Tuesday, December 6, 2016
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...
Friday, November 25, 2016
So today is Thanksgiving but it's just an ordinary day here in the UAE. As I prepared to go to work this morning, I logged onto Facebook to see so many friends and family prepping for Thanksgiving Dinner. This is my first Thanksgiving away from home and I'm missing everything about this day. Being here has made me appreciate so many things that I've take for granted back home. Although I'm feeling a little lonely, I'm reminded that I'm not alone here. In just a few minutes I will celebrate Thanksgiving here with my colleagues. I'm grateful that most of us live in the same building, so dinner will be held in another teacher's apartment. Everyone is contributing to the dinner, my contribution is baked ziti, drinks, and a roasted chicken. I have so much to be thankful for and even though I'm not among family today, I'm grateful that I don't have to spend this day alone. Besides this is my Abu Dhabi Family and I'm so thankful for each of them.
Thursday, November 10, 2016
Since my last blog post I've attended my first music festival and I absolutely loved it. It was a 90's music festival with local talent and other well known artist/groups. I mostly attended the festival to see the group Arrested Development. They did not disappoint! I'm so glad we attended this event and I'm looking forward to attending more events like this during my time here. I've also joined an Urban Line Dance class on Wednesdays. It's a great way to meet other people as well as dance the stress away.
Sunday, October 2, 2016
We thought of taking the bus, but since we're not familiar with the bus route, we decided not to use it. Because of the long line and no taxi cabs in sight, we decided to walk a little further up and hopes of getting a cab, but no such luck. To make a long story short, we ended up walking about 3 miles until we successfully hailed a cab. I've never been so happy to see a yellow light on top of a taxi. We didn't arrive home until after 12 am, we left the mall after 10:00 p.m. So we learned a valuable lesson, avoid going to the mall on a Friday evening, unless you have a car. It's so funny that earlier that evening I said I could make it without renting a car but after this ordeal, I quickly changed my mind.
Saturday, September 10, 2016
Saturday, September 3, 2016
After a delayed opening of my school, we finally received the green light to begin school on Wednesday, August 31st (3 days ago). I love my new students and their parents. My students are from Hungary, India, Yemen, Pakistan, US, Jordan, Malaysia, Canada and of course UAE. I have 19 kids on my roster, but only half showed up. I probably won't meet all of my students until after the Eid Holiday which is coming up soon. So we'll be in school for 7 days before we have our first break. During that time I plan to go to Dubai.
I'm debating on whether or not to rent a car. My goal was to get to know the area first then rent a car my second year here. But having a car would be so much easier for me. I like the area I'm in and can easily access a cab to just about anywhere, but those taxi cabs add up. So the question still remains...
Here are a few videos of my new neighborhood. Enjoy!
Thursday, August 25, 2016
"Sometimes I'm alone but never lonely." - India Arie
When they say you're never alone and everyone is like family here, they're telling the truth. On yesterday, I left my apartment keys at school, the school is a good 30 minutes away, I have no car, and a taxi would be quite costly to travel round-trip. Thankfully there were teachers still in the building but they weren't coming back right away. My next door neighbor whose Egyptian took me in, fed me and entertained me for about two hours until my keys arrived. I was so grateful for her and thanked her several times. She told me not to worry about anything and if I'm ever in need, she's there to help. She reminded me that we're family now, and indeed sisters.
Today, I had yet another experience leaving my personal items at work. This time around was my wallet 😯. One of my colleagues began a WhatsApp group which has come in great handy, so I was able to contact a teacher who was working late at the school. The teacher found my wallet and brought it back to my apartment.
I was on my way to get something to eat when I noticed my wallet was missing. One of my grade group partners gave me money so that I could still eat. She didn't stop there, she later picked me up from my apartment took me to the teacher store and gave me additional money so that I can put minutes on my phone. I'm just so grateful to have a support system all the way in the UAE. When I prayed for this job, one constant request was that i would work in a school where I would build healthy relationships among my colleagues, students and their families. God has honored all of my requests thus far, and I'm sure He's not done yet. 😇😇😇
Sunday, August 21, 2016
It's Saturday, August 20th and I've been in Abu Dhabi for four days now. On Tuesday, August 16th I boarded a plane bound to Doha, Qatar from Philadelphia, PA. After a 3 hour layover in Doha, I finally landed in Abu Dhabi the following day.
