Tuesday, December 18, 2012

This month I don't feel like doing anything...

Title sung to the tune of Bruno Mars...

I've been a no good blogger. I have First Day December stuff but I cannot post it due to technical difficulties. Turns out finding a reliable person to fix a Mac abroad is not so easy. Hopefully soon.

This is fun.

He will be here in about oh 10 hours!


Friday, November 30, 2012


Normally people don't like rain. I'm not entirely sure what feelings the rain creates for people in Dubai, but I personally love it.

The wet, dark, coolness of it reminds me of Minnesota on a rainy day.

This rainy day has however given little Narch a complex about my previous denial to her request for a Hello Kitty umbrella. Well, an umbrella of any kind. When ever she sees one she asks for it and just yesterday I said...

"For the hundredth time, it hardly rains in Dubai I am not buying you an umbrella."

Today when she realized it was raining I was in the bathroom and she asked if she could talk to me.

"Mom, see I told you I would need that umbrella."

And since it's been a crazy off an on again rain all day she has made her
point loud and clear.

But she finally got to wear the rain boots she has out in public.

I guess there is a little of me in there after all.


Monday, November 26, 2012

Presenting Little Narch

Tap lessons were a success. She really enjoyed herself. In lieu of pictures it's easy to post short videos! Even better. 

I think she has a gift. But don't all mothers feel this way ;)

Wednesday, November 21, 2012

Spilling My Beans

Happy Thanksgiving!

I've decided that since its thanksgiving already here, and when its my tomorrow it will be Thanksgiving there, I'm going to celebrate it both days!

I haven't made any food. I'm lacking serious foodspiration these days. But I'm sure I'll whip something out. As soon as I can make it to a grocery store with a trunk :) its hard to carry that kind of stuff home. I'm craving pecan pie and cranberries specifically! Ooh mashed potatoes sound good...

My beloved Mac is broken. We are bringing it in. This is the reason I haven't been updating my blog. And it's hard to upload pictures from the iPad.

I have so many pictures for you. I think I will be doing a picture story as soon as I am up and running. Keep your fingers crossed that we don't have to buy a new laptop.

Narchville has been bustling with new life as we have little baby seedlings popping up. Watermelon, beans, peppers, roma tomatoes and lettuce.

(Bwahahaha did I get any of you with my wording on that one?)

Our patio furniture should be here Monday! I'm so excited to relax during this cool weather on 'The Terrace'. Especially with all the life bustling up here with my newfound green thumb. I'm close-ish to getting my hydroponic system up and running. I'm hoping growing food will help with my foodspiration.

This was a problem starting in Minnesota. I was so busy getting ready that I sort of just cooked veggie burgers and salads. Its hard to find inspiration here when the organic produce is less than inspiring and everything is imported and old. Once we have a car I'll be able to travel to the places where foodspiration is born.

Moving on.

Little Narch starts tap class today. She has been really interested in tap and modern dance as of late.

I thought she would be interested in ballet. She is interested in the costumes however, I can see the beat seeping through her soul. She is always popping a hip in the dressing rooms at H&M or checking out her bouncing curls in any reflective surface.

It's amazing. Anywhere we are.. She notices the music. 'Do you hear that? Mom? Do you hear it?'

I started showing her videos of different dance styles. She has really shown an interest in "the loud one". So tap it is. although I have a feeling she is going to move toward hip hip or modern. Anything that allows her to 'whip her hair back and forth'!

We went on the excursion of a lifetime to find tap shoes and when we did and she put them on... My heart skipped a beat.

My baby is a girl.

I've heard mothers speak of this. I've even witnessed my other 'GirlChild' morph through this stage and shared tears of joy with her mother of the glory and loss of the growing baby.

It really is an honor. Ushering our children through their stages of life!

I'm so thankful!

Saturday, November 10, 2012

A Bucket of ThankFULLness!

When I walked into our apartment building after being on Lebanon for a week and a half it hit me.

I had been griping about how this place doesn't feel like home, and it hadn't until I had been away from it.

Does that makes sense?

Then the week I spent working on my tab at the pool with my girl and putting the last bit of stuff away that I had left in Lebanon and brought back I am finally at my final resting place.

It is really peaceful.

