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Sunday, June 10, 2012

A Visit to the Women's Union in Abu Dhabi

Ok, so I'm going to share my experience where I left off.  My friends Sarah and Maila and I visited the Womens Union, a place where they have a museum of sorts, and actual locals who come and continue with the traditional arts and crafts that have been done for hundreds of years.  We went on a beautiful day and really were in awe of the painstaking effort and time many of the items require.  I will share some pictures as well.

The Women Union sign

My dear friends Sarah and Maila (we do everything together still)! 

Sarah and me

Maila and me - I can't believe how short my hair was!

Different crafts they make

Beautiful handmade baskets

The actual looms they work on and some of the finished products!

One of my favorite very intricate weavings

This is what the inside of a traditional bedouin tent would look like.  We actually have the very same seating in our two Arabic workrooms.  Many a time I have laid down on them when nobody was in there to take a power nap or when I was sick.  VERY comfortable!  The last pic is a very old traditional tea set.  They still use them as you will see later on, except the tea sets are super luxurious!

So these next pictures are models of what the actual activity would look like.  There are some older women here (which by the way you rarely see older people) who still wear the steal thing over faces.  It is very scary to me and reminds me of Hannible Lector!!!!!

So, the boy is a depiction of a pearl diver, as that was very common here.  They would tie themselves to a rope, get the shells, come back to the boat, pass out, wake up and go again...doesn't sound like fun to me!  The last pic is of women getting henna.  I love it!  I got it for Jessica's wedding and it's very traditional here to do it for special occasions.

So, of course I had to act silly.  This is what the MEN wear on their heads, in different styles according to what's in fassion.

So, I hope you enjoyed the pictures from our visit to the Women Union.  Gotta go now, will do more tomorrow!!

I can't believe it's June 10!!!  I am soooooo very behind on my blog.  Probably because all I do when I get home from school is sleep!  Haha.  Well, we have just finished the year and I now have five weeks with basically nothing to do but show up at school for five more weeks.  We don't have our assignments for next year and will probably not get them until we come back in September, so I shouldn't have any excuses for getting everything up to date.  I am hoping to stay with at least one of my classes.  I was the only English teacher in the school who had two classes but I've been told I will stay with just one next year.  I have learned though that things CHANGE in a heartbeat here, so, we'll see!  Anyway, can't believe I've already finished one year, it went by so very fast.  I've decided I'm just going to continue my blog where I left off...So, hope I don't bore you too much, it has definately been an interesting adventure!

Friday, January 6, 2012

My New Home!

Yea, my new house is finally a home.  I think I am done!   It has been fun but challenging creating a new home from scratch.  When I walked into my new apartment it had nothing in it, not even a single appliance, toilet paper, fork, nothing!  I ended up using a color scheme that I've never had before and I really like it.  To stretch my money, I've also experimented with some scrapbooking on my walls.  I'm really pleased and it feels comfy.  So, in case you can't tell, my sofa is black and silver, and my accent color is aqua.  Then in the bedroom, I kind of went with morocan colors because of the bed table I got from ikea.  The bathrooms were already brown and aqua, so it's worked out pretty nice.  I've tried to incorporate some local and cultural pieces as well.  I got really creative and it's been fun!!!

So, our three week Christmas break has come to an end.  I hope all of you had a wonderful and blessed Christmas and New Years.  I missed my family but kept busy by going to Muscat, Oman, traveling to the western region of Abu Dhabi, and a recent trip to Dubai.  Oh, and I found a car!  I wasn't planning on getting one so soon but another teacher was leaving after 3 years and put it on our swap and shop website.  I looked at it for two weeks while I prayed about it and did research on the car.  It was a great deal and I think I got lucky because everyone else was gone for the holidays!  Anyways, I got a great deal and will now be free to enjoy my independence more!

I am really getting close to several friends and now that we are all getting settled in, we do things together.  Of course, going out to eat is right up there, but we also walk the malls, and I just joined a book club.  It's so weird for me to have all this free time!  It's really sinking in how much I worked when I was a nanny (60-65 hrs a week) and even though I experienced a lot, my "me" time really suffered.

That might explain why I have my scrapbooking table in my living room!  I love to scrap while I watch tv and it keeps me out of my bedroom, where I found I was still gravitating to just out of habit.

Ok, so I hope you enjoy the pictures.  Not bragging, just really for my family (and those of you interested) to see where I live!

My new car!  2009 Peugeot 206

It's so little!

my living room

My "scrapbooking area"

Gotta have some pretties!  My writing tray

Looking toward the front door

my little half bath, to the right when you first walk in the door.  Notice, I used a placemat from a restaurant and some stickers for decor!

