Home Sweet Home

Instead of scattering teachers all over the city, our employer has consolidated the city dwellers into the same apartment building. But this isn’t just any building. It’s city living… it’s island living… I’m the first to admit I couldn’t afford to to live this way at home. We’ve been placed in Arc Tower, a twenty-two story, 900-unit high rise on Reem Island in Abu Dhabi. The neighboring building is called Gate Towers. Because everyone uses landmarks as guides, I fondly nicknamed it “The Trip” before I knew the real name because it consists of three high-rises and a “penthouse bridge” that connects the tops of the buildings. Mind you, telling a taxi driver you live next to The Trip doesn’t get you anywhere, but I’m having fun renaming buildings so just play along. We’re also flanked by Sun Tower and Sky Tower. Yep, towers everywhere, and they’re all approximately three times higher than The Arc. The building we’re in is still under construction but there’s a 2nd floor walkway that connects us to Sky Tower. Inside Sky is a smaller “boutique mall” that has restaurants and a grocery store, plus a pharmacy, nail salon, bank, gelato store, coffee shop, etc. It’s not a far walk but everything can also be delivered because that’s just how service is here (and there usually aren’t delivery fees, either).
I haven’t scouted the whole area yet, mostly because I’ve been waiting for deliveries for the past few days, but I’ve managed to discover a few cool features. I have a view of a pool and playground from my apartment and also found another pool about 30m from this one (see? I’m going metric!) with a lazy river adjacent to it. There are also squash, tennis and basketball courts, multiple workout rooms, and a weight room, all included. A construction-laden area where road detours abound, it’s quite a challenging neighborhood to navigate, but within the confines of the Arc it’s heaven.
I live in a brand new, 76.5 sq m (824 sq ft) one bedroom, 1.5 bath apartment with an open kitchen that doesn’t have nearly enough drawer space, a cute breakfast bar, nice living room, small balcony, and tiny laundry area. My bedroom windows don’t open; they’re sandy on the outside but can only be washed by the management company. The door to the balcony opens out like a regular door; it doesn’t have a screen so I’m not sure how feasible it is to think I’ll leave it open in the coming months when the weather is milder. I have a view of downtown Abu Dhabi out both windows that reminds me of how- on a clear day- I have a view of the Chicago skyline out my bedroom window at home.
Now for the game show part of the story: each teacher was given apartment keys, 20,000 dirhams (approx $5,500 US), and five days in which to furnish an apartment. In reality you can take longer than five days but your hotel stay is up at that time, so most of us rushed out to shop. I hate shopping. And $5,500 is not a lot of money when you have to buy EVERYTHING. I bought a queen-size bed, headboard, nightstand, and bookshelf for my bedroom. For the kitchen I decided on a microwave/ convection oven/ grill (it’s fantastic!), a single electric burner, refrigerator, water dispenser, and three bar stools. My living room will consist of a sofa, chair, ottoman, coffee table, side tables, rug, tv stand, and an LG flat screen. I also bought a washer/dryer combo, not stacked, but where the clothes wash and dry in the same drum. Not sure about that purchase yet, but space and money are tight so I made a decision and will hope for the best. A week into this, I’m still waiting on the sofa (it’s on a truck that just can’t seem to get here) and my blasted INTERNET.
So if you need me, you can find me on an island in the desert.. how cool is that??


4 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. Jackie
    Aug 31, 2014 @ 17:33:48

    The apartment looks great! I thought you had my photo up in your living room, but then I realized it was K and J 🙂

    Liked by 1 person


  2. Susan Huster
    Aug 31, 2014 @ 18:21:46

    Wow Sue what an adventure!

    Sent from my iPhone



  3. Angela Hacke
    Aug 31, 2014 @ 21:23:41

    Looks like an amazing place!



  4. Deb Mech
    Sep 02, 2014 @ 01:47:16

    Sounds like you never need to leave the towers! Hoping to get to see it in person sometime!



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