think back over the previous 12 months and muse on the highs and lows. Let's be clear, I'm blessed that my life is mostly about the highs, but still, you get what I mean. This year has been nothing short of spectacular. Lots of travel, lots of adventures, and a life surrounded by people that I love dearly. Some, of course, are further away than others. It's been such a blur at times that I had to dig out my diary, passport AND re-read Britney of Arabia, just to see exactly what I've been up to! So, some of my highlights:
Whether it's been business or pleasure, 2010 saw me travel more than I could have imagined. And it still wasn't enough! Started the year with a very cold Amsterdam, a quick jump to Manchester (no need for the weather!), then Oman, Qatar, Syria, India, Manchester (no need for the weather!), Oman, Oman, Singapore, Bali, and Jordan. I've been lucky to spend most of these trips with a fabulous selection of people. The less fabulous tend to be work-related! Early 2011 will see my second arabic wedding in Sharm and Cairo (Elnett sales are sure to spike), and then we're all over HK. Jersey Rich, you have been warned...
June saw me move into the most fabulous new apartment. I could happily while away an evening lying on the sofa looking at the view (obviously am far too busy for this to be a regular occurrence!) and I still enjoy watching the reactions of new visitors as they are drawn silently to the window and stand, noses pressed against the glass, jaws open. But it wasn't just the bricks and mortar aspect of the apartment that I loved, and still do: it was the fact that it was mine, and mine alone.
Growing Desert Family
In March we had a new team member in the form of M. She'd come over for New Year's Eve, and amazingly, our spank-dancing congas hadn't put her off a) living in Dubai b) associating herself with us. Her exploits and stories of Dubai's debt and subsequent re-structuring have kept us more than entertained. And she is (of course) the most perfect travel and sunlounger companion. M, we love you. Hurry home from the snow-filled UK.
Shrinking Desert Family
It was the end of an era when V left the Middle East and headed back to Manchester. I blogged about it at the time so I won't repeat myself: suffice to say, we still miss you! Although everyone says that this is to be expected in an ex-pat environment, and life is more transient, it doesn't make it easier to forget great friends. Especially when they leave such a gaping hole behind them.
On January 4th, the world's tallest building (Burj Khalifa) finally opened, and in May, we were guests at the first event to be held inside it. It's every bit as fabulous as you might imagine and although I see the building about ten times a day, every day, I never tire of drinking it in. And, despite my fear of heights, I've been to the top - twice! Third time will be with the parentals and grandma over Christmas. No gin or Xanax was needed, and my fear of heights appears to have been cured as a result - I can gaily step onto my balcony now without inching out onto it as I used to previously.
This year was the year that we embraced men in tight trousers: otherwise known as polo. When we weren't lazing around on the beach, Fridays were made for wine, food, and the sport of kings. Not really sure of any of the rules or what is going on, but boy is it entertaining! And sometimes if you're really lucky, you get to sneak 'backstage' (should that be 'backstable'?!) and stroke the noses of gorgeous polo ponies. We shall be returning very soon.
I celebrated my third (where did the time go?) birthday in Dubai, and am about to spend my third Christmas here. We've seen our fair share of other significant moments: divorces (2), pregnancies (2 - just to be clear - neither was me), car crashes (1, inshallah), cat deaths (1) and all the ups and downs which come with living away from home. I don't go into personal details on here unless pressed, but there were also some pretty fabulous new beginnings, and changes that are still surprising me today.
I think that's it! To be honest it's been such a washing-machine whirl at times I've struggled to recount everything. As ever, thank you universe for my blessed, blessed life, with so many wonderful people who I love very dearly. 2011 is already shaping up for more of the same...