It's been a busy couple of weeks with everyone arriving home; first Jo, Archie and Flossie; and a few days ago, Henry; but we're all back now and ready for year two in Abu Dhabi to start in earnest tomorrow.
The kids went back to school last week but it was a gentle introduction. Unsurprisingly Flossie wasn't nervous at all about starting year two and has settled in very quickly. Archie was a little more nervous as they mix the classes up between years three and four, but despite a blip on the first day when his name didn't seem to be on any register, this has now been sorted and he is happy with the class he is in (and he has a male teacher which we think will be good for him).
As far as we know (based on interpreting the grunts and mumbles) Henry has settled back in ok as well. This is good as this is obviously a critical year for him, with exams next summer. He's currently at the stage of thinking about his revision timetable and will hopefully soon move from thinking about it, to doing it, so he can make up some of the ground lost last year.
I've had a little longer to settle back into work following my holiday, and am pleased to say that it continues to go well. I'm still spending part of my week driving up and down to Dubai as we are getting a large contract underway up there, but as I've said before the commute is much more enjoyable than enduring the motorway network of North West England so I'm not complaining.
One thing we didn't appreciate is that there is a period of adjustment to go through when you return to the UAE having been away for a prolonged period. I think this started for Jo the moment she passed through immigration and I received an automatic text message letting me know that the people I am “sponsoring” have come back into the country. At least that's what I think the message said, it is from the Ministry of Immigration but it's in Arabic so I can't be definite about it.
Jo then wanted to buy something online which required her to obtain an authorization code sent by SMS to me. Mind you, given that it was tickets for her and a friend to go and see Gary Barlow in Dubai in October, I think it is perfectly acceptable for the bank to check that I am really happy with the situation!
As well as the little things designed to make women feel not exactly independent, you then need to adjust to other “first world problems” including: the oppressive heat; the suicidal driving; the queues for petrol; the fact that you can't go to just one supermarket to get your weekly shop (because nowhere sells everything you need); the bureaucracy, and so on.
The kids also need to adjust back to their term time routine (less time on iPads, doing reading, etc), and Jo and I also need to adjust in our own way as well, given that we have been living in different places for most of the summer. I hadn't realised just how noisy they all are!!
Anyway, I think the process of adjustment is almost complete, we just need to get through the introduction of homework this week, and pretty much everything should be back to normal.
Away from school and work we're getting back outdoors even though it's still very hot. We have bought annual passes for Yas Waterworld, the water park just a few miles away on Yas Island, and are determined to make the most of them. It's proving great to be able to pop there on a Friday morning when it's quiet, do a few rides without having to queue, and then head home when it starts getting too hot and too busy.
That's all for now I think. Thanks for reading as always.