No one celebrates the pilgrims settling in America in Dubai... So they skip right to Christmas but I am hoping to take the symmetry of rid month and my settling in Dubai and count my blessings.

Focus on how FULL my bucket is...

... And rub it into all you Northwoods folk how much I love the summer so I can entice you to spend some moolah to come visit me in paradise!

I have never thought of myself as the super adventurous type, some of you may disagree with me on this.

So today I'm thankful for my leap of faith and The Mayor for taking it with me.

Saturday, November 3, 2012


I'm getting ready to leave Lebanon and go back to the place that is supposed to feel like home.

I can't make up my mind. I have a lot of anxiety today.
When I was there I didn't want to leave, but I'm having the same emotion when faced with the reality that I have to leave Lebanon and go back. 

It may be because I let Little Narch skip her nap. What was I thinking?!

Part of me thinks that now with the traveling over and the realness setting in I'm getting a little 'homesick'. 

Sure I miss my family and friends but what I miss even more is that feeling you have when your home. 

I can't describe it. I didn't even know it existed until now. But when you're in places where every corner you turn is new and nothing seems familiar even though you've been there for weeks... I call it newxiety. 

I think the experts call it culture shock :/ 

In case you were wondering, it's real folks. I know I had my doubts.

Don't worry about me. I'm doing just fine. I'm taking note of all my new emotions and keeping good track of where I've been, am and am going. I'm also surrounded by great people.

And 'Good 'ol Papa Narch' will be in Dubai for Christmas ;)

Just in time.

I'm jonsing for a kombucha ;) and some quality time with my Dad!


Friday, November 2, 2012

First Day November

Happy First Day Everyone! Here is what we did..

(crappy ipod pics)

My morning video of Little Narch singing Happy Birthday to Mayor Narch will not load :(
(I'm not at home so I don't have the technology I need I'll post it when I get back to Dubai)

hmmmmmmm what to do with him...
He smells so good. Not like any of the other pumpkins we have carved...
He just MUST be eaten!

No pie pans in sight..
I guess we will have to get creative...

She looks three right?!

'Grilling' Halloumi Yum YUM

After dinner we decided to get a cake to celebrate The Mayors birthday even though he was not with us. We would take video and send it to him so he didn't feel forgotten. 

I was a little confused why we were making this decision so late but they are night owls here in Lebanon so I went with it and let Little Narch stay up for the festivities. We were video taping the cake and singing happy birthday when The Mayor walked in. 

It's all on video however after trimming and loading and reloading it just. wont. load. 

It was the funnest part of the day!

If you want to link up your first day posts do it here!

Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Little Narch Turns Three

We made it to Lebanon. Just in time for a HUGE party with some of our favorite people.

Do you think Little Narch had a good time?

She had this sneaky expression on her face periodically all day!

But who doesn't like to be the center of attention on their birthday?

Lots of people were there including family from Syria 
that has not seen Little Narch since she was 6 months old.

Ammo Nabil Cooked - We had Halloumi Shish kabobs.
Highly reccomended for vegetarians at BBQ's
But the kabobs pictured are chicken

It was wonderful to be together

And of course Amtu Petra NEVER misses a photo op ;)~

Then it was time for presents - She waited so patiently until she heard the word
and she couldn't handle it anymore. She ripped into those babies before we could even gather!
We didn't care. Everyone was just so happy to be together.
We sang Happy Birthday!
The birthday flame couldn't be extinguished despite Little Narch's best efforts :)
She cut her first cake!
It was worth the effort it took to get here!

Happy Birthday Little Narch! Your spirit has brought a tremendous joy to the lives that you touch!


Sunday, October 28, 2012

Should I Stay or Should I Go?!

Things were up in the air until the very last minute regarding returning to Lebanon, for various reasons. 
If I wanted to catch my plane, I was instructed to be at the airport at 445 pm as my flight was scheduled for 645 pm. It takes 30 min to get to the airport but if there is traffic.... Who knows?!

Firas called at 330 pm and said that he thought my visa was sorted and since there was some reluctance about this trip i should just stay home.

So I stopped putting on my makeup. 

Firas called Lebanon around 345 pm to tell them I wasn't coming. We knew they would be bummed but we didn't know family from Syria was in town and a HUGE party was planned for Little Narch's birthday. So they were a smidge beyond bummed. 

