Note: photos to come. I’ll add them ASAP.
So much has happened over the last week and a half that I haven’t had time to write a post. This is Shon at the computer, by the way. Jenia is here with me now, of course. I’ll let her write a post of her own about her experiences thus far. Here’s what’s been happening in my life. It’s almost Thursday here, so I’m going to do this in list format:
1) Participate in Bedaya.
2) Move from Abu Dhabi’s Intercontinental to Al Ain’t Hilton hotel.
3) Pointless orientations punctuated by personal proactivity.
4) Return to Abu Dhabi’s Khalifa City A to pay for used furniture and supervise Pakistani movers.
4) Pick up Jenia from the airport.
5) Move from the Hilton into our new apartment. Sans much furniture.
6) Start teaching.
Yeah, I know, two exclamation marks. Really? What is this, kindergarten? I use them for emphasis of the obvious: it’s really not easy to be sort of thrown into a new country and given very little advance notice about much of anything. I’ll tell you more about all that later.
Let’s revisit the list: 1) Bedaya means beginning, and it’s a emirate-wide event held at the Abu Dhabi National Exposition Center. The facility is impressive. The thing is basically an excuse to have people get together and listen to the high-mucky-muck of education deliver a speech on goals, improvements, and progress, and overall, it’s really quite nice.
2) The move from AD to AA was easy, but it was disappointing to move from the Intercon to the Hilton. I didn’t realize quite how nice the Intercontinental was until I was in the rather dated Hilton.
Oh, I forgot to mention one other notable thing: we were finally given our housing allowances, about three days before we were moved to AA. That means, of course, that all the new EMTs made a mad dash for Ikea and various other home furnishing stores. I spent my time shopping Dubizzle for used goods, and while scoring some good deals, we still don’t have bedroom furniture in our apartment, which isn’t very nice! Looks like we’ll be doing our own Ikea run Friday.
3) After being moved into the hotel in Al Ain, we EMTs were given no idea of what to expect. We were armed with the bare essentials of information: our school names, and the online tool with which to locate them. We weren’t given a calendar, expectations for attendance, or anything else. Zilch. Zero. Nada. “Do you think we should go to our schools tomorrow?” Went the conversations. “I have no idea. Yes. Maybe.” No information actually arrived for us at the Hilton until one of my new friends called the travel organizer from Nirvana. “Nobody from any hotel has to go to work today,” we were told. I decided to go anyway, just for the heck of it. That was a great decision, as I met the school’s EMTs and had a chance to talk to them without distraction. The next couple of days were filled with needless orientation events, which honestly didn’t help us much with anything. It would have been better to just go to our schools.
4 and 5) After Jenia got here we spent two nights at the Hilton before finding a note under the door that said we were to be checked out the next day. Lots of advance notice (that would be sarcasm, if you didn’t catch it), which is a common feature of life in this area, I’m learning.
6) Yup. Sunday-Thursday. More on the teaching experience later.
7) How could you avoid stressing when you don’t have any time to do important things like set up your living space? Or when you go around a roundabout? Or when you’re at a new job in a new place?