Sunday, 21 December 2014

My Sunday photo - living in Dubai

Well it's day 4 of our new lives in Dubai. And again I'm stuck to know which photo to post.
Do I post a picture of the farewell at the airport? The guest house we spent our last week in South Africa in? The dog and the cat in their crates to the airport? The hotel in Dubai where we stay until our container arrives or even our new home? The picture of the dog and cat arriving safely?
Too many choices. My rule though is that I post a picture taken on the Sunday and as today is the first time I have had the opportunity to go exploring on my own with Bob as hubby is at work (Sunday is a working day, the start of the week) I thought I'd show you a picture of the Burg Al Arab, the most expensive hotel in Dubai, if not the world.
Bob and I walked for 10 minutes zig zagging through the streets till we hit the beach. Unfortunately dogs aren't allowed on the beach, but I suspect Bob and I will be making regular visits to walk along the prom. 

Sunday, 14 December 2014

My Sunday Photo - Last Sunday in Africa

So many pictures I want to post again this week. It is our last weekend in South Africa, the import papers for the cat and dog have been applied for. The air freight has been collected and we've moved into a guest house until we fly to Dubai on wednesday.

This photo was taken driving through Soshanguve this morning at 9am on our way to a Santa Shoebox Celebration for 160 rural vulnerable children living in poverty in South Africa.
It was my last Santa Shoebox celebration, it has been an amazing 4 years and I feel priviledged to have had the opportunity to have met the most amazing and humble people I've ever come across. 

I will continue my fundraising in Dubai and have a flight booked to return to South Africa in October 2015.

Tuesday, 9 December 2014

The reality of a company move

Due to a massive cock up when we moved from the UK to South Africa in 2011 as in HR failed us and then a minor hiccup again in September this year when we discovered it would be too long and complicated to renew our visas due to a change in the law, we find ourselves off on a new adventure to Dubai.

Despite there being an actual package in place for this move, an opportunity to visit Dubai and meet with HR, the fact that HR and all the individuals and companies involved will actually email me directly this time, things are still not going smoothly, but they are going to plan.

The allowance for moving covers most things but not everything and again we find ourselves out of pocket financially, with time and stress to relocate to Dubai. This is not a choice we've made to move from one country to another, it's a decision made by my husbands company, although we do have the choice to say 'no thank you' but we'd still have to leave South Africa at our own expense.

The relocation package covers the cost of shipping, air freight, flights for hubby, me and 15yo and the cat and dog, includes 30 days furnished accommodation and the services of a relocation firm in regards to visa applications, renting a house and connecting the utilities, which is far more assistance than we had when we moved here.

However, we are financially out of pocket again and to a considerable amount. We are responsible for the cat and dogs injections, paperwork and import/export papers. I bought a car when the Rand was 11-1, I sold it at 18-1. The same with the deposit for the house which we will get back, but probably after we leave. I've had to hire a car as this is South Africa after all and although I can walk to the local shops, I can't get to the Dr's, physio etc. 

We had to travel to the UK to have our documents attested, the company paid for flights and car hire and one or two nights accommodation, but the rest of the time we paid for all the costs related to the trip. We also had to pay up front over a thousand pounds for our documents, hotels, fuel, etc in Rand as we have no UK income which we will get refunded back in Dubai as AED meaning we lose out again on the conversion rate.

Our furniture takes 42 days to arrive in Dubai and our air shipment takes between 13-20 days to arrive. We only have 30 days accommodation provided, what about the other 12 days?

I'm on 5 of 7 nights on an airbed which doubles up as my sofa, desk and dining room table. My back is killing me (I have an old injury) hence the need for car hire to get to the Dr's etc. We have 3 nights from Friday at a guest house after the air freight is collected and then we fly to Dubai on the 15th.

The time we've spent on the move is unmeasurable and this has caused considerable stress also. We had to list all our items and provide a cost of replacement value in Dubai of which I have no idea if I've over or under valued our items. I've had to get quotes for garden services and cleaning firms as well as the removal companies coming round to quote. I've lost valuable time with my charity and volunteer work and had to sacrifice saying some goodbyes due to time restraints and lack of transport.

When we arrive we have no car, no cell phone, but we have an unfurnished house and a 19yo with an airbed who will move into the property to look after the cat and dog. We will have no bank account until we sort it asap, but there will be electricity, water and internet at the property. The 15yo and I will have to make our way to the house each day, at our own expense in a country where we don't really know how to get around, with no one to guide us and not knowing a single person. 

