Wednesday, January 4, 2017

Who Am I?


  I have been struggling with "Am I doing enough?" and "What should I be doing as a 31-year-old woman?". For most the answer would be either working a job or if you’re not working that means you have kids that you stay home and take care of them.  Well, I don’t work a 9-5 job and we don’t have kids.  When I was 24 I packed two suitcases and of course two very large carry-ons to go with my fianc√© (now my husband) to Dubai where he had taken a job at a university. For him it would be returning home after 7 years of being away from his last visit and for me it would be the first time living the comfort of everything I knew. The adventure began and things were hard but I was making it work. I was staying with my fianc√©’s family and learning a lot. I had gone home twice since we left once for Christmas as I was missing my family and the second time I left I wasn't sure when or if I would return. I returned to Dubai 5 months later on September 23rd 2011 and we were married September 29th.  We continued to live with my in-laws, which allowed me to be immersed in their family culture and gain a different perspective of other expats in the city. Although those two years were tough I'm grateful for them and sometimes even miss them. We moved into our own place in 2013 which I was super excited because that meant we would have our own space and I would be able to create a home for us. I wasn't working and I was ready to take on the roll of the housewife, but I prefer to call myself a Domestic Engineer has a nicer ring to it. So there I was 26 living in a foreign country trying to be the best wife and support my husband, as he was working. In Dubai it was common for the spouse, which was typically the woman but not always, to stay home and take care of the kids. Which I've since learned is called a Trailing Spouse. Here is the definition of that term from https://en.wikipedia.org "The term trailing spouse is used to describe a person who follows his or her life partner to another city because of a work assignment. The term is often associated with people involved in an expatriate assignment but is also used by academia on domestic assignments."  Of course some found it a bit odd to why I wasn't working, as there were no children to be taken care of. I did eventually do some part-time substitute teaching but other than that I was just taking care of the house. Not working full-time allowed me to be with my husband when he was/is home, as he doesn't have a typical 9-5 job. As most University Professors his teaching hours would change semester to semester and in the summers he would travel for conferences and work on research. We enjoy being together and not working has allowed me to be home whenever he is. Since our 5-year adventure in Dubai came to a close in August 2015 we have moved to France. Little did I know the struggles we would face and the culture shock we would have to work through in the last 16months. We are still learning and adjusting to life in France. In Dubai people would come and go all the time and it isn't uncommon for people to be gone for 2 almost 3 months of the summer. In France that is not the case. We go back to Dubai every six months and in the summer we travel to the US to see my family as well traveling for my husband to attend conferences. So out of the 16 months so far in France 67 days we spent in a hotel and we traveled for a total of 4 months through out 2016 so we have actually only been living and getting to know the place for less than 12 months. Frustrated with my progression with language and feeling like I start from the begging again every time we leave and return from our travels I wouldn't change our life. 
 
Although lately, I have been caught up feeling like I have to explain myself and respond to the questions of why I'm not working. People in France find this very odd since we don’t have kids and thus I should be working. I do work everyday! We have “traditional” roles and that doesn't make me any less of a strong independent woman if not working a job and we don’t have children. The other night I was expressing to my husband about what I felt I should be doing instead of what I’m currently doing because I feel like it’s not enough his response gave me the best encouragement and reassured me that what I do for our family dynamic is important and as long I'm doing that I don't need to worry about anything else. Yes, there are things I would like to accomplish but until those doors open and the opportunity presents it self I’ll be supporting my husband and being the best Domestic Engineer I can be, not perfect, but the best I can be and always trying to improve.

So I leave you with this.  Some people may not understand your situation and some maybe jealous of it but just remember no-ones life is perfect and although sometimes you wish you were wearing someone else’s shoes be thankful for journey and don't take it for-granted.

Tuesday, September 1, 2015

At it again 5 years later!

 So I've never claimed to be a writer, but when I left the United States August 23rd 2010 I set out to write a blog to share with everyone what my days were like living in the Middle East. Well I didn't get very far actually I didn't make it past 3 posts, ha ha. Lets see how it goes this time. I'll be sharing what our time was like in Dubai and our new adventure in France. If there is something that you would like to hear about specifically please let me know.  

First post coming to you by the end of the week!

Sunday, November 14, 2010

Istanbul

Wow, I've always wanted to travel the world since I can remember. For my 18th birthday I got my passport and couldn't wait to use it. Here I am 7 years later and I finally have STAMPS in my passport. I never would have thought when I began this new adventure in my life I would get to the opportunity to go so many places. The first opportunity to leave North America was in August when I left Indiana to go to Dubai to see the culture and get to know M's family.  Here I am two months later sitting in a hotel room in Istanbul, Turkey. Mahmood had an interview with an University so I was able to join him for the trip.

