Christmas in Al Ain

For whatever reason, this post never happened. It was just sitting in my pending posts half finished. So, I have finished it up and really I guess the title should be “Christmas in July”.

I think I have mentioned before that I haven’t really celebrated Christmas at home much over the past seven years. Home in this context meaning the place of my current residence. The closest I came was two years ago when Kassandra and I didn’t leave for Malaysia until the day after Christmas. But this year, we actually celebrated at home, with presents under a Christmas tree, and a Christmas dinner. What? Yep that’s right. We didn’t fly anywhere over the winter break.

You might be asking why. Why in the world didn’t I travel to some far away, exotic location? Why didn’t I flee the city as most other expats do at this time of year? Well, first and most importantly, Kassandra flew back to Al Ain to spend the winter break with us. I am sure it would not have been easy to convince her to take another flight after her 28 hour journey to get to Al Ain. Secondly, as of Christmas, I was about 30 weeks pregnant, so it just didn’t sound as appealing to be taking a long flight, aimlessly walking foreign streets, or eating unfamiliar food. And finally, traveling as a big family is quite expensive, and I figured that money would be better spent elsewhere (see my first and second reasons).

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We will be leaving the UAE for good in June. It is funny how once you have decided to leave the country, the impact of your decision really begins a year in advance. It was a little tricky deciding what to buy for presents.  We didn’t want to buy things for the kids that they wouldn’t be able to take back with us. That basically left us with the option of buying things that were either small or consumable. So, they got the three C’s – clothes, cash, and candy. They didn’t seem to mind. At least we were able to put something under the small Christmas tree that was generously donated to us by our friend, Christine, when she left the country.

It is a lot of work to make a holiday dinner, and after doing it for Thanksgiving, we thought it would be best if we just ordered a prepared meal from the Hilton for Christmas dinner. It came with turkey, stuffing, roasted potatoes, brussels sprouts, carrots, squash and rolled up sausage thingies. The price was about 600 dirhams, but there was enough food that we were eating leftovers for several days.

Once it was all said and done, would I have preferred to have spent the holiday traveling to a new country…. well…. yes. I mean I am never one to turn down a vacation to a new place. But, based on our current circumstances, I couldn’t have asked for a better Christmas. Plus since it was our last Christmas in the UAE, it is only fitting that we actually spent it in the UAE. It will be interesting to see how Christmas goes next year. Maybe the boys will actually get to see snow (and I mean real snow, not the kind that you find in a mall)?!?! That’s certainly something that you don’t get in Al Ain, and something they are all looking forward to.

 

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