Wednesday, November 28, 2012

The New Presidential Palace

Beautiful even in the construction phase, can't imagine what it will be like when it's done.

I wonder if they had to pay extra for the sun feature.....

Monday, November 26, 2012

My Grandfather

Granddad and I on our last road trip to NC.

I've come to my blog several times over the past month knowing what I must write about next, but I just haven't been able to do it. You see what I need to write about makes me think about a huge loss I suffered last month that I've been trying to go about life here in Abu Dhabi pretending it isn't real. Kind of like remembering the event as only a bad dream. That is until I get the urge to pick up the phone and talk to one of my biggest fans, and realize I can't.

On October 16, my son's 17th birthday, my Granddad Eubanks went Home to be with God. Home to be with his wife of 58 years and my Dad who he lost over 26 years ago. Home to be with countless friends and family members he's had to say goodbye to over the years.  Home to be free from pain and free from cancer.

I've said it several times over the course of this past month, I'm happy for my Grandfather. I know he was so ready to go, and I know how very happy he must have been to finally be with my Grandmother again. We've all had to watch as he's longed for her company the past 3 years. 

Then there's the selfish side of me that wants to pretend he's still here. It's not just because he was my last living grandparent either. It's because he was a huge cheerleader and supporter of me and my family in everything we did. He was also my buddy, someone I could always count on to say yes to a lunch or dinner date.

I remember when we decided to make the move to Abu Dhabi I was so afraid to tell my Grandfather, because I knew it would upset him. He always spent a lot of time with my family, and I just didn't know how he would react to the news that we were moving to the other side of the world.

Well, he reacted just like he had all of my life. He told me how proud he was of my husband and I, and he supported our decision. That doesn't mean he liked the idea of being far from his great grandbabies, but he told me he knew how great this opportunity was for us and that we needed to take it.

Perhaps, he knew I needed his blessing. Leaving him with his age and declining health was the one thing that bothered me most about moving to Abu Dhabi. Thanks to modern technology, we were able to get past the many miles that separated us.

I'm pretty sure my Grandfather had my Google Voice phone number( a free US number I have) on his speed dial. Several times over the past couple of years my heart dropped when that line would ring and display my Grandfather's number at what I knew to be the wee hours of the morning in the states. Usually, when someone is calling you at 3am their time it's never for good news.

Not the case with Granddad, it would always be him on the other end sounding wide awake and ready to chat with me. My initial question was always "Are you ok?", followed by "What are you doing up at this hour?". He would usually say the cat or dog woke him up, and when he saw the time he knew I would be awake so he called to chat.

Oh, how I loved those chats about anything and everything. He always wanted to know every detail about what was going on in my life as well as my husband and kids' lives. We could spend an hour just going over the kids' sports. I used to joke that he was like their agent, always trying to broker deals with me to pay them if they scored or better yet if they stopped the other team from scoring.

Even better, were the chats that I got to share with him in person on my summer visits. Granddad was always willing and ready to go with me anywhere, and we normally ran our mouths the entire time we were together. He didn't mind doing simple things like going to Walmart or the hardware store with me. He would always follow me around a store in a motorized cart like a speed demon helping me search for the best deals on whatever I needed. Shopping usually ended with food, and that was almost always Carolina style BBQ, a meal we both loved. We even did a couple road trips to NC this summer with him riding shotgun. Those are trips I will cherish forever.

I am blessed to have had him in my life for so many years. He was always the supporter and fan that I know my Dad would have been if he could have. So, for me to have to write this and really acknowledge he's gone is tough, and it's taken over a month. I'm going to miss our 3am talks and BBQ dinners, but most of all I'm going to miss having someone that made me feel as though they were incredibly proud of me.

I love you Granddad.

Monday, October 8, 2012

A Laugh from Bawabat Al Sharq Mall

Straight from the mall directory at Bawabat Al Sharq Mall in Baniyas......Are stores number 45 and 46 new?

Tuesday, September 11, 2012

Faces of 9/11

I took this pic at the World Trade Center site last summer. These were just the firefighters lost on 9/11. Seeing all these faces, and knowing there were so many more that lost their lives that day, really puts in perspective the enormous loss our country suffered.

May we never forget the lives lost that September morning, and may those left to cherish their memories find that peace that "surpasses all understanding".

God bless America.

