Oct 062017
 

It has now been two months since we left the desert and all that life there encompassed. The last year or so proved to be the most challenging of times because living outside of the bubble, that most expats survive in to convince themselves that being there is worthwhile, causes your eyes to open and never be shut again.

While we may have read stories in the papers or heard them from third, fourth or more sources, we tend to never believe that bad things – life changing things – can happen to you. The truth is that as long as you stay within the confines of the bubble, these bad things never happen.

Now, there is a lot of personal responsibility that must be taken before this story begins.

On my end, I lived and worked where my salary was never going to be higher as all of my living expenses were basically covered. A more responsible adult would have been more frugal and financially responsible to put money away for those rainy days that inevitably come or the challenging periods that could happen in life.

I did not.

I traveled. I fully enjoyed life and absolutely lived beyond my means despite the extravagance of my income. I admit it. However, I do not regret it. Sure, it would be nice to own a piece of property that would have been an investment. Or, it might be more comforting to my parents and those who are fiscally-minded if I had a sweet cushion to fall back on should something happen to me.

Still, that is not how I have ever thought about money or life. I cannot take it with me. If I get terminally ill, I will not fight it for when the time comes then so be it.

That’s not to say that I do not appreciate the wisdom behind having ‘rainy day’ money. Our recent experience has hit that home for me – it only took about 20 years, but hey….it’s never too late, right?!

So, back to the fact that I take full responsibility for not having the financial freedom one would expect of me after eight years of bubble living.

For my husband’s side, he has to take his own responsibility for his part.

When we met, I also knew that money was going to be a concern for us as neither of us had a proven track record of being overly mindful about it. Still, love is truly blind and when you decide you want to spend the rest of your life with someone nothing else really seems so important.

Still…when your partner is in a business that is commission-based and living in a country where debts and laws are made and enforced on the whim of the person whom you encounter, there is a constant risk being taken. Sometimes you are lucky to escape and others times….

Well, this is where the story continues next time….

~T πŸ˜€

Aug 072017
 

The healing process begins. Thank goodness for the capacity of the brain to forget rather easily.

We have been in Tokyo for four days and already it feels almost as if life in Abu Dhabi was a blur…. Perhaps it really was – at least the past couple of years. My life definitely has changed drastically in the past three years since meeting M and joining our fates together. πŸ˜›

Each morning and throughout the day, we remind each other "We are in Tokyo! Isn't it wonderful?!"

I enjoyed my time in Abu Dhabi. I met some good friends. I traveled a lot. I had a lot of great laughs, celebrations and hold memories dear to me. Those whom are meant to be in my life will keep in touch always. At the same time, the time to close that chapter of my life was just waiting for me to take the leap. While we thought that we were going to end up somewhere else many times, it is fitting and ideal that we returned to Japan where my BFF and strongest support system lives.

BFF and I have been saying for a while that we needed to be in the same place together again. It is true. I need a safe place to reset my sanity. M needs a place where I am supported and comfortable to allow him to reset himself as well. This is it!

We are both excited for what our next chapter together is promising to give us. So far we are off to a wonderful start. As time progresses, I will begin to write about our experiences of late as I can sit back and breathe a sigh of relief that we are out of reach of the insanity that we faced. I hope that someday soon we will both look back and just laugh at the whole thing. For now, we have a sense of relief and anticipation for an even better tomorrow!

~T πŸ˜€

Jun 052017
 

Remember how just over a week ago I said we were saying YES to options?

Well, the interesting thing is that the options we thought we would have to decide upon are not the ones that we decided….That’s a confusing sentence!

Lemme break it down.

When I started sending out CVs I got immediate positive responses to positions around the world, but particularly in Saudi Arabia. It was a bit of a surprise and a nice stroke to the ego to find that I am still marketable despite having a year off from work. After a few Skype chats, I have been waiting to hear back. One of the three did not progress. Another one has given me no word at all despite seemingly being the most eager to pursue me. A third has said that they would like to make me a contract offer, but after a week have not had any response. Though, to be fair, they did warn me that this process takes some time.

