September 30, 2012

The Night The Ground Collapsed

I was all set to have a quiet evening in bed. All day I was experiencing the symptoms of the flu and my body was signaling for me to curl up into a ball and sleep.
I skipped dinner, downed some type of pill to help guide me down the path of peaceful rest.
So there I was laying in bed, slipping in and out of consciousness when my phone rings.
Khadijah was on the other end.
The conversation went something like this
Her: " You need to get out here now, the ground in front of my apartment just collapsed."
Me: " but I'm in bed, I was sleeping"
Her:"no you have to come see this. Get up"
Me:" but I'm sick."

I finally rolled out of bed, threw on my cardigan over my pajamas and as an extra precaution threw on my scarf to cover my bralessness.

I walked out to a crazy scene. The entire sitting area and lawn as well as part of the parking lot had collapsed into itself. There were people out quickly putting security tape around the area. There was a gigantic black hole where water fountains used to be. Not good.
At first I was not worried, my building wasn't affected. I figured they would have the situation under control and life would be back to normal. Besides, I was simply a spectator on the scene.
My plan was to go back to bed.
However , something I've learned quite quickly here is that few things go as I plan.
Before I knew it  all the buildings were being evacuated. There were ambulances, emergency vehicles and some important people from ADEC arriving on the scene.

Picture nearly 300 people standing outside. Some with no possessions and still in their night clothes.
We stood about for nearly 3 hours as they tried to figure out what to do.
Eventually we were told we wouldn't be going to our apartments, we would be going to a hotel for the night.
We couldn't go back in to collect anything, luckily I had snuck in to grab my bag pack with passport and wallet. Some people weren't even lucky enough to put on shoes.

After far too long outside and much crazy talk from folks, the buses arrived to take us to our hotel.
All I can say is thank God. There is always a silver lining. We rolled up to the Yas Viceroy Hotel, a super amazing beyond beautiful hotel on the same grounds as the Formula One race course.

Everything would be taken care of for us, all we had to do was show up. And that we did. We could order room service and just relax.
Of course I have no clothes but who cares.  This place is well fancy and best of all FREE!

September 29, 2012

Becoming Exceptional

I'm always looking for inspiration to make this journey called life more exceptional. Although I'm not the woman I want to be as yet, I know that if I continue to seek ways to grow and push myself that it will happen.

September 28, 2012

Where I Want to Be


September 24, 2012

Finding Normal

can be difficult in a new place.  I am starting from scratch to build a new life here and of course it's a journey not without bumps. For the most part I really like it here, maybe I'm still in the honeymoon phase they talk about when you first move to someplace new. My life isn't radically different from the way it was in the US, the differences maybe subtle but noticeable anyhow. I'm trying to find that sense of "normal" I had back home. I had routines and I knew what my day entailed for the most part. Boring much? lol. Something about boring though makes you feel safe and secure. I miss that. 

The biggest difference and maybe this one isn't so subtle after all, is living alone. This has been hard for me. I come home to an empty apartment and it feels so lonely. I play music and entertain myself on the Internet which helps a little but not completely. Having lived with my mom for so long obviously I never had to deal with this feeling. Even if she wasn't home, it was not a permanent thing, I knew she would be home in a few hours or that she was in the next room. 
Luckily I have a friend across the hallway who is pretty much going through the same thing, so we hang out in the evenings. We cook for each other or watch movies. God bless her because I would be a wreck all alone in my place. 

Another difference is all the free time I have. I get done with work at 12:45 three days a week and 2:00 the other days, and that's it. Khalas, I'm done. I haven't had this much free time in over a decade. Back home I would be working 2 jobs or going to work and school full time. It is a good thing or it will be once I figure out what to do with myself. Coupled with being lonely though, it makes for a bad recipe. Hopefully once the gym in my complex opens up I will spend my time there. 