I get it. They have never had a birthday with Little Narch. 

Firas and I were also torn.

We were speechless on the phone. 

Was there even enough time to catch the plane?

Calls back and forth. Stay. Go. Stay. Go tomorrow. Stay. 

"Little Narch, I don't think we will make it to Lebanon."

Unexpected uncontrollable tears from her. 

"my teta" she screams

A few minutes pass. Firas calls and I pick up. I found myself putting my shoes on and gathering things. 

The words fall off my tounge, "I'm catching a cab. I'll call you with an update.  *click*  Joelle grab your shoes we are going to try and catch our plane. We are in hurry mode!"

"ok ok ok I'm grabbing them. Yayaya teta teta teta" she put her shoes on.

Im in cool, calm but fast mode. I grab my phone. Ipad. Ipod. Check to make sure I have the right passports and my ticket confirmation. I have cash and water. The marriage license in case they want to know why I'm back. I grab my foundation and mascara. Stuff it in my purse. We are out the door. I bet less than five minutes has passed. 

We are at the elevator...

"Mom, I'll push the button!"

Thank god she remembered or valuable time could have been wasted. I was racking my brain....

"Did I leave anything of utter importance? Sure, I was going to pack snacks, a change of clothes, the camera... But I left a lot of stuff in Lebanon and I'll grab snacks on the plane... if I make it?"
We get to the ground floor and start walking. My plan is to walk toward the train. If I see a cab I'll wave it down. If by the time I get to the station there isn't one, I'll catch the next train to the closest stop possible.

That method is not preferred because I don't even know which direction the airport is so it will involve lots of questions, deer in the headlamp stares and yes ma'ams. (Which I HATE! Because it's not an answer and it proves I'm not being understood.)
Three cabs pass none are free. I get closer to the train and the fourth cab stops.
"I need to go to the airport. I only have 500 dirhams will you have change?"
"Yes ma'am no problem."
I show him the 500 bill "I'm in a hurry to catch a plane you have lots of change?"
(just in case he is yes ma'aming me)

He pulls out his wallet shows me and says "yes" 

Touché! I like him.

He begins to drive. I tell him in my simplest English the scenario. Joelle chimes in about her Teta.
He speeds up. (His grasp of English  has obviously been underestimated.)
We got to the airport. I pay, thank and tip him.
It was 527 pm.
They signed me in after some begging. I got through security fast. (all I had was my purse) 
Everything went smooth from there once the security guy drove me out to the plane... and here is Little Narch sleeping on the flight.


We are an amazing team!

No time equals no pictures :) no camera and only an iphone equals interesting first day post but you will get one. Don't you worry :)

On the Hunt

I am on the hunt for a lot of items that meet my specific criteria.

One item in particular that I have been searching for is the perfect kitchen for Little Narch.  

She loves that blasted little kitchen she has in Minnesota. (I do too *sniffle*)

Every day she reminds me that I have to share my kitchen with her until she gets one of her own.

I have been researching stores, checking the local Craigslist type listings all in search for play kitchen worthy of my daughters creativity!

Lots of kitchens are out there.

I'm not interested in ones that are so elaborate that it does all the playing for you. In addition, I want something that looks nice in my home - not an eye sore. As well as something that will last for the next *ahem* Bitsy Narch. (No, I am not.)

Basically no stickers and no crappy plastic.

Pretend kitchens in the US are costly so I was expecting a little investment, but I was not expecting it to be double. (Which is why I was searching used). Apparently pretending is only for the rich or expatriates willing to fork over their hard earned cash.

I got really tired of looking, falling in love with a used one and not getting a call back from the seller.

The day that we celebrated Little Narch's birthday together, we ended up test driving cars. Little Narch was a trooper per usual and charmed the sales guy out of most of his candy dish.

When we stopped at the mall for dinner, we passed by a store that we have passed time and time again.

Parents guilt was setting in as it IS her 3rd Birthday, and we haven't thrown a party or gotten a cake PLUS she was lugged around test driving cars all day. So we go in to check it out.

We see a few. One meets 'the standards' but has a ghastly number attached to it and the other is plastic, makes a crap ton of noise and has stickers ALL over it.