I'm on the verge of naming hubbies employer, something I have never done due to not making his working life difficult, but my personal life is suffering again especially when I know I've got to go through the whole process of meeting people, making friends, working out how everything works, not wanting to leave South Africa in the first place.

But at least this time we are moving to Dubai, a safe country and not South Africa where we were scared shitless to step outside the front door.

Sunday, 7 December 2014

My Sunday Photo - Race for Dubai

I've been torn this week with #mysundayphoto. Our furniture has been packed and is on it's way to Dubai, we spent Saturday at the Alaskan Informal settlement in Mamelodi saying emotional goodbyes to the Viva staff and children and today at Sun City at the Nedbank Golf Challenge.
Today was something different for me, a break from the norm. We've spent 3 months preparing for our move from South Africa to Dubai. I spend my, none paid, working week in various facilities in townships so I thought I'd post a picture of Danny Willet winning the Nedbank Golf Challenge on the Gary Player course  in South Africa as this match marks the #RaceForDubai which I thought quite ironic  considering next year, we'll be living in Dubai and will probably be at that tournament cheering Willet on. 

Tuesday, 2 December 2014

Express VPN Trial

On moving to South Africa in 2011 we rented a furnished apartment which included DSTV and on channel 120 we discovered BBC Entertainment. Within a few months we had tired of constant reruns of 'Keeping up Appearances' and after 4 years we know every answer on 'Who wants to be a Millionaire' 2001-2002.

As a family we all enjoy sport and you can't fault DSTV for their sports coverage, especially the football including the 3pm Saturday kick offs. The films are very good, but TV series aren't advertised and we often miss the first couple of episodes, despite there being a catch up channel, it only allows access to the last episode.

We were unable to watch TV programmes on the internet as it was equivalent to dial up speed and would take several hours to 'buffer' before playing the programme and we only had 9GBs a month allowance.

4 years on the speed has improved, the allowance has raised to 50GB a month and the kids have left home. I've been watching a lot of British TV series on You tube, but due to broadcasting rights, I often get half way through a series to discover 'content removed'

I was very pleased to be offered a year's free trial of Express VPN via Tots100. As a SAH(M) the TV is a very good friend of mine and I find I work a lot better with 'audible wallpaper' on in the background. I've been without my car more often than not and living in South Africa, public transport just isn't an option so I've been spending endless days at home, on my own.

I downloaded the software onto an old laptop that I use for internet access only and via a USB cable I've connected it to the main TV, so hubby and I can watch TV together in the evenings. We also like to keep up with the British news but find Sky TV more of a magazine style programme and BBC World Service doesn't go into enough detail. The other news channels are American, such as CNN.

We move to Dubai next month and have been visiting this week to familiarise ourselves with the country and customs. The trouble we have watching TV online in South Africa is that the internet is very slow compared to some other countries and constantly 'buffers' during the programmes.
In Dubai the internet is faster, more reliable and it was easier to watch On Demand programmes and the internet is unlimited over there compared to being capped here.

Monday, 1 December 2014

How do you approach things you really don't want to do?

It's moving day, friends came round yesterday for a braai and the goodbyes were said.

The house has been sorted into 4 sections.



Air freight


At the moment the house is a bloody mess. I arrived back in South Africa 5 days ago after getting all the paperwork ready in the UK and flying to Dubai to go house hunting.

Family are asking me if I'm excited, friends are saying that they marvel at my calmness and organisational skills. I'm just amazed I haven't had a major breakdown like I did when we first moved abroad in 2011.

So how have I approached this move to Dubai? This new exciting adventure I'm on?

Daily. That's all, day to day. An international move with an expiring visa is like skating on thin ice. The timescales and requirements have to be adhered to. There's no 'tomorrow' It's all about what needs doing right now and not thinking about the 'what next?'

Despite this being our second relocation abroad it doesn't mean we know what we are doing. Quite the opposite intact. Different paperwork is required, different processes, different worries and this move involves a cat and a dog.

I'm sorry i can't explain to you when you ask 'what is happening?' 'what do you have to do?' because until we complete each task and are set the next one, I honestly have NO IDEA. I can sit and worry about all the things that may go wrong, or worry about all the unknown things yet to come, but it doesn't get the house sorted, it doesn't make the move any easier.

i approach it with acceptance that we are leaving South Africa, I knew we would one day, I just didn't bank on that one being quite so soon.

Sunday, 30 November 2014

My Sunday Photo - Saying goodbye

The packers arrive tomorrow so with today being the last day with furniture in the house, it was an ideal opportunity to invite friends round to start the goodbyes before leaving South Africa and moving to Dubai.

Dishwasher ran 3 full cycles to clean it all, this was just a fraction of the mess.