Wednesday, August 30, 2017

Let Year Two Begin!

I arrived back in Abu Dhabi a week ago after spending 8 weeks home, in Jersey.  Although, good-byes are never easy, it does feel good to be back.  I'm up and about and I've adjusted to the time zone difference.  The first two days were the hardest, I slept a lot, my body was worn out.  I'm now getting to bed before 1:00 am so this is really good.  

The flight coming back was horrible.  Actually the flight from Philly to Chicago was fine but from Chicago to Abu Dhabi was rough.  The flight wasn't rough due to weather or the mechanics of the plane, but non-stop screaming children.  I usually stay awake as long as I can before getting on a plane so that I can sleep the majority of the flight.  I only had about 3-4 hours of sleep before boarding the plane, so I was ready to take a looooong nap.  But my plan to sleep for the 12 hour and 35 minute flight to Abu Dhabi, didn't go as planned.  I wanted to scream and cry just like those kids.  My eyes were burning, boy was I tired!  Although it seems as if I'm complaining, I'm very grateful to have made it safely to Abu Dhabi.

Since I've been back I managed to obtain my driver's license!  Finally!  The task wasn't hard at all so if you're new to Abu Dhabi and need to get  your UAE license, listen up!  The first thing you need to do is have your home country's licence translated.  I went to MAK for Translation and Business Services, located in Marina Mall.  Once you enter the main entrance of the mall, you walk straight (pass Joe's Crab Shack) until you see the perfume section then make a right.  You will be looking for Paris Gallery.  Enter Paris Gallery and take the escalator down two flights.  Once you come off the escalator go to the right and the office is there.  Just inform the front desk that you need to have your license translated and you will receive a ticket.  As soon as I received my ticket I was called.  The guy who helped me, Mohamed, was very nice and had pretty good English.  

While Mohamed worked on the translation, I went to get my eye exam at Yateem Optician.  Yateem is located on the first floor across from Typo and next to Shake Shack (you need to walk towards the main entrance).  Yateem didn't open until 10 a.m. and the doctor wasn't due to arrive until 10:30, so keep this in mind when you're planning.  While waiting on the doctor, Mohamed called to let me know that my translations was complete.  The doctor arrived at 10:40 and I was called back by 10:45, the exam was 25 dirhams.  I traveled back to MAK to get my copies of the translation then went to another counter for processing.  At this counter the guy explained how to apply online and then I was on my way.  The fee to have my license translated was 120 dirhams.

Once I arrived home I tried applying on line but kept getting an error.  I tried just about the whole day with no luck.  So today I went to the Licensing Department near Mushriff Mall.  You just go to the area across from Customer Service where there's a set up of iPads and complete your application on there, that's if you're unsuccessful in applying online from home.  So now I'm just waiting on my license to be delivered to my home, it should take about 3-4 days.  The application fee was 213 dirhams.

    
I can't wait to finally be able to drive and really explore Abu Dhabi!  Stay tuned!

Tuesday, July 11, 2017

Year One Complete

Hello  All!  I know it's been awhile, but you should know me by now 😉.  The school year ended almost three weeks ago on Thursday, June 22nd.  Since then I've returned home to New Jersey and I'm enjoying my time with family and friends.  I'm elated to say that my first year abroad was a success and I'm looking forward to year #2.

I"m truly grateful to my Creator who carried me through this journey.  I was always told that when you pray for things/situations, you need to be specific.  When I decided to accept my position, I prayed for each and every situation that I would encounter.  My God never failed me and he answered and supplied all my needs!  

I can't say enough about my students and their parents.  I truly had THEE BEST KG1 students and families.  When I think of how much they've grown over those 10 months, I'm simply amazed.  The last week of school, we had Memory Day and I was brought to tears when I begin speaking about one student in particular.  This student started the school year with little to no English.  I think of how scary that had to be for him, he had no one he could communicate with.  All of the students spoke English and majority of the students can speak Arabic as well.  This student could not speak either of those languages.  However, he found a way to communicate with others.  I would explain to my students often that it wasn't easy for him and that we all needed to help him.  And helped they did!  I had some of the most caring, and compassionate kids ever!  I gave this student the award of Most Improved, he definitely deserved it.  And by the way, not only did this student learn English but Arabic as well!

I'm truly going to miss my kids and their parents but I will still get the chance to see them daily.  Especially since I'm moving up to KG2!!!!! 🙌  As of now I will have 5 of my former students again for the 2017-2018 school year.  I would love to have my entire class again but it's out of my hands.  But I'm excited to move up to kindergarten next year.    

I'm praying that year 2 will be just as awesome as year 1.  We will have a new principal that I'm excited to get to know and work with.  Starting a brand new school isn't easy but I do believe the staff at my school did an awesome job with everything we encountered over the year.  We're survivors!  Lol!  But the school is off to a great start and I'm excited to see what it will look like a few years from now.  Oh yeah, I'm 98% sure I'll remain in the UAE for the next two years.  Not sure if I'll remain with my school or transfer.  But I'm pretty sure the UAE is where I'll be.

Well until next time!

Friday, April 28, 2017

8 Months, 8 Weeks

I can't believe that I've been living in Abu Dhabi for 8 months.  Not only has it been 8 months since I've arrived, it's just 8 weeks away until the end of term!  The school year is nearly over, time surely does fly!  I made it through so many "firsts" over the past 8 months and I'm looking forward to the many more I will encounter throughout this journey.