A salesman pulled out a magazine to show us a kitchen they had in stock but not on the floor, not as ghastly of a number was attached but it was still expensive.

Little Narch and I left the store, she explained to me that sometimes we get things and other times we don't.

Then there are the *other* times that The Mayor and First Lady are tricksters. 

This was the point she told us "This is the BEST birthday ever!"
We looked at each other and decided the kitchen was worth every penny

It took 3.5 hours to assemble. By the time we were finished... We couldn't send her to bed, so she stayed up until 11:30 baking cookies and cake and hasn't stopped playing with it since she woke up today.

She doesn't have a bed?!?!? but the girl can cook!

I was really attached to somethings that I left behind. Mostly because of the memories they reminded me of... The little red kitchen included...

Watching Joelle grow and play in her new environment reminds me that memories are being creating. .... its nice living in the present :)

Wednesday, October 17, 2012

First Lady takes on Dubai..

With Little Narch in tow :)

In order for me to gain residency there are tons of hoops that need to be jumped through. This one paper has to be filed here and typed there... it's all very confusing and no one gives you a straight process.

I was waiting for The Mayor and I to do it together but realized this is just silly.

I am = a perfectly capable adult.

I know what you're thinking... "You're just hoping a cab to another building to do some document work, what's the big deal?"

Sure it sounds simple. I did it in the US and didn't think twice about it, why should it be any different?

Little Narch and I got ready and made a plan!

What you have to remember is even though everyone speaks english... I can barely understand. Once I'm more familiar with the area and the names of places being used I will understand more.

Case and point: I ask for directions to a place Instead of directions I get "guldin bimind perk"


I handed the phone to the cab driver and they figured out I was headed to Gold & Diamond Park.

I tell the man on the phone that I've never been to Gold & Diamond Park and I need specific instruction "just go in and ask for 17".

I'm expecting a building that I walk in and ask for suite 17....

It's a complex of God only knows how many buildings that slightly resembles Arbor Lakes Shopping Center on steroids - an outdoor shopping center in Minnesota- complete with apartments, offices, stores, restaurants ext.

I ask for 17 and no one seems to know what I am talking about so I tell the cabby to drop me off and I'll walk.. in Dubai... in the heat of the day...and the guy laughs. I'm very funny to cabbies.

What am I supposed to do? Pay him to drive around when he nor I have any clue where we are going? He's obviously taking advantage of this situation.

On my walk Joelle and I breath to keep me from throwing up. We grab waters and juice. We make a pact to stick together and figure this out.

I realize, by observation, that I am at building 4 I decide that is what 17 meant. *sigh*

I prepare myself for a walk and stick to the shaded areas and decide I can't rush. We could be in the heat for 13 of these buildings. We window shop, stop by air conditioned places to cool off. Grab more water, juice and pretzels.

I stop to help the kid with her juice turn around and look up.....

A typing center.

This is what I was looking for but in 17.. I'm at 5.... I decide to just ask and see if they can help and they can.

However, they inform me that I don't have all the paperwork I need. *sigh*

I have to go to the electric company to get a special number then come all the way back. I can't call. The damn paper must be stamped by the electric company.

I hop another cab. This time I have awesome directions and a cabbie who knows where he is going.

We get there. Get a number. Go through the line. Get what we need. We leave.

There are no cabs in sight and my prepaid phone has just informed me I'm out of minutes.

I see a sign for the metro.. It's a walk but I start. No shade. I tell Joelle 'We are problem solvers and we aren't going to crack under pressure or heat.'

'Alright Mom! I'm not an egg'

Can't find the train station.

But I see a smaller mall and I figure it's lunch time, there is AC, and probably cabs.

We reached the mall and I looked back. Its amazing how close something looks when you've arrived at your destination.

There is a small arcade and I indulge Little Narch, she has been such a trooper.

There is a guy trying the claw machine going after a specific horse. He's obviously doing it all wrong and I could do it much better.

I also know from experience that it's harder than it looks.

The guy leaves. Joelle begs. I unwillingly give in.

The claw goes down on the horse... And grabs it but I know it's not good enough. We walk away.

She screams!!!

The claw had the horse by the leg and she flipping won the horse!

Our stoke of good luck! I think I was happier than she was!

