Friday was an incredibly emotional day. Most of it was spent with me trying to suppress tears (because I discovered yes, it does upset and worry the children to see me cry about the move). On top of the emotion, the stress level has been ridiculous. Perhaps it's because it is the first international move with children old enough to know the difference. Perhaps it's because I felt so immersed in the community of friends I had made. Or perhaps it's always that stressful, but international moving is like childbirth: you forget how painful it is so you can do it again the next time.
At any rate, we made it. We are safe and sound in a parallel universe that is Dubai.
Coming from Perth to Dubai was a smart move. I think if we had gone directly to the US from Perth, the differences would have stood out so much that the sense of loss would have been more acute. As it was, when we boarded Emirates in business class, every link to our normal reality simply ceased. Business class on Emirates = lifestyles of the rich and famous. So much space! Flat beds (so kids slept 8+ hours of the 11 hour flight). Huge personal TVs with fabulous movie selections (I agree with the critics; Michelle Williams was fantastic in My Week with Marilyn). Then we arrived in Dubai, stood in the slowest-moving immigration line of my life (ironically, the Emirates fast track lane), collected our luggage, and opened the airport doors to a different world: a concrete jungle built on sand.
We are in Dubai for two nights to break up the flights for the kids. So much has changed in the six years since we were last here. The Palm was still being built then; today we drove out there in a taxi and visited the amazing aquarium of the Atlantis Lost Chambers. We couldn't resist taking the girls over to the Mall of the Emirates to see the indoor skiing (so surreal!). Now, they are happily splashing away in the hotel pool with Papa as I write this up, waiting for my pool-side lunch. Lifestyles of the rich and famous indeed!