Thursday, January 30, 2014

Another Season of Change

Lots going on right now and thought I'd take a quick break from vacation stories to update everyone.

New/Old Job
As many of you know, I started working at the airline as a Leadership Development Manager. My role was focused on providing tools, strategies and training to help leaders be better leaders. About a year and a half ago, my position was changed to UAE Talent Manager and my focus shifted to managing a graduate development programme of over 200 participants, primarily focused on Emiratis. It's been a very challenging year and a half and while I can't say I enjoyed myself, I can say that I learned a lot and have grown my personal career. I am now in the process of transitioning back to my 'old' role in Leadership Development, which I'm really excited about. It gets me back into what I feel I do best and what I really enjoy. Feeling optimistic!

New Owners?
Our US house went on the market today. Click to see listing After 4 lots of tenants over the past 3 years and the last $1800 cleaning bill from the rental property management company, we decided to put the house up for sale. When we left the US, we were pretty certain we wouldn't live there again, but actually selling it to someone else makes it more final. It's the right decision as we were losing money due to inconsistent renters and it really is a house that should be owned and cared for properly. Still ... feeling nostalgic.

New Digs
Meanwhile in UAE, I mentioned a few weeks ago that we are moving houses. Our current place is being converted into hotel apartments and we can either vacate or put up with construction noise for 4 months, sell all our furniture and pay 21% higher rent. We decided to vacate. So, in a few hours, the movers come and off we go to a new villa. Much more space, a huge backyard (relatively speaking) and what will eventually be a really nice little neighborhood. It's a bit out in the middle of nowhere being almost exactly half way between Abu Dhabi and Dubai. This makes it perfect for us as I work in AD and Brian works primarily in Dubai, but will mean no more delivery service or calling a taxi. I'll share more about the adventure of moving, but here are some of the 'before' photos of the new digs.  Feeling excited!
It's a detached villa with 3 bedrooms, a family room, living/dining, semi-open kitchen, study and a maid's room!! It's the same square footage as our US house and cheaper than the 2 bedroom apartment we're in now.  Yes, more space than we need, but why not?
Nice back yard - we've got the landscapers already started on a patio area and some plants so this is the before view. The kitties suggested we leave it as is ... biggest litter box ever! They were vetoed.
Nice, open floor plan which can be hard to find here. Everything is white so we may have to get a few buckets of paint to warm things up a bit.
Kitchen has more counter space than our previous place, but is still too small for the fridge to be in the kitchen itself. As we looked at the original floor plans, we think the builder made a mistake and continued the counters to the left of the sink instead of leaving a space for the fridge. So, the fridge will go in the maid's room next door. I guess it's a good thing we don't have a maid! But we do have a dishwasher, which we're really excited about after 3 years of hand washing everything.
This is a view of part of the neighborhood from the upstairs bedroom. There is a mix of villas and townhouses in our area and each sub neighborhood is arranged around a little park. Our park is called Lake Park so I'm hoping that gravel area in the middle will eventually be filled with water. Even though the place is brand new (they started renting in September) you can see they've invested a lot in the landscaping to make it feel more established.

The only real issue is they still don't have internet service out there and aren't quite sure when it will finally be resolved. No TV and internet for a while! YIKES! Might have to hang at Starbucks in the evenings so I can update the blog!

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