We walk to the restaurant beaming sit down and relax.

(We passed the guy who was going after the horse and he stared at me.. I didn't care.)

At this point I have called Firas and thrown in the towel for the day. It's too much to get back to 'guldin bimind perk' plus file the paperwork at the other office I have yet to find. I will just start again tomorrow.

We finish eating and I see out of the corner of my eye the word 'TYPING'.


We walk over and see it is a similar office to where we had just been.

I go in and explain my request and the lady says 'ok give me your paperwork.'

I do and we wait. She is typing away.

I'm thinking... 'Great so now all I have to do is go to that other office tomorrow :) this is awesome... Man that horse was a stroke of good luck! Joelle has been so good today! I'm really proud of us!'

'Mam.. Is that a flat?'


Then she is done and asks me for a large amount of money.

I gasp internally - it was supposed to be cheap... What did I do?

I pay while asking what my next step is.

"You're finished. Keep this paper with your important documents and only give copies."

"I thought I had to go to the office and file it."

"I'm authorized to file these online and you paid me the fee that is owed to register."

I was sooo happy "I think I love you!"

We laugh.

She replies "Rough day?"

"More like rough three months"

We went outside, found a cab straight away.. He didn't know how to get to my building but he got me in the area and I tell him I'll walk.

Crazy American women who walk makes cabbies laugh. It's very funny to them, and me.

Then we are home and Little Narch begs to take a nap - its well deserved...

I still have more to do before I'm a resident but this was a big step.

I guess sometimes all a Princess needs to be her own knight in shining armor is a horse ;)

Sunday, October 14, 2012

Redecorating Narchville

I am not exactly sure what my style is....

I like clean and simple lines. No frills. 

I like livable. Comfortable. 

Honestly... I have never lived in a home that I truly decorated from start to finish. My house in the Minnesota was .... we will call it 'lived in' :)

I feel as though that chapter of my life is resolved. The person that I really am is very organized and detail oriented. 

She is also lucky enough to have a husband with similar tastes... Not always the similar ideas.. lol. but similar taste.

So we have raided a few furniture stores and have done the IKEA trip twice now and we have a decent start. 

Starting with nothing, albiet stressful and expensive, really is the way to go. I also wouldn't say that we have spent THAT much money. We dont have nearly everything but we are living comfortably. 

Here are some pics of where we are currently... 

(Pics from my ipad :/ I had to jimmy rig the pics on this post bc my computer is acting up)

My new kitchen cart.  When I cook I am all over the place and I dont have enough counter space. This isn't exactly the style I had pictured.. But I really like the size and now that it's here I think it works perfectly.... I will be adding some matching glass door cupboards for dishes and glasses since cubboard space is valuable and scarce in this apartment :)

We like dragonflies. Not sure why but they have been a reoccurring theme in some of our most favorite items, when we saw these we had to splurge. This picture does them no justice. They are the most sparkly happy little vases and they are mine!

Some ambiance ;) and feel good apple cinnamon smell. We are in the land of a thousand different smells and well, I'll just say 24 hour smell nice candles are a necessity. I'm not saying our apartment stinks, quite the contrary, our apartment smells like home!

These little Ikea baskets are HUGE and they fit a LOT of stuff. They look awesome too! 

Dora is arabic is awesome!
This gives you a better idea of the whole entertainment center. We wanted to get lighting for the shelves but aren't sure what will be on the other two shelves so decided to wait.

Pillows and a green throw for our couch. Still not sure if this couch is staying in this room or going into the kid and guest room. But I love turquoise and matching just isn't my personality. 

I was washing the duvet so this is it all wet and wrinkly but it gives the idea. Turquoise again. My feel good color. We have a comforter set (Thank you Samah)... but we need two anyways right?!? 

We still need to buy basically all the kitchen stuff (blender, dishes, more pots and pans, knives ect). I did buy an electric tea pot.

It's sort of ridiculous how much I love this little thing. I find reasons to boil water in it.

I was tired of plastic cutlery so we picked up a set of silverware...

Since I have two drawers this is the way they dry... and are stored. Why Not?!

That's it... I was realizing the other day that Life feels really normal here.  There is laundry to do, forts to build and hair to braid...

My girl is growing up.

And life is still moving forward.

Till next time :)