My kitchen.  yes, the washing machine is in the kitchen! 

My pretend stove!  A trolley with burners on top.  haha! Keeps me from baking and eating too much.

Spare bedroom

I like to pretend like my spare bedroom is a big walk in closet!

My favorite room - my bedroom!  Love the table over my bed, it slides and yes, my feet go right under it.
I love the view from my room, especially at night.

Scrapbooking my walls

Very homey!!  I am blessed!!!

Friday, December 2, 2011

UAE National Day!

Hi everyone!  I'm using a bigger font - hopefully it will be easier to read.  Well, this is the 40th anniversary of the UAE officially becoming a country.  We had off on Thursday as it was declared a national holiday.  All we did all week at school was participate in various activities directed toward the holiday.  If you want to read more about how this country came about, I highly recommend A Diamond in the Desert by Jo Tatchell.  She grew up with her parents in the early years and comes back.  It is a great read.

So, we had special assemblies, activities, food, lots of presents being brought by students, parades, etc.  It was really exciting.  Today is the actual day so they are having fireworks and shows down at the Corniche.  We aren't going as you had to get tickets via lottery and of course the crowd!!  Maybe I'll be able to see them from my window.

So I got henna done on my hand.  I will include a picture.  It dries for about an hour, then flakes off.  Now it is a beautiful brown on my hand.  I love it.  We had a lady come one day and she was a real artist.  You should have seen her hands and arms!

The children dresse up all week in the national colors - black, green, white and red

Notice the picture of the sheike on the scarf.  His picture is everywhere!  I especially loved the little boys dressing up like the men.  Of course, I caught one digging for gold in his nose...sorry!

One of the days we had "heritage day".  Emerati women came and cooked traditional Arabic food.  These are doughnut like little balls that are covered with honey.  Delicious!

They served traditional coffees and teas
Don't ask me what all this was but I ate every bit!  The stuff that looks like oatmeal on the left had meat in it and was my favorite. 

The henna artist

Precious babies I am blessed to teach!  The one in pink is Meera and one of my favorites!

OK, having dinner at Maila's new apartment so must go - next will be pictures of my new place!  Yea!!!  I'm finally out of the hotel and into my own home.  Sparsely decorated but oh well, it's free!!!!

Have a great weekend!!!!!

Saturday, November 26, 2011

Life in the UAE

Wow!  I am so embarrassed that it's been so long since I've written!  So here's what's happened since Oct 30:

- Got settled in at the Lou Lou Asfar Apartment Hotels in Abu Dhabi
- Had two days rest which was definately not enough!
- Attended our orientation for two days including a medical exam, blood drawn, tests galore, setting up bank accounts, and then of course learning about the New School Model for our schools.
- Found out day two of orientation where we would be placed.
- Screamed for joy (inside my head) when I found out I was one of only 10 staying in Abu Dhabi city.  I was really expecting to be placed in the boonies but God answered specific prayer!
- Some people have been placed on Delma Island.  They actually have to take a one and 1/2 hour ferry ride!
- I started teaching on November 9 at Al Morjan Kindergarten in a village called Al Samha.  It is on the very fringe of Abu Dhabi city but I really lucked out.
- OK, here's the really funny part - It's Kindergarten!!!!  Yes, not just kindergarten, but 3 and 4 year olds!!
- Happy that my nanny experience is coming in handy!
- Found a colleague who offered to let me carpool with her.
- I am one of 11 LT's there teaching English.  We are still short one teacher, so I am actually teaching two classes, but I like it because I don't have to deal with lunch, and certain duties.
- So, Candy, my friend and colleague and I drive from where she lives (more about that in a minute) to our school in about 45 minutes.  It's not bad.  Great time for eating, putting on makeup, etc!
Ok, so here are some pics of my hotel and school:

This is the view from my hotel window.

My school!
The foyer of the school
My classroom
Our cafeteria
Life in the hotel!

Of course, I've been on the buses, in cabs and many, many malls.  There is Marina Mall, The Gold Souk, Abu Dhabi Mall, Kalidifa Mall, Al Wadha Mall, and Mushrif Mall.  They are all three stories high and it's fun to just people watch.  Plus, that's where we see a lot of familiar things, like McDonalds, Starbucks, etc.
Here's some pics of the malls and YES, that is really a gold vending machine!!

OK, next blog will be about my new apartment!!!!  I just got the keys on Thursday so now "have to"  go shopping!!!!  Our employers give us a housing allowance thank goodness.  It's weird starting from nothing!  Like when I was first out on my own...Headed to Ikea...