On December 19, 2012 my eight month old son and I traveled to the middle east to join my husband in Abu Dhabi, UAE. He accepted a job here teaching English to high school aged Emerati boys. We knew when he accepted the job that this move was going to change the trajectory of our lives. Just eight days in I can tell that this adventure will be filled with some of the most challenging, yet meaningful experiences we will ever have.

It took nearly 23 hours of travel time to get here. On the way we had a layover in Amsterdam. Once I de-boarded the plane and began walking through the airport my senses were heightened. Nothing was familiar. The signs were written in multiple languages. The voice on the intercom had a distinct European accent. Prices were listed on products in Euros. Nobody looked like me. And where in the hell were the elevators!?!

I was pushing my son through the airport in his stroller so I could not take the escalator to the upper level. In an effort to look as natural in these unfamiliar surroundings as possible, I decided to keep pushing with the flow of traffic and keep my eyes peeled for a sign pointing to an elevator. I looked and looked and looked and nothing…no mention of an elevator. Alas I see the escalators and thought, the elevator has to be nearby. Still, no elevator sign. I’m perplexed and now I must retreat from the crowd of all knowing Amsterdam airport regulars and pull over to the side. I stood there for what felt like an eternity looking for an elevator sign. With no luck, I took a deep breath, relaxed and decided to walk around the lower level and sight see. Then it happened. While casually strolling along, I look up and see a sign that says “Lift”. Right beneath it there was a futuristic looking, glass encased box that I refer to as an escalator. I smiled and laughed at myself a little.

As I rode to the second floor on the lift, I could sense my perspective shifting. I looked down at my baby and whispered, “Toto, we’re not in Kansas anymore”. No longer could I expect what I had become accustomed to expecting nor could I limit myself to what I already know. I’m in a completely new place. I will meet new people, learn new things and ultimately become a new me.

Thanks for reading.