Monday, May 17, 2010

Dubai and back again!

Well we have now been back in Niger for almost a week. I am surprised by how much the heat seems to suck the life out of us after even 3 weeks away from it. Dubai was just a nice warm 30-35 degrees. It was 47 in the shade here yesterday in Niger!

The whole time we were in Dubai I caught myself often thinking about self-care, and the ideas behind how we take care of ourselves (emotionally and physically) so that we can operate at our maximum, even when in a high stress environment. I knew I was tired out, and a little burned out when we got to Dubai. I was really ready for a vacation. But when we were in a mall Day two, and I had a huge grocery store (Like Super Target or Superstore) behind me, Starbucks in front and everything else in between, i cried. Yup. Not the all out bawling, smear your mascara and scare your neighbours kind of cry, but definitely tears. Because it was too much to handle. The culture shock overwhelmed my senses. So I guess I was a little raw after all! When you are worn down, your emotions are closer to the surface and it is more difficult to cope. I am working on an article on compassion fatigue and how it affects people like us living in high stress environments (both physically and emotionally) but i will save that for another day! For now, I will tell you about some of the highlights of our Dubai trip!

The obvious highlight was being able to spend time with family. That is a rare gift now in our lives and it was wonderful to have down times with our family, share meals, stay up late and talk and go see and do things together. I especially appreciated the times when we weren’t doing anything big and were just together, like when we went to the beach several afternoons and watched the kids play, collected shells, and chatted. Same was true of our two days all together on the coast. No pressure, no phone calls, no expectations, just being together.

 

I also really enjoyed my 4 days away with Paul. We don’t get much time to ourselves nowadays and to have these days away was great! We celebrated our 10th anniversary and went to the east coast of the UAE. (Our actual anniversary date is June 10th). We got to explore Oman, go on a boat tour, snorkel, scuba dive, eat late, sleep in late and just really enjoy some alone time!

Paul flipping off our boat, headed out to snorkel next!

I really love to scuba dive, but rarely get the chance, so this was a highlight for me!

Nobody looks good in a skintight wetsuit… the water was a little murky at first too.

webdive I love floating silently amongst big schools of fish.

fish

The Jellyfish! There were quite a few out one day and we stayed out of the water. The day I dived it was ok. Actually these big ones weren’t too bad, but see all the little long stringy looking things in the photo- those actually zapped my face lots while diving. More annoying than pain…but a bit unnerving!

jelly 

And while we were gone, the kids had a really wonderful time creating memories by themselves with Grandma and Grandpa. They got to share meals, go to parks, go on rides, go meet friends, and eat more than their share of goodies I am sure! Both kids continue to talk about the things they did there, and we are thankful for this opportunity for relationship bonding. In all before this, Grandma and Grandpa McIver had seen Arielle for only 3 weeks in her life! So what a precious time to connect with both children.

Pictures below from Bev:

tea party

Parks

Great snacks! 

Helping Grandpa

Scaring Grandma!

Dubai also has some great tourist sights to see for every age! Here are some of the fun things we went and saw!

The old and the new. While most things are new, there are still some great old historic sights as well.

The new was obvious everywhere. We saw the palm islands, more construction than you can imagine and signs of growth everywhere.

Once you get outside the big cities, there are charming villages and towns that await you. This particular one was in Oman and we really enjoyed it!

Great hotels. We really loved our hotel on the coast.   http://www.jalfujairahresort.ae/index.aspx

There were amusement parks and family fun centres. Beautiful outdoor ones with lights, dancing fountains and great coffee shops :)

The tallest building in the world is there. Pretty impressive. Especially since it is 80% unoccupied :P

And in front of the world’s tallest building is a beautiful music and water show every 20 minutes. The kids loved it!

 

There were great coffee shops all over the place. There was Caribou coffee, Second Cup, Starbucks, Seattle’s Best and many others. For a coffee connoisseur like me it was wonderful! I also earned my UAE and Oman mugs for my Starbucks mugs collection.

Flying out at night, you can just see the outlines of the palm island built into the sea with all the lights. A little grainy but it was dark and we were flying!

flight

I learned my lesson once and now usually take a picture of all my luggage just getting ready to leave. They couldn’t deny they had it then could they! Anyhow, we went over to Dubai with three bags (which had other bags flat in them) and came back only 1.8 kg short of the weight allotment! The big hard container in front had breakables, but also 6kg of frozen bacon, cheddar and sausage. Thank goodness they didn’t lose this bag! We brought home lots of stuff for friends, new clothes for the kids and us, 8 pounds of coffee, and many other items from our shopping list! Even bike parts!

bags

And then we were gone. 3 weeks passed so fast, but really it was a wonderful vacation. A time to refresh our batteries, process some things in life, eat good food and enjoy our family. We are grateful for the opportunity to go and to Paul’s parents for hosting us!

1 comment :

Anonymous said...

What an amazing time - so glad you were blessed by all of it. The arm chair travel was awesome Chantelle. Thank you always for sharing your fantastic photographic abilities with us. Love, hugs and always prayers. heather