Sunday, September 9, 2012

Me vs The Small Smalls

Here in Abu Dhabi we have very small almost microscopic ants that try to raid our kitchen from time to time. It's all part of living on a big ant hill, but I absolutely positively HATE bugs of any kind ESPECIALLY in my kitchen. I blame my Mom for this. As a child, I remember if my Mom saw a bug she had my Uncle Ray, the exterminator, at our house that day or the next spraying nasty smelling poison to kill it and any friends it might have.

Well, since we've been away it looks like my microscopic enemies I refer to as the "small smalls" have decided to try to take some of my territory. Instead of calling my Uncle Ray all the way back in America, I've learned to mix up my own little deadly concoction of cherry jelly and boric acid powder I spent a whopping 4 dirhams on.

Tonight as I was setting out my "death traps", my son decided to assist me with what he said was a fail proof way of leading the small smalls to their demise. Here is a picture of his ploy to coax them to the poison.

Monday, August 20, 2012

The Beginning of the End

Our Virginia House

The hubby arrives in Virginia tonight, and for me that marks the start of the end of our vacation here in the states. As our time draws to a close here, I find myself having the same conflicted feelings I had before I left Abu Dhabi at the beginning of the summer. There are people, places, and things that I can't wait to get back to in the UAE. Then of course, there are people, places, and things in the US that I dread having to say goodbye to for another 10 months.

In Abu Dhabi, I look forward to catching up with my friends and trading stories about our summer. We've made some wonderful friends since moving there, and I've missed them the past couple of months. I'm also excited about some new friends that have made the leap to living abroad, and I can't wait to show them around when I get back. I'm looking forward to a reunion night with all of our expat friends old and new at Stills, one of our favorite places on Yas Island, when I return.

An upcoming reunion in Abu Dhabi, means that there first has to be yet another farewell here in the United States. We've had to do this a few times, but they don't get any easier. I think it goes without saying that reunions are a lot more fun than goodbyes. I'm dreading the big hugs and inevitable tears that I know come with having to say goodbye to my friends and family. Hopefully, I've put a spark in few more of them to make the trip over to see us in the next year. Mom is already dusting off her passport for a visit this fall.

My husband and I have already discussed hitting a Le Boulanger on the way home from the airport for REAL Lebanese food. It seems while I was gone a new Le Boulanger opened in Khalifa A which is even closer to my house than the other ones. Hummus with meat, saj, mixed grill, lamb chops, and REAL Arabic bread......YUM!
The Corniche

I'm also looking forward to a ride on scenic Route 12 that island hops over Yas and Saadiyat instead of the more direct route downtown. Route 12 has amazing views of the Arabian Gulf and it's untouched smaller islands and beaches. It's the road that makes you forget you're in a busy place like Abu Dhabi. That trip of course will end down at the Corniche, and I can't wait to see what sights it has to offer.

Dubai will be another must for us when we get back too. I think we'll need to drop into a few of the glamorous mega malls there. While the idea of Dubai shopping sounds fun, the idea of having to go into a Lulu's or Carrefour to grocery shop does not. Sorry guys, I'm a spoiled American. I must admit though, I have been a bit overwhelmed by American grocery stores since coming back. I'm not used to having so many choices, except of course for things like rice, fruit, vegetables, cheese, and tea. Tea and rice have just about a whole aisle to themselves in the UAE.
Burj Khalifa at the Dubai Mall

Here in the states I'm going to miss the peaceful serenity of the lake our house sits on and it's ever changing show. The lake is home to numerous waterbirds including mallards, geese, cranes, and the  most awesome creature of them all - the blue heron. We've been fortunate this summer to have a nest of baby blue herons in our backyard. They've provided the morning entertainment as I drink my coffee on my screened in porch. There are 3 of them, and I always get a chuckle when I see them all together. I can't help but think of Bob Marley singing "Three Little Birds".

I do look forward to the pampering I get in the UAE. I've found I'm not a fan of pumping my own gas or bagging my own groceries. Oh, and I most definitely see a spa date in my future. Can't wait to experience the whole extreme customer service, but I'm not looking forward to being called Madame and M'am constantly. For some reason, it just makes me feel old and like the people saying it somehow think that I think I'm better than them or at a higher social level.

So, I guess that leads to one of the things I'll miss about America. I'll miss fitting in, and just being a face in the crowd. I can drive past a bus in America, and not have everyone on it stare at me. I can run to the store in bummy workout clothes with no makeup and not care. I don't have to think about my wardrobe and who it might offend. Or my favorite worry, "How much will I sweat in this?".

