Saturday, January 30, 2010

Pictures from the UAE

Hi Everyone!

I have continued to have a wonderful time in the UAE. Luke and Cara are phenomenal hosts and have faithfully been showing me the high points of Dubai and the surrounding areas. Since my last post, we went to the Global Village, which had performers and markets from all over the world, several more malls, and have spent more time with friends. Yesterday we ventured to a neighboring emirate and had a great time.

Here are some pictures from this week:
In the background is the Burj Kalifa -- the tallest building in the world. I haven't been up in it yet, although that is on our agenda. This picture was taken as Cara and I were headed into the city to meet up with some people last week.

One of our mall adventures -- this was in the India section.

Yesterday (Friday) we went to the zoo in Al Ain (in the next emirate). It was the best zoo I've ever been in, and had many, many lions!

Cara (with baby) and Luke at the zoo.

After the zoo, we went to Jabel Hafeet (Hafeet mountain) in Al Ain. It was gorgeous. We drove most of the way up, and then we hiked the rest.

We were able to climb a little higher to the very top of the mountain. There was an incredible 360 view of the city, built on an oasis, and the vast desert. In one direction a full moon rose as the sun set in the other.

Monday, January 25, 2010


Hi Everyone!

I am having a wonderful time in Dubai! Luke and Cara came to get me at the airport on Friday night/Saturday morning (after a slight delay it was about 2:30 when I got to them). We came home to their beautiful apartment and I finished the night's sleep I'd started on my final flight. I woke up on Saturday at 10:30am with no desire to sleep longer, and haven't had any jet lag since (thank God!).

Saturday we went to my first Dubai mall and met some of Luke and Cara's friends. When we came home we had GCC grad friend of theirs and another friend over for dinner. It was a great first day here.

Sunday is actually the first day of the work week in Dubai (weekends are Friday and Saturday) so Luke went to work and Cara and I slept in. Well -- I slept in until 9:30 and then was wide awake, so had a nice time reading and writing in my journal, kind of getting started with Arabic on the computer (at least created a username), and eating my breakfast. Cara's pretty tired from her pregnancy so I haven't needed to sleep as much as she has, which has provided time for reading up on Dubai, quiet times, etc.

We spent the bulk of the midday talking and catching up, and then walked to a local shopping center. Luke picked us up, and we all went to the Dubai Mall, which is a gorgeous place with an aquarium, fountain show (see above), and the Burj Khalifa (formerly Burj Dubai) right next door (picture below). We visited a friend of theirs at the store where she works and then met up with some of their other friends friends there for dinner. Good Iranian food!

Today started similarly. I did a little housework and reading this morning. In the afternoon, Cara and I drove to pick up a girl she used to tutor who has become a friend and drove down to the beach area. There we were joined by a friend of Cara's from church and had smoothies under umbrellas at a very cute shop.

After that outing Cara and I went to meet up with Luke at the mall near his office (noticing a pattern here?). This mall was cool because the different parts of the mall were built in the style of different regions -- Persian, Indian, Chinese, etc. We had shawarma for dinner in the food court, which I loved!

Overall, I have been much more impressed with this city than I expected. I may go into this more as I learn more, but I have started reading a book called City of Gold, which goes into the history of Dubai. I am really impressed by the "can-do" attitude of the ruling family here, and am amazed at the development of this place in just a few decades. Luke and Cara's building is brand new, and since getting here 36 hours ago or something workers have almost completely landscaped the front of the building. Overall, I am fascinated by this place and throughly look forward to learning more!

I hope you are all well. Thanks to those of you who have written -- if I haven't responded just give me a day or so. I really love hearing from you. Also, feel free to comment on this blog! I'd just appreciate it if you don't use my friends or my last name in your comments, and use common sense about what should be posted on the internet. Shoot me an email if that is confusing.


Friday, January 22, 2010

I'm Here!

Just wanted to let you all know that I made it safely -- with all of my luggage and everything inside -- and am at my friends' apartment. Everything went well. Thanks (again) for your prayers.


I made it to Moscow! My iPhone tells me it is 4:56am at home and it is 12:56pm here. Apparently Moscow is only one hour behind Dubai, so I'm trying to get started working through the jet lag by adjusting to this time today.

My flight was good. I sat next to a 9 and a half year old who was coming alone to Russia to spend a few weeks with her grandmother. She was very sweet... and extremely excited... and didn't quite understand that sleeping as much as possible on the plane would be a good idea and make today much more fun (although I tried to convince her:-)). I think we both got at least a couple of hours... so I'm very thankful for that.

Overall it was a pretty painless flight! Thank you again for your prayers!!!

Sent from my iPhone

On My Way

Hi Friends!

I'm at the Dulles airport waiting to board my flight to Moscow. I'm excited because, so far at least, things have gone much smoother than expected. I am using Kara's backpacking backpack (THANKS AGAIN) and everything, including some things L & C asked me to bring to Dubai, fit perfectly! The weight was fine and the airline didn't even charge me to check it (I thought it was going to be $50). I picked up Blink (Malcolm Gladwell) at Borders here in the airport, which should be an interesting travel read. I'll let you know if anything jumps out at me. Otherwise I have a "play away" from the library with East of Eden (Steinbeck) on it, and I plan to finish that as I work on my crochet project. I'm also studying 1 Corinthians with my Bible study, so I should have plenty to keep myself occupied! I'll post this once I get somewhere with free wifi or to Dubai, and will let you know how the traveling goes. Thanks for your prayers.

Sent from my iPhone

Monday, January 18, 2010

Pennsylvania and New York

This year is off to a great start -- traveling around the US before beginning international travels. Last week I went to visit my Grammy and Grampy in Pennsylvania before going to Leah and Seth's wedding in New York State. In PA I had a great time seeing family, hanging out with my little second cousin, and cross country skiing with my amazing grandmother. The wedding was wonderful, and today I got to see my Grandma Celia and Uncle Scott in New York before coming home to Maryland. Here are a few pictures from the week.

Friday, January 15, 2010



Adventure Awaits

I have always known that corporate America would only be a stage in my journey, and the two and a half years I spent at AT&T have been a gift from God. The job provided a needed opportunity for me to be professionally trained, gain experience, and earn the finances to pay off my student loans. Although work has been challenging, my sales position at AT&T has provided an amazing growth experience for which I am incredibly thankful!

For months I have been asking friends to pray that I would get laid off during company restructuring this fall. I know -- especially during "challenging economic times" this is a ridiculous request, but I thought a smooth exit and severance package would allow me some time and freedom as I regroup and follow God into the next stage of my life.

I didn't get laid off. But, I was put on a new team doing a similar job, and figured I could do my job while exploring next steps. I kept telling people, "this is the next best thing."

Then, a few weeks later, I was offered the choice to take a severance package. It was out of the blue, totally surprising, and by the grace of God!

So, I'm off to a new adventure. I admit that I am nervous, but so excited. I explained to a friend yesterday that especially because this seems so clearly God's provision I know I can rest in Him throughout trips and transitions. I am a woman blessed by God.