This was my very first international flight and it went pretty smoothly. We had a little turbulence, but it was a great flight. Qatar Airways is a first class airline and they did not disappoint. We were fed 3 meals and we had plenty of entertainment on board. In between sleeping, I watched 3 movies: Barbershop 3, Creed, and one of my favorites Hair Spray. I also listened to music and read books on my kindle. The flight to Doha was about 12 hours.
I transferred planes in Doha, still using the same airline. The first leg of my trip was first class, the second part was...I guess I was spoiled with the big plane and comfy seats. Once I made it to my seat on the second plane, I immediately began to dose off. The fight from Doha to Abu Dhabi was 90 minutes long but it felt like 30.
After getting my passport stamped, I picked up my luggage and headed to the arrival hall where I was greeted by my Principal and other HR representatives. I was so thankful that I made it to Abu Dhabi safely, and with no mishaps. After I arrived two more of my colleagues arrived, and wouldn't you know one is from Jersey too! We eventually left the airport and was taken to our accommodations.
We're already off to a great start, here in Abu Dhabi! I'll write more about my accommodations in another post. It's getting late here, and tomorrow is the first day of work.
Until next time...
Friday, August 12, 2016
So the day that I've patiently waited for, finally arrived yesterday! As with everyday, I woke up and checked my email but there wasn't an email from my school. So I went ahead and began to prepare for my day. I headed out to the salon to get my hair braided for my trip. As soon as I step foot in the salon, I hear a ping from my phone indicating a text message. My new grade partner sent a message telling me to check my email, so I immediately opened up my Gmail account. I opened it up and was greeted with a ton of information. It had everything from the schedule of the Induction program, to housing and the most coveted prize, my eTicket!
I'm so happy that I don't have to fly to Chicago. We were told that we would fly Etihad Airlines but I'm now flying Qatar Airways. I can't tell you how many times I've searched for fights going to Abu Dhabi from Philly. I'm so glad one of the routes I continuously searched, is my chosen path. On Tuesday, I will depart from Philly and head to Doha, Qatar (12 hour flight). I'll have a 3 hour layover there then board another plan for Abu Dhabi which is approximately 1.5 hours. I've already chosen my seats, an aisle seat for the first part of the trip and a window seat for the second leg. It's recommended that you get up and walk a lot, so an aisle seat is necessary.
I have my housing and searched all day for pictures and information on it. But I couldn't find anything. I did learn that it's brand new, but that's about it. I've decided to just let it be, I'm looking forward to seeing it for the first time on Wednesday.
I just have a few more things to pack and I'm all set! I had my Bon Voyage party last weekend, I'll talk more about that on my next post.
Until next time!
Monday, August 1, 2016
Sunday, July 31, 2016
Friday, July 22, 2016
Just 24 days before I board a plane to Abu Dhabi! I'm still waiting on my eTicket and visa to make it official. On Tuesday, I emailed the person in charge of booking our flights only to find out that she's on vacation and won't return until Wednesday, July 27th. So I'll have to wait another week or so before I get my ticket. Like I said in my last post, it could take a week or two weeks before I get my ticket but I'm scheduled to arrive in Abu Dhabi on August 17th.
On another note, I purchased a new luggage set along with a rolling duffel bag and packing cubes. I still haven't gotten any closer to actually filling them, but I'll do it soon. I've been glued to Facebook today, as teachers are beginning to arrive in Abu Dhabi. It's so exciting seeing their updates as they travel from their various countries to their new home in UAE. I can't wait to be one of them, updating everyone on my new journey. Any day now, I'll receive that email with my golden ticket!
Until next time!
Tuesday, July 12, 2016
Until next time...
