Monday, December 19, 2011

Thoughts on the Break...

After nearly 40 hours of travel, we landed in Baltimore on Saturday morning.  We have a a little under 3 weeks before we make the same trip in the opposite direction.  It's been a challenge to make the 9.5 hour adjustment back to eastern standard time.  I woke up at 1 am this morning and have been up ever since so today (Monday) may be a challenge.

I've spent a lot of these past 3 weeks or so wondering what it would be like to come back to the US after being gone for a while. Now that we've made it back though I still feel like I'm looking for the answers to the questions I had before we left on Friday. I think it's more of a reconciliation that I'm looking for.  I'm trying to reconcile life there to life here and somehow bridge the gap between the life I witnessed and experienced there and the life I knew here and am witnessing now that I'm back.

I think I'd have to carry pencil and paper around with me 24/7 in order to capture all the different thoughts and feelings that come with being back but unfortunately I haven't done that.  I have written a list of observations and notes on the past week below though.  While I wish these were all insightful observations about life there and here - most are not.  Hopefully they are a glimpse into our travels and our break thus far though.


- Dubai in December was 10 times better than Dubai in August.  I'm strictly judging the entire city based on the weather but hopefully that goes to show how amazing the weather felt there during our 12 hour layover on Friday.

- I think going directly from K-town to Dubai is almost more of an economic/culture shock than going straight to the US would be.  Downtown Dubai (where we spent the day) is quite possibly the most modern and wealthy appearing city I have ever seen.  For lack of a better example, going straight there from K-town is sort of like watching an episode of the Flintstones and then immediately watching an episode of the Jetsons.  It's hard to reconcile the two.  (I realize there are a lot of flaws in that comparison but it's all I've got at 4 in the morning...)

- As soon as we landed in Dubai, Kaley and I both realized our clothes and suitcases all smelled like some sort of kerosene/fire combination.  Funny how you never notice such a strong smell until you go somewhere where everything doesn't smell the same.

- Still trying to figure out why our meal on the flight from k-town to Dubai had 2 plain hotdogs in the container with the eggs.  I guess they were going for sausage and eggs...

- My favorite part of the whole trip back was definitely going to see Mission Impossible: Ghost Protocol in the movie theater at the Dubai Mall.  A large portion of the movie was filmed in Dubai at the Burj Khalifa (tallest building in the world) which is connected to the mall and literally right outside the movie theater.  We watched the movie and then walked outside and had dinner in the shadow of the building.

- Every 4 hours or so during our 16 hr flight I would remember I was on a plane and 39,000 ft above the earth and get really worried we were going to run out of fuel or something during the long flight.  I get so lost in the movies and tv shows you can watch on the plane that most of the time I forget my surroundings and might as well be on a bus on the highway.  Then I remember and get freaked out...

- Because we left Dubai at 11 pm and were flying west, it was dark outside the plane the entire 16 hr flight.  It felt a little like we were in a race with the sun and sunrise and we were winning...  until we landed in atlanta.

- Upon arrival in Atlanta saturday morning, we made our way via underground train from terminal E all the way to terminal A just to find the chic-fil-a and eat breakfast.  Then we had to quickly make our way back to terminal B in order to not miss our flight to Baltimore.  I have missed Chic-fil-a.

- I am really enjoying the high speed internet and being able to watch videos on and

- I'm having a hard time remembering you can throw toilet paper in the toilet here and don't have to put it in the trash can.  That's all I'm going to say about that...

- I don't think it's sunk in that I can go anywhere I want yet.  I'm so used to a list of only 20 places I can go to and that was contingent on if security is good and there's a driver to take me.  I had stretches over the past 4 months where I didn't leave school/home for 10 days or more and if I did it was only for a 30 minute trip to the grocery store.


That's all I've got for now. We've been back less than 48 hours though and I'm sure more will come. In the meantime I hope everyone is able to make good memories with family and friends during these holidays and hopefully enjoy some sort of break from work and the busyness that consumes so much of life.

Kaley and I have to make decisions very soon about what we are going to do after this school year and there are a lot of different factors that will play into that decision.  Any prayers would be greatly appreciated as we try and sort through the decision process.

We will be updating this a few more times while we are here so look for more posts (probably with a lot of pictures!).


The mountains from our roof a few days before we left.  The best time to see the snow is at sunrise!

A few pictures from the plane as we were taking off.

Hanging out in Dubai.  The last picture is from our table at dinner.  Good view of the tallest building in the world.