Monday, 30 March 2009

Our own personal carbon footprint

Tomorrow we're going to be picking up our new car! It's got three rows of seats (for all the shopping, obviously), a 4 litre engine (!!!), we can plug our ipods straight in, and most importantly, it's one of the safest cars on the market. Vital for the roads out here, where we see a serious accident every time we hit the road.

The car - a Ford Explorer - will probably be very familiar to American readers of this blog, but not to UK readers, where buying one would be financial suicide! I'm really looking forward to driving it. It's so quiet inside, you wonder if you've remembered to turn the ignition on! And my, is it huge. Very very large. We're going to have to learn how to park all over again (thank God it's got parking sensors).

My husband's been off sick for the last few days. The poor thing has come down with the local lurgy and completely lost his voice, a rather important part of CRM! So he's been at home with me resting, which has been lovely. The airline has its own medical centre, and we were really impressed with the staff. Whereas in the UK the airline's emphasis would be on you flying whether you were ill or not (i.e, the flight has to leave on time, and we don't care if you're sick, just do it), over here they put the pilot first, and in fact told my husband he couldn't fly tonight, when he was prepared to try. I really admire that.

We got another part of the bureaucratic jigsaw done yesterday - the blood type test. They put your blood type on all official documentation over here, probably because there are so many road accidents (something I'm trying not to think about.) Now I've just got to get the finger printing over and done with, and then I think we've just got to hand the form in, and then... at some point I'll become a legal resident here (I hope!)

Wednesday, 25 March 2009

Small steps

Sorry it's taken me so long to give you an update on our new life! It's been a very busy week and a half, full of lots of paperwork (they love their bureaucracy here) and lots of shopping and unpacking, getting our new apartment how we want it.

It's also had its ups and downs. For the first few days I felt very homesick. Life here in the Gulf is so different to life at home, that the culture shock really got to me. It didn't help that my husband had to work for three days last week, and without a car (more on that later) I was rather isolated at home in the compound. Not that it's not a nice place to be; there's a lovely sports centre here with lots of great pools, a gym, and a nice restaurant and coffee shop, and there's also a great feeling of community, too.

Anyhow, I've been feeling more like my usual self the last few days, and we've been having a lot of fun. Last night we went out with an old friend of mine who by a fantastic piece of luck lives our here too now! It was so great to see her, and we had a lovely time. She's very excited about me moving out here too and is plotting a "Welcome" dinner party for us, which is fabulous.

After dinner we went for a night-time walk along the sea front, and it was really rather beautiful. The breeze was warm and scented by the flowers in the park nearby, and the strobes on the skyscrapers glinted at us from across the bay. On nights like that, you can't help but like this place.

The other lovely thing on the horizon is that my mum is coming to visit in less than two months! It's great because it gives me something to aim for, getting the flat and our lives in general ready for her to enjoy during her visit.

Now - the car! We've spent a lot of time since I arrived trying to decide which car to buy. The roads are absolutely crazy here (think wacky races) so we've settled on a 4x4, something we'd never even consider in the UK, given fuel prices and car tax! Still, out here it's a different matter. Our chosen car (think truck)'s 4 litre fuel tank costs a whole £10 to fill up here. Incredible - it's cheaper than buying water! It's also an extremely safe car, which is the main thing, and also very comfortable, and as my husband pointed out yesterday, probably the nicest car we'll ever own! So that's all very exciting.

My husband has his first flight tonight. Very exciting, and nerve wracking for him too, of course, on a new and much larger aircraft type. But I know he'll come back with a huge smile on his face! Then he'll know for certain that all the hard training was worth it.

Tuesday, 17 March 2009

New beginnings

Well, here I am! After all that waiting, I'm finally back with my husband in our new home, beginning our new life.

I got Business Class on the way out (hooray!) and it was a wonderful flight. Saying goodbye to mum and dad at the airport was pretty horrible, as I'd expected. I had a wonderful few weeks with them before I left, which was both a good and a bad thing; we got to make some wonderful memories, but it also means I'm missing them more I think.

Still, nothing beats how I felt when I saw my husband again. The good thing about flying Business was that my bags were out incredibly quickly, and so it wasn't long after we touched down that I took a deep breath and walked through the exit into the arrivals hall. I was greeted by a sea of faces, but I immediately saw my husband, who was waving at me like a mad thing. And, despite the fact that public displays of affection are frowned upon here, we had a wonderful, long hug, and it was such an amazing feeling to be together again.

My husband had a day off yesterday and we headed to the shops to buy some essentials for the apartment, including more cutlery and plates, as he'd been surviving with only one set! It feels good to be furnishing our new place with things we've chosen together. That's how places start to feel like home.

Sunday, 15 March 2009

Leaving on a jet plane

This is it. The day has come. In a few hours I'll be on my way to the Gulf to start our new life.

As the song goes, my bags are packed (and they're bulging - I'm praying the check-in people are having a good, generous day!) and I'm ready to go. Sort of. I feel so sad about leaving everything, but I also am tremendously excited to be seeing my husband again and starting this new chapter in our lives.

I have butterflies in my tummy and feel slightly sick. Wish me luck...

Tuesday, 10 March 2009

Almost there

Oh my God, I've only got five days left in the UK! Time seems to have flown by, if you'll excuse the pun. In five days time I will be in the air, a few hours away from seeing my husband again. I can hardly believe it. It's been a long 7.5 weeks. At the beginning I never thought I'd manage it, but it just goes to show what you can cope with when you just have to.

I think things are pretty much sorted. The house is now clear of our things, and I've boxed, weighed and sealed all the stuff we're sending out to the Gulf. I also have a (slightly heavy!) suitcase packed to take to Heathrow with me. Who knew one woman had so many clothes... Well, most women, I suppose...!

I know I'm going to miss so many things here. I'm trying to commit them all to memory - the green grass; the hills and fields; our church; cool but sunny days; drinking wine in the garden on a summer's evening; our pet; my lovely friends; and last but not least, my family, who have been such a tower of strength. But I know that, waiting on the other side, will be my best friend, the love of my life - so there's no choice really, is there? My home is wherever he is, and that's that.

Onwards and upwards...

Monday, 2 March 2009

A date with destiny

My ticket is booked! I'm heading out to the Gulf in two weeks' time. And fingers crossed, it may even be in Business....!

Now I just have to finish my last bits of packing, sort out the remaining paperwork, take our cargo allowance to the warehouse and get my root canal done on my tooth (it never rains but it pours!)

And, of course, continue saying goodbye to all and sundry.

The other good news is that my hubbie's passed his ground school exams with 99%. Naturally I asked him where the other 1% went.

But nobody's perfect, eh....

Sunday, 1 March 2009

Google-tastic, take 2

Here are some more recent search terms used to find my blog from that crazy, anonymous place that is the World Wide Web:

Why can't I spell anymore
Marriedandlooking (ewwwwww)
I'm Mandy, fly me air hostess
Why pilots are important
My husband's a good looking flight attendant who's cheated on me (an interesting variation, that!)
Yo gabba gabba pilot
Should you settle for second best if you can't be with the one you love (there's definitely a story there!)
Do lawyers cheat the most in marriage (another interesting variation!)
And my personal favourite - The definition of an expert is someone who lives 100 miles away from you and has a briefcase....


And finally - today is a special day. It's five years since my husband proposed to me, in front of a beautiful sunset with G&T in hand. And even though he's thousands of miles away today, I want him to know that I'm thinking about him.

I love you more every day, darling.



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