Over the past few days we have enjoyed a fairly laid back schedule with a mix of orientation and shopping activities led by the HR team. On the second day of orientation I was taken (along with the other new employees) to get my blood work and x-ray taken at a nearby hospital. This necessary component of the process would ensure that our work visas could be processed and once we are approved our “significant others” will follow in kind.
The hospital felt more like a clinic with a series of rooms we had to go between through a long corridor. There was a large group of men sitting along the edge of the corridor (perhaps for testing?) and luckily we were able to “skip” the line because of our helpful HR rep. We went from room A (where I met with a doctor who simply asked if I was pregnant) to room B (where I had a chest x-ray taken) to room C (where a very skilled technician drew a test tube of blood). All in all, it was a very smooth process and only took the entire group of us an hour or so to complete.
Next, we went to the bank and cashed our furniture allowance checks and it felt absolutely surreal holding so much money in my hand. I certainly have never held $9,000 in my hand at one time… let alone the 30,000 dirhams version of it. From this point onwards we have been in a whirlwind of shopping expeditions. We have visited the Dubai Festival City Mall (just a few steps away from our hotel), Arabian Center (a smaller more local mall), and Mirdif City (we only got a glimpse of this HUGE mall since we spent most of our time in the Home Center).
Walking around with all this money to burn feels sightly overwhelming to be perfectly honest. It’s not that we don’t think it’s fun or a perfectly awesome experience — but we’re also shopping for EVERYTHING to fill an apartment — which is stressful. It’s like we’re starting from scratch all over again (well, I guess we are). Not only do we need a bed, couch, and desk… but hangers, pots & pans, and even an iron. Where do we begin?
I also need to remind myself not to get caught up in the mass consumerism that is pervasive throughout the country. It’s easy to go to all these opulent malls with tons of money in your pocket and see beautiful things to buy… and think you SHOULD buy. I’m also trying not to begrudge the fact that we’re NOT located next to the Dubai Mall like the rest of my cohorts. This was by request on my part (since I wanted to be near the University) but I’m somewhat regretting that fact for no other reason than it seems cool to be close to Downtown (which we haven’t even visited yet). When I was back in the States I was thinking more “practically” and in terms of being close to the University… but now I’m feeling lured away by the idea of being close to all the fun shopping and dining that Dubai has to offer. But luckily Jordon is my sense of reason and reminds me to think in terms of proximity to work and saving money by not being caught up in the mix. I am so thankful he is here with me for so many reasons. He is grounding me in so many ways right now and definitely helping me not second guess myself on all kinds of things (which I always do). Love to my honey.
Don’t you just love these nifty carts and escalators between floors that are ever-present at EVERY mall? It’s super convenient and makes shopping so much easier.