Amidst all of this and starting to prepare ourselves mentally towards heading to a different Middle Eastern country, I received an interesting email out of the blue.

I responded. We met. We emailed and negotiated. Then, it came down to making a decision last night. It was somewhat difficult for a few reasons, but I have emailed our decision this morning. So, now it is a matter of working out the details. Once those details are settled, I shall write again with more specificity than this post is offering. Just know that Step 2 has been taken – let’s see where it leads us for Step 3!!

~T πŸ˜€

May 142017
 

Ever since we met in 2014 we have taken a yearly trip to Fujairah as a getaway weekend.

I remember our first one fondly as it was when we were just getting our hearts around the idea that love was in the air.

Each year when we return, we re-connect and re-kindle the flames of our love that is always alight, but refreshed with time away as holidays have a knack for doing.

This year, we decided to leave late on Wednesday for the three-hour drive so that we could have two full days to relax. It was totally worth the late night!

For me, my first priority was to catch up on sleep and to really relax with my <3. On the first day, I accomplished this was quite a few little naps in between soaks in the pool. I also was able to do some reading and writing as well, which is somewhat new on our joint holidays. So that was nice!

Here’s a picture recap of our first day:

Since the Fairmont FujairahΒ is still constructing their beach access (to be opened this month), we were able to use the Radisson Blu Resort, Fujairah hotel’s beach. Unfortunately, there had been an oil spill which put a damper on our enthusiasm to swim in the sea. Getting black tar and oil all over us was not ideal. So, we headed back to poolside in the afternoon and watched as storm clouds rolled in. It was a dry thunderstorm that passed over us, but we got to enjoy a lighter humidity evening outside.

Although we had our return drive to make, check out was not until noon, so we made the most of our morning by hitting the pool again before we had to check out. It is nice to be a morning person in these instances! πŸ˜›

So, overall, we had a really nice time. M got to finally relax and refresh himself. It may be our last trip to Fujairah since we probably will not be here next year. However, we may still try to get out there one more time before we head out of the country. In any case, there is still time…until then we are basking in the refreshness of a weekend getaway!

~T πŸ˜€

Dec 282016
 

For the first time in a while I have started to feel a bit relaxed. Although our troubles have not faded away, we are focusing on enjoying and looking forward to the upcoming new year.

Here’s a slideshow videoΒ I made on FB of our Christmas Day brunch:

We had a lovely time with old and new friends along with their visitors. It was nice that a group of us staying in the desert could get together for good food, good laughs and good times. πŸ™‚

Boxing Day is not a thing for us Americans, other than recovery, but it is for the British influencers. Therefore, we made plans to have a nice quiet cook up at home. I finally got my home-made turkey and fixings in. It was a small consolation to having missed Thanksgiving.

We had Z and her mum over to share in our meal – everything was delicious with more fun and good times.

The 27th was a day of relaxing for the most part. We started out at the pool to enjoy the sun and while I had plans to try to do some writing, posting, etc. I ended up just reading my book. πŸ˜€

In the evening, we forced ourselves out of the house to go out to the Sheikh Zayed Heritage Festival just less than an hour’s drive from us. I had gone to its earlier version about four years ago when it was further out and not nearly as organized.

Some have said it is a little bit like a mini-version of Dubai’s Global Village, but as I have never been there, I cannot concur. However, there were areas for different countries around the world. Most were Arab countries or those with connections to the Arab world and trade; therefore, no need for the U.S. or U.K. presence. πŸ˜›

Each area had performances going on showing local dance and culture.

There were even fireworks around 8pm, which was a nice touch.

We tried to watch an Arabian Horse Show, but in usual desert-time fashion they either never showed it or delayed it by over an hour (which is how long we waited according to the published time…). It was fun and we were both glad that we got out to enjoy one of the few local cultural activities that happen here. It has been on for a month nearly and happens every year, so we can now say that we have done it.

So, this has been our little staycation activities over the Christmas holiday. We are slowly working our way into normal life again as the new year is not such a big deal to either of us. Still, no doubt that we will do something fun if we can, but in the meantime, we are working our way into routine and preparations for all the amazing things promising to come in 2017!

