The First Month

Wednesday, 31 August 2016

Abu Dhabi skyline from The Galeria
One week after landing in Abu Dhabi, the two bedroom apartment in our hotel became available and all of our lives improved tenfold. Joe and I no longer need to tip toe into bed every night and Jasper has space to play. He has made great friends with the valets downstairs, rushing in the door and grabbing them each by the hand and leading them to the fish tank.  They love him and oblige and it's the cutest thing to watch.  We are still very thankful for the shopping mall next door although perhaps we will regret it later with our expanding credit card bills and waistlines.

Jasper has started nursery school which meant I had to build up my courage and tackle the thirty minute commute through Abu Dhabi's massive roads and traffic. It's a gradual settling in process there which is nice for both of us but the school seems lovely and he's ever so excited about the kids and the toys.

I've been finding the transition relatively easy although I'm unsure if I'm in the honeymoon stage or just a seasoned veteran taking the good with the bad. Culturally, this is a massive change from Norway.  Most notably for us is the very evident class system with Emiratis clearly at the top and the domestic and manual labourers from India and the Philippines at the bottom. It is uncomfortable at times particularly after so many years in socialist Scandinavia. Families tend to have entourages here with, at minimum, nannies in tow tending to the children. There are many times where I'm the only Mom and most definitely, the only Mom without a nanny accompanying my child around the play centre.

On the plus side, we are loving the endless amounts of takeaway and food delivery.  Practically anything can and will be dropped at your doorstep at any time during the day. This is a godsend with our limited kitchen in our temporary apartment.  American chains such as Shake Shack and Pinkberry are a dime a dozen, the UK's Waitrose supermarket feels like a treat and the shopping malls are impressive.  We have yet to see a cloud in the sky and while the heat is stifling it is a pleasant change to weeks on weeks of grey and rain.  Jasper is quite popular with his fair skin and blonde hair, people going out of their way to pat him on the head and doing everything they can do to capture his attention. He's not sure what to make of it but I'm certain when we're elsewhere and he's less of a novelty, he'll wonder why no one is fawning over him.

Joe's visa has been approved yet not quite in hand yet so we're still strapped in a lot of ways but we've started looking at apartments, figuring out what we can afford and where we would like to be.  As is often the case, we're wishing our budget was a tiny bit larger but with rental costs astronomical here and our company not footing the entire bill this time around, we have to be cautious about what we choose.

We still have waves of sadness over what we have left behind.  When we drive by a park Jasper states, "Playground hot" and I certainly miss our walks along the fjord in the fresh air.  Flipping through my camera roll passing by photos in our old apartment feels strange that it's no longer ours and I'm nostalgic for it. But, we're doing fine, settling in and looking forward.


  1. Your comment about everyone fawning over Jasper and his skin color, literally made me laugh out loud! We always used to laugh that in Saudi, my brother and I were like celebrities, 2 little blond kids running around and everyone would always come up to us! :)

    1. I'm having a hard time picturing you as a blonde!

      Funny - nothing has changed I guess ;) Glad you look back on it humorously - hopefully Jasper will too.

  2. Loved reading this. I lived in Abu Dhabi for 3 years and I was always impressed by the deliveries. Seriously anything can be delivered. The class system is a huge shock and always bothered me.
    Enjoy your stay in Abu Dhabi.


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