I began thinking about pursuing a PhD in comparative Christian and Islamic ethics in the summer of last year, and so then began in earnest to focus on Islamic/Middle Eastern studies and lo and behold, found it a fascinating and little-explored research area! Then, around May of this year, Shannon happened upon a job posting for a position working in higher education research and policy at a university in Abu Dhabi. She had been considering changing jobs and found this one intriguing, but quickly dismissed it, thinking it too outrageous to consider.
A few days later we were having a conversation at dinner about our potential move, and she brought up the job posting as a joke, but by the end of our evening she had decided to apply just for kicks to see what would happen. Over the next few weeks while she awaited their reply, she experienced quite a change of heart; her initial aversion to the idea was transformed into an outright desire to move there. She ended up being hired for the position and had a contract by mid-June. Long story-short, less than three months from our initial conversation about how funny it would if we moved to the Middle East, Shannon and I packed up and moved there, which is now here. Hard to believe we've already been here one week. Here are a few pics of our first days:
Shannon and me on our plane moments before wheels up!
Here we are working off jet lag in our meager 5-star accommodations (Shannon's employer was very good to us) at the Intercontinental Hotel...Sam says, "It's tired in here."
And this was our first glimpse of Abu Dhabi by day...gorgeous!
Here is the Marina Mall, the second largest mall in Abu Dhabi, and just one of the five we hit in two days, all within a two mile radius...Emiratis sure can shop!
This is a shot from inside the Marina Mall; notice the sign providing direction both to the "Prayer Room" and "Cinestar," the mall's movie theater...this image captures much of Abu Dhabi's uniqueness.