Dec 5, 2014

The Adventure to Abu Dhabi aka #therodriguezabudhabiadventure



Why hello friends! So my last post was a bit ago, but hot damn if I am now checking in from my new home, Abu Dhabi. So I'll run back the last week or so just to catch everyone up. So if you are not into a long read, just go ahead and check the pics ;)


So rewind back to the morning of November 23. You know, I was waiting for the ticket. Let's be serious, I was freaking out that I wasn't going to get mine and I would be following my groups journey from home. However, I woke up about 2:30am in the morning and I knew that my ticket was waiting in my email box. Yet, I refused to check my email because I was tired of stressing and stalking my email. It was literally making me sick. So I went back to sleep but woke up at 8am and went ahead and picked up my phone.


I immediately felt sick. I checked the email probably 15 times - I couldn't believe that this was really happening. Then I looked at the fly date - Thanksgiving. Sonofa... I knew it was a possibility but I was really hoping for Friday. Either way, I was stoked after the initial sick feeling. Then I realized I had to break the news to everyone. Well, we all know how that went.

So the next few days were a whirlwind of saying goodbyes, packing, repacking, more goodbyes, more packing. I tried to spend all of my time with everyone I could, especially my husband and family. There was not a lot of time to really take into account that I was getting ready to leave the country, to make a big move, and to leave everything. That time was so quick, yet so precious at the same time. 

So the big day arrived and I was lucky to have my little entourage come with my to the airport that was of course my husband, my sisters, my brother-in-laws, and my sister from another mister, Allie. The drive to the airport was very hard but I tried to keep it all together because I knew that it was hard to for everyone else.  Little did I know, the fiascos for this trip were only just beginning. Upon arrival and checking in, I was told that I couldn't bring one of my suitcases. Um, what?! So of course on zero sleep, being up for over 24 hours, a complete meltdown ensued. How can anyone expect me, or any one else, to move around the world with two suitcases. Child please... So we had to flip my suitcases, repack things, take things out, rearrange, show everyone in TIA my undies (you're welcome if you were in line) and then the lady comes back and says, "I spoke to a manager and you can bring the bag but you have to pay." Well no kidding that was the plan the entire time. Getting all the bags under 50 pounds was another challenge. So we got all the bags checked in and then it was time to go because it took a lot of expected time. Saying goodbye was hard. Really hard. That is not something that I look forward to ever having to do again, even though I know that it will come in time. Leaving my husband was heartbreaking. We have never been apart for more than a week or two. So I did my last wave, went through security and RAN to my gate. I was the last one on the plane.  We flew into JFK and that was another fiasco as I am sure it is the worst airport ever. Huge, unmarked, and very disorganized. JFK - as much as I love NY and all things NY - get your shit together. Seriously. 

So upon arrival at the Etihad gate to check in, I am told I cannot bring my carry on bag. The lady said, just leave it here. Um, no. I immediately went to hysterics again. Needless to say, that bag also made it on the plane. Leave my bag behind.. cray. So as I am boarding my plane I get this meme from my brother-in-law, Alex 

Needless to say that made me smile before embarking on the long journey. It definitely reminded me that I need to keep a positive outlook and just try to roll with the punches the best I knew how. Lord, it was a good thing that I had that outlook before getting on this plane. I have never been on an international flight so I had no idea what I was in for. All I can say is whoa...


My Chariot 

Um, what is this?!

I would quickly get used to Arabic everything.

These in-flight monitors were really neat for the first few hours and then I was pretty sure that they never moved. I would check and they would only say it had been about 15-20 minutes. I am not sure what was worse knowing that I had 10 hours left or feeling like it had been ten hours since I checked the screen last. 

The sunrise over Saudi Arabia. It was beautiful 


Flying into Abu Dhabi. The water is amazing.

Once we finally landed and I was walking through the plane, I see this. This is the business section of the plane. See also: where I will make this trip every.single.time from this point forward. No more coach for this girl. Even with an empty seat next to me - it was cramped and so uncomfortable. I am assuming that any flight that is 13 hours is uncomfortable though. 

Once off the plane, we went to the eye scan station (weird). I guess it is like your fingerprint, only more high tech. Then through the passport station so we could get our stamps then through security again to leave the airport. I thought that was really odd but whatever. I found my baggage at the luggage carousel pretty easily then myself and another lady I few on the same flight with found our driver. After some creative stuffing of the suitcases in the car, we were on our way. It felt very familiar and a lot like Florida. Palm trees, sunshine, green grass and a little hashtag sign right outside the airport :) Love it.  We got to our hotel and I completely crashed. I was so tired. 


I wandered to the pizza hut next door and picked up a small pizza since I was pretty hungry. It was definitely the best thing I've ever eaten (or I was starving). Then I just looked out the window of my hotel room for a long time. Drinking in the view... I was really here. All of the tears, stress, frustration, anticipation.. it was all over and I was really here. It felt so odd to not know where I was, where to go for things, or what I was going to do next. For this Type A, control freak that is very hard. Yet, I managed. 


So today marks a week that I have been here in Abu Dhabi. I've had a few rough days - I miss my husband, my family, and my dogs more than I ever through would be possible. I have cried a few times because I just miss home and the familiarity of everything. I've cried because I don't want to sleep alone at night. I've cried because I can't get Hulu to work. As you can see we run a long range of emotions on this roller coaster. I don't have a car here and that piece of independence is a hard adjustment right now. I know I will get a car soon but in the interim I am utilizing the public transportation of buses and taxis. I am thankful it is easy to maneuver and it definitely is giving me a more authentic experience. It is also helping me find things because I sit on the bus and just look around like a child in a toy store.  I am beginning to adjust and understand the culture. I am also a lot happier than I was a few days ago. Sunday and Monday were hard days for me - really hard. I am not sure why, but different things trigger different emotions. I was walking home from the Corniche the other night from National Day celebrations (more on that venture later) and I saw a women walking a dog. My heart ached, as in I was holding back the ugly cry because she was being a real bitch to her dog (see what I did there) and it made me mad.  I would do anything to have one of my babies here with me. So I promptly wished that her dog would pee in her shoe when they got home. The dog winked at me as we stood waiting to cross the road; He knew what I was thinking. {note: of course I winked back at the dog, hello...that is a secret code, didn't you know?}

That of course is just a sampling of what I've done since I've been here. The Malls are plentiful and abundant. There is more shopping to be done here than anyone could ever wish for in a lifetime. There are beautiful buildings, Mosques, and attractions to see. Since I am a little more comfortable now (and not sleep deprived) I think that I will definitely try to begin to experience a little more. I have work starting up soon and my main goals are locate and secure housing, get a car, and get my husband here. I am hoping for a resident visa in the next week or two so i can secure his flight and get him here. I think that with him being here I will have more of a solid foundation. The ladies and men that I have met in my group have been great. I am sad to think that many of them that are placed in other areas will be leaving the hotel on Tuesday to go to their respective locations. While they are still in the area, and when I say area I am speaking within the Abu Dhabi area, it is still about an hour drive. Yeah, see that no car issue really is an issue! But I will adjust and acclimate...because after all that is what this whole experience is about for me. Adjust, acclimate, learn to accept change, and continue to roll with those punches.

Viva Abu Dhabi!  

Oh yes, this move to Abu Dhabi totally allows me to step up my link up game seeing as I am posting this on Saturday at 12:50am and it is only 3:50pm back in the states.  I always remember to blog late at night or miss link ups by a few hours so this is definitely going to work for me. #timechangeforthewin