Friday, July 8, 2016
Thursday, June 30, 2016
About two days ago, teachers who are going to teach in the public schools, begin receiving their flight details. Some teachers will arrive in Abu Dhabi as early as July 21st. Although I have a little more time than these teachers, I still freak out when I realize how much time I have left. I still have yet to begin packing, I honestly don't even know where to begin. I guess I can start by removing my suitcases from the closet. Hey that's a start right?
Until next time...
Monday, June 27, 2016
|The Security Team and Facilities Manager gave the staff the "red carpet" treatment.|
Well the 2015-2016 school year came to a close on Friday, June 24th. With the end of the school year, came the end of a chapter with my job. I've worked at my school for 9 years, and although I'm sad to leave, I'm also excited to start a new chapter. My first five years I was an Instructional Assistant for kindergarten and the last four years, I taught third grade. I'm truly going to miss my VCS Family! I hope and pray my next school family will be just as awesome.
By the way, we're still awaiting confirmation for our flights and living arrangements. Hopefully, we'll hear something soon.
Until next time!
Monday, June 13, 2016
Sunday, June 12, 2016
|School isn't finished, but this teacher (Me) is done!|
Many school districts across the country are officially on summer break. As for me and the lovely school districts in NJ, school is still in session. I have 10 school days left, before the year is officially over. School isn't finished, however I'm so done! I can't seem to concentrate on anything but my plans of moving to Abu Dhabi. I can't seem to get enough of all things UAE. Lol! I'm constantly on the Facebook groups, refreshing the browser every so often for new updates. If I'm not on Facebook then I searching for teacher blogs on UAE and even videos on YouTube. I can't get enough! I'm so excited, I really don't know what do with myself!
I still haven't begun selling or packing things up. I did go shopping last week for clothing, just purchased maxi style dresses, slacks, and tops; all things that I could wear to work. We don't have to wear traditional Islamic clothing to school. The dress code is conservative and professional with absolutely no denim. It's really not much different than what I'm use to wearing. I can't seem to pack anything until I get confirmation of my departure date. I don't want to part with my car, I love my Kia Soul! I've thought of shipping it over but it's just too costly. My dad has mentioned that he wanted to purchase a newer car for my mother so I think he may just take over the payments or pay off the balance. Hopefully, I'll come to a conclusion soon, it'll be one less thing I need to do.
I'm hoping to receive an email from the HR Department of my new school. I was told that I would receive an email to begin planning my departure towards the end of the school term. Their term ends on the 23rd, a day before my school. I'm hoping to get a direct a flight to Abu Dhabi. My closest airport is in Philadelphia and I know that they do not have direct flights. If I leave from Philly, I'm guessing I will fly to Qatar, then Abu Dhabi. Another scenario would be to fly from Philly to Boston to Abu Dhabi or Philly to Chicago to Abu Dhabi. But if I request to leave from JFK in NY, I can have a direct flight. You see what I mean when I say I can't concentrate on anything else. Lol! No one told me these things, I just figured this would be the scenario after searching for airlines with a direct flight to Abu Dhabi. You're dealing with a person who has a one track mind!
You've heard me say this before, but I'm so ready to begin this journey. In my research of finding out when people received their golden tickets (airline ticket) last year, many people received word immediately after the conclusion of Ramadan. I believe the earliest date that I saw was July 9th. This year Ramadan ends on July 5th, I hoping to receive my ticket that same week.
Tuesday, June 7, 2016
All of this reminds me that even though I signed a contract and was promised a job, there are no guarantees. This is the number one reason why I haven't told many people about my big move. But that didn't stop my family from telling others. Every week I'm getting asked about my pending departure date, to which I have no definitive answer. I won't know anything until my visa is processed, until then my departure date is around August 17th. My school stated that licensing will begin soon to begin processing visas, once my visa is processed then I will be in the clear to move and work in Abu Dhabi. Until I receive this confirmation, there aren't any guarantees.
