Friday, June 18, 2010


It is Friday, June 18 and I fly home tonight just after midnight. All night to Amsterdam then all day to Detroit, Michigan which is just across the border from my hometown Windsor, Ontario, Canada. It all feels so surreal. I have felt like I have lived here for over 2 years and have become so accustomed to my nomadic lifestyle.

May was just a usual month with all my travels complete and plowing through the final full month of school. It was busy as usual with the typical day to day routines. The nightlife continued to be enjoyable especially when Steve was in the picture -- which wasn't often enough unfortunately!

The director of the school asked me to take on the role of "Housing Co-ordinator" which meant I would spend all of May right up until the day I leave (today) taking care of all the housing issues of teachers. I had to inspect 45 flats and make detailed lists of appliance, maintenance and furniture needs. The housing is really quite entry level and because our school is "for profit" they are very tight with the money. I'm talking mold, cockroaches, water leaks everywhere, broken furniture and horrible appliances. Luckily, the timing is right and change is in the wind. After begging, the business manager has released money to me and I have been on a teacher shopping spree buying furniture. He has also assured me that appliances will be purchased where needed and delivered before my return. The maintenance will hopefully get done to all the flats while I am in Canada, but I will return 2 weeks early to once again inspect all flats to ensure what was supposed to be done has been completed. It has been an onerous and extremely stressful task -- I'm not sure I would take it on again. I will also be responsible for making welcome bags for new arriving teachers that will contain the necessities (sheets, towels, toiletries, etc.).

Report cards up until the last day were equally daunting -- I retained 4 children from my challenging class. We were then responsible for doing Ministry reports as well. One of my final tasks was to "tear-down" my classroom, bulletin boards, bookshelves, etc. The last week was so hectic and on top of that I had been so very sick on the day before the school week started with the flu (vomiting and such) -- NICE!! My bouts of nausea continued all week until I was forced to go to the doctor. I think I am on track now.

My nemesis on my team continued to haunt me until the last day -- we have been like oil and water all year and the year end was no exception. We ended the year on a very bad note and she is desperately trying to leave our school for greener pastures -- I hope and pray she gets another opportunity in another country so I can have a fresh start with a new team. The other 3 team members are all leaving -- 1 back to Canada, 1 back to the U.S. and 1 heading to grade 5 for a new challenge. If only this last thorn would depart and I would have the pleasure of 4 new people; set the record straight and welcome them from the beginning. I would like to offer to them what was not offered to me when I began back in August 2009 -- encouragement, interest in their opinions and ideas, warmth, inclusion.

The year has been so full of learning and the curve has been huge, but I have once again survived! I have had many moments of loneliness and uncertainty, but also of happiness (mostly from my kids). Making friends has been harder than I imagined, as has meeting good quality men. Working within a team still challenges me, but I love my kids and relate very well with their parents.

I leave Abu Dhabi with mixed emotions. Anxious to go home and relax and just chill is top of my list. I am so excited to see my parents, sibs, friends and most of all my boy Cricket. I will miss Abu Dhabi despite its heat and other inconveniences. When I return in August, I will once again be so sad to leave my home and come back, but I know that it will be much easier the 2nd time around.

I plan to take a brief break from the blog during the next couple of months, but will again be sharing my adventures when I return in August. Fall of 2010 and into 2011 will see me traveling to Singapore, Thailand and Malaysia and Turkey. More of the world to see, more people to meet and so many more lessons to learn.

Until then, be well,

Love Rhetta