The biggest thing I'm looking forward to? MY BED! "Home" for me is where my bed is, and where my family(the 4 of us) lives. Plus, I've got a puppy....and a cat...waiting for me there. Vacations are nice, but I'm looking forward to going home and jumping back into my daily life. It's getting about time to go "home".

Sunday, August 12, 2012

In the Land of the Free and Home of the Brave

Me and Granddad

I'm backkkkkkkkkkkkkkkk! Actually, I am back, back in the good ol' US of A. No, not for good, but for a little American vacation. Truth be told, expat vacations to their home countries aren't typical family vacations.

For our family, these summer vacations mean we are separated for months. The kids and I head back to the states after school is out, and my husband doesn't join us till the end of the summer for a couple of weeks. It isn't exactly an ideal way for a family to live, but sticking around for the crazy hot weather isn't fun either. Not to mention, despite living in another country we still have property and things we left behind to attend to in Virginia.

So, what does one do on a crazy long vacation in a place they once called home? Well, I think it goes without saying that FAMILY has been a big focus for me on this trip. I can't get enough hugs from my Mom. I've lucked out, and she has spent most of the summer with me and the kids. We've had a few large family sleepovers with my sister's family, and I've enjoyed every minute, every laugh, every smile, every hug....

I've also spent hours chatting and catching up with my Grandfather. He's always happy to hit the road, so we've made a couple road trips to North Carolina in the past few weeks. No trip to NC with Granddad is complete without stopping for one of mine and his favorites, Carolina barbecue. I try to make it in the UAE, but nothing compares to the real stuff. If only I could figure a way to smuggle some back with me.

As much as I would like for this vacation to be all about fun, it's also been full of work. It seems our last tenants that rented our US home were deadbeats. So after an eviction, I'm left with lots of things to fix and a husband on the other side of the world. I'm finding I can be quite the handy woman. Perhaps my proudest accomplishment thus far, is turning our pool water from a dark greenish brown to crystal clear.

On that note, I have several potential expats ask me advice and questions all the time. Here's a free piece of advice, be VERY careful in selecting renters and if possible don't let them know you're in another country.

Well, that's all for now folks. I promise there will be more to come................

Saturday, April 28, 2012

Mr. and Mrs. Weems

Katie and Mason

Today is the day my Dad died 26 years ago at the age of 33. It's usually a day that saddens me, as I think of all the "what ifs". It certainly has never been a day that I have looked forward to on the calendar.....until this year.

You see for months now, I've had April 28th prominently posted on my fridge as a reminder for a happier event. Today is the day my not so little anymore cousin, Mason, is getting married. It's a day we've joked would never come, but unless he sneaks out of the church, today is the day my fun loving cousin settles down. Not to be cliche, but I'm sure there will be hearts breaking in Virginia today.

Mason proposed to his beautiful bride, Katie, right before we moved from the US, and I've never been so proud of him. Katie is a beautiful person, and the perfect match for Mason's fun and outgoing personality. It just confirms my believe that there is the perfect someone out there for everybody.

The only thing that saddens me is that, because I live so far away I can't be with all of my family today to be part of an event I've been looking forward to since they first stopped by to show us "the ring". This is one of the many sacrifices I have to make living on the other side of the world from those I love. As happy as I am that today is finally here, part of me still wants to sob over what I'm missing out on.

So Mason, since I can't be there in person, and sending a card from here takes forever I want you to know my heart is with you today. I remember the day you were born like it was yesterday. You were the coolest live baby doll a 6 year old could ever have. Wendy, Joy, and I thought you were the greatest thing ever, the very first Eubanks boy! We all wanted to be little mamas to you. You have always been a source of joy and laughter for me from your days of peeing off the back of Granddad's truck trying to spray poor Rufus, to your days of conning the ice cream lady into running a tab for you. Oh, and who can ever forget how hard poor Grandma tried to keep you off of that ditch bank when you were little. You were absolutely adorable then, and you have grown to be a handsome man with an amazing personality. I would say young man, but you're 30 now :)  Seriously though, I'm very proud of you. Enjoy today, and the rest of your days with Katie.

Katie, I want to welcome you to our family officially, although to me you have already been a part of it for a few years now.  I so wish I could be there to stand and watch you walk down the aisle. I have no doubt that you will be absolutely stunning. Mason is a very lucky man! I know you have put a lot of time and effort into the wedding, and I pray it is a day full of awesome memories that you will cherish forever.

Congratulations Mr. and Mrs. Weems!