Tuesday, May 31, 2016
Saturday, May 14, 2016
When I logged onto my Facebook account today, it showed my memories of this day. I made this post two years ago and I'm so excited that things are coming into fruition. I'm reminded that if you want things to happen, sometimes you have to speak it into existence. I have 29 school days and approximately 3 months left before I end my year at one school, and begin a new school and grade, in Abu Dhabi, UAE. I'm still in disbelief that it's actually happening.
Every so often, I ask myself "Why now", or "Why didn't I do this sooner?" I remember when I was graduating from college, Norwegian Cruise Line was recruiting at my school. I loved the idea of traveling and thought this would be my opportunity to do so. I really wanted to do it, but I let fear get in the way. Fast forward to summer 2015, here is when I begin toying with idea of teaching abroad. I told very few people of my initial plans, I believe subconsciously, I wanted someone to talk me out of it. Surprisingly, everyone I told was very supportive of the idea. I still can't believe that I'm actually doing this, being that I'm an introvert and I've never traveled anywhere by myself. Then I reminded that traveling the world has been a dream of mine, now that the opportunity has presented itself I cannot let it pass me by.
I'm so ready for my journey to begin!
Until Next time...
Tuesday, May 3, 2016
So today, just like everyday I browsed the groups to read the new posts. When I check the posts, I'm always looking and hoping that someone is headed to my school. I've met one person so far and we've been a great support to each other. Anyway, there was one post that stood out and had several people, including myself, wondering if we would be granted visas. A young lady shared her story of applying to schools in Abu Dhabi and how she and her husband were turned down because they both have a masters degree in education. I know you're probably wondering why this is an issue. Apparently there's a new law and teachers must have a bachelors in education in order to teach in the UAE. Unlike the U.S., a masters degree in education is not enough. I'm not sure how true this is but it caused quite a stir. Like many others in the group, my bachelors degree is not in education, so it left me a little shaken. I did read somewhere that secondary teachers must hold a bachelors degree in the subject they want to teach, so maybe this "new rule" is only for those teachers.
Whatever the case may be, I've decided that I'm not going to worry about it or lose sleep. I don't think I've come this far in the game to be turned around now. Sometimes when we're doing things out of the norm, I think we subconsciously look for things to go wrong. You all know how much I've prayed and fasted on this opportunity, so I believe this news is just a distraction. I'm going to keep pushing forward and staying positive.
Until Next Time...
Tuesday, April 19, 2016
Wednesday, April 13, 2016
I really don't know what I'm going to do with myself from now until then. I would like to hear some concrete news, I feel as though I can't move forward until I have that confirmation. But in the meantime, I guess I should began making my "To Do" List. I saw a cute luggage set from Heys but now I'm not sure if I should go with suitcases or duffle bags...
Until Next Time..
Tuesday, March 29, 2016
As of Monday, March 28th all of my required documents have arrived safely in UAE! With the arrival of these documents, a new waiting game begins. Although, I received an offer and contract to work in Abu Dhabi, the final say so is up to the Ministry of Labour. They will determine if I will be granted a resident visa and work permit. Apparently there is a new law in UAE that is delaying work permits. There are many people who were hired to begin working in January but they are still in their countries. I'm hoping that this part of the process will be as smooth as the other steps I've taken thus far. As you can imagine, I can hardly concentrate on anything else but Abu Dhabi. Hopefully I'll hear good news soon and I can begin making plans for my move across the world.
Before I go, I have to let you know that I've made connections with a young lady whose also going to be working at my school, as well teaching the same grade. We've talked quite a bit and it feels good talking with someone whose going through the same process. I'm glad I'll know someone before I even arrive in UAE. I'm looking forward to making more connections and relationships along the way.
Until Next Time...
Sunday, March 20, 2016
Just wanted to give a quick update! I received my authenticated forms on Thursday. Like others suggested, I used ProEx to get the job done. The entire process took approximately 15 days to get the forms authenticated and delivered and cost about $400. Had I done this myself I could have saved myself a ton of money. However, I have a deadline to get all of my paperwork in, which is coming up very soon. Not only did I have to spend money on authentication, I also had to get an updated FBI clearance which resulted in shelling out an additional $129. Even though I have a little less money in my account due to those payments, the experience that awaits me in Abu Dhabi more than pays for it. I have one more letter to get from my school then I will gladly mail my documents to UAE so that I can begin the process of obtaining my resident Visa and work permit. I hope to have an update soon!
