Here is a timeline of what my move from Singapore to Dubai was like, from my own point of view (obviously). (And yes, my resting stress level is about 50%. I know, I know, I know, I need to meditate, but I am stressed about having to meditate. I am working on that).
|Day||Occurrence||My Neurotic Inner Monologue||Stress Level|
|1||Company reaches out to hubs on Linked In. Hubs says probably won’t go for it.||Okay, that’s neat.||50%|
|4||Random company convinces hubs to interview for the role.||Okay, that’s neat.||50%|
|5||Role is in Dubai. We might move.||Okay. Okay. Okay. Where exactly is Dubai? Oh wow, that is quite close to Iran. Is it safe there? My mom is going to flip if we move there. Lots of expats work there, therefore must be okay, right? Time to google. Time to put entire life on hold. Glad I didn’t buy those tickets to that play months from now. What about all those math classes I wanted to set up online? Better put that on hold.||80%|
|6||Interview went well. Second interview next week.||Okay, keep life on hold. Uh oh, Kiddo 1 might not get to perform in the school recital in the fall. Ha, Singapore fall. More like Q3 summer. Shoot, what about those year-long passes Nana got the kids to the play place—better ramp up our visit schedule now.||85%|
|11||Second interview went well. Hubs will get crucial management experience in new position that current company was unable to provide. Hubs will be in charge of Egypt, Turkey, and Pakistan, amongst other locations.||WUT. Great role—dangerous places to have an American passport. Mostly just worried about Pakistan. Most likely his office won’t be in the wilds of Waziristan. Better find some American moms’ groups in Dubai to find out if safety is an issue for working in these countries as an American.
Life status: still on hold. Shoot, now how will I keep my Mustafa Map up to date? I’ll have to find someone local willing to do it. Shoot, what about all my tutoring students? Goodbye successful tutoring business. New country = high nuttiness factor for my schedule so skype tutoring will be quite stressful.
|13||Hubs spoke with contacts. I found info from moms’ groups in Dubai. Determined it is safe enough to work in aforementioned cities.||Okay. Okay. Okay. This might actually be happening. Better figure out if we are willing to live in Dubai. Must go there. BUT MULTIPLY EXPENSIVE FLIGHT TICKETS BY FOUR. Gah! But we haven’t had a vacation in years, so sort of worth it, right? BUT THE COST. How will we afford school here in Singapore?!? Might not have to. I wonder what school costs in Dubai? Probably an arm and a leg. Maybe we will get a good offer and will be able to afford school. How on earth can companies generate enough money to pay all these salaries and benefits for all these fancy expats? I hope I don’t have to turn into a fancy expat. Okay, enough…Let’s get those tickets booked. I am NOT moving there if I hate it.||85%|
|Day 18||Fly to Dubai. Stay at beach hotel for 2 days; stay at home of family hubs knows for 5 days. Do normal life stuff like grocery shopping, play place, complain over coffee about kiddos’ behavior. Determine I can live in Dubai.||Hmmm. Okay. Hot. Like Phoenix. I need sunglasses. I can’t believe I just drove in the Middle East. I can’t believe I am in the Middle East. I just never thought I would be, as I’ve been so infatuated with Asia for so long. Weird, weird, weird. But interesting. So much to learn because I know so very little. Arabic is a beautiful language to look at. Looks like the wind, like a breeze floating over clouds. I wonder if I will learn Arabic. Some people seem flat out LOVE living in Dubai, and some seem to have mixed feelings. Probably like any place, pros and cons.||70%|
|23||Hubs does final interview. We do massive budget project for Dubai to determine cost of living there.||Oh wow. Oh wow, oh wow, oh wow. This is happening. This is happening. This is happening. Will the kids freak out? Doesn’t matter, this is our life, must do what we must do. Maybe they will love it. How can I make sure they will love it? Doesn’t matter, kiddos have a right to their own feelings. How do I feel about this? Doesn’t matter, doesn’t matter, must do. Sigh, sigh, sigh. I need to talk to my lady friends about this. I need to write about this. I need to PROCESS this. OMG I am going to have to say goodbye to my lady friends. That is going to be awful.||99%|
|25||Fly back to Singapore.||Never going to fly again. I hate flying with the kiddos. The stress of wondering what insane thing they will do the minute I turn my head is just too much, although flying Emirates economy was one of the best experiences I’ve had.||100%|
|30||Hubs accepts job offer. I toast hubs to exciting new chapter of life.||I am totally numb thinking about the enormity of the life upheaval ahead of me.||80%|
|36||Fly back to Dubai.||Shoot, schools are closing up for the summer and there are waiting lists everywhere. We must go back to Dubai and find a school.
I don’t want to fly, I don’t want to fly, I don’t want to fly. Yet, I must.
The atmosphere of a school matters far more than their fancy marketing messages on their website.
|40||Find amazing school. Secure one of last 6 spots available.||Whew! Glad Kiddo 1 is excited about her new school. Hopefully this will be a place where she can be (relatively) happy. After six schools in the last 2.5 years, we need some stability, badly. This move will be Kiddo 1’s fifth home in five years. Eight if you count the three months spent in three different temporary homes due to moving to Singapore and visiting Chicagoland. A little much…||70%|
|42||Fly back to Singapore.||Wah! I don’t want to fly! Seriously wish Kiddo 2 was addicted to electronics. Would be so much easier.
