Finally, we have a tentative leaving date: September 9th! All of the documents have Hilary Clinton's signature on them and a stamp from the UAE embassy, so we're good to go. We don't have actual tickets yet, just an assurance from the Teach Away, Inc. representative on facebook that the last group will leave on that date. No word yet, either, on whether or not I will go first alone or if the whole family will travel together. It's a really good thing we learned to live with a large dose of uncertainty over the last year.
I'll arrive on the 10th, rest(?) on the 11th, then school starts for teachers on the 12th. Nothing like hitting the ground running. I'm doing my best to be calm about it all. I mean, I have started school with my classroom still under construction before. But that was in Mansfield. I'm holding on to the favorable comments left by other teachers on the facebook site about their wonderful reception in Abu Dhabi, and how well they've been taken care of. I'm sure my employers will understand what it takes to move so far away and get settled in. I know they won't expect some amazing lesson out of me on the 15th of September, the first day of school. I'm sure of this, but the muscles in my shoulders are twisted into knots anyway.
And then there's the goodbyes. I've said goodbye to friends in Florida, wonderful people that I hope to see again. I visited with my sister and had such a fun time exploring Dallas hot spots. I'm going to miss her so much. We saw family in Beaumont and Lumberton, and look forward to being back next summer to see them again. Today I hugged my dad goodbye. He was here in Pearland to make the trip to Beaumont with us, and now he's headed back to central Texas. That was tough, even though I know we'll skype weekly. Soon we'll drop the dog off at my cousin's house, and that will be hard, too. Last, we'll say goodbye to Mark's family. A year isn't that long, right?
So, feeling the leaving today. I'm not regretting the decision to go. I can't wait for the challenges and discoveries ahead. New experiences make life worthwhile. We'll be different people when we see you all again next year.