Well, we've been in Abu Dhabi for a week now. We've learned alot about getting around, and I am prepared to start teaching tomorrow, but myriad questions remain unanswered. We don't know where we will live, when we will move, when my residency visa will arrive, when we'll get a rental car, or really any information about settling in. We are learning to deal with almost total uncertainty. Hey, the hotel is nice and the breakfast buffet is free!
I have been assigned to teach second grade, team teaching with another licensed teacher from Canada. I have to be at the school at 7:00 AM and can leave by 2:00 PM. The really good news is that I will have only 18 students to share with my co-teacher in one period, and 17 students in the other. We have been told, however, that placements can change if we are needed somewhere else. I'm looking forward to meeting the boys in our classes (all-boys' school) and getting to know all of my new co-workers. They have found out that I speak some Arabic, and now they will not let me get away with speaking English until I try to say my piece in Arabic. It's good for me, but hard. It makes me appreciate what my students will be experiencing!
Yesterday Mark, Abby and I went to the Corniche to visit the beach for the first time. One section is set aside for families. You have to pay to get in that part, but there are no rowdy groups of teenagers or groups of single guys. It was really comfortable and safe. Abby found some other little girls to play with and had a great time. Mark and I enjoyed the warm water (more than 90 degrees) and the covered beach chairs. We did see a security guy blow a whistle and lecture a few couples that were getting a bit too touchy-feely. It's supposed to be a family beach, after all.
Mark did laundry last night while I prepared materials for the first day. I've only prepared lessons for the first day because I have no idea what to expect. I'll have to go from there after I see what it's like! Later today we will visit the Heritage Village. It was closed when we went last weekend, but should be open this evening. It shows what life was like in Abu Dhabi before oil, and Abby intends to have a camel ride. I'll be sure to take many pictures to post on facebook. Maybe I'll even figure out how to post them on my blog!
We miss everyone, sometimes horribly, especially when things seem so different here. But we are adjusting and are beginning to appreciate some of those differences. That's what it's about, I think.