Monday, November 29, 2010

Our house is very very very fine house......

 Okay, so I finally have some good pictures of the home.  We're almost there. We still want to buy a few rugs and hang up some more pictures but it's much better now. I should do before and after pictures....that would really show you the change.
 Our bedroom is above and below is the guest bedroom.  I have curtains to hang in the guest bedroom but didn't get there yet.

 This is the guest bathroom. 
 Our kitchen which looks drastically different from where we started!  The big cabinet in the middle is hiding our hot water heater. All bathrooms or kitchens have tanks for your hot water.  I wanted to hide ours.

 The entry area.  This goes from the kitchen to the living room. All rooms have doors on them so that you can turn the A/C on in the summer and it stays in that room.
 Our family room.  We have a few more photos to hang.
 The brown sofas are typical for this area.  Most homes have a "Majlis" which is a seating area but usually the sofas are a bit lower to the ground. We got a small set made at a local guy here just over the border in Oman.  We're happy with how it turned out.  We still have a few photos to hang up over the Majlis seating area and we want to get another area rug but have yet to find that.

Sunday, November 28, 2010

Lamb Carcass.....

Do we sell lamb carcass like this in a case at home?! 
We just like to show you things that seem just a tad bit different to us but are completely normal to those from other parts of the world.  Maybe we sell it but just don't use the word "carcass" when marketing the item.  All I know is that I'm pretty sure that I don't use that word very often and especially not about the meat I'm getting ready to take home to cook and serve for dinner. But it makes a fun story.....

Thursday, November 25, 2010

50 Years!

Last week our hospital celebrated 50 years of service in Al Ain and to the surrounding communities. Pretty cool that our hospital was here even before the UAE was a country and before they had any money. 

We had a couple different parties that we planned but one of them was for our staff.  We had a great time and a good time was had by all...or at least I think! 

We had this really great Arabic band play old arab style music. They did a fabulous job and I wish they had played longer.

We held it at the Palace Museum here in Al Ain which used to be Sheikh Zayed's home (the founder of the country). Sh. Zayed's sons are now the President and Crown Prince. 

We had all sorts of activities for the kids since we were at a museum and didn't want them to run around crazy there. So we had games, clowns, cotton candy and a magician.  

I'll try to post pictures from the other event where we invited local business owners, friends of the hospital and other such folk.

Wednesday, November 24, 2010


Falconry is a sport that is still alive and active here.  Tourists can take trips out to the desert to see Falcon shows.  The other night we went to the house of a family that raises them for people.  They keep these helmet mask looking things over their eyes when they aren't actually practicing or doing a show.

We hope to see a show this weekend on Friday with a friend who owns a business out in the desert .....I'll let you know how it is.

This is Dale.  He was here visiting from the CURE home office so Trey took him out on a bit of a desert tour. They hung out with the falcons and got to see a show where they release the falcon to go get the live chicken or whatever it is that they do....... and then went driving in the desert with 4 wheel drive vehicles.  

Now, those are things you can't do in the USA....or at least not in the Northeast to my knowledge.    Come on over!

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Baby It's Cold Outside....

I know that I update you a lot on the weather here, but it's really such a topic of discussion because right now it is PERFECT!  Seriously, gorgeous.  But look what we found at the store....hats, gloves and scarves.  I don't think that it gets below 60 degrees in the day and maybe a little less at night.....these things are not necessary....except for those folks who need them to travel to cold countries....but still.

Monday, November 22, 2010

Eid Al Adha.....

This past week we celebrated Eid Al Adha here in the UAE.  It's the Festival of Sacrifice celebrated by Muslims around the world.  Immediately following Ramadan there is another Eid and then this Eid always follows 2 months and 12 days later (I think or maybe it's 2 months and 10 days later).  Anyway, many people will kill a goat or sheep and then you divide the meat into 3 parts. You keep 1/3, then you give 1/3 to friends and family and then 1/3 to the needy or poor.

Here they have a tradition of taking their portion, they rub spices on it and then wrap it in all sorts of leaves (like mango leaves, lemon leaves, etc) and then stick it in a bag and bury it way down in the ground with coals and let it cook for 12-24 hours. 

This is our friend, Ahlam's dad with the meat when it was finished cooking.  

Sunday, November 21, 2010


We have a dear sweet friend who works at the hospital. Her name is Ahlam which means 'dream'.  She is such a fun young woman from Oman and does a great job as a translator. She invited us over to her home a few weeks ago. I loved being there with her and her family.  Her mom is a riot and is a lot of fun.

