Tuesday, October 11, 2011

"And so I'll be found, with my stake stuck in this ground, marking the territory of this newly impassioned soul." -Mumford and Sons

Breakfast at the Palms Atlantis
   Well it's been a while since my last post, but between my on again/off again internet and this busy wonderful life, I just have not had the chance! Two weekends ago I had an amazing time during my first trip to Dubai! I spent a night with Kirsten and her family who were so amazingly welcoming and took me out for a great night in Dubai. The next night was spent on the Palm tree island in Dubai at the Atlantis hotel for the DXB Beach Party with Mackenzie, Laura, Tamra, and Jill. Through the whole weekend I could not help saying, "is this really our life?" I continue to feel so fortunate here every single day for these amazing opportunities and the amazing people that I get to experience them with.
The Palms Atlantis in Dubai
   This past weekend Tamra and Colleen came for a visit then we spent a night in Sharjah (one of the seven emirates). We have a local friend who took us to a "cookout" in Sharjah. I must add that cookouts here do not start until about 2am! The person putting us up was so great and showed us around his farm where he had emus, lots of birds, and a donkey. Who knows what this upcoming weekend will bring but if our weekends continue in the way that they have been I will remain one happy lady :-)
   I really can't come up with a complaint about school. I feel almost guilty! So many of my friends have such horror stories about their schools right now and the stories they share about their students are just unimaginable. For whatever reason though, I was placed in a great class with a great co teacher. I absolutely adore my kids and are so proud of the progress they are making. I admit though, that I would be lost without my co teacher, Mariam, who is a great help with translations and acts more of the diciplinary so I can be more of the "fun one" haha.
  One more month until Ireland! Already thinking about winter break and will most likely be doing an Asia trip with Colleen.
  That is all for now...I am definitely adjusting to this inshallah way of life and have stopped asking "why" they do anything here because there really is no rhyme or reason to any decisions they make. All you can do is say Mafi Mushkila and go with the flow.
   Sending love to you all, enjoy the fall weather for me because I really do miss it!

           <3 Love and miss you all!

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

"And in the end, it's not the years in your life that count. It's the life in your years." -Abraham Lincoln

My Classroom
Life is good! The kids have come to school and i'm loving it! These past two weeks have been easy because kindergarteners only come to school 8-10 the first two weeks, but it's been great spending time with the little ones (even if we can't understand eachother!). This week we have been planning to actually start teaching on Sunday and I'm REALLY looking forward too it! This week they learned how to say "September" in English and are really improving on their days of the week and counting in English. It's the little things like that that make a teacher happy!
The Unibomber after a slight rear ended
   Got into my first overseas fender bender! I got rear ended while waiting to merge onto a Rotary....everything went very smoothly and could have been SO much worse but the unibomber is no more and I now have a white Chevy Aveo that I like much better (everything happens for a reason right??)
   SOOOO many exciting things coming up! Spending this weekend in Abu Dhabi for the first time since I've moved to Al Ain and I can't see it being anything but amazing. The following weekend I will be staying with Kirsten in Dubai for one night then staying at the Palms Atlantis in Dubai for the DXB Beach Festival. October 20th we are spending a weekend in Oman doing the "Beach & Wadi Tour" http://sunsandtour.com/HolidayInOmanMountainCrossingOmanWadi2DayTours.htm
THEN November 4th-12th I will be in IRELAND with Colleen for the week!! I have always felt like a fortunate person, but feel more for fortunate than ever right now.
   Did have a moment of home sickness last week, though, when we had a little scare with Liam. He is home and good now, but not being home during that time really hit me. Thank goodness for Skype! Seeing him on there and smiling made me feel a million times better :-)
   Well that is all for now! Enjoy your weekend all (my weekend starts tomorrow)!!!

    <3 Love and miss you all!

