals. The gyms also have very large sitting areas for the members to socialize and work on their computers. It's pretty cool. I went for the first time today and really enjoyed the workout. They have about 10 big screen TV's going that you can plug in your head phones and listen to which made the time go by very fast.
I've also been looking into Skype which is a way to have free phones calls over the Internet between Skpye subscribers. Vonage is not available here as of yet so we have to figure out another way to keep in touch with everyone without paying an arm and a leg. If anyone is interested here is the website. I've downloaded it but haven't quite figured it all out yet. I also need to purchase a headset for my computer to use it.

My Birthday

Just call me Suzy Homemaker...when Sammy asked me what I wanted for my birthday I said a sewing machine. Yes, you heard right, a sewing machine. I have this grand idea that I'm going to finish the quilt I started in University and sew curtains for the windows in our new place. I'm becoming very crafty in my unemployment.

I started small to test to see if I'll keep on with it, so far I've finished 2 needlepoint projects and I'm in the process of completing a 3rd and my 4th one is bigger project. It's either going to be a wall hanging or a pillow. I also purchased a book on how to make curtains and how to make felt. I had no idea felt is just pieces of wool that's been wetted and basically rubbed together until it sticks. I'm looking forward to trying make some felt after we move, after I sew curtains, after I finish the projects I've already started. Good luck to me!

However, I know once I start working all this craft ambition will most likely decrease. It's amazing how creative you get when you aren't spending 12 - 14 hours a day working, getting ready for work or traveling to and from work. I saw a program on 20/20 once (a US news show that does 30 min segments on a topic for those who haven't heard of it) it was talking about how much more creative teenagers were than adults. My opinion is they aren't anymore creative, they just don't have to worry about working and paying the bills which frees them up to be creative. I'm incredibly creative when I don't have to work. It's amazing what free time and a little extra money will get ya.

Tuesday, October 9, 2007

Dubai to Date

Well we've been in Dubai for almost 3 weeks (Thursday Oct 11 is the 3 week mark). And we're over the jet lag and have started settling in.
Cranky recovering from Jet Lag!

We found a house in the Arabian Ranches suburb that we really like, but transferring the funds to secure it has been quite the hassle. We're still not sure if we're going to end up renting the house or not, hopefully the landlord will be patient for a few more days.

Here is the website of the developer who built the subdivision we are hoping to live in - the type A villa is the one we'll move into if all works out well!

Fingers Crossed!

Sammy's been working in Abu Dhabi and it takes him about 1.5 hours to commute each way, which is a pain. But his office is moving so that should shave about 30 minutes off the commute and when we move into our house it may shave off another 15 minutes.

Sammy found a service which will send our mail and items we order from Amazon, Drug etc... to us from the U.S. for a cheaper rate than the companies do. We're really looking forward to setting it up because Sammy won't be going home as often as he did when we lived in London. But we can't set it up until the residence visa comes through in about 5 weeks.

And since I can't get my work visa until after the residence visa comes through I've been spending my time looking at houses, white goods (the landlords here don't provide the stove, refrigerator etc...) draperies etc... for the house, looking at options for buying versus leasing cars, cross stitching, organizing our photos etc...

Sammy has been coming with me when looking at the white goods and I'm very excited because I found a washer that holds 10.5kg!!!! That means I can wash just about anything I want, including the bedding!

Since we arrived Ramadan has been in session. And it's very interesting, all of the restaurants except those in the hotels are closed because this is the month of fasting from sunup to sundown.

Which means no food or water and if you're caught blatantly eating or drinking between sunrise and sunset you can be arrested, jailed for a month and fined (I read that bit in a local paper!).
But Ramadan hasn't affected the opening hours of the malls. They stay open until at least midnight every night! It's great!
The only real issue we've encountered aside form getting the money transferred for the house has been access to the Internet. The connection is very bad and access has been very minimal. So I haven't been able to keep in contact with everyone like I'd like to, but that issue should be resolved soon. Right now I'm at the Rotona Hotel in their lobby using their Internet, it's right next door to Sammy's Dad's house so it's very convenient. It also houses my beauty salon, very important to find a good one when you move!

More soon....