Thursday, June 4, 2015

Apartment Living

Living in Abu Dhabi is not only my first time living abroad, but it's my first time living in an apartment. Unless you count college dorms as an apartment. But I don't. My college dorm was just a playhouse, made for adult-sized children -- nothing very real-life about a sleepover every night and then breakfast in the dining hall every morning. But then again, there's not a whole lot that feels very real-life about getting to live here:

Sometimes, it is pretty fabulous to live in an apartment:

1. No lawn to mow. No plants to water. No dandelions to do battle with every spring.
2. Less space that gets dirty; therefore, less space to clean. And I use clean in a very loose sense of the word: we have a wonderful lady who comes and cleans our apartment once a week. We pay her. She mops. It is a win-win situation.
3. Pool, gym, security, and elevator provided.

No lie, it can be pretty awesome.

But while there are some amazing positives, the negatives outweigh the awesomeness at times:

1. It was 118 degrees yesterday, so our air-con pushes beautifully cold, but recycled, air into our apartment 24/7.  Therefore, I woke up this morning to the smell of whatever fishy, peppery, with a little bit of sickly-sweet, breakfast my neighbors are cooking. There is no IKEA candle powerful enough to combat this smell.
2. A family with small children moved into an apartment on our floor. Don't get me wrong, I love kids. I hope to have my own some day. But other people's children, screaming in the hallway at 6:42am? Not okay.
3. No pets. And we miss our little dogs.
4. When you burn dinner, the entire floor hears the fire alarm screaming "1311 IS BURNING SOMETHING AGAIN! WHAT A TERRIBLE COOK SHE MUST BE!" And then security calls or knocks, just to check and see if "Everyone is okay?" Yep, we are fine. Just trying to cook chicken. Again.

But these are the two most important things that I have learned while apartment-living it up:
1. We don't need a ton of space. We currently have a comfortable bedroom, 1.5 adequate bathrooms, and a sizable dining and living area. When people visit, it will be a bit cramped by first-world standards, but it will not be uncomfortable.
2. We don't need that much stuff. Since my current living situation is temporary, I give a lot of thought to the things I buy and bring home. Before I make any purchase, I think "Do I need this?" and "What will I do with it when I leave?" and it has saved me a lot of money. Now, I do not claim to have become a minimalist who never buys anything, (Seriously, who can go to IKEA and not buy everything?), but reevaluating spending habits and tendencies has been a tremendously rewarding experience.

Yet another detail for the "pros" list.


Friday, May 22, 2015

The (Reader) Decision

For the last four weeks, we've been like the must have free-agents of the teaching world (Lebron ain't got nothing on us). And it has been awesome. And stressful. Awesomely stressful.

To recap:
Four weeks ago, a mining company flew us to Arequipa, Peru to interview for two teaching positions. Did I mention they flew us first class? They flew us first class. It was awesome. Not the kind of awesome that we would ever actually pay for ourselves, but awesome all the same.

It was a whirlwind of a trip - out of the 6 days that we were traveling, we only spent three of them in Peru. I've included some of our pictures below - be sure to check out the llamas and alpacas. I wanted to bring one home with us!

Ultimately, the school would have been delightful, the compensation was close to what we make in Abu Dhabi, but the town would have been less than desirable for a few reasons: we'd have a security guard/driver shadowing us 24/7, there is very little to do in the town, and, to be perfectly honest, we weren't too sure about leaving our amazing, Abu Dhabi friends...

...or giving up the sweet high rise apartment and facilities where we currently get to live. 

So, we decided to take our talents (drumroll, please)............back to Abu Dhabi for yet another year. 

I know, I know. We said it would be a year, two years max...and now it will be three. And believe me, it was a hard decision to make. We'd love to be heading back to the US, but alas, we are going to try and stick it out in the desert for one more year. you know what that means? You still have another year to visit us! Airline tickets are super cheap right now (UAE carriers offer ridiculous specials in order to boost tourism to Dubai and Abu Dhabi), we have a very comfortable couch, AND a swimming pool that puts most resorts to shame. Seriously, come visit us! We'd love to host you and when will you ever get to visit a place like this ever again? And seriously, check out the flight deals here:

See you in seven weeks, American friends and family!


Peru Pictures: A bit misleading because most of them came from a monastery and the most touristy part of town. Definitely not a true representation of what living in the town would have felt like, but beautiful all the same.

Thursday, March 5, 2015

Four Weeks until Spring Break

We have three weeks with students left in trimester two. Well, I have three. Rob has maybe two as his boys will stop showing up next week sometime (woot, woot).

One of those weeks is reserved for "standardized" testing.  Then, we have one week of "professional development" and then...


In all honesty, this trimester (which last year was the longest...of...our...lives) has flown by. And for this, we are very thankful. School is rough and it is getting hot in Abu Dhabi. We are dreading the thought of 110* being a normal day, but we are hanging in there! And, let's face it, I'd rather be here than buried in snow. Seriously, people...Niagra is frozen? No, thanks!

Sending lots of love (and warm weather vibes) to our family!


Wednesday, February 11, 2015

An Overdue Update

Hello, my name is Faith, and I'm a terrible blogger.

My last post was in September...SEPTEMBER! Ugh. I suck.

I wish I could say that life has been so incredibly exciting that I just haven't had time to blog. But that just isn't true. The truth is, nothing all that exciting has been happening in Abu Dhabi.

To prove it, here's a breakdown of what has happened during my 5ish month hiatus from blogging.

September: Work. Sleep. Work. Sleep. Work. Pay off student loan debt.

October: Work. Sleep. Work. Sleep. Work. Pay off some more student loan debt.

November: Work. Sleep. Work. Sleep. Work. Guess what? Pay off some more student loan debt.

December: In addition to working and sleeping, I finished my Masters of Education: Reading Specialist program at NNU and we visited Istanbul, Prague, Vienna, and Budapest over Christmas break.

January: Back to working and sleeping and paying off some more student loan debt.

So, that brings us to February! It's starting to get hot here again (90* today) and at work we are in the dog days of our trimester 2.

Whew. Catching people up is exhausting, so now I'm off to I can go to work tomorrow.