If you follow me on social media, you will know that we have been on holiday to Cyprus for our friend’s wedding in Paphos. We decided to fly there via Dubai as it seemed the most direct route and yet again Emma proved to be her resilient little self and was incredibly good on both flights. She is also at the age now where she is aware of what ‘planes’ are and gets excited when we start talking about them or she sees them in the sky (which bodes well for when we fly back to the UK every so often). We had an 11-hour stopover in Dubai where we booked the terminal hotel so we could all get some sleep overnight and then we could walk straight to the gate for our 8.00am flight the next morning. I also have to mention that we flew with Emirates and they are, so far, one of the best airlines I have ever flown with, the staff were brilliant and they also took a polaroid photo of us to keep on our return, the flash blindsided Emma a bit, but it was a lovely gesture.
It was our first time to Cyprus and we had an amazing week, but I think that is probably more to do with the fact that a lot of our close friends and family were there at the same time which made it special.
It is also great to spend some quality time as a family unit which we mainly did in the hotel pool as Emma absolutely adores swimming and she is becoming quite the water baby.
Our friend’s wedding was held at a venue about a 30-minute drive from Paphos and the setting was stunning. Danny and Emma were honoured to play important roles on the day (best man and flower girl) and I could not have been prouder of them both. (Mr & Mrs Tranter if you’re reading this, thank you so much for a wonderful day, and I hope you had a lovely honeymoon!)
Danny and I also celebrated our fourth wedding anniversary on the last night with Danny’s parents where we all indulged in steak at one of the most amazing South African restaurants I’ve ever been too (actually I think it’s the only SA I’ve ever been too, but it was still great).
I’m not quite sure where four years have gone, but they do say time flies when you’re having fun.
Our week in Cyprus flew by in a flash, and before we knew it, it was time to head back to Oman. After a lovely lunch with the newlyweds they dropped us off at Larnaca airport where we were catching an 8.00pm flight. Now although Emma has been a very good jetsetter until now I knew this flight was going to be the most challenging as we were flying to Dubai and unlike the outgoing journey we were jumping straight onto our connecting flight to Muscat which meant we would get into Oman at about 3.30am….cue an over excitable toddler who refused to go to sleep and slowly turned into a gremlin child until we finally got on the Muscat flight at 2.00am where she finally caved and passed out. Thankfully she was so exhausted that she slept as we landed at the airport, went through passport control (which took 1.5 hours and Danny and I were literally on our last legs by this point) and as we got home (just after 5.00am) Emma still didn't stir so we all crawled into the same bed and blissfully slept for 6 hours.
On our return from Cyprus I came back in on a different visa, as when I came into the country previously, Emma and I were on a tourist visa due to our house contract not being finalised (which we needed for the permanent visa). So, now this was sorted I needed to go to the ministry to get my resident card and driving license
(Does anyone else think of the Ministry of Magic when they hear the word ‘Ministry’ or is this my inner Harry Potter geekiness showing).
Danny had arranged for one of his Omani colleagues to attend with me which was brilliant as he also helped with Emma when I needed it. I’m not sure what I expected during the process, but I didn’t anticipate it to be quite so long winded. Just to give you an idea..
1. We drove to a building which takes your fingerprint electronically so when you come back into the country you can go through the e-gate (which would be great if Emma could go through this gate too, but she can’t so I will still have to queue like everyone else).
2. We then drove to another building to get my resident card, where I had to wait in a waiting room until my number was called and then go to have my thumb print and photo taken. I was then asked to go and wait in another room to wait for my resident card (thankfully I had brought plenty of snacks/water for Emma, as by this point, she was turning into a wriggly worm).
3. We then needed to drive to another building to get my eye test, when I say building it is actually a transit van, where I was given a 10 second eye test before they declared that I was ok to drive (phew, good thing they were so thorough)!
4. We arrived at the fourth and final building to get my drivers license where I had to queue in three different lines (one after the other) until I held the precious card in my hands (on my new visa I wasn’t allowed to drive in Oman until I had my Oman driving license, so I was desperate to get my hands on this!)
So, it was a morning filled with touring some of Oman’s finest government buildings, but I am very pleased that I don’t have to do it again in a hurry (FYI…sadly, it didn’t look anything like the Ministry of Magic).
Following our Ministry adventures, Emma and I spent the remainder of the week at soft play, getting some more bits for the house, having a pool afternoon at the Dolphin and then before we knew it the weekend had arrived – even though I’m not working, I still get that Friday feeling (technically it's a Thursday feeling) as I know we have the whole weekend with Danny to do some more exploring of Muscat.
Before I even got to Oman it hadn’t occurred to me about what creepy crawlies I might encounter, but like any country it would naturally have its bug-eyed friends, which I had the pleasure of meeting the other night. There I was on a Sunday evening minding my own business, watching TV, whilst Danny was snoozing on the sofa then out the corner of my eye I see this black large pebble sized creature scuttle across the floor
“DANNNNNNYYYYY…..wake up, DANNNYYY” (There may have been a few swear words thrown in here for good measure). My poor husband jumped up with the velocity of a sloth, wondering what the hell was going on.
I then proceeded to shout at him to get the cockroach before it ran up and pounced on my face (I am under no illusion that this would not have happened, but large insects and I do not get on). Luckily my knight in grey pyjamas got the creature and disposed of him so normality could resume…. fingers crossed we don’t have another encounter any time soon, otherwise I might possibly overreact again.
On a sad and final note, at the beginning of the month I received a call to say that my Nanny had passed away. This was not unexpected, but unexpected or not it is still very painful to hear when a close relative has gone and for me it brought up a huge range of emotions, especially as I am so far away from my family as these are the people you want to be with when a loved one passes.
Unfortunately, this is one of the drawbacks to living abroad, it obviously comes with amazing benefits, but this is one of the big downfalls.
I am just very grateful we have the technology we do now as I have been on video chat with family over the past couple of weeks and I take comfort in the fact that my Nan is finally at peace with my Grandad and my Dad and last Monday, when her funeral took place, I raised a glass to her and spent the day remembering my Nanny as my way of saying goodbye.
Next blog w/c 11th November….