Thursday, June 14, 2007

From Ireland to Abu Dhabi to New Hampshire

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.)


Toni said...

Hi Frances! My husband may have a job in Abu Dhabi soon. We are waiting on the final word. We will be taking 3 young children with us, 2 in grade school. I enjoyed reading some of your posts. It will be such a change if we go and it is encouraging to read about some of your experiences there. I have been trying (not very successfully) to find info on St. Joseph's school online. With such a huge congregation it must be very hard to get spots at the school?
I just had my first visit to Ireland earlier this year, for one week. I also went without the family (except my sister) while my wonderful husband took our three kids on Spring Break to visit his family. We are American, but the pic of Ireland you posted makes me feel 'homesick' for it. :) I just went to County Clare, the Dingle Peninsula and Bunratty. It was wonderful and I also enjoyed being able to rest and eat whenever I felt like it and go whenever too. :) It is an amazing break when you are a mom. Of course I only have 1/2 as many as you and have only been married 12 years. Still, I REALLY appreciated that time! :) I so relate to your feelings of being 'indulged' regarding a housekeeper and such. My husband keeps talking about that but it is such an alien idea to me. Anyway, thanks for the great blog! God bless! Toni

Frances Gunnison said...

Dear Toni,
I'm sorry I took so long to reply! I guess I don't check the older posts that often...M is the one who saw your comment and told me. Maybe you don't need any assistance now, and maybe you're already in AD and have found schools, etc.
However, if you need any info, just e-mail me at and I will write back very quickly.
Re Ireland, I can't believe how similar our experiences are! Don't you wish everyone could do what we did?