Saturday, August 22, 2009

Setting up home

The 7 star motel in the distance behind the huge picture. One day will get a better photo.

This is open to the public but will have to be another day.
Setting up House 23 August 2009
This past week is a bit of a blur with shopping and more shopping. It sounded so much fun when I was at home, but oh brother was I wrong. More on that later. Al Ain has a population of about 400,000, and their currency is Dherims (pronounced dearums). To calculate to the Aussie dollar I divide by 3, eg. 1Dhs is about .30cents, 30dhs is about $10aus. Petrol is a little dearer here than it was in Qatar at .70/lt. Traffic is much calmer and within a few months I might be able to drive.

I have had a frustrating week trying to log into my TAFE course. With the help of my tutor and the IT fellows hopefully this coming week I will be able to start. Because Friday here is the Sabbath, and nobody works on Sunday back home it only really leaves me 4days to study, contact my tutor and received feedback. I am already a couple of weeks behind. Matthew paid for me to have the internet on in the motel and it seems it may take a week or more to have internet connected at home, it’s Ramadan.
All working hours change during Ramadan. This is my first so will have more experiences I guess in the next month. There is a greeting that is used but I am not sure yet if it is said or just written during Ramadan, the greeting is similar to our greetings at Christmas. The greeting during Ramadan is Ramadan Kareem.
I have been going to the gym and doing 6 laps of the pool while here. Today we check out so not sure if we will join gym here or not. When we were coming here Matthew did say we would, but now we are here logistics and cost may be an issue to gym membership.
At breakfast one morning I was to sit alone as Matthew had already left for the day, he was to go through the ritual all must go through, blood tests, X-rays and eye tests. Anyway, I noticed a lady sitting at a table – just her and her baby. I asked if I could join them. With a smile and inviting hand gesture, I sat with them. Marcus is only 7mths. I choked back the tears as I thought of our little girls in Melbourne we had just recently left. Jackie offered me a lift to the shops after Marcus had had his morning nap. His nap was interrupted by a fire drill. (see video)
I got to see our apartment and was almost shell-shocked. NOTHING – NOT A THING in the unit. Not even a curtain rod. So now I understand that I must buy everything. Oh well there were towel rods and soap dishes in the bathroom. I met a couple of Matthews work colleagues who will be in the same complex. I met a young couple from church with one of their boys. They made the trip to the motel and I was able to ask Wendy lots of questions. Her advice was really good about what to buy, and what to make do with. (They have been absolute angels and will tell you more later.)

I did my usual ½ hr in the gym and went to the pool to do my laps. I noticed a strange bird that without my glasses and from a distance it looked like either, 2 pigeons, a falcon, a big pigeon or a bird eating another bird. Anyway, I had to get out of the pool to satisfy my curiosity and go look. It was a big pigeon, grey and white but had feathers around the feet to look like a bantam chook.
The fellow who met us at the airport, and works at the HCT (Higher College of ??? for women) in Al Ain with Matthew is amazing. I did say to VeeJay if he wasn’t Hindu he would be a saint.
It was a huge day out shopping. There were 3 couples. We all needed a fridge, washing machine, and a bed. We all had different requirements so we went from shop to shop to shop. We started at 9.30am and didn’t get home until 9.30pm. BIG DAY OUT. It was Matthew’s and my last shop to see if we could get a mattress to sleep on. We have bought one that should come today, it is cheaper but comfortable and we have ordered a better one that comes with a base but wouldn’t be delivered until the end of August. The little Indian assistant was really rude, yelling and pointing. It was VeeJay that stepped in and with an Indian head wiggle sorted things out for us in a quiet manner. His saying is, “If you are happy I am happy, If you are very happy, I am excited.” He is truly worth his weight in gold, and not paid enough I am sure for all that he does.

What a blessed relief to have a day of rest. The Penny family picked us up for church, well actually we followed in our hire car. They picked up another young couple that have arrived in Al Ain. She is a teacher and they have only been married 10mths. After church we had a lovely lunch with the Penny family and got to get to know each other a little better. After lunch they took us all for a drive around Al Ain to get our bearings and a bit of sightseeing. Our Sunday School teacher is a Philipino sister who is so tiny, and I called her a pocket rocket. It was a church I met Jake, a returned Philippino missionary who has left his family (wife and 5 children) to make some money here. He has been here for 2 months of a 2yr contract. He earns 1,700dhs and sends 1,600dhs home. That means he must live on 100dhs/mth, ÷ 3 is less than $30aus/mth. Phew, I tried to hold back the tears but they welled up in my eyes anyway.

It is really a blur, Jonathon, Wendy and young Jonah took Matthew and I for a drive to Abu Dhabi to shop at Ikea. With Ramadan hours it was only open from 10am-3pm. The speed limit on the highway is 120kph and let me tell you there were cars flying past us. On our way home we passed a small car like a mini but it was something else, we couldn’t see the driver until we were along side and saw the driver reclined in his seat with both hands folded behind his head and the passenger in the same position. They had their head piece and big sunglasses on. Driving relaxed to the extreme.
We stopped at the unit to drop off our goodies, where I stayed to clean while Matthew and the Pennys raced back to their place to get some food (remember it’s Ramadan and we don’t eat or drink in public and all food outlets shut down). So little Jonah (5yr) hadn’t eaten since breakfast and it was now after 3. Bro Penny returned with drill and ladder and started installing our curtains. I tell you there are some amazing saintly people in the world. Wendy returned with food for me, and helped me clean and unpack in the kitchen while Matthew put together our table and chairs, and Jonathon drilled and now I have curtains in our bedroom.

1 comment:

  1. Hey mum,
    It's great to see where you'll be staying. It's soooooooooo much nicer than the unit at Qatar :) You'll have to show us what it looks like once you've decorated the place. I'm excited to come and visit next year.