Tuesday, February 14, 2012

Surprise Visit Home

      I knew that this holiday season was not going to be the same... and not just because I am living 8000 miles away, but because one of the most important family members was not going to be there. When I first arrived, I decided that I would not go home for Christmas because I thought it would be too hard to bear without my Nani- she was the one who brought the family together and who made Christmas so special. But after a few months here I realized that thinking that way was so selfish of me- I have many other wonderful, loving people in my family...

      A few weeks before Thanksgiving I booked my flight home, then of course I called the next best place, Balance Spa, for a MUCH needed massage! I told NO ONE of my purchase, which was so hard because I was so excited! Thanksgiving I skyped with my family while they were having dinner (I was so close to tears..) and I fought the urge to spill it.... My best friend Sarah knew so I could be sure she could get time off work..

      In the beginning of December I decided to tell my little sister Julia my plans- we were skyping and mom was in the other room so she was jumping up and down and doing silent cheers! We kept this secret between us up until the moment I came home! I was so proud of her!!!!

     I had the plan all set- Sarah was going to pick me up at Logan Airport in Boston noon time Christmas day and bring me to my house.. So I flew out of Abu Dhabi at 2:45am Dec 23 and landed in London 7 hours later.. 7am London time.. and then I got to thinking.. "How am I flying in on Christmas Day if its only the 24th and Boston is 5 hours behind London?"... "Am I flying all the way around the world?" I panicked, called a friend to check my email and turns out I read the itinerary wrong-- I am flying in TODAY!!! And there won't be anyone at the airport in Boston for me....
    I met a wonderful woman and her daughter on the plane and talked to them the whole way- her daughter was 4 and we colored and talked to her stuffed bear ... In Boston I used her skype to call Sarah and tell her how her smart friend read the itinerary wrong and that I was here NOW!!! She sent her boyfriend to get me! I called Julia and told her what happened - she couldn't believe it either.. and said they were doing errands and she would call me when they got home. So Vic and I went to the Chinese Restaurant/Bar where Sarah works and she had Crab Rangoons and an ice cold Bud Light waiting for me! We were sitting in the front of the restaurant talking when who walks in? My MOTHER! Her face went white and she started crying! She couldn't believe I was sitting right there.. Then my father walked in and he started crying and Julia was behind them laughing... Not exactly the family reunion I pictured, but it was priceless.. and what better place to have a family reunion like that than at the Jade East!(in the lobby!)

    After that I surprised my aunt at work- she was on the phone in the pharmacy and when I walked up she screamed and threw the phone down! Thank goodness it was only her husband on the other end and not a patient or a doctor!!  I saw my other sister Kasey later that night and she started screaming and crying! It was such a heartfelt and tearful return! It meant so much that everyone was so happy to see me!

   Christmas and the week after was filled with surprising more family members and seeing all my friends I left behind... I am truly blessed to have so many loving and caring people in my life!!
               Thank you to all who made my trip home that much more exciting and meaningful!!!!

                                                 Merry Christmas!

                                              Dad, Jules, and Ivy!

Mom and Dad
Me and my girls

Sisters, James and Collin


My lovely Nana!



NDA bests!

Mom Dad and Kasey

Balance Spa Ladies!




Best Friend in the WHOLE WIDE WORLD!

Sisters and Cousins!

FInally a Home!

   I apologize that it has taken about 3 months for an update. Life is going in about 27 directions... I will try bring you up to date on all that has happened since!

   The long wait for a villa (house) is over!! After 4 months of living in 3 hotels, my roommate and I were given a set of keys to a villa in Ruwais (the town we work in). We were so so excited to finally be out of the hotel and into a home of our own! When we unlocked and opened the door we were met with a house in a state of disrepair with trash and dirt EVERYWHERE! Instead of waiting for Ruwais ADNOC (Abu Dhabi National Oil Company) to come clean it, we bought all the essentials and cleaned ourselves- with the help of 3 extraordinary women. Within 2 1/2 weeks the house was cleaned and furnished! We moved in in the middle of December.

     Being a homeowner (I use that term loosely! its free) in the middle of the western region in Abu Dhabi made me realize how much I took for granted back home! I can't just hop in the car and go to The Home Depot for my fix-it needs or to Wal-Mart for detergent and toilet paper! And the supermarkets are interesting... we have 3 small markets that sell your basic necessities.. but rarely things I'm looking for.. and everything is in metric so following a recipe here involves a lot of converting!!!

    I am so thankful that we are in a villa and that it is so close to my school (5-7min walk). I am also thankful for the other teachers here that have become friends and a great support system!

Louisa and I are slowly but surely making this house a home- special thanks to everyone who sent pictures and cards!!!

Our Kitchen

                                                                       My Bathroom
                                                                         Master Bathroom

                                                                   The Front Doorway
                                                             (that is a concrete slab that fell)

                                                Cleaning the FILTHY cabinets and drawers

                                                              Our Living/Dining Room


                                                                      My Bedroom!

                                                                Our Clean Kitchen!!