We left at midnight Wednesday October 13th to head to the airport. Our flight was leaving at 4am Thursday so we figured we would go and sleep at the airport till it was time to board. We able to get to the airport early, but got very little sleep before the flight. The terminal smelled like a smoke room. As we walked up and down the terminal trying to find some place to sleep that didn't smell like cigarette smoke. Now days most airports have "smoking rooms". It felt to me that there should have been a non-smoking room instead. All of the smoking room had doors, but ALL of the doors were open so the whole place was being filled with smoke. Anyway, enough about that. We flew with Singapore airlines and it was very nice. The plan wasn't full so we had plenty of room to move about. It was a great flight!

We arrived in Turkey at 7:30am. Our first stop was a restroom, then I needed to go and get my visa. It's kinda funny I had to have a visa and M didn't. I paid my 20 dollars and received a sticker, then we were off to get our passport stamped, then to get our luggage. We were greeted my the driver who would take us to our hotel. As we walked out to the car I couldn't believe how cold it was. After living in a place with the humidity so high and the temperature in the 90's it was refreshing. Even though it was cold and rainy it was so nice to see green everywhere. The weather was cold and rainy, but that didn't stop us from seeing the city.

Monday, September 20, 2010

Happy 25th Birthday!!

Today was my 25th birthday and I am so blessed. I started preparing for my birthday the night of September 18th. My sister had sent three presents with me when I left the states to come to Dubai. They were wrapped in brown and pink polka-dot paper with cards on each on. I laid them out on my dresser so when I woke up they would be right there for me to open. First, I told myself open one in the morning, another one in the afternoon, and the last one in the evening. Well, I picked the one I wanted to open first and it was a really cute shirt so I had something new and special to wear from her for my birthday. I read the card and then looked over at the other presents laying there. I tried to distract myself by doing other things and told myself wait to open the others like you planned. Well, that didn't work...I opened the other two right then and there. I COULDN'T WAIT! I felt like a little kid. It was a lot of fun. She sent me a package of sparkly candles and clutch purse. THANK YOU SIS!!

 Since that was done it was time for me to get on with my day. What was I going to do? I had breakfast with M before he left to go to his first day of teaching. You may say, but your birthday was on Sunday. Yes, you are right my birthday was on Sunday. In  United Arab Emirates the work week is Sunday through Thursday, so Friday and Saturday are the weekend. So, with that being said I had the day to myself to do as I pleased. I thought about going and pampering myself but that didn't work out because everyone was at work and I didn't have a way to get anywhere. I decided I would just read and find some more apps for iPod that I got for my birthday before I left (thanks Mom, Ron, Aunt Barb, Uncle John, Aunt Bridget, Uncle Bill, Nana, Noah, Katie, Bailey, & Brielle). 

Finally, it was late enough in my day that family and friends would finally be getting up and hopefully coming online so I can talk to them. As I was checking my email and Facebook I already had messages from my Mom and others wishing me a Happy Birthday. It put a smile on my face to read those two words. It's amazing how much joy the little things in life can bring you. I'm learning to appreciate the little things that I use to take for granted.

The day continued and I was happy to hear from Dad and Jacci. I'm so thankful for the time I got to spend with them talking about my birthday, even if it was through a computer. I also got have a wonderful chat with Aunt Bridget while she was working on coupons for the week and Nana before she went to church. While I was talking to Dad he asked me what the plans were for my birthday and I said there are no plans that I know of. I had seen M's mom, dad, sister, and brother and none of them said anything to me about my birthday. I found it kind of odd since I thought they knew. I wasn't going to say anything, but I was curious on why they wouldn't even say "Happy Birthday". Well, Later I found out what happened. M's sister Zahra came and told me it was time for dinner. So I followed her downstairs, as we turned the corner to head into the kitchen I noticed she turned into the dining room instead. As I walked in the lights turned on and they were all standing there and sang Happy Birthday to me. There was a beautiful bouquet of flowers, cake, and presents. I was blown away. I couldn't believe they did all of that for me. I was truly surprised and I'm sure they could tell by all the shades of red on my face. I made a wish and blew-out the candle, opened the gifts, and then we ate dinner and had cake. It was wonderful! After the cake we all headed to our rooms to get ready for bed. I had one more surprise...I received a phone call from Georgia...on the other end was Nana, Bailey, Uncle Bill, and Aunt Bridget singing Happy Birthday!!! It was great to hear all their voices. We had 5 minutes to talk and I tell you it was the fastest best minutes .I really missed not being with my family today, but was truly blessed by Mahmood's family. 
Flowers from Bahar & Mohammad




THANK YOU EVERYONE WHO HAD A PART OF MY BIRTHDAY!! The emails, facebook posts, chats online, phone calls, and the surprise party made this is birthday one for the books. 

