Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Spoiler Alert! Stop Reading If You Don't Want to Know How It Ends.

Right now I’m on an airplane.

Ten hours left to go on a 15-hour flight.

And I can’t sleep.

Usually, sleeping on an airplane is no problem for me. Especially when, on occasions such as this, I gobbled up a tablet of everyone’s favorite travel sedative, Dramamine.

But here I am. Everyone around me is happily dreaming. And my bloodshot eyes won’t stay shut.

Maybe it has something to do with the ordeal I’ve just been through.

You see, today I closed the chapter on our lives in Dubai.

I don’t even know where to start. This is hardly the blog post I was expecting to be writing at the end of the summer.

Do I tell you about the New Jersey hotel room we were staying in at the end of August, where, as I was lying in bed drowsily reading my book, Daddy came in after finishing a conference call and whispered, so as not to wake the children, “Honey, there’s been a development….”?

Do I tell you about the tears that involuntarily flooded my eyes as he began to form words like “restructuring” and “reassigned” and “not sure they want us to get on the plane next week”?

Do I tell you about my heavy, heavy heart as I excused PopPop and myself from our family going-away party, because I couldn’t bear waiting one minute longer to tell him of the news that was going to rock all of our worlds?

Do I tell you about the virtual fire drill that ensued once we realized that, whereas school in the UAE had not yet begun, our kindergarten here in the States had started two weeks ago?

Do I tell you about the manic 48-hour house hunt we embarked upon in the hopes of magically and instantaneously relocating our family to the part of town districted to the most acclaimed public school? Or the literal eleventh-hour decision to sign Sushi up for one of the most reputable—and expensive—private schools in the county?

Do I tell you about the funk that both PopPop and I quickly slipped into as Daddy boarded a plane back to Dubai for a company board meeting, and the two of us were left to contemplate the realities of a sudden relocation back to the USA? One we hadn’t planned for emotionally (we’d been having the time of our lives!) or logistically (see, i.e., schools... and homeowner PopPop’s recent renewal of his tenants’ lease, leaving him essentially homeless back in the States)?

How my head hurt, all the time?

The way I was constantly falling to pieces, at even the most fleeting thought of the life in Dubai that was astonishingly no longer ours: the superlative academic programs, our devoted “staff,” the international thrills, and the irreplaceable friendships, both on the adults’ part as well as the kids’?

In other words, do I tell you of my broken heart?

Well, no.

That would be silly. You all know what a broken heart feels like.

Rather, I wanted to remind you of that trite expression, “We make plans. Life laughs.”

Cuz let me tell you, we had big plans for this next year in Dubai, having every reason to believe that it would be our last. (Daddy had originally signed on for only a two-year expat contract, which would be coming due next month; later we had—I thought—all agreed to extend it for a third and final year.) (Apparently not everyone got that memo.) We’d planned to travel more around the region, taking better advantage of the ridiculously luxurious live-in help that we might never have again. We’d planned to have more friends and family come to visit us. We’d planned to watch proudly as an excited Screamer marched off to the “big kids’ school” with her sister Sushi, seeing as our school in Dubai, unlike the schools in our home state that adhered strictly to a September 1 birthday cutoff, was willing to place her according to aptitude and bump her up to the next grade level.

Yet there I stood a few hours ago in the overheated driveway of our beloved Dubai home— a dramatically sobbing housemaid clutching my shoulder, a conspicuously sniffling driver revving the engine, and two miserable cats wailing from their crates in the back seat of the car.

At the moment it almost feels like I dreamed the whole thing.

And yet the facts remain: PopPop and I are presently heading back to the USA, having spent a mere 36 hours in Dubai grabbing our most treasured belongings and saying a few agonizing goodbyes and gathering up the reluctant felines... while Daddy stays behind (like the unflappable head of the family that he is) to pack up the house, find new jobs for the maids and the driver, sell the furniture and the cars, and turn off all the utilities. The three kids, meanwhile, have been looked after for the past couple of days by the marvelous Supernanny and the equally extraordinary Mr. Supernanny (no offense intended, A; your alternative nickname can be The Hulk, because you’re so mightily muscle-bound these days), as well as my precious, generous, ever-the-lifesaver BFF "Kate" (as in Bosworth, because of her similarly striking two-toned eyes).

And somehow life just goes on.

This is not the last I want to write to you about Dubai—I need a few days to process a jumble of extreme emotions and complicated thoughts—but I figured it was time to let you in on what’s been going on.

Because in a way, you were on this incredible adventure right along with us.

I’m just so terribly sorry that there won't be more Dubai story to tell.

Which—in light of the overwhelming fear and uncertainty that punctuated the first several entries of this blog back in September 2008—leads me to believe that Life is having a big ol’ guffaw at my expense right about now.



Zunaid said...

Sadness :'(

It has been quite a journey and I've enjoyed reading your blog through this entire time...I feel sad knowing the stories are about to come to an end. For the briefest moment I got an insight into how an outsider (particularly an American Jew) views the things I wouldn't blink twice at were I in the same just makes you realise there is a whole wide world out there that all of us living in our little niches rarely get to experience...I'm happy that you come away from the experience having had some pre-conceived notions busted (and no doubt some others re-inforced).

I have more thoughts running through my head at this point than I can put to I guess all I'll say is enjoy whatever life serves up next for you and your family. If you're ever out walking in a big city next time look around, there are more Muslims around than you might have realised ;)

And if you do find yourself in Cape Town remember there's a kindred spirit thinking about you.


ourmerrybee said...

I stumbled upon your blog some time ago, and so thoroughly enjoyed it, that I bookmarked it and have returned every couple of months to look for updates. I'm really sorry it's come to an end. You are a very entertaining, charming writer, and I really enjoyed reading another westerner's perspective of this country.
Good luck with your new adventures back in the States - I hope you keep blogging - I expect that wherever you are, your take on life would be fun and worth reading.