Oh and check out this panoramic view my friend, Jason, did of the desert safari we all went on last month http://photosynth.net/view.aspx?cid=7dfdc43a-e03c-49cc-81c5-bf1b93b8e8ce

Friday, September 9, 2011

Heading further east

The Unibomber
Made it to Al Ain! Colleen drove me here on Monday and the first week has been pretty uneventful, just getting the apartment set up and doing school things. All my furniture and appliances came yesterday and I love it all! I also decided to rent a car while here since I am not in the city anymore. The photo is the one I have temporarily and it is called the unibomber. It's very snazzy and you should all be jealous of how good I look while driving it ;-) A video of the apartment will be coming soon too. Though I miss AD and all the people in it, I am starting to form a pretty great group here in AA too and I think we're going to have a lot of fun together! Our life here is funny and random and I often find myself saying, "only in Abu Dhabi..." those of you living here know EXACTLY what I mean by that haha. I feel very comfortable here in the UAE and have a very good feeling about the next two years. Already starting planning my first vacation! At beginning of November Colleen and I will be meeting my Aunt Diane in Ireland!
       School starts Sunday!!! Aaah! I can't wait to meet all my little ones! My co-teacher seems very nice, but it will be a challenge with the language barrier and finding a way for us to teach side by side when many of the local teachers seem to prefer to teach seprately. Luckily, I have a great "veteran" teacher support system that includes Colleen and the second year LTs at my school. That's all for now! Will share more if/when I survive the first day of school :-)

Sunday, September 4, 2011

"Every new beginning comes from some other beginnings end..."

Tamra, myself, Mackenzie, and Melissa at the
pool...appartenly I never learned how to smile underwater
Well the vacation is over and the craziness of September is about to begin! This past week has been tons of fun and a GREAT way to finish off this little vacation we've had during the month of August. Tomorrow I will be finally moving to Al Ain with the help of Colleen and going into MY school (i love saying that :-)) for the very first time to meet my principal. I won't have any furniture until Thursday and no appliances until Saturday but I'll make do! I have butterflies thinking about tomorrow...even though i'm not actually working i'm just going to see my school. I will have only Wednesday to set up then the little ones start on Sunday. Kindergarten here I come! Should be an interesting, exciting, stressful, fun, crazy year and I could not be more excited. Wish me luck! I am sad to leave the little home I have made at the Intercontinental Hotel these past three weeks (but it feels like i've been here forever) and all the people who helped make it feel like home, but am ready for this new beginning to get started :-)

  <3 Love and miss you all!

Monday, August 29, 2011

Life is Good

Tamra, myself, and Mackenzie ice skating
at Marina Mall
As the mayhem of September approaches (moving into a new apartment in a new city and beginning my first year teaching) I am spending this week relaxing by the pool, going out to eat, having tea at Dome, beers at the BC, and doing lots and LOTS of laughing with the amazing group of people that I have met here and will soon be moving away from as I venture out to Al Ain. Though I will see them often, I sure am going to miss seeing them everyday! Eid Mubarak!
                                                    <3 Love and miss you all!

Friday, August 26, 2011

The Sandlot

  Salam! Well it's definitely been a while since my last post! Unforunately I've been having some "technical problems" but here I am, back in action. I don't even know where to begin about the past couple weeks without making this one of those "never ending stories" post (which my family definitely knows I'm capable of).
Me at the Mosque weating a Burka
The Pillars and Abdallah
   Two exciting events over these weeks have been touring the Grand Mosque and going on our Desert Safari. The Grand Mosque was AMAZING! In addition to it's obvious beauty, I was so interested in all the facts our tour guide, Abdallah, shared with us. For example, the Mosque has the worlds largest carpet that weighs something like 32,000 tons! Also, all throughout the Mosque are white pillars with flowers that are all made out of real semi precious stones.
   The desert safari was a blast!! We rode camels, sand surfed, and went dune bashing....I could not believe how crazy the dune bashing was (I actually almost threw up a little haha) and our driver, Sultan, definitely made sure we were as scared for our lives as could be. Afterwards they had a delicous iftar meal and hookah. I really could not have asked for a better night with better people.
The Group
Tom, Robert, Richard, Jackie, Janice, Tamra, Mackenzie, Myself
    Even with all these great experiences we've had these past couple weeks, I equally have such a blast just sitting around laughing with the amazing group of people I have met while here. Mackenzie and Tamra from Seattle, Jackie and Robert from Tuscon, Tom from St. Louis, Richard from England and myself (or "The Group" as we simply refer to ourselves) have more fun together doing nothing than anyone I know. I am SO grateful to have found these people and can't imagine going through this adventure without them!
   Well there is lots lots LOTS more to share! Want to tell you all about Ramadan and the way of life out here is the good ole UAE and the never ending housing process, but I will save that for another post...inshallah as they say here in AD.

<3 Love and Miss you all! Skype with ya soon!