Winter is the busiest time of the year in the UAE. Lots of events and lots of opportunity to be outdoors. Ever since we got back from Japan, we barely had a lazy weekend! (Not that I ever do lazy weekends anyway ;))
So what have we been up to since November? For the second year in a row we went to the F1 world championship. I did like the race more than last year – much more action. But also I did quite enjoy the concerts – The Weeknd, Post Malone, Sam Smith and Guns&Roses. I liked the first two most, while was quite a bit disappointed by Guns&Roses…but that was not my type of music anyway. I can tell only one thing: I want to do F1 again next year!
My parents visited for the National holiday end November/early December. It was the first time, but it was also a short visit, so we tried our best to show them around and pamper them – with the see, massages, brunches, cultural visits to Louvre, the Grand Mosque, the Old Dubai…. in a nutshell, when we got back to Lithuania for Christmas, my parents were still astounded by what they saw and experienced. It definitely changed their mind about the “Arab world” – just like ours, when we arrived. The Emiratis are very nice people, and they keep their country clean. Well, and for my father it was the drag show on Yas Marina which was the icing on the cake of the overall visit….and my mum couldn’t apprehend how swimming in the sea was possible, and pleasant – more than in summer in Nordic Europe. This basically is why coming and seeing is better than hearing: it’s about experience.
We ramped up our sports a bit with cooler temperatures outdoors. Our last sports event of the year was in fact something different than we usually do – Tough Mudder race out in the dessert, a 10k run with obstacles. A bit of ice water, a bit of electricity, a bit of jumping from heights…and ton of mud 🙂 overall, fun, but had some bruises and scratches which took a few weeks to heal. What doesn’t kill you makes you stronger!
Thankfully, healing from sports is easy during Christmas, when we visited our parents for a full-time eating holiday. It was impossible to say ‘No’, as always..but it was also fun to relax, chat, go to a Christmas concert, a movie, go to the forests and fields – we even took some nice pictures and videos with our drone. The winter was at its best during the period, so for us coming from +20 which already feels cold here (yeah, we were discussing whether or not to put a jacket for biking this morning), zero to -10 was quite a change. Luckily, we got a tough skin (after ice water in Tough Mudder), and plenty of food intake to keep us warm!
Unlike previous years, though, we did not stay in Lithuania for New Year’s, but rather came back to Abu Dhabi to meet the 2019 at city’s probably best Italian – Roberto’s – with a couple of friends. The fireworks were stunning! And for the first time in my life the next day I slept to… almost 11am.
New Year resolutions? Yeah, me and my hubby had quite some time to think about what we want to do in 2019 – health, sport, travel, social life, finance… – for each category we set some guidelines, now we are working on details. 🙂 Me, personally, I want to use more time for natural health boosters. Last year I got interested in gut, so now I am involved in some fermentation processes at home just to produce natural living things – probiotics. Just 2 weeks in, I have already a few batches in of the home-made kombucha, which is health, energy and taste in 1 small bottle for me and my hubby. More to come!
For our entertainment, we started to prioritize time we use, those few hours we have during the day, we no longer spend just going to cinema or watching random Hollywood movies. Instead, we go to Manarat culture center here in Abu Dhabi to watch some classics and quality stuff. So far this year our favorites are: Cactus Flower, Dial M for Murder and Leave no Trace. Also, we started to spend more time for reading and …even programming. Yeah, I am learning Python too now 🙂 – will at some point integrate my finance skills for some AI project.
As for other goals – sport is well on track, we try to do something every day. It is actually quite difficult to get back to normal routine after winter holiday – plenty of sore muscles. And yet. This coming Friday we will go to Liwa dessert to do some cycling with sightseeing on the way. Everyone says it’s stunning views there in Liwa oasis – but also 110k on a bike and ton of hills, so will be a challenge too. For smaller trips, this year we want to do hiking in UAE/Oman, visit Lebanon, Jordan, maybe Uzbekistan. For longer trips, we are still discussing – China, Australia, New Zealand. We want to explore it all, now that these countries are much closer than we have ever been – and yet far enough to effectively use our Etihad card points for a free business class ticket 😉