Friday, September 12, 2014

Abu Dhabi is Different

1. You can have any type of food delivered. Seriously, I saw a delivery guy from McDonald's in our elevator yesterday.
2. "Helping a friend move" means you help him carry a couch from the apartment across the street, to his own apartment. This involves a 36 floor elevator down, a walk across the street in 113 degree heat, an elevator ride up to the 15th floor, and then maneuvering/shoving the couch through a too small of apartment door.
3. There are no driving rules EXCEPT don't speed in front of the speed cameras and don't run red lights. Anything else goes.
4. Lining or queuing (as our UK friends will say) isn't much of a thing here. People cut in front of you. And that brings us to number 5.
5. You have to be (almost) rude to get anything done, anywhere. Like I said it number 4, people will cut in front of you, they will interrupt your conversations with sales clerks, bank tellers, etc. You have to demand attention from people if you want any attention in a timely manner. It has been one of the hardest things to get used to here.
6. Nothing is quick. Not traffic. Not figuring out online banking. Not getting a repair man to come fix your washer. Not figuring out what school you will be working at. Nothing.
7. I take one part of number 6 back. Traffic is still not quick, however, drivers on the freeway, while they are passing your on the shoulder going 75 mph, they are quite quick. Scary quick.
8. Abu Dhabi is the desert. And the humidity is unbearable. Dry and humid at the same time.
9. The holidays feel weird. Labor Day? Hot. Halloween? Hot. Thanksgiving? Hot. Christmas? Warm to hot. New Years? Warm to hot. Valentine's? Hot. You get the point.

To be continued.

Update - 9/12/2014

This week went by fast. Like, crazy fast. Crazy, exhausting fast.

As most of you know, we work Sunday-Thursday over here and by the time our Thursday, therefore our work week, is over, people back home are just starting their Wednesday mornings. So, it kinda feels like we are getting done a day early! But then we go back to work on Sundays and, even after a year, it feels like our weekends come to an early and abrupt end. 

School hasn't been nearly as stressful this year, for either of us. Other teachers will more than understand this, but, for everyone else out there, being in school, in your classroom, from day 1, makes all the difference in the world when it comes to establishing procedures and rapport with your students.

I'm feeling very blessed at my new school. I'm enjoying teaching grade seven  WAY, WAY, WAY more than grade 6. I'm lucky to be in a new school and enjoy the perks that come with a brand new building: new computers and projectors, a copy machine that works, AND a printer in my room (for all my teacher friends out there - you know how awesome this is!).  I'm working with some awesome EMTs (western teachers) and some fabulous Arabic and Emirate staff. It is just a much better fit than last year for me. And for that, I am truly thankful!

Rob is still at the same school as last year and started the year teaching grade six. On Thursday, however, he got his schedule changed and is now teaching grade seven (for now). There are pros and cons to this. He does know most of the kids and his class load will be slightly lighter by teaching grade seven. On the flip side, he was excited to get a new batch of kids and teach the same grade level so his planning would be the same as last year. He was not super excited about the schedule change, but he is a team player and him moving up with his kids ended up being the best thing for the school and his department, so he did it. Isn't he just the best?

As far as our weekends go, we've been hermits. It's so freaking hot here. We spend most of the time indoors. With a heat index of 109-115 and no relief from the heat at night, our air conditioned lives are pretty boring. But, sometimes boring is good. Sometimes, boring is necessary. And after our fabulously busy summer,'s kinda nice to be boring.