On June 6th I returned to Abu Dhabi after a week in Ireland.
M was incredibly kind to let me go, bearing all the responsibilities of his work and the kids' last week of school, too. (When I booked the trip last winter, I didn't know it would be the last week of school - SAT exams, finals, a sixth-grader's portfolio exhibition, an eighth-grader's graduation, end-of-year parties for the third- and first-graders... I didn't. Really.)
I went to Ireland alone, to attend a writing workshop in Listowel and to visit my grandmother in Dublin. It was a restorative seven days, where I could call my time my own, eat or not eat, socialize and withdraw when I liked. Fantastic.
Tonight the children and I fly to the US after a year in Abu Dhabi. (M joins us soon.)
It seems fitting that my last day of our first year here will be spent thus: I'll apply for my first job in over 17 years (at a school), and then, what's more exciting, I will for the first time visit the home of an Emirati lady.
My children tease me (constantly) about my eagerness to meet the "locals." So far they've been far more successful than I.
However, the other day I was watering my garden and a woman dressed in the full black abaya approached me.
"Are you Joe's mother?" she asked.
"Are you Sultan's mother?" I asked.
We are both looking forward to meeting today.
(This photo M took last summer when we were all in Ireland together; it shows three of our boys on Innishbofin, an island off the coast of Clifden, Galway.)