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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...

Saturday, October 29, 2011

On My Way

Yes!!!  The day has finally come.  I am in St. Louis and will fly from here to Chicago where I will leave at 8:55 pm (CST) for a non-stop flight to Abu Dhabi, arriving there at 7:45 pm on Sunday, Oct 30.  I am so excited and so ready to start my new job.  I will be flying with 8 of my colleagues so it will be nice to visit with them on the plane.  It's going to be a longggggggg day/night of traveling so thank you in advance for your prayers! 

So, Kara, Beka and I came up yesterday and had several mishaps!!  First of all, we got into St. Louis right at rush hour, then to top it off, we had to go to the Amtrak station (long story about a ticket refund) which was DOWNTOWN!!!!  I know, stupid, stupid, stupid.  Everybody and their cousin was on their way to the 7th World Series Game.  But, it only took about an hour out of our way and then we were on our way to do last minute shopping at the mall.  We did some shopping, then took Beka out to a birthday dinner at Bravo! near the mall.  It was so fun and the perfect way to end our day.  Oh wait, we had yet one more mishap.  There was construction getting back onto I270 so of course, we got very lost.  Thank goodness for GPS on my iPhone!  We finally got to our hotel at about 10:00. 

So this morning, Kara and I had a quiet breakfast together, she only cried a little and had a sweet talk and private good-byes.  Now, she and Beka are off to visit some friends while I take my shower, get organized for the plane and basically try to stay calm!

Like I said on Facebook, I can't tell everybody who helped me emotionally, physically, spiritually, and yes financially enough how much I appreciate you!! So many wonderful prayers were answered this past two months.  Well, I must give tons of praise to my mom. We were in this together and I couldn't have done the waiting without her!!!!  So, we had two garage sales, I sold my piano, and it just seemed like from everywhere my family was willing to help me in so many ways!  Also, one of  the BIGGEST blessings of all was the birth of my great niece Paisley.  I will always, always cherish the week I spent with Jessica, giving Paisley her little bath, and rocking her to sleep. 

I will update as soon as possible about where I'm staying, the orientation and of course the school I will be working in.  Thanks again so very much for the prayers!!!!!

PS  I love you and miss you so much Dr. M!!!!!!!

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

Finally heard from ADEC!!

Well, woke up this morning and as usual before my eyes could barely opened, I checked
 my email and alas!!  An email from my new employer stating we should be traveling next week!  I'm sooooo very encouraged and scared and excited and nervous and .........!!!!!

Also, my niece Jessica had her baby on Friday!  I was really hoping she would have her before I left so that was a great blessing. 

Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Departure Webinar Thursday!

Well, hello everyone!  Yep, I'm still in Missouri.  AGGGGHHHHHHH!!!!!  That was me screaming with frustration.  So, I got my authenticated papers back from Washington DC and now will have a Pre-Departure Webinar on Thursday.  A teacher on one of the groups that I am a member of "heard" that our group is to fly in on Oct 1 - 7 so I am praying for the 1st or 2nd!!

Also, I have packed yet a third time.  I know, AND used a bigger suitcase.  A very good, kind and sweet friend bought me some really cute new Graphic 45 Magic of Oz scrapbooking paper and I HAD to find room for it!  So, like Dorothy I will travel to a new land over the rainbow and hopefully not kill a witch in the process.

Seriously, I do so appreciate everyone's prayers and excitement for me.  I can hardly stand the waiting!  I've had two garage sales in the last two weeks and absolutely don't know what I would do without my mom.  She has been such an inspiration to me as we wait together.  I'm really grateful for the time I've been able to spend with my daughter and of course ALL of my family. 

Will let you know the minute I get my itinerary!! 

Friday, September 9, 2011

Travel Documents

Filled out my travel document today!  Yay!  One step closer to actually leaving.  Of course, my suitcases are not ready to go.  Have to repack AGAIN.  I keep adding things to the pile.  Enjoying some company from NYC and had a great Labor Day spending time with my family.  Hope to have a leave date soon!

Thursday, September 1, 2011

Sending off documents

August 31, 2011

OK, so I got the letter from my doctor and went to have it notarized.  After one last phone call to make sure I had everything done, I found out I had to have it authenticated as well at the Secretary of States office.  Thank goodness we have an office in Springfield!  So, sent six packets of documents to Washington DC using ProEx and should expediate things.  Once the Embassy gets them after going to the US Sec of State, they will send them back and things will get rolling for my departure date!

Packing commences!!!!  I have already packed, unpacked and repacked two times.  Ughhhhhh it's hard to decide!  I could take a third suitcase but I'd have to pay some big bucks so just going to get more stuff when I come home on breaks!

Monday, August 29, 2011

Getting paperwork ready!

Ughhhhh this part is tedius but necessary!  Had a wonderful and informative webinar on Tuesday of last week.  Had to make copies of my teaching certificate and my UCA diploma (thank goodness Kara and Caleb had found it) and take them to my Secretary of State.  THEN, Kara and I drove to Little Rock to their Secretary of State since that's where my diploma was from.  But, we made the trip fun by spending the night with my brother Steven, his wife Sheri and my precious niece Katelyn.

So, because I take some meds, going to go to doctor tomorrow to get a letter and copies of my prescriptions and then ALL my paperwork will go to a friend who is going to Washington DC to our national Secretary of State and then to the UAE Embassy.  Oh yea, by the way, Abu Dhabi is in the United Arabs Emirites in the Middle East.  So then the paperwork will be sent back to me and then I wait patiently for a plane tickets! 

OK, talk to you soon!!