Monday, April 2, 2012

Only in the UAE

Ok, so we have grown quite accustomed to seeing and hearing things that are odd here. I really need to start making a list, because the minute I think we've seen it all something else funny or odd tops it. It's almost daily that we have these "Only in the UAE" moments. So to give you an idea, here are a few odd moments from this past week in no particular order.

Tea Time in a Box
My son and I were riding our bikes around the other night when we came up on the roadblock at the end of our street. I've mentioned how everything is guarded here including roadwork in the past. Well, it seems the guard at the end of the road has built himself a "house" out of scrap plywood. He isn't the only one, my son's Pakistani friend across the street has done the same, along with another man down the street guarding a new house that is being built. 

Anyways, even odder than men living in boxes on my street is the way they act like it's really a house. As my son and I rode by the make shift house down the road, two men were sitting in it having evening tea. They were quite cheerful to be sitting in a box, and they both greeted us with an "Assalamu alaikum"  as we rode past. Talk about a lesson for kids on being grateful for what they have. 

Applebees in the Sand
We live in an area called Khalifa that is broken into 3 distinct parts A, C, and B. Yes, I know it's out of order, but that's how they run from the coast inland. Khalifa A was developed first, but like Khalifa B it is still under construction. Actually, the whole country is "Under Construction", but that's another story. Khalifa C currently consists of nothing but Zayed University, 3 round abouts, and lots of sand. It's a desert that will one day be the new government center of Abu Dhabi. You might remember this as the place I got busted speeding.

It isn't uncommon to see large groups parked at the round abouts in Khalifa C, and hanging out in the desert. Usually, they will hang out there late at night around a fire. During the day, you may see them dune bashing or having fun on their ATVs. Today, we saw one the of the delivery drivers for Applebees making a delivery to a group of kids hanging out at a round about in Khalifa C. Forget home delivery, you can get it delivered straight to your 4x4 while you're off roading here.

@$#*** in Subway
I have said over and over that I don't think people here understand English curse words, or at least how offensive they are to parents with young children. We were in a Subway restaurant in Dubai this weekend that had a playlist that had every curse or foul word I know of blasting from it's speakers. 

It isn't just Subway. We've been in a place called Magic Planet(imagine Chuck E. Cheese on steroids) in Dubai when the uncensored version of Cee Lo Green's "Forget You" came on. Not to be a goody two shoes, but I didn't even realize there was another version of that song with repeated F-bombs in it. Imagine my shock as it started playing in a place filled with little kids. 

These are just a few moments from this week. I'm sure I'm probably missing some I should share, but sadly this stuff has become the norm here and we just shrug it off  when the next odd thing occurs. 

Saturday, March 24, 2012

A Laugh for the Arabia Expat

My World Traveler

Last night, our 13 year old daughter flew to Thailand for 9 days with a group of classmates from her school for Spring Break. This is the first time she has ever flown without her father or I, and the first time she has ever been to another country without us. I confess to being slightly stressed about it yesterday, but one couldn't help but get caught up in her excitement about the trip.

My world traveler before heading to the airport.

Seeing her prepare and pack this week, I realize that my baby girl isn't a baby anymore. She's becoming quite a remarkable self sufficient young lady. Beyond that though, I see how being an expat teen is shaping the adult she will be one day. The experiences and opportunities she has now are far different than anything we would have been able to provide for her if we had stayed in the US.

In the next week my little international traveler will not only be a tourist, but also a humanitarian. As part of her school's International Baccalaureate curriculum, she has to perform community and service work each year. While she's in Thailand, she will be helping construct a water tower and a greenhouse for a village school along with pitching in on some other improvement projects. She'll also assist with teaching and playing with the children at the school.

Some last minute instructions from her guide aka her humanities teacher.

The trip isn't all about work though. She's looking forward to riding an elephant and holding a baby tiger cub, which for my animal lover will be an amazing experience I'm sure. She'll also be doing some kayaking, ziplining, and a host of other fun physical activities.

So, for the next week or so I'll be anxiously awaiting her return. I can't wait to hear the stories and see the pictures from her first of many adventures.

Tuesday, March 20, 2012


As if you couldn't tell by some of my past pictures, camels are pretty popular here. They are a mixture of what cattle and horses are in the US and other Western countries. Here you see them hanging out in the desert as you drive along highways outside of the city, loaded into the back of trucks riding down the road, running around race tracks at amazing speeds, giving rides along the beach, or at the camel market(a sketchy place indeed) waiting to be purchased.
"Make sure you get my good side, lady."