~T πŸ˜€

Dec 072016
 

Well, winter is definitely here. The past few days or even the past week has brought in the moisture with increased humidity and foggy mornings. As I write this now, my view is becoming greyer and greyer.

There are times when I think about my Oregon life and wonder why I do not live there. Then, days like this come along and while everyone else might be reveling in the change of weather or at least diversity of weather – I am not. I do not like the grey e-v-e-r. It does indeed greatly affect my mood and although there are many factors to my current frame of mind, this definitely does not help.

Yet, in a way I am glad that the weather reflects my mood because it gives me something tangible to relate to rather than just what is inside my head. Also, it helps to remind me that there are sunny skies to return just as I know that somehow life will return to its high again.

So, while my brain sings “…please don’t take my sunshine away…” my heart soars a little more than yesterday. I call that progress! πŸ˜›

~T πŸ˜€

Nov 162016
 

As I said yesterday, the weather has started to become amazing again. Now, we have about five months of perfect temperatures.

Our running group went a different direction around the Corniche this week toward the National Theatre. We got a couple of nice pics from that.

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National Theatre 2016

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View of Corniche corner from National Theatre 2016

Also, the other night I was driving back from a lesson and passed by the Sheikh Zayed Grand Mosque. I pulled over to the side of the road and captured this.

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Sheikh Zayed Grand Mosque at night 2016

It is times like these that I truly appreciate where I live. It has been a trying six months and it does not seem to be getting easier – just yet. However, I am choosing to focus on the positives of life here and around me. In time, we will have our day! πŸ˜›

~T πŸ˜€

May 192016
 

Well, decisions are being made and actions are being taken. By the end of the day we will have (hopefully) made our security deposit on an apartment here (same as this post):

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Although we had initially thought to get a 3-bedroom, there was a 2-bedroom that we decided would be smarter for us to take on; however, due to a delay in communicating, we ended up with a 3-bedroom after all! (gee darn! :P) So, pics on that space will come later.

Unfortunately, we cannot move in until early July. This is a bit of a pickle as we have to vacate our current place in early June. So, we will pack up everything, put our stuff into storage, board the kitties and then live it up in a hotel apartment for a month. It’s not ideal, but there are definitely far worse things to complain about! It also delays our summer holiday plans a bit, but the beauty is that I am no longer bound by any timelines, so it’s all good.

It is nice to be making some progress at last and to feel the excitement of a new chapter in my life about to begin. Chilling out soon to commence!

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~T πŸ˜€

 

Feb 052014
 

I knew that I was going to need some serious down time for just me after the move and everything. So, I booked a two-night stay at Anantara’s Qasr Al Sarab out in the South-Western region of Abu Dhabi.

As described, it is truly a desert resort. I loved it!

On the first night I booked a hammam treatment at their Anantara’s Spa. It was so nice and great to have fresh skin again. It felt as if I was cleaning away the past and making a fresh new beginning. πŸ™‚

Then, the second night, I booked a signature massage, which really helped to loosen up my tension. This was after a very hard day by the pool reading and relaxing. πŸ˜‰

So, overall, for just two-hours away, I felt as if it was a wonderful getaway without much stress of travel in getting there. It was definitely pricey, but I gotta say it was TOTALLY worth it. I may go back again for one night over a week in a few months. We shall see. I just don’t want to lose the great feeling I had.

Anyway, here are some photos:

Qasr Al Sarab (Feb 2-4, 2014)
 
Oct 142013
 

For some time I have been wanting to spend a day at this beautiful looking beach club. However, it’s a bit on the expensive side to get a sun lounger or a cabana for the day. Since I decided not to go anywhere during this holiday and had set aside just a bit of money to spend and enjoy the ‘staycation’, P and I decided to spend a day.

Here’re some of the photos –

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All-in-all, it was an extremely relaxing day and the weather was perfect! I’m hoping to make it there again soon! πŸ˜‰

-T πŸ˜€