Welcome to Dubai. Now go to sleep.

Where do I begin? It has probably been one of the most chaotic, stressful yet spectacular three weeks of my life. We landed in Dubai late on a Monday evening and spent a week trying to absorb the city—and the timezone—into our blood. It was a brutal first week. We spent the days driving tiredly around the city, forcing ourselves to pay attention to an exhaustive list of potential schools or homes we were touring. We’d arrive home in the late afternoon exhausted and needing to feed two very unhappy toddlers, one of which still refused to forgive us for taking him out of his beloved Brooklyn (hell, his beloved United States). And the other just mad that we hadn’t transported all of his creaturley comforts. We, ourselves, were rueing the fact that we didn’t pack an extra dozen or so pacifiers or subway trains or Elephant and Piggy books (where was that bag of books? I could’ve sworn I packed it??!!) Everyone was tired. No one was happy.

We hit the pillows hard and early that first week, unable to keep ourselves awake any longer. Laying in bed, we’d stare out across the desert from our perch on the 37th floor, wrapped snugly in our cocoon of steel and glass and awestruck by our new home. But then, once the moon came out and the lights of the jagged skyline seeped through our windows, we’d rise restlessly from our beds and wander the apartment like vampires, hungry and wild eyed. Hours into the night we’d remain awake, wishing we could fall back asleep, wishing our children would fall back asleep (get the melatonin drops!) until finally we were so tired and our eyelids so heavy that we’d drift off until the merciless desert sun forced us out from under the covers and we had to get up and do it all over again.

It all feels like a fog now, the days blended together. We did, however, recover enough by the weekend to take a trip out to the desert with one of Justin’s colleagues. He invited us to a picnic hosted by the Australia and New Zealand Business Council, which turned out to be a great time. It was at a residence about an hour outside the city and resembled a summer home in the wine country—long, gravel road leading up to the house with willow trees lining the path, an expansive lawn with swimming pool, and plenty of room to roam. The kids had fun running around, although I think we all were still not quite adjusted to the heat. The highlight was meeting other families and making new connections. We felt lucky to experience it.

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