I may have given people the wrong impression with my last post. Yesterday was supremely frustrating, and was unfortunately not an isolated incident in terms of the inefficiency we have encountered in the UAE, but overall, I’m actually quite enjoying myself here in Abu Dhabi. There are downsides for sure, but the move was surprisingly easy, both kids adjusted immediately, living on campus offers many benefits and makes my life easier, and most importantly, I have FRIENDS.
If you’re reading this, you’re probably my friend. Yes, I have a lot of really good friends. The best. (Well, one is the best, a couple are the second best, and the rest are third tier, but that’s still better than most.) I love my friends, but damn you all for being scattered all over the world! Obviously, I’m the most guilty of this. But my point is that for the last five years while we were living in Rochester, I did not have the most solid group of friends. I blame the babies. I got pregnant with Adele right after we moved there in 2009. Without school or a job offering an easy way to meet people, I was kinda on my own. And being a, erm, slightly extreme attachment parent, I didn’t get out of the house much and certainly never alone. I banked on making other mom friends, but my parenting philosophy was different than most’s and that’s annoying. (Oh, the horror stories I could tell you about the other couples we met in our birthing class at the hospital! Please don’t make babies with a Bro.)
I think there are two things at play here that are making me feel like a social person again:
1) There are good people here. They’re smart. They’re funny. We share some common interests. They live five minutes away.
2) My two girls are getting closer to ages where they require my presence less and less. I don’t have a baby permanently attached to my breast anymore (though breastfeeding here is a lot less of an issue than I feared it may be). They’re much better at entertaining themselves, especially when they’re together. When they go to sleep, they stay asleep. And their bedtime is 6:30, so Jeff and I have plenty of time to ourselves at night. They are still a bit mommy-crazy when I’m around, but Jeff is really good about offering to watch them so that I can go out and do things independently (as he always has been, but I know they’re a lot easier on him now, which makes it easier for me to say okay).
So, anyway, yay! I’m starting to get out of the house and do things again like a normal human being. On Tuesdays, a group of women from campus go out to coffee and brunch at a different restaurant each week. Many of us are moms and there are always a few who bring along younger kids (I do bring May). Tomorrow, I’m going to check out a weekly coffee morning next door to Adele’s school that will cater mostly to Cranleigh parents. On Sunday and Tuesday evenings, I am taking an Arabic class. There is a lot of crossover between the Tuesday Coffee women and the Arabic class.
Here are a couple of photographs from that class:
And here are but a few of the awesome people in it:
This tall drink of water is Rachel. She is wife to Andy, who is Jeff’s colleague in the Political Science department. I’m gonna go ahead and call Rachel the glue that holds our little social circle together. She is so nice, but also quietly weird in that good, funny, genuine way. She has a cat named Wanda, is a champion rower, and is trying to find a job as a librarian, but I’m hoping to thwart that plan so she’s always available to hang out when I want her to be.
Next to Rachel, we have Robyn:
Isn’t she adorable?! Okay, she’s a grown woman, so she might not appreciate that. She is a lawyer and is recently married to Bill, who is in the History department. They are currently planning a big, fat, Greek wedding reception back in Toronto. I haven’t met Bill yet. Has anyone? Why are you hiding Bill, Robyn???
This is not an exhaustive list of my friends from the Arabic class. These are just the lucky few that I happened to snap pictures of one day. For example, I don’t have a picture of Monica. Monica is obsessed with Criminal Minds and miniature animals on Facebook. I hope that doesn’t make her sound too horrible. Sometimes, I think it’s best if I don’t sit next to her in class, because we just giggle the whole time and then start speaking to each other in German, because that’s where our brains go when we try to switch them into “foreign language mode.” Monica’s husband Jon also works in Political Science. I swear it’s totally random that we all seem to be Political Science Wives. (Oh man, wouldn’t that be the most boring reality tv show ever?)
But the picture that sums up our Arabic class is this one of Stephanie (the only one of us who lives off campus! How gutly!):
Hahaha, I love that face.
All of the girls mentioned above come on the Tuesday Coffee Mornings with me too. And then we got the idea to start a craft night after Arabic class, which devolved into a do-absolutely-no-crafts-but-drink-champagne night.
There’s Monica! And joining her is Clarissa (possibly Klarissa, hmm..never asked), a research assistant to…one of the Political Scientists! Clarissa hails from Vienna and speaks a million different languages and is unbelievably well traveled and is the only other person I know who is brave enough to drink the tap water here like we do. She studied Art History and International Relations in college, so she’s basically me and Jeff combined.
I went with a handful of these people to Dubai for a gallery night a couple of weeks ago. And I attended a lecture on Rauschenberg’s Erased De Kooning Drawing last week. Today, I went to an introductory sewing class. Basically, I am ever so slightly becoming me again. Except, maybe a me who can sew.
Ha, I just realized that I only posted pictures of my friends who do not have children. But I have met a ton of other parents here whom I really like. I’ll do a whole other post for them.