Camel's milk, like cow's milk in Western culture is very popular here. It lines the dairy aisle at the grocery store in flavors like date, banana, chocolate, and strawberry bearing labels like Camelicious. It's also used to make very fine chocolates that oddly enough you can buy in the shape of a camel. Today, I read it is also going to offered as ice cream, in flavors like chocolate, date, saffron, and caramel. Click here for more on that.
Got Milk?

Another not so nice place you see the humpbacked creature, is in the meat department. In a package for sale is one thing, but I have seen the rear portion of a camel hanging from a butcher's hook at Carrefour(like Walmart). It's not a good visual when you're trying to shop for food.

Despite our Western minds seeing camels as mostly a cute and quirky zoo animal, we have been a little adventurous with our palates. For me the extent of it is eating the camel's milk chocolate. I'm not exactly a culinary daredevil....SHOCKER!......NOT!

Even camels like to hang out on the beach.
My son on the other hand, I think he would have no problem surviving out in the wild. He has been open to any and every culinary experience that comes his way. Not sure if it's that he wants to get a taste of other cultures, or if he wants to feel like he's a contestant on Fear Factor completing a food challenge. Either way, if it veers from the Western norm, and it will gross his mom out, he'll try it.
The Al Ain Camel Market

As far as camel products go, he has had the chocolate, the milk, and the meat. That's right, he made me stand at that awful counter with the poor camel's hind parts hanging in the background, as he selected his camel steak. Then guess who had to grill it for him? That's right, your's truly. YUCK! GROSS!

I apologize on his behalf to any camel lovers out there.

Saturday, March 17, 2012

Al Ain

Since today is St. Patrick's Day, I think it's only appropriate to tell you about the greenest place in the UAE. Most people that know anything at all about the emirates know only of Dubai, and in some cases Abu Dhabi, thanks to Carrie Bradshaw. Al Ain is the secret garden of the UAE. It is an oasis town that borders Oman within the emirate of Abu Dhabi that most people out of the UAE have never heard of, yet I believe it's a must see for all that visit.

To our family, it's the place my husband called home all the months our family spanned two continents. To Emiratis, it is the birthplace of the father of their country, the late Sheikh Zayed, and a popular place for vacation or summer homes.

Since moving here, Al Ain has become a road trip we take to visit friends that came to the UAE back in 2009 when my husband was a newbie here. It's also home to some of the best pizza in the UAE, and a must have every time we visit. Throw in lots of grass, hot springs, tons of flowers, breathtaking views, a new water adventure park, a great zoo, and those are just some of the reasons Al Ain is a must see.

Al Ain Paradise has been recognized twice by Guinness as being the World's Largest Garden.

Jebel Hafeet

 The front of this place looks questionable, but around back
where we park and go in looks even sketchier.

The first time we pulled up to this place with the kids, they refused to get out of the car. They thought we were joking about actually eating here.

Inside, our little pizza paradise isn't that bad. Just don't  plan
on having a crowd, it only has about 6 or 7 tables.

Sunday, March 11, 2012

Sheikh Zayed Bin Sultan Al Nahyan Grand Mosque

I'm BACK! To my loyal followers that have wondered what in world has happened to me, I'm still here. I have  just been mega busy enjoying quality family time with my in-laws. They are back in the US now, so I'm back to blogging.

My in-laws took tons of pictures while they were here, and I told them I would be sharing them with my readers. So, here's a look at one of the first places I took my guests, and a must see if you ever visit Abu Dhabi.

The Sheikh Zayed Bin Sultan Al Nahyan Grand Mosque is a site to behold regardless of what your religious affiliation may be. Its building was initiated by the late leader and founder of the UAE, Sheikh Zayed Bin Sultan Al Nahyan, and it is his final resting place. Sadly, he never saw it completed. Sheikh Zayed died November 2, 2004, and the mosque was opened in 2007. Three of his sons oversaw the completion of the mosque including the UAE's current leader, Sheikh Khalifa Bin Zayed Al Nahyan.

The beauty around and within the mosque does justice to the great leader for which it is named. Sheikh Zayed is known as the "Father of the UAE", and his wisdom, forethought, and generosity has brought the UAE into modern civilization at lightening speed.

The mosque sits prominently between the Mussafah Bridge and the Maqta Bridge as you drive onto the island of Abu Dhabi, and it can be seen for miles. I pass it almost daily, and I'm still taken by it's beauty each time I drive by. At night it is lit in hues of purple, blue, or bright white depending on the phase the moon, with bright white being when the moon is full.