Just to give a recap of what happened since my last blog, I did get visitors from home and we had a great time.  My friend and her son visited for about 9 days and we spent our time visiting places in Abu Dhabi and Dubai.  It felt great showing them around and sharing with them what I experience in my daily life.  I wish more of my family and friends are able to experience this with me, who knows how long I'll be on this side of the world.  My contract will end in June of 2018, which is a little over a year away.  I could return home to the U.S., extend my contract, transfer to a new school, or even a new country.  It's funny how just a few months ago, I couldn't imagine making it through the year, now I'm thinking of extending my stay.  We'll see how year two treats me 😉.

Oh yeah, remember from my previous post I had to make a decision over a spring break.  Well when I returned back to work, I let my principal know that I would like to move to third grade next year.  I haven't received a response back, I believe it was because Admin was so stressed about our ADEC inspection (we had inspection this past week).  I'm going to send a follow-up email this week to find out an update.  I have a feeling that they may keep me in KG, I wouldn't be totally opposed to the idea.  I do however, prefer kindergarten over pre-k and would love it even more if I looped up with my current students.  I just want to know where I'll be so I can plan accordingly.  Look at me, the school year isn't even over and I'm already planning for next year 😁.

Until next time...

Monday, March 27, 2017

Much Needed Break

I know, I know, it's been a while!  So many weeks have passed since my last post.  I know every other post I make promises to do better, but I really will try to do better.  But here goes my latest thoughts....

I'm officially on spring break!  Our spring break is two weeks and this break is well needed! Term 2 was very long, 11 weeks without any days off.  I'm not traveling during this time, my very first visitors arrived yesterday!  My sister's best friend and her son will be here for the next 7 days.  We plan to travel within the UAE.  

On March 1st I received a letter stating that I officially passed probation.  All but one teacher passed, unfortunately the other teacher will not finish the school year with us.  All new staff are placed on probation for the first six months.  Six months is a long time to decide if you want to keep someone.  But I guess with all of the money the school invests in you, those six months are adequate.  I can't believe the school year is almost over.  Once we return after spring break, we're down to 11 weeks.  I've been told once Ramadan begins, the days pass over rather quickly.

You may recall during one of previous post how I spoke of changing grades for the next school year.  Well, I had my performance meeting with the acting principal the day before we let out for spring break.  Anyway, she informed me that there's definitely a spot in grade 2 and maybe grade 3.  She wants me to take the time over break to decide where I want to be next year.  A few months ago, I was very adamant that pre-k wasn't for me, but now I'm not so sure anymore.  A part of me misses working with the older kids, and the other part loves working with the babies.  Decisions, decisions.  I have to have an answer by the time I return from spring break 😕.  

Congratulations to those of you who have secured a teaching position, be it locally or abroad!  

Until next time...  

Saturday, February 18, 2017

Six Months Later

As of  yesterday, I've lived in the UAE for six months.  There are still days when I just sit back and say, "Wow, I'm really living in Abu Dhabi".  Things are going well and I'm counting down the weeks until spring break (4).  

Since I've last spoken to you I manged to finally get my name onto my utility accounts, had my first sandstorm and rain in the desert!  If you're wondering if it gets cold here, I can assure you that it does.  There were a few times that I've contemplated getting a portable heater because I was so cold.  But the weather here changes often, one day is cold and windy, the next it's warm and humid.  I'm thankful for the break in the weather because the summer is so hot.  However, it doesn't stay cool here for too long.  

I'm so looking forward to spring break!  Tomorrow we're starting week 7, we haven't had any breaks since the term begin.  I'm hoping that we have a rain or fog day soon, the weekends are just not enough.

Well until next time... 

Sunday, January 1, 2017

Happy New Year!

2016 was good to me, I have no complaints!  In 2016, I took a leap of faith by doing something that I still can't believe.  I left my job of 10 years and took on another position that required me to leave my comfort zone and travel across the world to a new country in the Middle East.  I'm enjoying meeting new people and discovering more about myself.  I successfully completed the first term at my school, teaching prek and loving my students and their families.  

I traveled back home for Christmas and enjoyed spending time with my family and former colleagues.  It was good to regroup and refocus and I'm now back in Abu Dhabi.  It's funny how I couldn't wait to go back to The States, but once there, I couldn't wait to come back to the UAE.  Lol!  It was just too cold, I've become accustomed to this beautiful weather here.

I'm looking forward to all the things to come in 2017.  Hopefully, I'll take my first trip during Spring Break to South Africa.  I have three more days of vacation, then I'm back to work for two days of PD.  I hope you all have a prosperous new year!

Until next time!


Tuesday, December 6, 2016

Residence Visa

So I've been in Abu Dhabi now for 111 days, nearly 4 months and today I finally received my residence visa!  Yes, you read that right, I'm just now receiving my visa 😏.  I know you're probably wondering how that could happen, but unfortunately I have no answers to how/why this happens.  This is one of the ways, private schools differ from pubic schools.  If you're planning to come to Abu Dhabi to work for ADEC, you will receive your visa before you board your plane.  If you don't have your visa then you are advised not to board the plane.  By doing this, it would save you so much trouble.  

Just about everything you need done here, requires an Emirates ID.  In order to have an ID, you must first have a resident visa.  From getting a Sim card to opening a bank account, an Emirates ID is needed.  Fortunately I was able to get those mentioned items with a copy of my passport and letter from my employer.   However, there are so many months these businesses will allow you get away without showing proper identification.  I'm so grateful that I finally have my visa and that it came just in time so that I can travel back home for the holiday. 

Until next time...