Hi readers, i.e. Mom...
I've moved to the Middle East! More specifically, I've moved to Abu Dhabi in the United Arab Emirates. My fiancé, Wade, got a work assignment, and I followed shortly behind. This is the story of my journey:
I left the U.S. on a Wednesday and arrived Thursday night, just in time for Valentines Day and my fiancé's birthday. "Awwwwww." My 24 hour itinerary was relatively painless, thanks to Lufthansa's reclining seats and 5 star service. I almost had to get physical with the flight attendant, though. "I don't want any more wine, lady. Just let me sleep!" (You won't hear me say that often) I tried to not get too used to the amenities, as I will not be enjoying the comforts of business class on my regular flights in the future.
On the first leg, I sat next to a Texas A&M petroleum engineering professor who frequently travels to and from the Middle East for symposiums. He gave me a little intro to the oil and gas industry in the area. My main take away from the conversation was that Qatar is popularly pronounced "cutter". How many of you knew that? He was a lovely gentleman, and he sent me with many warm wishes on my adventure in the Middle East. Gotta love those Texans!
On my second leg, I sat next to a woman with a little less southern charm. We sat how I prefer to sit next to people on airplanes, if I can help it: facing forward, quiet, and completely uninterested in each other. I was too preoccupied with my own thoughts to read, so I halfheartedly ran through all of the available Sex and the City episodes, episodes that I've seen a time or FIVE. I sat wondering about the future: What sort of adventures lie ahead for me and my fiancé? What is the country like? Will I make friends? Where will I get my groceries? Why can't I feel my butt anymore? Should I get up and walk around so I don't get a blood clot? ...You know, the usual thoughts when you uproot your life to follow the man of your dreams...
I don't know what I expected to see when approaching the Abu Dhabi airport, maybe some mosques, crazy-tall buildings of architectural genius, magic carpets? Since it was around midnight, it was mostly just dark with some street lights. Whatever! The flying carpets are here somewhere, and I will find them goshdarnit!"
I knew the plan for my arrival well before I departed because I didn't have an international cell service or any device with WiFi. I was told that someone would be there holding a sign with my name on it. They would walk me through customs, immigration, etc., and then drive me to my fiancé in our new flat! When I got off the plane, I was indeed met by a very nice lady holding a sign with my name on it. She directed me and another lady and her daughter to a back door outside of the bustling terminal, where some men gathered our bags, took our passports, and ushered us into an unmarked black vehicle.
In the car, she told us that we were going to the VIP terminal and that our luggage would be taken there and that our paperwork would be handled while we waited comfortably.
Comfortable was an understatement.
When we pulled up to the terminal, it looked exactly as I would expect a VIP terminal to look in Abu Dhabi. It had marble running from floor to ceiling, decadent furnishings, and fresh flowers on every table. I was just standing in the entrance, eyes darting in every direction at how beautiful the freakin' airport was, when, out of the corner of my eye....my fiance appeared! Ahh!
With a stupid smirk on his face, he slowly walked towards me, and I ran and
tackled him jumped into his arms. I kissed and hugged him much more than I should have in front of the men in traditional Arab dress. Then, a loud, robust German lady, who was waiting for the ladies I was with, ushered us into one of the private rooms and yelled "Ah! These two are newly engaged. They're going to need some time ALONE!" So much for modesty! Wade and I both sat down with red cheeks, a little embarrassed, just staring at each other and soaking in the moment. We were finally together!
After about ten minutes, during which we were served water, tea, coffee, and little dessert cakes that I was FORCED to eat, my passport and bags were returned. We were on our way home.
Turns out, he knew all along that he was going to be at the airport, but he wanted to surprise me. The VIP treatment at the airport, however, was a mistake on the reservation, a total fluke. Future visitors: do not expect this treatment. You will wait in the hour long immigration line with everyone else...unless you happen to be Khloe Kardashian, or me.
Warning: sappiness ahead!!
I'll never forget that journey: seeing Wade at the terminal, feeling complete contentedness on our ride from the airport to our new home, being viciously attacked and then mauled with love by my dogs when I got home (video below), and waking up the next morning knowing that my guy would be there with me, every day, for the rest of our lives. Those memories will live with me forever and ever and ever...amen.