There are positives to my not feeling normal yet too. I don't want you to think I'm complaining or miserable.
One of the coolest things about being here is that it's kinda cheap to live here. I feel rich, lol. First time in a longggggggggggg time. The other night I bought a dining room table. I walked into the store, saw it and told the guy to wrap it up. I could pull out my bank card without hesitation and purchase the table I liked so much. I didn't have to go home and dream about what it could look like in that big ol' empty space in my apartment. I'll actually have there in a few days.
I also had high tea with my friend (girl from across the hall). It wasn't the fanciest but it was great to not have to worry about how much I was spending. That's not normal. I'm used to feeling like a pauper. 

It will all fall into place soon. Insha'llah (my favorite Arabic word ever- it means if God wills/when God wills). 

September 17, 2012

Return to the Living

So folks I'm back!
I moved into my new apartment almost 2 weeks ago and I just now got my Internet set up.
It was ok not having Internet for a bit but I was ready to rejoin civilization.I really missed talking to my mom and friends back home.

Not much has happened in these two weeks. I started working and it's been ok. That's pretty much it.
I'm still feeling a little overwhelmed, I have 21 little faces looking at me and expecting me to teach them English. Talk about pressure.
It's been interesting trying to communicate with them.I swear they're going to learn English, while my English deteriorates to 3 word sentences.
My kids are super cute, of course I have the few who need extra loving and patience but I think overall that they like me. My favorite part of the day is singing "Head, Shoulders, Knees and Toes" with them, you should see their faces. They get so excited and it is pretty darn adorable.They try to repeat what I say and it is hilarious. For some reason they all have lisps. Maybe 3 and 4 year olds have lisps, I dunno know. It's cute though.
The apartment is coming together nicely. It feels like home and I am comfortable. I'll post pics once I've gotten my lazy butt sufficiently motivated. Inshallah.

September 10, 2012

One Month- I Made it Through

Today makes one month since my move to the UAE. Wow! Time flies.
I've had some bumps along the way but so far the journey has been great. The highlight of my stay so far has been the amazing friendships I have formed.

I would not have been as well adjusted had it not been for my great friends. They have been there and for me and put up with me and Lord knows it ain't easy.

So cheers to me and praying for God's blessings and favor for the months to come.

September 9, 2012

First Time

Today was the first day for the kiddies to come to school. I was nervous because they really don't know too much English and I wasn't sure how they would react to me.

The kids arrived one at a time with their parents which was a HOT MESS. The parents kept hanging around, coming in and out of the room. It made getting the kids settled a task. Although they were asked to leave I could see them peeking through the windows.
As was to be expected there were some who cried for 30 minutes straight, some had to be chased down and brought back and a few just sat quietly and refused to move. I had to do a lot of hugging and holding and sweet talking.

Eventually we were able to get them sitting on the rug and listening to a story, an amazing feat considering that it was the first day. I also had them practice sitting criss-cross applesauce. They even got up and danced to a little song I sang with them.

They were responsive which surprised me. I didn't expect that they would responded to me so well from the jump. They didn't ignore me when I tried to talk to them which is good and they even let me hug them when they were crying, well except for one kid who just refused to have anything to do with me or the Arabic teacher. 
I learned a few key words in Arabic so I think I fooled them, lol. Let's see how long I can keep up the charade.

My co-teacher and I are working together to create a fun and safe learning environment. So far we get along really well and she is open to listening and working with me. It's great that we can sit together and plan and laugh despite our totally different backgrounds. I can only pray that this relationship will get stronger and better as the months go by. Inshallah.

September 5, 2012

Ma Fi Mushkila

These past few days have been very taxing. I'm in the process of furnishing and moving into my apartment. On top of that work has begun.

September 3, 2012

Getting Back into the Groove

So today I went to work. It seems a little unreal saying this, I guess my brain isn't quite ready to accept the fact that this isn't really just a paid vacation. I'm slow sometimes.
Though in  my defense, the past 3 and a half weeks have been just that- a GRAND vacation complete with 5-star hotel accommodations.
I've done nothing remotely resembling work. I've lounged about, hung out at ways too many malls and just pretty much been a bum. I was having the time of my life in this awesome new city. As they say though, all good things must come to an end.