To say that I literally haven't had a spare minute to add another post to this blog is not far from the truth.
We've been back in Abu Dhabi, Ahmed, Maya and I, all in the same country, same city, same house and, as much as possible, in the same room for four months now and it's bliss!
In a nutshell:
We passed through the airport fever checks again, coming into Abu Dhabi, again holding in coughs, which still (four months later) haven't gone away completely. I'm wondering if this is 14 months' worth of stress manifesting itself in a weakened immune system.
We moved into a new house in the outskirts of Abu Dhabi (picture a sandy, dusty wasteland with lots of construction) which is oh, such an improvement on traffic-clogged, accident-heavy, horn-honking, parking-nightmare central Abu Dhabi where we used to live! And we know that one day, the cranes will move on to somewhere even further out and who knows, maybe our dusty wasteland will turn into a pretty town with a park or something... we love our new house, the space, the garden (not yet done), the patio, the balcony, even the mosque right outside the bedroom window that lets us know the call to prayer at 4am...
I went back to work (sigh) and started that juggling act that is mothering full-time, working full-time, studying half-time, eating biscuits to keep going and collapsing in bed every night at 2am for a bit of sleep.
Maya and I had the loveliest baby shower - complete with 14-month old Maya attending - thrown for us by Robyn, Kate and Dawn, and I felt the beginnings of a sense that it's all just going to be OK, after all.
We go to The Club most weekends, and Maya spends the whole time in the pool with any of her friends: Aida, Sam (in boat with her), Josh, James, Masha, Victor, Gabriel, Isabelle, Kai, Pace or Hobie.
Maya's got her Abu Dhabi residence visa, her Canadian citizenship has been applied for (might take 18 months they say), she goes to nursery two mornings a week, is going to start swimming lessons soon, we've joined a mums and toddlers group, and she's growing more and more delightful (and headstrong!) by the day. She delights us with her happy, relaxed nature, her cuddles, her kisses, her funny expressions:
meno (nemo) = fish
pitoo (pickles) = cat
poo poo = nappy
shoes go car = put my shoes on, let's go out in the car now!
where you are? = where are you/where is it?
She adores Pickles the cat, and Pickles finally gets all the attention she craves with her little number one fan, albiet a fairly boisterous one. Maya loves her dolls, and makes sure they get fed, given water, given a bath and put to bed just like her. She also loves her cars (brmm, brmm) and her farm animals, her shoes, her handbags, and basically just finds everything a big adventure.
Our adventure, however, isn't completely over yet. Still more to come, and one day, in the distant future, we'll both sit back and go: ahhhhhhhh, can we rest now?