In a bid to keep everyone back home updated and as a personal record our of time away I’m going to have a crack at jotting down what we’ve been up to each month – hopefully life doesn’t get in the way of me doing so, but I guess it’s not a bad thing if it does.
As it’s still close to the beginning of the year, and I can’t really remember exactly what happened in each month, this first round-up post is going to cover off the beginning of the year…
We saw the year in in Bratislava, Slovakia, having travelled through parts of Central and Eastern Europe. For as long as I can remember, I’ve heard stories of Europe from my mum and dad so it was a bit surreal to finally be visiting some of the places that I know they’ve held dear to their hearts. The one thing we’d hoped for on our travels was snow and fortunately we hit the jackpot in Budapest on the final days of our trip!
Upon arriving home the post-holiday blues struck but we fought back by booking another trip and finally visiting Ferrari World. We’d been watching their newest coaster, Flying Aces, rise from the desert since we first arrived in Abu Dhabi and though I’d hoped to wait for it to be finished, I couldn’t resist the call of Formula Rosa any longer (though in retrospect, we should have hung on a little longer.)
We soon found ourselves back in the swing of work; school has been crazy busy for me (though is starting to settle down again now) and Nathan continued working hard as ever. The transition from working in a factory filled with people to working from home has had its challenges but when I come home and he’s in his trackies, dancing around the lounge to trance, I figure it can’t be all bad!
Missing our cats, we put our names forward for some short-term fostering and soon after met Panda. It was awesome having kitty company again and we really enjoyed having him with us for the month. I don’t doubt we’ll take another cat on once we’re back from our next trip – the house isn’t quite the same without one.
We also enjoyed a couple of fun weekends out. We taxied into town for brunch one day at Etihad Towers (the all-you-can-eat Abu Dhabi institution that it is) and finished off with a relaxed walk past Emirates Palace and down the Corniche and the next day we following a number of top golfers around the Abu Dhabi HSBC Golf Championship just over our fence; I can’t even tell you how nice to was to feel such luscious grass under my feet again! In the hope of seeing flamingos, we went kayaking at The Mangroves another weekend with friends from school and though we only saw them at a real distance, it was great getting out and about in the cooler weather.
The highlight of the past two months (with the exception of the tail end of our European holiday) would undoubtedly be our visit to Jordan over the mid-term break. Whilst there we visited the Dead Sea, Petra and Wadi Rum and enjoyed chatting to many of the locals. I don’t think I’ll ever forget riding camels and donkeys through the Lost City of Petra (which has aptly been referred to as the “rose-red city half as old as time”), floating in the surprisingly warm waters at the lowest point on earth and waking up amongst the quiet in the desert after spending the night in a bedouin camp. For the most part, Jordan ended up being great value for money (yes we got caught a couple of times in tourist traps, but you live and learn) and one of my real travel highlights.
Upon returning to Abu Dhabi, Nathan set off for New Zealand again – he’ll be there for five weeks this time around but I’m trying my best to keep busy by hitting the gym in preparation for our next adventure (bring on Africa!!) It’s much nicer having him around, but being here by myself is a good reminder that I can get by just fine by myself which is somewhat empowering.
These past few months were rounded up with a fabulous day out wake boarding with a friend from school (and her friends) – though I loved it, my arms and shoulders certainly protested! I couldn’t believe how much more difficult it was riding on a continuous loop (compared to going behind a boat of on a straight line) but it was a good challenge and a fun day.
What will this month bring? More time in the gym (ugh, I don’t understand how some people seem to genuinely enjoy it!) and before too long, our first trip to Africa. Nathan tells me he’s probably never been more excited for one of our holidays so you know we’re onto a good thing! Me on the other hand? I get excited about all our travels! One of my friends is making the move to Abu Dhabi as well so I’m looking forward to welcoming her, and of course giving Nath a big cuddle when he arrives home.
So far, it’s been a year of planning and putting our dreams into action – of course living away from home comes with its fair share of challenges and sacrifices, but I feel very fortunate to be living this life for now.
PS: We’re also currently planning how we’ll spend our summer – so far we’ve booked a cruise that leaves from Venice and travels around the Greek Islands and stops by Turkey. We’re also planning to explore Italy whilst we’re there, along with visiting Croatia and hopefully Spain. If you have any must-sees in this area (or can suggest another itinerary), we’d love to hear from you!