It’s winter in the UAE

Not that you’d ever know it from the weather, but it’s actually winter here!  I haven’t updated in a long time, but there’s actually been some kind of exciting stuff going on.  In fact, there’s been some REALLY exciting stuff going on.  Here’s a recap:

  • I’m engaged!  At the end of November, over the Thanksgiving/Eid Al Adha break, my mom came to visit and we went to Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, where I spent the summer of 2008.  While I was there I had met a wonderful guy named Ben.  He’s an accountant and was doing work in the office of the orphanage I was volunteering at.  We broke up when I left, mainly because of the distance and uncertainty of where we were going to be geographically in the next few years.  We stayed in touch though, and when I saw him again in November, we realized that we were pretty dumb to ever break up.  He asked me to marry him and I said yes, and the wedding will be August 7 in Boston. 🙂  Right now he’s working on getting a visa to move here to Abu Dhabi, since we will be living here after the wedding and of course we’d like to live in the same city sooner rather than later!

  • I signed on for another year at my school.  Actually, I had a two-year contract anyways, so it was assumed that I would be staying.  But I officially am now.  In fact, lately I’ve really been loving Abu Dhabi so much that I would gladly sign up for another five years!  I won’t though–that would be weird.
  • For Christmas, I went back to Massachusetts for about 10 days.  It was nice to be back “home” for a while and see the family!  Basically while I was there I planned the wedding, hung out with family and friends, shopped, and got very very cold.  With the exception of that last thing, it was a blast!  Honestly, I thought I would miss the cold and snow a lot more than I do.  Visiting the snow was fine, but I don’t need a whole winter of the stuff.  Going home in the summers will be a great arrangement though, because it will be warm–but not unbearably so–in New England and hellishly boiling here (where it’s normal for it to get up to 110-120 degrees F on a summer day; Boston, where a high of 90 is somewhat rare even in summer, is quite mild by comparison).
  • School is going well and I feel like I really am becoming a better teacher with experience.  Certain situations, especially dealing with parents, used to really freak me out; now I feel a lot more confident about handling problems that arise.  It does make a difference to be sure of yourself, and I think genuinely acquiring that self-assurance as a teacher is something that only comes with time and practice.  I’m not saying I’m now a wise veteran or anything of course–but you have to start somewhere, and it’s nice to notice progress.
  • Today I took some school papers and walked down to the Corniche (the beach) to sit and do some work.  It was about 75 or 80 degrees out, breezy and perfectly sunny.  I sat on the deck of a coffee shop that was right on the beach, had some coffee, got a little work done, and walked along the beach taking pictures and enjoying the day.  I felt like I was on vacation; I kept having to remind myself that I in fact live here and could go back every day if I wanted to!  It genuinely felt like the perfect place, and I never wanted to leave.

9 responses to “It’s winter in the UAE

  1. I already knew a lot of this but it was still wonderful to read it here! 😀 Maybe I should update too!

  2. You already knew this, but I am so happy for your about your engagement. Hello to Ben! He must be a neat guy if you picked him. I am ever appreciative of your insights into Abu Dhabi and teaching via your blog and tweets. 😀

  3. I am ever so glad I stumbled upon your blog. I applied for a teacher advisor position there. I’m not sure exactly where – but somewhere in the Arab Emirates. I am hoping it is Abh Dhabi because everything I’ve read sounds promising. I would love to have a list of questions to ask the interviewer about the area that could help me make the decision. It sounds like you are really happy there. How often do you get to go home? My email is I would love to discuss this with you further! Thanks so much! Tandy

  4. I am going to a 2nd interview with Teach Away for a primary school job in Abu Dhabi. Can you tell me what to expect upon my arrival? Is there cultural diversity among the teachers over there? I am an African American female and although I have worked in Saudi Arabia and London (not as a teacher), I still have reservations about going to the Middle East as a teacher. Please let me know as much as you can so that I can make a more informed decision about taking a job there.

    • Hi Anita,

      Are you applying for a private or public school? That makes a huge difference in how you will experience life here. I teach at a private international school and there is some diversity, although the vast majority of the teachers are white; a few are Indian or Pakistani, and I know of three African-American teachers in my school (out of maybe 100 or so teachers). I’ve been told there’s a lot of racism here and in particular that people who look Indian or African are not treated as well, but I can’t speak from personal experience. My fiance is Ethiopian and will be moving here in a couple of weeks, and I suspect once he’s here I’ll have a better idea of how black people experience life in Abu Dhabi.

      But definitely find out more about the school you’ll be working at. If you’re single with no kids/pets/etc you can find a position quite easily, so the trick is finding a good school. And believe me, they’re not all good!

      Good luck,

    • Did you end up going to Abu Dhabi? I am thinking of going as well with teach away and have many questions!:) Love to talk

    • Hello Anita, Did you eventually get a job with Teachaway? I
      may do so as well, depending on what you tell me about the racism
      and freedom of religion there.

  5. Pingback: 2010 in review | American Teacher

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