LOVE YOU ALL!!!

Thursday, September 16, 2010

Leaving on a Jet Plane (Boeing 777)


Wow, I can't believe its been 25 days since I left Lafayette, Indiana to come to Dubai. For those of you that may not know Dubai is located in the United Arab Emirates which is along the Persian Gulf. We woke up at 6:30am on Monday August 23rd to finalize some of the packing that didn't get finished the night before. Its is hard when you like to have all sorts of accessories (shoes, belts, jewelry, etc) but you can only take so much. My Mom made us a wonderful breakfast to get us going. It was wonderful having homemade waffles and eggs. We Lafayette around 12:30pm from my Dads house to head to the Indianapolis Airport. Seven bags and five people later we were loaded up in the SUV with a one of the suitcases on top of the car and one on my lap.




We arrived at the airport around 1:30pm to get checked praying that we won't have to pay extra for the bags. Got our boarding tickets and went to check in weighed the first bag 51lbs no worries they said. Weighed the second, third, and fourth bags all to heavy. We then had to open up the suitcases and move things around and get rid of things. Praise the Lord we brought more bags so I was able to switch one of my carry-on to a bigger bag and put some clothes in it. We went to try check the bags again and praise the Lord for favor they accepted all of our bags even though they were still 52lbs each. Now that was taken care of it was time to find some place to eat. We had a nice meal in the Indy500 restaurant, they have seating in the back so you don't have to sit out in the middle of the airport. After a nice lunch, I reorganized the bags we had for our carry-on(s). Sitting and visiting some more with Dad, Jacci, and Nana we saw groups of people forming to welcome home some Military troops, you could see how happy the families were to be meeting their loved one you had been serving. M and Dad noticed that there was an earlier flight to Atlanta and we could try to catch so we had more time to take care of paperwork at the Atalanta airport. We had a quick goodbye and off we went through security. We arrived to the gate and asked if we could get on the flight that was getting ready to leave and the lady said sure with a charge. We explained to her that we were flying international and that we had to take care of paperwork in Atlanta. She asked us to sit and she would see what she could do. A couple minutes later we had new boarding passes in our hands and they didn't charge us a single penny. :) God is good. We arrived to Atlanta when were originally suppose to be leaving Indy (6:42pm). Now we had to go find the registration office for M to give his paperwork saying he is leaving the country. Sometime this process can take hours, again we had favor and we were in and out within a half-hour. Back through security again and now to see if we can get our seats next to each other for the 14 hour flight. We were able to ask a gentleman to move so we could sit by one another and he graciously gave us his seat.
 Finally, we are all settled on the plane and mentally preparing for the next 14 hours. I was excited to see all the different movies that were available. I had told myself I was going to watch all of the chic-flicks. Funny, thing I only watched one movie the whole time and it wasn't a chic-flick it was WALL-E. The meals on the flight weren't bad. For our first meal, I had chicken and vegetables and M had pasta both came with a brownie, roll, drink, and salad. Later they gave us a snack which consisted of a sandwich, granola bar, a banana. Our last meal before we landed was cheese pizza, fruit, salad, cookies, and water. Through out the flight they would offer us beverages, so I was sure to keep hydrated after the advice friends gave for long flights. I don't know if it was because I was drinking a lot or just being in the plane for so long but I used the bathroom so many times. Luckily they were clean and it only took me the first time to realize you need to put the toilet lid down before you flush or it sounds like it will suck you down too. Haha


We finally arrived in Dubai on Tuesday August 24th at 7:50pm (UAE time) which was 11:50am (Indiana time). We got off the plane and looked for the welcoming group at the airport which also helped us get our luggage and go through customs. For the first time I realized what a blessing it is to have an American passport, but also sad at the same time. All I had to do was give them my blue passport and they stamped it no questions or anything. M had to have his eyes scanned and show several different documents to get into the country were he was born. Finally we loaded up our luggage on to two carts and began heading towards the exit of the airport. We arrived to the area for the ride to the hotel when we saw M's family waiting for us. M went and greeted them while I stayed with the luggage. They waved for me to come over and I at the moment all the butterflies were in my stomach, I could feel my face turning red. As soon as reached them I was greeted with flowers and smiles.  We loaded up both cars with our belongings and headed to the hotel first and then to M's parents.
Flowers that I received when they picked us up from the airport.