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I asked the concierge for childcare, they had none–second red flag.I was finally given the contact for a local agency that could assist for rates that were quadruple what I have paid anywhere else.

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They all worked six days a week and didn’t know a soul who didn’t. Finally, a sweet, compassionate, kid-crazy Vietnamese woman named Queen offered to help us out on her day off and my partner took both kids to the beach on the second day of my conference. We did get a bit smarter for our Istanbul work trip. We found a nanny, whose main family was on vacation for the dates we were in town.

Finally, feeling sorry for me, the ladies in the salon recommended a woman, who lived in staff housing behind the hotel who could care for Santi and Zadie in her apartment along with their kids, although I might not be able to enter the complex to inspect the premises. She has a full time job as well, so this wasn’t ideal, in fact, we consider our attempt to wing it in Dubai, as working women who travel, a reminder to never take the band again on a work trip. We were able to each work during the day, while the nanny took care of the kiddos in the room.

This will be the first night in my life as a mother that I don’t see one or both of my kids.

I am ready for it and am grateful for what just might be the perfect birthday–a night alone, a full night’s sleep, and a trip to the gym in the morning that doesn’t involve pumping, translating my requests into Russian, and that constant worry that something could be wrong.

I slowly came to understand, that no one comes to Dubai without a job.

Each person working in Dubai came with an agency from their home country with a job and a visa tied to that job. Embassy offered a long list of names, with references to call on.We have all become expert travelers with four separate frequent flyer numbers on Air Astana–the remarkable local airline. Embassy Community Liaison Office, which everywhere else I have traveled has been my one-stop-shop for finding childcare vetted and recommended by other American families.Recently, we traveled to Dubai and Istanbul for work. Sadly, it was impossible to hire childcare in Dubai–literally impossible. Although many friends had lived there or had friends still stationed there, no one knew of an available baby sitter. I got a grim email from them stating, “We offer no assistance in finding childcare.” I should have known right then, that I was setting myself up for failure. When we arrived in Dubai, we visited all the must see sights: the tallest building in the world, the aquarium, and the beach.Majority of the population is ethnic Kazakh, with a large amount of Ukranians and Russians.The people situation is the opposite of Moscow to some degree.We often ask ourselves if there is a less known, less visited, less on-the-way-part of the world, where would it be.

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