When you visit people, sometimes they give you this stuff called Bahoor.  It's like incense that smokes when you put it on hot coals.  It then smokes and you are supposed to wave the smell into your clothing.  Women who wear Abayas (the long black dress thing they wear here) will often times put it up their sleeve or under their dress.  Above, Ahlam's mom is making me lift up my shirt to get it under my clothing. 

Here we are being goofy making Trey lift up his shirt and letting the smoke go under so that he smell ALL GOOD.

Really, I think the scent grows on you a bit. In the beginning it took me a while to like it but now I enjoy it......except when we going visiting to many homes for Eid (the holiday we just had) and you have to smell it at EVERY home....then sometimes it gets to be a bit much.

Saturday, November 20, 2010

Look what I found.....

Okay, so to find Herr's is one thing....I found them in Jerusalem a few times.....but to find BAKED HERR's is pretty good.  I like Baked Chips more than the regular ones so this was a good find. The grocery stores here are pretty good about trying to bring in things they know all of us Westerners want.

Sunday, November 7, 2010

It's your birthday......

Here at the hospital, we have a group of us that participate in a Birthday Club each month. I think there are 11 of us.  We celebrate one persons birthday each month.  Even if there are 2 people with the same birthday in the same month, you just move it around so that everyone gets to celebrate once in the year. Since there are 4 of us in our group with birthdays in July, my birthday time was in September.  It's really fun to celebrate with this group each month! 

Last week we celebrated our friend Khaled's birthday but instead of doing it at the hospital during lunch like usual, we decided to hold it at our house and we had a spaghetti and lasagna dinner. It was great to have everyone over. This will give you a chance to see some of my co-workers. Some of them brought their families, too so there are bunch more than normal, but it was a great night and fun way to celebrate with everyone!  This group had people who are from the Philippines, India, UAE, USA and Syria.

Thursday, November 4, 2010

When the sun goes down.....

This is where we love to sit at night!  We got an outdoor table and chair set for the cool evenings that have finally arrived. Today the weather is gorgeous and every weekend we've been having people over to enjoy the outdoors for us.  Now is the time for us to breath fresh air since we're locked up all summer long!  It actually now feels like we just left something called "hell" and now we're entering summer---the good stuff!  I'm excited to get outside and do some fun things. We'll keep you posted on how good we are about doing that stuff.

On another note, we have our big 50th Anniversary Party coming up on the 10th and 12th of November.    This week, a man from the Culture and Heritage Foundation here (who is over the place we were planning on hosting the event) comes into my office, sits down and just says in a loud voice "We need to transfer the event.!" I thought, hmmm, that could mean a lot of things but it better not mean what I think. I just kept staring at him.  Then he said it again.  I finally starting talking and told him that wasn't so good. He got an order from  "Abu Dhabi" (yes, an order from the whole city:) meaning the Royal Family that the Queen is coming and they need our venue to set up for her.....oh okay....I just told him right back that he could have it after our event was OVER!  Ha, that's a joke.  I knew it wouldn't work. So he said to me "Follow me now, we'll go look at two more places." So we did and we found a new site.  One thing during that time that this guy said to me was  "What's the big deal, you still have 15 days to plan the event!?"  Oh okay, your event and our event probably look different. Just like the shades in our house.  We all probably differ on what a "finished product" is.

So we will take this as a cultural learning and go with it.  We hope it turns out well and ends up being lots of fun for our guests and our staff!

Our house is pretty much done. I'll take pictures for you.

Tuesday, November 2, 2010

Looking through the glass.....

Last week, right after I got back from my trip to Boston, there was a class in Boston that I  just needed to make sure all logistics went smoothly.  There is a professor from Harvard's Public Health School that came 3 times for this course in Abu Dhabi and at the end (just last week), the participants earned a Harvard certificate of completion for this course. They had an exam and presentations and a few other things.  I wasn't here for the other parts really but it was fun to be involved.   Oasis worked to bring this course here but people from the Health Authority and other hospitals took the class, too.

We stayed at a hotel for 1 night since the course was 2 was a great idea since I was still a bit jet lagged and needed as much sleep as I could get and didn't feel like driving back and forth 2 hours each way just to get up the next day to do it all over again. 

At the hotel, we had this strange window that led from the bathroom into the sleeping area!  I haven't seen this much. I think sometimes a whole window can open into the living room--I feel like that's at fancy spas and stuff---not at this hotel.  Anyway, just wanted to show you what it was like.

 You can see straight from the room through the shower and watch me blow dry my hair.

Monday, November 1, 2010

Watch out.....

Beware of Road Surprises.  That's a new one. 
I just like this road crossing sign here. Since both men and women wear long flowy things, the person looks a bit different than ours at home.