September 12, 2013

"You say Ma'a Salama, and I say Salaam."

Dear Reader,

It's my......fifth? in the city of Abu Dhabi, and there's way too much to write. So, I'll give you a general rundown from the top.

 We drove to the Houston airport and went through security without too much hassle. Because we were flying "Business Class" we got to wait in the swanky "Executive Club Lounge". It was full of comfortable chairs and food. After a while, Woody Williams from church showed up in his full airport security uniform. Gun and all, baby. It was great to see somebody from our ward at the last minute. After Woody left, our flight was called and we boarded the airplane

It's hard to describe our seats without sounding ridiculous. The seats were a bed, a massage chair, a table, and a media center all rolled into one. We were pampered like crazy. They gave us pillows, blankets, hot towels, noise cancelling headphones, delicious meals, free movies, free music, and even little plates of assorted nuts. After watching "Back To The Future" and "Monster's University" I decided to try to sleep. I pressed a button and VOILA...My seat was a bed. When I looked up at the ceiling, little LED lights were aglow in the shapes of constellations. I did fall asleep for a long time, and eventually, we landed in Dubai.

Despite the luxury of the experience, the plane was still a plane, and I was very happy to get off of itasdl;laksjd The Dubai airport is beautifully modern. Almost too modern. Anyways, we went through immigration and an Emirati in his dishdash stamped our passports. Here's a picture of what the dishdash looks like. I promise that I'm not making that name up.

We obtained our suitcases and made the necessary arrangements to get to the city of Abu Dhabi. A while later, we climbed into two black Volvos, and our drivers sped down the freeway at a steady 90 mph. (Even at this high speed, people in their sport cars regularly passed us.) An hour later, we arrived in Abu Dhabi. We checked into our hotel, which was called the Millennium Hotel. Exhausted, we collapsed on our beds and fell asleep. 

The next morning, the Islamic call to prayer sounded very loudly from the Mosque next to our hotel. It was the best thing at 4:45 a.m. to kick off my first full day in the city. I say that in all seriousness. I thought to myself "Wow. This is going to be very different."..........and different it was. 

The first thing we did was a tour of Sam and I's new high school, ACS (American Community School).  Our counselor gave us all of the things we needed like our locker combinations and our schedules. We said goodbye and left the school to go on a tour of the city with a South African lady. She was very nice and she helped us to get a feel for the city. 

After the tour we went back to the hotel and did something. I forget. 

Anyways, the next day, Sam and I had our first day of school. It's a really small school.....there are only 90 kids that make up my junior class. Luckily, they're super cool. They were very helpful and vey understanding because they have been in my shoes for their entire lives. Best of all, I got really talented teachers. I love our school. :)

We found an apartment to live in with a BEAUTIFUL view of the Arabian Gulf, but we have to wait for a few things to happen before we can move in. Inshallah it will be soon. 

I often think of Tomball, Texas, and how much I miss everyone there. It's hard to move to a foreign country. Much harder than I thought it was going to be. But the good news is that it gets easier.

(For your information, it's impossible to describe in detail what I'm experiencing here. If I were to describe it in two words, I would say that it's overwhelming and educational.) 

In closing, I would like to thank you for your support. It means a lot to me, and it helps me to keeping enduring and persevering. 

With all of my love, 

Nicholas Merrill

P.S. When we were driving through Dubai, we saw the Burj Khalifa, which is the world's tallest building. Here's a picture of it. 

P.P.S. There are a lot of Texans in our school. YEE HAW!!!!!!

P.P.P.S. I'm learning Arabic, and it's crazy hard. Who knew that you could make so many different guttural sounds? I didn't. 

1 comment:

  1. I know exactly what you mean when you say "For your information, it's impossible to describe in detail what I'm experiencing here. If I were to describe it in two words, I would say that it's overwhelming and educational." It's a massive culture shock. Not in a bad way--it's just different. The experiences you'll have are going to stay with you forever. Enjoy it.