The mosque is open daily for visitors of all faiths from 9am-10pm except during Friday morning worship services. Guided tours are offered free, and without a reservation.

Sunday, February 26, 2012

The Grandparents are Here!

Wow, the past 4 days have been crazy busy for us. For the first time since moving to Abu Dhabi, we have family members from the US here visiting. I must admit I've always been a little jealous of other expats that I've seen showing around visiting family members. It isn't uncommon for grandparents from European countries to make the trip to the UAE to visit with their kids and grandchildren, but for Americans it isn't as common.

When we made the decision to move, my parent-in-laws stated that since we were moving their grandkids 7500 miles away they would more than likely end up making the journey to see them(and us) at some point. Well, this past Thursday "Granny" and "PopPop" arrived in the UAE, and we have been on the go ever since.

Although this is the first family visit, we have had friends from the US visit us. One of the cool things about having visitors is we get to be tour guides, and we get to do some of the more touristy things here that we don't normally do all the time. So, their vacation becomes our vacation as well.

Luckily, my in-laws are here for longer than past guests, so we don't have to jam in the sites of both Abu Dhabi and Dubai in just a few days. We've also been able to just give them a taste of our daily life here, so they now have a better understanding of the differences we've had to adjust to in our new life abroad. For an expat, having someone back in your home country understand the changes you are dealing with and adjusting to is huge. I often find myself talking to other expats about how family and friends in our home countries just don't understand this unique place we now call home.

I actually started this blog as a way to try to relay my expat experience to friends and family in the US. I wanted people to understand the magnitude of the changes we've adapted to, both good and bad. Still, I think reading about it doesn't compare to experiencing this place first hand. As I suspected, our visitors have already made note of some of the things I have shared here on my blog, like the abundance of people that try to assist you while shopping here. My mother-in-law noted that there are so many people trying to help you in stores, it's like you're tripping over them. They've also been a witness to what a pain grocery shopping can be here, and a few of the things that make an American or western expat ask "Why?" or "What were they thinking?".

My father-in-law got a taste of one of the unique things here when he went into a bathroom at a local mall......or so he thought. Just like in the states, he looked for the symbol of a man on the door and went in. He was a little befuddled when an Arabic gentleman in the bathroom told him he had to take his shoes off before going in any further. It seems he stepped into a men's room, but this men's room was a men's PRAYER room. PRICELESS!  We all got a really good laugh out of that one.

So for the next couple of weeks, I may be sharing more of the tourist attractions of the UAE with you as opposed to the daily expat life. Perhaps it may convince more of our friends and family to make the journey to this side of the world.

Monday, February 20, 2012

America's My Hometown

Ok, I may get a little sappy here, so I'm just warning you guys. Today, I was making a quick run to the Bani Yas Grande when  this song by Uncle Kracker came on the radio. Maybe I'm a little late, or it's just the fact that most radio stations here are stuck in the 80's. Today was the first time I have ever heard this song.

Anyways, I got a little choked up over it. No, I didn't cry, but I did get that lump in your throat where you feel like you might. Before you start laughing at me or thinking I'm crazy, let me explain why the mention of America and her glory gets me all emotional.

I know I have readers from all over the world now, but I'm going to single out my American compatriots today.  After living in the UAE, I think every American should have to spend some time in a foreign land at some point in their life. Why? Living away from the US makes you love and appreciate it even more. I think there are a lot of Americans that don't understand what a wonderful thing it is to be an American. Sure, we get criticized by the rest of the world (trust me, do we ever). Despite the criticism, to many we still have a life they can only dream of having.

No, I'm not trying to knock my new home. It's just for me, nothing can take the place of America in my heart. I love America and its offer of life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness to all that call it home. Even more now, I love the brave young men and women that sacrifice their lives daily to protect her and her citizens like me.

So, today I'm reminded again that I do miss you, America. I miss Virginia mountains and North Carolina beaches. I miss your green grass and trees. I miss your snow and rain. Most of all, I miss your people... my family and friends.

America's MY hometown.

Saturday, February 18, 2012

A Visit from the Sandman

On a normal day you can see the gas station to the right clearly.

To the left of this photo is our neighborhood, but the sand is eclipsing  it.

This is all sand, not fog. Imagine being outside in it.

This is what the whole route looked like on our way to Dubai.

The view from my kitchen door. My counter tops are coated this morning.

This is at my front door. That rug is normally blue.

My front porch. The wind not only blew the sand in, it also knocked over plants.

My new sandbox.

My house is dusted daily, but I was able to write my name in sand on a  table  this morning.