Don’t cry, don’t cry, don’t cry. Nerves are so freaking frayed these days.
|43||Resume “normal” life in Singapore. Wait for relocation company to contact us.||This part is terrible. No clue when we will move. Entire life about to change and I know nothing and can do nothing. Cannot make any plans in Singapore further out than a couple weeks. Many Singapore friends leaving town for the summer to visit family. Must get together one last time. :(
Whoops! Forgot to travel to other Southeast Asian destinations while in Singapore. Sigh. Better plan a quick trip. Maybe can squeeze in one.
|49||Take quick weekend trip to Yangon, Myanmar.||Wow! Beautiful place, very interesting food and culture. The temples are so gorgeous. I really hope Aung San Su Kyi *** can do some great things in this country. The people are so kind.||85%|
|52||Moving company surveys our home.||This process is always so weird, opening all my cabinets for a stranger to see. They determine we will need one full 20-foot sea shipment container and a little bit of a second one. Cannot pack items with Buddha images for shipment to Dubai, interesting. Now I must figure out what to pack in our suitcases that will come with us, in our air shipment that will arrive in a few weeks, and in our sea shipment that will arrive in a few months. We will have a maximum of 90 days in temporary housing. Sigh, I hate the limbo-like feeling of temporary housing.||70%|
|53||Visit all my favorite Singapore spots with houseguests.||This is fun. I will miss this place so freaking much. Better soak it up as much as I can.||60%|
|61||Last day of school for kiddos.||Sigh, sigh, sigh.
I am a full-time (read: insane) mommy again.
|66||Buy car seats from a friend.||Dubai is a car culture. Public transportation is not quite as accessible as in Singapore. So it is time to get some affordable car seats. I’ve heard baby stuff is just as expensive in Dubai as it is in Singapore.||70%|
|70||Air con dies in Singapore home. Stay in hotel.||Kiddos are crazy. I guess it’s their only way to deal with the stress of having their lives upended as well. Better get more coffee. We stay up late getting our home organized and marked so the movers will know what gets packed in the air shipment, what gets put in the sea shipment container, what gets left behind (some things belong to our landlord).||80%|
|71||Move Day 1
|Movers arrive to start packing. I occupy my whiny, crazy kiddos all day around the town while hubs supervises the movers.||90%|
|72||Move Day 2
|Uh oh. Hubs has a meeting during nap time. I will have to supervise the move with kiddos in tow. Will put down mattresses in an empty room so they can sleep.
Do they sleep? NO. OF COURSE THEY DO NOT SLEEP. They are staging a petite revolt. Kiddo 1 throws shoes at me as a last resort to gain some control. I take said shoes and refuse to give them back for the walk home. Hubs comes to the rescue of Kiddo 1 when he returns and says she can stay with him for the rest of the day. Relative peace as Kiddo 2 sleeps in stroller and I imbibe more life-saving quantities of coffee.
|73||Move Day 3
Move boxes to truck, then drive truck to shipping container, repeat.
|I realize movers packed laundry pole that belongs to landlord. I go shopping with nutty kiddos to find replacement pole. Glad this is almost over. Play place for the afternoon = (mostly) happy kiddos. Kiddo 1 insists she had no fun at all (a total lie), just to be contrarian I suppose.||80%|
|74||Move Day 4
|Wah! Wah! Wah! At least this is the last time I have to fly with the kiddos for the foreseeable future.
Kiddo 2 had enormous quantities of energy to unleash once in the air. Service was fab on Emirates again. Really like these guys. Thank God Kiddo 2 slept for an hour (out of seven total) so I could eat my lunch in peace and watch Hunger Games, part I-have-no-idea.
|76||Dubai Day 1||I now live in Dubai. I am totally numb. I have no feelings about this whatsoever. Frankly, why bother having feelings about it? It is what I must do. We eat breakfast in the hotel and go grocery shopping. The kiddos are jet-lagged and lots of fun (not). ßPlease read this in a Borat voice.||80%|
|79||Dubai Day 4||Hubs started work. Things are going well for him. Things are also settling down for me. I started a homeschool routine a couple days ago, so the kiddos are settling down a bit. I even managed to finally do a 10-minute meditation session with the Headspace app. Things are certainly coming up daisies at least, maybe roses in a few weeks.||65%|
|81||Dubai Day 6||I found a My Gym out here offering a daily, 4-hour summer camp that both kiddos can attend. My life is henceforth saved. I am only able to write this because of My Gym. Thank you My Gym. I am still tutoring two students a few times a week so I have guilt-free funds to use to cover this. Kiddos are having a great time. I have a few quiet hours to have my brain to myself.
The tricycles I picked up for them to ride around the temp home also help a lot (they were monkeying on the couch constantly and thusly sustained a handful of injuries). Tricycles are way cheaper than expensive head injuries.
I am still pretty numb emotionally, but I am fine. I am glad to be on the other side of the move now. Met a Nice Friend yesterday who has kiddos the same ages as my kiddos; the kiddos had a great time playing at a play place I never would have found without Nice Friend’s help. Nice Friend was also completely normal, not a fancy-pants expat; I found her on an American moms’ Facebook group.
I can’t believe it has only been 81 days since we first connected with the hubs’ new company. So far so good out here. :)