We ended up staying there for 11 1/2 months, whilst searching for the perfect house. Of course, the longer we were here, the trickier it became because we saw more and more houses and got pickier and pickier. We saw over 100 houses - and I know that for a fact, because I listed all of them!
We were so lucky finding this house, and we have been so very happy in it for the last 5+ years. I'll be sad to leave it, it's such a good house, truly ticked all the boxes.
Moving to Abu Dhabi is turning out to be a different story... There is not really any company accommodation, most people take the allowance and find their own place.
Nathan has been staying, as many other of his colleagues, in a hotel room since he got there. He changed hotels after a few weeks, but this current one is perfectly located and really nice, and he will be there until he moves into our house. Some single people never leave the hotels.
It turned out we needed to find somewhere ASAP though, because until Nathan has a permanent residential address, he can't sponsor our visa applications... (It's actually an even longer story and I won't bore you with all the details - all I can say is that the admin work involved when moving countries is always crazy!)
So our main mission during my flying visit a couple of weeks ago was to make a decision on a house. Nathan had already seen a few before I came, and we saw quite a few more while I was there. None of them really rocked my boat I must admit. Too big, too small, weirdly laid out, too old-fashioned, too expensive, too far from schools etc.
We kept coming back and comparing them all to this one house we had seen already in December when we were here - the house of our friends from Brunei. They had told us there was a few units available still in their compound, and after we'd been looking around, it turned out those houses were very much the best choice, for us. We are a bit sorry we're bringing Brunei into their life again... but there you go!
There are 34 houses in this compound, and they are all identical.
Downstairs there's a big hallway, a huge kitchen, a downstairs storage room (it's really the Amah's room, but we'll have ours outside in what's really the driver's room), downstairs toilet, big dining room/living room area; a paved area outside and a small grass patch:
Here's looking from the living area in through the hallway and towards the front door, kitchen is on the right, and the stairs to upstairs on the left:
Here's looking the other way, at the living area, where we will have our sofas, and our TV on the wall to the right by the window. Behind the door to the right we will make a little "office" corner, with a very neat (!) desk and some storage:
This area is to the left, connected to the living area. We will have our dining table here, and some buffet tables or other forms of storage for glass ware etc. The doors open out to the paved patio area:
This is also looking from the entrance, through the hallway and into the living area. The living room to the right and the dining room to the left, although it's actually one big room, but with two doors.
Upstairs there are four big bedrooms, and they all have bathrooms with bathtubs! Plenty of space for visitors..! Lucas bid dibs on this one, because he liked the window nook:
So Linnea will get this one, which has a balcony instead. She was pretty happy with that. Both look out over the big empty area in front of the house, which is practical, so they can spot when their friends are out.
The kitchen. Always comes without white goods, so we will need to get out and buy a cooker, fridge/freezer, dishwasher and washing machine as soon as we get there. But the kitchen is nice, modern and roomy, and also looks out over the planned play area, which is good.
The hallway with the stairs to the second floor and a small under-the-stairs storage cupboard:
It's a brand new compound, so we will be the first people in our house. It's now the standard magnolia colour on the walls, so we've hired some handymen to paint it white for us before we move in. I want it as bright as possible.
As all the units have now (just!) been completed, they are going to concentrate on the common area: build a swimming pool, a gym and a playground. Could become really, really nice eventually!
I found a picture on how they are planning for the common area to look, although I can't really make out much what is what, apart from the pool of course:
Here's a screen shot from Google Earth where I've marked out approximately where our house is in relation to the schools we have been looking at. You can also see the airport to the right; IKEA in the top right corner on Yas Island as well as the hotel Park Inn where Nathan has been staying.
Downtown Abu Dhabi is to the left outside the picture, and Dubai is 50 minutes away following the motorway disappearing in the top right corner! :)
Now the kids and I are busy making mood boards and shopping lists, it's very exciting getting to decorate a brand new house! And of course, guests are welcome!