Hi Everyone!

I am having a wonderful time in Dubai! Luke and Cara came to get me at the airport on Friday night/Saturday morning (after a slight delay it was about 2:30 when I got to them). We came home to their beautiful apartment and I finished the night’s sleep I’d started on my final flight. I woke up on Saturday at 10:30am with no desire to sleep longer, and haven’t had any jet lag since (thank God!).

Saturday we went to my first Dubai mall and met some of Luke and Cara’s friends. When we came home we had GCC grad friend of theirs and another friend over for dinner. It was a great first day here.

Sunday is actually the first day of the work week in Dubai (weekends are Friday and Saturday) so Luke went to work and Cara and I slept in. Well — I slept in until 9:30 and then was wide awake, so had a nice time reading and writing in my journal, kind of getting started with Arabic on the computer (at least created a username), and eating my breakfast. Cara’s pretty tired from her pregnancy so I haven’t needed to sleep as much as she has, which has provided time for reading up on Dubai, quiet times, etc.

We spent the bulk of the midday talking and catching up, and then walked to a local shopping center. Luke picked us up, and we all went to the Dubai Mall, which is a gorgeous place with an aquarium, fountain show (see above), and the Burj Khalifa (formerly Burj Dubai) right next door (picture below). We visited a friend of theirs at the store where she works and then met up with some of their other friends friends there for dinner. Good Iranian food!

Today started similarly. I did a little housework and reading this morning. In the afternoon, Cara and I drove to pick up a girl she used to tutor who has become a friend and drove down to the beach area. There we were joined by a friend of Cara’s from church and had smoothies under umbrellas at a very cute shop.

After that outing Cara and I went to meet up with Luke at the mall near his office (noticing a pattern here?). This mall was cool because the different parts of the mall were built in the style of different regions — Persian, Indian, Chinese, etc. We had shawarma for dinner in the food court, which I loved!

Overall, I have been much more impressed with this city than I expected. I may go into this more as I learn more, but I have started reading a book called City of Gold, which goes into the history of Dubai. I am really impressed by the “can-do” attitude of the ruling family here, and am amazed at the development of this place in just a few decades. Luke and Cara’s building is brand new, and since getting here 36 hours ago or something workers have almost completely landscaped the front of the building. Overall, I am fascinated by this place and throughly look forward to learning more!

I hope you are all well. Thanks to those of you who have written — if I haven’t responded just give me a day or so. I really love hearing from you. Also, feel free to comment on this blog! I’d just appreciate it if you don’t use my friends or my last name in your comments, and use common sense about what should be posted on the internet. Shoot me an email if that is confusing.