Monday, August 30, 2010

Traffic in the Sky – We Survived!

“There’s traffic in the sky

And it doesn’t seem to be getting much better…” – Jack Johnson


All in all, it took about 28 hours. Starting in Rexburg, we drove to Idaho Falls then flew to Salt Lake to Atlanta to Dubai and then a drive to the Hotel in Sharjah. We had been dreading the flight. I mean, who really wants to be enclosed in tight quarters with a bunch of strangers for 27 hours while trying to keep two 2-year-olds and a 10-month-old entertained so they don’t cry and annoy everyone around them? Would anyone enjoy that prospect? I didn’t think so.

Things went pretty well on the first two legs of the journey. The kids got a little restless on the second flight to Atlanta, but it wasn’t too bad. We were really worried about the big 15 hour flight from Atlanta to Dubai. At the airport, it was interesting how obvious a difference there was in the atmosphere just waiting at the gate for boarding to begin. Everyone waiting for the flight was a lot more serious… there were no other kids waiting to fly and all the passengers would look at us with a look of “I sure hope I don’t have to spend 15 hours sitting next to that family” We tried to smile and act like it was no big deal. Then, while trying to move a huge stroller, 3 kids, and 5+ carry-on bags, Abigail tripped and did a faceplant on the tile floor right in the middle of the gate area. Of course, she started screaming like a banshee and it took several minutes to console her. During that time, you could feel every eye on us… and everyone’s dread that they would have to listen to Banshee Abi the whole trip. …. Definitely NOT the way you want to start a long flight.

In the end, it was an exhausting trip, but the kids did remarkable well. They are kids, so it wasn’t perfect (or easy) but we survived and didn’t make any enemies. In fact, most the passengers around us made comments about how well the kids did. We were just happy the flights were over and we weren’t trapped in an enclosed space anymore. J

Fortunately, my employer had organized the Marhaba service for us. Basically we were met by a guide that helped us fast-track getting to the baggage claim, through customs, and off on our shuttle to the hotel. We were soooo grateful. We were tired and somewhat lost with all the lines, and Arabic. It was a bit overwhelming when we reached the LARGE customs processing room to see dozens of lines filled with hundreds of people moving very slowly. We had TONs of luggage with the kids, carry-ons, etc and it looked like a nightmare to have to wait in a line for what appeared to be a LONG time. Luckily, our speedy little guide moved us past all the lines to a VIP section and we were out of there in 5-10 minutes. We now LOVE our Marhaba guide.

We stepped out of the airport… it was almost midnight, and we were HIT by a wave of humid heat.. It was HOT. We had to sweat a little while we waited for the shuttle, but not for too long. The shuttle was big, nice and very well air-conditioned. We had about a 20 minute drive to the hotel and got our first glimpses of the city, the buildings, and all the Arabic road signs. We were tired and it was night time, so it was a little surreal… like we were dreaming. Of course, we were so tired that maybe we were dreaming a bit. It was like a dream come true though when we reached the hotel and we knew that the end of the trip was in sight.

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Are we Crazy?

“In a world full of people, only some want to fly, Isn’t that crazy?”

“Oh were never gonna survive unless we get a little…. crazy” – Seal

People have been asking what we are up to, what our plans are. When we would tell them that we were moving to the middle east… taking our family including 3 small children to live in the middle east for an extended period of time, they would usually say something like: “How exciting, that will be a great adventure.” If you looked into their eyes though, you could see they were really saying “WHAT are they thinking? Are they CRAZY?”


Well, friends and family, maybe we are just a little bit ;) Of course we like to use other words…. Like fun, adventurous, fascinating, courageous, and exciting.

In case you were wondering, here are the crazy, errr adventurous new changes in our lives.

  • Who: The whole family
  • What: We are moving to the UAE (United Arab Emirates) for the next few years.
  • Where: For those that do not know, the UAE is located in the on the Saudi peninsula in the Middle East. It is across the Persian Gulf from Iran. You may have heard of Dubai, the most well known of the Emirates.. Dubai has been in the news a lot the last few years for their extravagant growth, palm shaped islands, indoor ski slope, and the tallest building in the world.
  • When: We will be making the 25+ hour flight the end of August. A flight that long with 3 kids under 3 years old may be the “craziest” part of the whole adventure
  • Why: I (Matt) will be teaching at a college for women. The students will all be UAE nationals working toward their bachelors degree in Educational Technology.