I’m not sure when my last post was… likely nearly a month ago.  This is a sure sign of the normality life has taken on here.  I believe we are all doing very well.  Kirsten had a real bout of serious homesickness last Friday but she seems to have rallied very well.  There are some hard lessons to learn in life but I’m thrilled with how Kirsten internalizes, contemplates and then comes to a healthy approach to difficult situations.

Anyone who imagines that bliss is normal is going to waste a lot of time running around shouting that he’s been robbed. The fact is that most putts don’t drop, most beef is tough, most children grow up to just be people, most successful marriages require a high degree of mutual toleration, most jobs are more often dull than otherwise. Life is like an old time rail journey…delays…sidetracks, smoke, dust, cinders and jolts, interspersed only occasionally by beautiful vistas and thrilling bursts of speed. The trick is to thank the Lord for letting you have the ride. — Jenkin Lloyd Jones

I actually wrote the remainder of this post just after the Christmas week.  I hope to get back into the writing routine.

AUS provides its employees Christmas day and New Years Day off.  I’ve been so used to having those weeks off that I booked Christmas week off.  That week is drawing to an end.  What did we do with our time?  Everything.  We thought about heading into Oman and doing some camping.  We have Salalah on our list of destinations to see but I’d like to go when we can get another family or two to join us.  So instead we opted for a staycation!

On the 18th we were to pick up our new to us car.  We bought the Honda CRV that we

Good bye new car.

Good bye new car.

borrowed for our trip to Oman.  Sadly the day we were scheduled to get the car it broke down!  Not a good omen.  The car was stalling.  We had it towed to Honda but they couldn’t find anythign wrong with it after they did some kind of computer calibration.  So far it has been running fine and taken us all over Dubai this Christmas week.  I’m hopeful that it will still be a good vehicle for us. The good news is that I’m not making any kind of payments on this thing.

On Saturday the 22nd we went shopping at Dubai Mall where we met up with our new friends the Villegas family.  This family have three kids (12, 8 and 7 – two girls and a boy).   Kirsten and Kiana, the oldest, are already fast friends.  Later in the day we met up with them and more friends at a free beach in Jumeria. We had a great time digging

Lilli revelling in shell treasure

Lilli revelling in shell treasure

in the sand.  The beach was a treasure trove of shells.  It was fun to watch people parasailing up and down the beach too. The wind made it a little too cool for any serious swimming.

On the 23rd we took the family to DreamLand Aqua park.  It was a quiet day at the park and we practically had the whole place to ourselves.  Kirsten went there with her youth group when we first got here – she recently posted about that trip.  We thought it would be fun to experience it as a family.  Lisa took some great pictures and posted them to Facebook.  Here they are in all their glory for those not connected to Facebook.

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The 24th found us at the Mall of the Emirates with the intention to check out Ski Dubai.  It was crazy busy so we decided instead to do some shopping and try for a quieter day.  That evening we went to dinner at our friends the Anderson’s with the Palmers and Johnsons.  The kids put on a nativity scene and we enjoyed each others company.  That night after the kids were tucked in Lisa and I put up a Christmas tree and brought out the stockings.  The kids were delightedly surprised in the morning when they came down the stairs.

Christmas afternoon we joined our friends (The Ashills and several others) at the Raddison Blu hotel in Deira.  They put on an excellent Christmas brunch.  There are several restaurants on the same floor of the hotel that band together to provide an enormous smorgasbord.  We had everything from traditional American style Christmas dinner to sushi, Indian, Italian and Mexican cuisine.  We ate from noon till after 4 and then rolled ourselves out of the building and on home to a great nap.

Boxing Day found us back at the Mall of the Emirates with the Anderson’s to experience Ski Dubai.  As soon as we walked into that giant refrigerator and I could see my breath I

It looks like a picture but it is an unaltered picture

It looks like a painting but this is an unaltered photo from the Mall of the Emirates

new we had made a mistake.  I hate the cold.  The crappy boots they gave me were hurting my feet and the gloves were inadequate.  We went down the little bobsled run (Lisa smashed both her knees into the icy sides of the run).  The snow was all rotten and the sled hill was itty bitty and crowded.  We didn’t bother paying for skiing and just hung out in the snow park.  The sledding was perfect for Jaron and he had a great time for the hour and a half we stuck it out.  Though, he didn’t complain when the girls declared it was far too cold (-2) and we had to go.  We enjoyed hot chocolate and cinnamon buns at Cinnabon afterward.

The 27th took Lisa and I to Mirdif City Centre Mall for iFly Dubai.  We followed that up with dinner at the food court and a show, Jack Reacher.  The movie was entertaining but disappointing.  I suspect the book it is based on is much better.  The opening scene was almost too much for me to handle.

iFly Dubai was fun but I am sore today.  You are not in the wind tunnel long, maybe 30

ready for the wind tunnel

ready for the wind tunnel

seconds each of two times, but it is a full body workout.  I’m not sure it was enough of a thrill to have me go back often.  I’d like it best if they’d just stick me in their for 15 minutes at a time to figure out how to do all the acrobatics.  I can’t imagine what that would cost…

Today we went to church and that was just what the doctor ordered both for my back and my wallet.  This week has been a whirlwind tour of theme park entertainment.  I think I may have my fill.  Except I still want to check out Ferrari World, the top of the Burg Kalifa and as a big fan of water slides I think we will have to get to all the water parks here (there are quite a few).  Lisa ordered new tents from the states and they should be here early next week.  Just a few more pieces of equipment and we’ll be fully outfitted for some real adventure.

Tomorrow is Jaron’s 7th birthday.  We are having a BBQ party at Safa Park. We bought him a bike!  I’m so excited for him.  I can hardly believe he is 7 years old.  May I never forget to thank God daily for the blessings that are my wonderful children.

And back to the present…

Turns out Jaron’s party was super fun.  A water fight in the park and the bike went over

Jaron scoping out his new bike

Jaron scoping out his new bike

very well.  I think he is on it every day.  The benefit of being in a gated community means he can park the bike in front of the house without much fear of someone wondering off with it.  Of course, the problem with buying him a bike is the expectation that we buy bikes for the girls come their birthdays.  I want a bike too!  The campus wellness centre is holding their first duathlon in March and I want to participate…  Now where to steal the money from the budget for a bike for me.