Saturday, January 11, 2014

Overnight in Bahrain- 4 Years Later

Okay, so we just enjoyed beer in Germany a week ago so we shouldn't be THIS excited about a beer... it isn't like we've gone weeks or months without one.... however, the beer just tastes different when you are on vacation vs. taking a mini escape from the Land of the Sand... hard to explain unless you've lived it so just trust me on this one!
The way this overnight in Bahrain came into play was a little different.... the plan was to come with friends (which is the reason we came SO soon after returning from Germany) and help celebrate a birthday that we missed.  Not only did we want to come for our friends but we also wanted a chance to come and "relive" the experience we had almost 4 years ago to the day that brought us on this journey to Saudi.  With excitement we booked a hotel we had picked out ourselves 4 years ago (the Gulf hotel we stayed at first in Bahrain was chosen because it was the hosting hotel of the conference Brad was presenting at).  We were excited to go back and enjoy some of our favorite parts about this hotel and look back on the journey we've been on!
We were sitting outside, enjoying a beer, and watching the kids play on the playset we spent a lot of time at 4 years ago (when Addyson was barely walking) and waiting for our friends to show up.  It was great family time however, we were looking forward to "friend" time... one of our dreams is being able to travel with another family.... or so we thought.... we quickly realized that not everyone travels like we do, not everyone has the same goals, same beliefs, same standards.... and that is okay... that's what makes the world go 'round..... but these differences are also something I've realized I have to start taking into consideration when deciding who I spend quality time with.... where is this coming from?
After waiting for a long time for our friends to show up I went to the front desk to inquire about their arrival where I was told they came in and canceled their hotel room.  What?!?!  Crazy right?!?!  A wave of emotions took over me- Hurt, it hurts to be stood up.  Sadness, sad to be missing out on what we thought would be a fun weekend.  Disappointment, disappointed to be let down by what I thought was a good friend.  Shocked, Surprised in the sudden change of plans... we had been planning this all week.  Protection, I had to protect my kids who were disappointed their friend wasn't showing up.  Personal, what did "I" do to cause this.  Peace..... understanding that it wasn't "me", it was  "her" and understanding that everything happens for a reason and we both need to do what is best for OUR family.... because in the end, MY FAMILY is what matters most!
I think the old Brad and Ambre would have stewed on this for a long time.  Talked about it until we were blue in the face.  Dwelled on it and missed out on the opportunity in front of us.  And this is where my feelings of being proud of not only myself, but also Brad and us as a couple took over.  We rode out the initial emotions (we are human after all!) and then took this opportunity to grow and learn!  We have come to a point in our journey in life where we want to surround ourselves with people that want to be with us.... there is no begging people to be our friends or hang out with us.  There will be no constant feelings of being let down.  There will be no negativity.  If you want to join us on our ride, great!  The more the merrier!  If you make plans with us, great, it is best if you keep good to your word!  If you want to chose to do things differently, great!  That is YOUR choice... and I get to chose how and with whom I spend my time.... and I chose to be with like minded people!
At first we were both bummed out that we were in Bahrain when we probably should have been at home since we just got back from vacation but it didn't take us long to realize there was something greater we were about to learn and we needed to be in Bahrain and at this hotel for that reason!  So, Cheers to family!!!!
First of all, it was amazing to come back to a place that was SO special to us and look at pictures of then (almost 4 years ago) and now!!!  And the reality is, is that if we were sharing this evening with another family it would have been completely different and the main focus would have been taken off of us and our kids.
Second, the overall experience with our friends HAD to happen otherwise, how would we have grown?  How could I look back at the weekend with a smile knowing how far we have come emotionally, how far we've come understanding each other, how far we've come as a couple and tackling situations.  We wouldn't have been able to discuss what is important to us, to our friendships, to our commitments, to what we want out of life.  See, everything does happen for a reason and being "big" enough to see that and understand that is what is most important.
Lastly, this was our first trip to Bahrain where Brad and I were both on the same page about how NICE it is to be able to walk around (me without my abaya) hand-in-hand with a beer if we chose, eating what we want, whenever we want (no worries about prayer times), in the cleanliness that Bahrain offers.  See, it use to be just me that was begging for a "get away" a "break" from life in Saudi and Brad never understood that urge.... until now.... and really, that is what I am most thankful for that came out of this weekend.  See, marriage works SO much better when couples are alined on feelings about things.  Not only that but, life in Saudi will be SO much better when we are both alined on the importance of mini getaways....... and now we are! : )
All of the above revelations happened quickly!  Which means we had the night ahead of us to enjoy completely and without a dark cloud hanging over us!  And enjoy we DID!!!  We went to our favorite seafood buffet at the hotel.  Picked out some amazing seafood and put in our request with how we wanted them to cook it up!  Then we dined on some amazing appetizers.... Owen even tried clams for the first time!
Shortly after our plate of amazing seafood showed up for us to feast on!!!!  This is a Brewster dream come true.... which did make us wonder if we were best traveling as a group of 5.... we like different things, we like to go, we are a bit "crazy"... so maybe traveling alone is best and leave the socializing to camp.
Who wants a crab leg or two?!?!
After demolishing our plate of seafood, the kids (and I) dove into the amazing dessert bar!  Too many things to choose from so just take one of each!  With our bellies and hearts full, we headed back to the playground to burn off some energy and calories before calling it a night.  We put the kids to bed and then Brad and I enjoyed a beer on the balcony and talked about how our day played out... this wasn't the ending we had planned on but it was the evening that was planned for us and couldn't have been better!  We all went to be happy!
Before heading out, we enjoyed the yummy breakfast that is provided at the hotel and Owen made his own fresh squeezed grapefruit juice! : )  One of the reasons for our trip to Bahrain was to do some grocery shopping, the selection in Bahrain is much better than the one in Saudi AND you can shop without worries of closings due to prayer time AND I can shop without my abaya so it is a win-win all around.  We headed out early to shop to beat the rush (a lot of other Aramcons do the same thing) and to get the best selection (that's how we get to come home with over 20 bags of Tostitos!) and to be able to cross the boarder before everyone else... again to save time!!!  It worked out perfectly!  We got everything on our list, crossed the boarder in 30 minutes (it can take 2+ hours), and made it home in time for a nice evening together before our Winter break ended (everyone starts back to school tomorrow).  Despite the minor hiccup, it ended up being a wonderful family weekend and I think we are going to start making it a tradition to go to Bahrain every 4-6 weeks for the mini getaway we need to keep us sane!

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