Picture Time!

nighttime on my street

nighttime on my street

At the request of several friends, I have found a way to add photos to the blog!

My neighborhood here is kinda cool.  It  will be fun to explore once it’s, you know, under 100 degrees outside.  There is a huge parking problem, which makes me glad I don’t have a car; the area is very walkable and there are lots of little shops and restaurants.  There’s also a large mall, Khalidiya Mall, about a 3-minute walk around the corner.
This is certainly not what you might call a “posh” area, although rents are horrifyingly high (I’m told my place would rent for the equivalent of US$4000 a month!)  The streets are pretty dirty and dusty–there usually isn’t trash around though, at least–and you can sort of tell that not much care is taken to maintain the streets and buildings.  What I like about it though is that it’s not all westerners; there are some, like us, and also many other nationalities all packed into these few blocks.
out my bedroom window

out my bedroom window

My apartment itself could be nicer; I mean, it’s all right, but a lot of things don’t seem to work properly, and the floors are ugly linoleum, and none of my school-provided furniture matches.  That said, I have a 7th floor 2-bedroom 2-bath with an elevator and a little balcony, and that’s really pretty darn okay!
The good news, also, is that I haven’t been home all that much because there is so much to do around here!  Mainly I’ve been going shopping and going out to eat/drink at various restaurants and bars, and just overall doing a lot more socializing than I ever did back in Georgia.  The apartment building I’m in is almost entirely AISA teachers, so it feels like a college dorm a lot of times, with plenty of people to hang out with close by, all in one building.  I missed that sense of community, which I never felt at my apartment in Gwinnett.  Of course I am also anxious about whether people are going to like me and whether I will fit in, but that’s pretty typical stuff for me, and I am sure it will all work out.
my very small classroom

my very small classroom

One thing I’m not at all sure about is how I am ever going to teach 20 4th graders in this very, very small classroom I have been given.  It is seriously 1/3 the size of my old classroom at Rock Springs.  Also, I keep asking for a whiteboard (which I don’t have; no chalkboard either) and a teacher’s rolling chair, which everyone else has but is mysteriously absent from my room.  As of yet, I have gotten nowhere with these requests, despite asking many times.  It is rather frustrating, since it’s hard to finalize the arrangement of my furniture when I don’t know where the “front” of the room will be!  However, in the last few days I have made a lot of progress on decorating the room and obtaining supplies, so hopefully, somehow, it will all come together in time for the first day of school on Monday.  I usually wind up feeling very anxious and irritated, which is really not at all the ideal attitude.
the books from the school reading series

the books from the school reading series

Know what’s funny though?  I traveled halfway around the world, I’m in a totally different country and culture, and yet, the books at right are part of the Scott Foresman Reading series.  Yeah that’s right.  We use the SAME reading series–same stories, same lessons, same everything–as we used in Gwinnett County, Georgia.  I suppose it’s nice to have something familiar around, right?
Rather than complain some more I’m going to sign off for now.   I actually really like it here a lot; I’m just having trouble keeping the little things from getting to me.  I’m going to concentrate on trying to be optimistic and positive, and if I do that, maybe better things will start to happen!

6 responses to “Picture Time!

  1. hey marisa….I know how you feel – everything here takes an age and lots of requests to get anything done. You have to just go with it and grab your opportunities while you can even if it feels a bit cheeky – I nearly locked the Etisalat man in my apartment when he appeared to fix my friends internet in the apartment downstairs! I hope everything goes well on your first day with the children. Apologies for not catching up properly but things are abit hectic with the trip to Canada – hopefully we can grab a drink sometime when I get back & when Ramadan is over.

  2. Thanks for keeping in touch and letting us more rooted people see that as much as things are different elsewhere they are completely the same.

  3. After 8 years of being here you get kinda of accustomed to the Abu Dhabi way of life, so it’s refreshing to hear all the deliberations of a newbie – looking forward to hearing more!

  4. I am dying to hear about your class. I hope all is going well!

  5. Hey,
    Came across your blog address on twitter. Just realized you are teaching 4th grade. I teach 3rd-5th graders technology at my school and I teach gross motor to K-2nd. This week my lab is being converted to a mac lab. Next week I will have students using macbooks instead of the Dell computers. Should be interesting. Would love to possibly Skype with your class sometime. Not sure of the time difference. My tech classes are at 8am, 10:30am and 2:45 pm Central Standard Time.

  6. Hi, I have been considering teaching in Abu Dhabi for the
    last three weeks and I really appreciate your blog and pics! Thanks
    for sharing. Tracie

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