- The weather. Not very humid and usually in the 70-80's midday. It's been amazing and we picked the best time of the year to make our move to the sandbox.
- Our house. It's just as nice as our home back in Houston, kind of, but 1/3 of the mortgage. It'll be better once we start to paint and take down a few kitchen cabinets and add some recess lighting.
- Being close to everything on camp, which translates to little to no commute for Mike. A the most, it takes 8 minutes to get to the other side of camp. Mike can walk to work. I love that we can walk around the corner to a park and that I can run down the street to the gym.
- Other Expats. Seriously, everyone is warm and inviting and can pick out new people pretty easily. I was at the commissary one day with Owen when we first got here and had a shopping cart of food, mostly soy milk for Carter (when you find what you like you HAVE to stock up b/c you never know when it will come back) went through the checkout line, talking to another young mom I just met. I realized I didn't have my Visa and not enough cash. I was so embarrassed and started asking him to take things off the bill, when this nice lady just handed him her Visa and said put it on there. It was so thoughtful and so appreciated. I'm still a little embarrassed to this day about it, but was able to pay her back. That would never happen at the Kroger down the street at our last home.
- Playgroups. We are in two and I LOVE them and look forward to them. The kids get along well and so do the moms. It's nice having a network of new ladies with little ones around the same age. Although, there are A LOT more little girls here than boys. Now, I just need to talk some of the ladies into playing Bunco and starting a group, then I will be really happy. I miss my Katy Bunco ladies and a monthly girls night.
- Preschool. I LOVE Carter's preschool and feel so good about what he is learning and his teachers. I also just heard news that there is a spot in the 2 yr. playschool for Owen. Oh happy, happy day! So this will free three of my mornings up for the gym.
- Having a Driver for the morning. When I go into town I hire a driver for the morning. He comes to pick us up, loads the kids in the car for me, drops me off wherever I want to go, waits for me, helps me with groceries and things, and will also run into the bakery to pick up cheese bread. I love Mr. Muhammad. Not all drivers are created equal. I've got a good one.
- Downtown shopping. In eclectic little shops with one of the kind pieces of furniture, art, tapestries, jewelry and decor, and a shop owner who bargains with me. All in the experience, that you know the minute you walk in the door they jack up the price to the "expat special price." I'm also loving the three pieces I've purchased, yup, just bought an entertainment center made from old doors.
- Salt Water. Everything is saltwater here. The laundry, the toilets, the showers, you get the point. We do have one sweet water line in the kitchen sink. So I fill up a water bottle and use the sweet water to rinse my hair in the shower. The salt is doing a number on everything, not sure how long our clothes will last at this rate. I very much dislike it.
- Sand. I know that we moved to the desert. It was our choice. But I hate the sand. I like it at the beach. I do not however like it in the car, all over the floors, at the playgrounds, in my kid's hair and ears and in the nooks of clothes pockets.
- Add to the sand, the large number of Ferrel cats plaguing the camp. It's like everything is their litter box and that makes the kids playing in the sand even more yuck. They need a serious spay and nueter campaign here.
- That my blogger is set to the Middle East and every time I hit spell check my entire screen turns yellow because it's not in Arabic. Even though I changed the language to English.
- The censorship. Not of violence or profanity, by any means it's much better to show people shooting people and swearing up a storm of four letter words and violence, rather than a couple kissing. I don't get it and everytime I turn on the tv at the gym it ticks me off. Needless to say we have not purchased cable. We watch tv on the internet instead.
- The way workers on camp will not understand me at all, but still tell me, "no problem, no problem." Yes, there is a problem, you have no idea what I'm talking about, which they reply again, "same-same, no problem, no problem." It's not that there is just one language to translate; it is a large mixing bowl of languages making communication a challenge.
- The Gym here. The actual gym is alright, but the lack of day care at the gym is killing me and makes having the time to get there that much more difficult. I believe the gym's back in the States have spoiled me and I'm having a hard time adjusting. And I am bored there. I need more options and classes and a work out buddy. I believe I need a new program and am hoping for Christmas my sis in law makes me one, wink, wink.
Just a few thoughts about my first five weeks here.
Totally unrelated. Just downloaded the new Mindy Gledhill cd, Anchor and I LOVE it.
The music makes me happy, add to that a cold coke, warm cheesebread, the smell of the new pumpkin candle I bought at a craft show burning and the autum colored table runner I purchased, and I am one very happy girl.
Despite the things that annoy me here, life is good.
Today is good. Hugs, A