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I had a few minutes, so I decided to blog a bit about my summer and resulting “new” life. (Feel free to yawn at any point).

As you ladies know, I have moved out of the states - AGAIN! - as of June 2. Sold the house and was outta there with everything. The 4 kids that are STILL at home (ok, they‘re minors), and the hubster, (the always wonderful, Musa) and I landed first in Dubai for 5 days to scout schools and a new home, then continued on to Silwad, a town in the West Bank of Palestine (depending on who you ask), for our “vacation.” (run-on sentence)

Now, why do I put “vacation” in quotation marks, you may wonder? Simply put, it was hardly the vacation we envisioned. First of all, we do have a house there that needed and had a serious makeover, so some of our stuff got shipped to Silwad and some to Dubai. We had to clean it up a bit as we hadn’t been there in some time, I get that, but the cleaning was neverending!!!! I will not mention that the hubz is a cleanliness...(choose a NICE word, Robin!), but, that should explain WHY the cleaning was never clean enough. Now, in his defense, the ENTIRE West Bank is more dirt roads than paved ones, and the fact that we lived on a main road where any truck that unfortunately had to pass our house, also stirred up the highest amount of dust, that would eventually settle in my LIVING ROOM!!!!! So, I eventually wised up and kept the offending windows closed after polishing, until guests came over.

Ok. Another reason we made a pit stop in Palestine was to check on my in-laws. Musa’s parents are just the sweetest people, but they are getting on in years. They loved having all the kids there and Victoria,10, with her sassy self, was a particular favorite. Monica, 15, got to help her grandmother, who lives downstairs from our own house and learn how to take care of her a little, and Ali, 12, did what any boy his age would do: he totally immersed himself in street soccer and got into a few fights! We took the kids to visit Bethlehem, where they visited cousins for a few days without us and saw all the tourist sites there. But, Nazareth!! That was where they preferred to be after the initial visit!! Tons of MORE cousins of all ages and since Robin and Musa would leave them there, even MORE fun for them! (I had my spies, though and they were discreetly supervised!)

You guys saw the pictures of Taba, Egypt, right? (OK, I’ll post). That was unforgettable and fabulous! All the kids, especially the moody(?) Sal, 18, (Hey, he’s not a minor!!) had a great time. He quickly met all these European guys and deleted us from his entertainment. (The GALL!!!!) Oh, we’d see him in the pool and walking around the resort, where (thankfully!) he’d kiss me “hello. (At least!!) Anyway, we did have dinner together. Oh, that was another thing!! There was breakfast, lunch and dinner at Taba, and even though we walked not intending to eat much, once there, it was another story. (You know how that goes). Since we were already in Egypt, we took the 4-hour (before dawn!) drive to Giza to see the Pyramids. (see photos)

We have always had a very active social life and this summer in Silwad was not slowing that down - much. We barbecued on our roof for guests in the evening, and for overnight guests from Nazareth. We fried fish up there, too, and that was even better, courtesy of our ginormous grill that we shipped. Comes August 1, and time to pack it all up until next time. This was such a long stretch for me in Silwad, because I can usually take two weeks at a time at the MOST, but this was for the kids, so I didn’t complain - in front of them.

(Didn’t I say I had a few minutes? I’m still here!!)

YAAAAYY!! Back in Dubai! (I had my three youngest kids here). I have friends here and my sister-in-law and her kids. We arrived approximately 18 days before the start of Ramadan. My oldest son, Sharif, 26, has a huge 3-bedroom apartment in Sharjah, the next emirate over, so we all crashed there until we can find a place of our own. The plan, according to Musa, is to live in Mirdif, a suburb of Dubai, this time. I am used to the atmosphere of Sharjah, all my old friends, THE SHOPPING!!, so I would prefer Sharjah. But, I think we all know, that I could live anywhere. This country has changed so much since we’ve moved! Traffic has become a SIN!!! The 15-minute drive it used to take to get from Sharjah to Dubai, now takes over an hour during rush hour!! So, that was the end of that for Musa, who has an allergy to traffic. Thus, began our search for a villa in Dubai. Although this took about 3 weeks, it was worth it. (I mean Mirdif is TINY!!) So, 2 and half weeks into Ramadan, we moved in!! Now, I am the one you want to be with when you move into a new place or just want ANYTHING NEW. (I love that stuff!!) Hubz, on the other hand, just wants everything CLEAN and in its place, yesterday. Au contraire, mon amour! Slow and steady wins the race. So, to that end, we had our share of, shall we call them “disagreements?” Everything from the color of the wall paint to the curtains. (The CURTAINS!!!)

So, here it was: Ramadan and we were working days (fasting), with non-stop male helpers in and out, and sleeping at 3a.m. everyday. Now, school hadn’t started yet, so it was all good. Good thing Musa is not particular about his food, because while we had a new stove in place,( the refrigerator that I brought with us from Georgia, had to be sent out for conversion to this electricity and STILL hasn’t checked back in) if I cooked, where would I put the leftovers? Right? (Not really a fan of cooking, anyway).

After the paint was finished, (maroon faux finish - gorgeous!!) I was ready for some serious entertaining, cooking (I’m USING my cookbooks) and dinner parties. The way that dinner party thing works here is, if and whenever someone invites you over for “Iftar” (breaking your daily fast), you return the invite. So, of course, this means whipping out your most impressive recipes and filling the table with enough food for an army. (Seriously!) I held THREE of these the last week of Ramadan and thank God, everything went well. Ramadan was particularly spiritual for me this year and also the first time my younger kids got to really feel the spirit of the month and the 3-day celebration called “Eid” afterwards. They were also out of school for 10 days!!(SAVE me!) They went back yesterday. (YAY!) The work/school week here is from Sunday to Thursday.

Is this too long? Ok. Who yawned? One more piece of information that you may (or may NOT be interested in knowing) is that we finally got a maid the other night!! Which explains how I can spend this much time on the computer.

No hatin‘.

Salam Alaikum (Peace to you all!)

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