Until next time...
Sunday, March 6, 2016
Thursday, March 3, 2016
- Colored Passport Copy
- Copy of attested degree
- Copy of transcripts of records
- Point of hire (nearest International Airport)
- Marital Status (no. of children and age – if applicable)
Thursday, February 25, 2016
My interview was via Skype and they called in at 7:07 am. Overall, I felt like I did well. I know I could have done better but I have this overwhelming calm wrapped around me. I pray that this means I will get the job. I will not hear anything until the end of next week, so I should have an update by March 4th. Please pray along with me that hear I good news. In the meantime, I'm still going to pursue any and all teaching jobs that interest me.
Until next time!
Sunday, February 21, 2016
So I immediately sent both an email and Skype message letting them know that there was a mix up in time and requested a new day and time. After sending both messages, I calculated the time and noticed that my interview was scheduled at 2:20 am (11:20 am UAE time). The latest I've heard of interviews taking place was 11:00 p.m., so maybe my intended time was actually 11:20 a.m. (EST). I decided to sit in front of my computer and wait in hopes that the interviewer was running behind schedule and I would receive the call shortly. I waited for an hour and did not receive a call. I sent another message and email, letting them know that I was logging out but still very much interested in rescheduling an interview. Things are not going as I had hoped they would, but I'm still hopeful that I will receive an offer. I guess God is teaching me patience, something I'm not too good at.
Until next time......
Tuesday, February 16, 2016
I remembered reading a post on one of the many groups I'm involved with on Facebook, and the person said don't wait on recruiters/agencies, if you want to teach abroad, contact the schools directly. And so, that's what I did. I sent my resume directly to several schools yesterday. I even looked into schools in Kuwait, yes you've read correctly, Kuwait. I'm finding that more and more Black educators are traveling to Kuwait to teach. I visited one particular school's website and I was very much impressed with the diversity among its teachers. Am I totally sold on the idea of moving to Kuwait? No. However, I'm not totally against it either. As I stated before, I have to open myself up to other places if I want to become an international educator. Of course my desired location is UAE but I'm open to other countries in the Middle East. I would also love to work in South Africa but I haven't found anything as of yet.
Before I go I have to let you know that this morning, I received an invitation to a Skype interview for this Sunday. The interview is for a new private school in Dubai. I can't get too excited because I've been in this position twice, only to have the interview cancelled or postponed. I will remain hopeful and pray that the interview does take place and that I interview exceptionally well! Pray for a sistah!
Until next time...
Sunday, January 31, 2016
International School Services is another recruiting agency that I've joined. Unlike, Teach Away there is a fee to join, I bit the bullet and paid the fee. I figured between Teach Away and ISS, I will find a position for the 2016 - 2017 school year. My desire is to work at an international school and all of the schools listed on ISS are such schools. One school reached out to me letting me know I was shortlisted for an elementary position. The position was later filled but they asked if I would be interested in teaching kindergarten. I told them yes, now I'm just waiting to find out if I'm a shortlisted candidate. I'm going to continue my search and reach out to schools directly. I'll keep you all posted.
Until next time...
Wednesday, January 20, 2016
Friday, January 15, 2016
Until next time!
Monday, January 11, 2016
Mia called me about five minutes later and apologized profusely. I told Mia, although I was a little upset, I'm thinking positively and believe something greater will come along. She began to inform me of other partnerships through Teach Away. Mia informed me of ESOL schools in Abu Dhabi, Dubai & Egypt, as well as private schools in Qatar. She assured me that I should hear something by the end of the week about those positions. Some of those positions have interviews coming up soon, either in-person or Skype. In the meantime, I'm going to continue to have positive thoughts and pray.
Until next time...