Friday, September 10, 2010

I'm Back At It!!!

Greetings everyone:

I arrived back in Abu Dhabi on August 16, 2010, after a harrowing experience at Detroit Metro airport -- they thought my bags were too heavy and would not check me in!!!! This did not pose a problem last year and I was bewildered why the rules had changed. After much delay, I had to repack some of my stuff into boxes to get the weight down in my bags. Thank God I had my friends, Lindy and Gayle to help me. I was a wreck and ended up paying $550 U.S. dollars to get all my stuff on the plane. I was running to my gate due to these delays and just made my flight. As you can see my return to Abu Dhabi started off on a sour note. To add insult to injury, none of my bags arrived in Abu Dhabi -- they were being sent to Dubai. I received 3 of the bags about 2 days later and the last of my luggage a couple days after that complete with one end of my bag ripped open!!

Returning two weeks early was part of my housing co-ordinator agreement. I had to reinspect 45 flats, buy furniture, move furniture around and make welcome bags for newly arriving teachers. I hit the ground running -- early mornings followed by late nights for several days. Ramadan was in full swing so shop hours were altered and no eating/drinking in public during the day. The frustration surrounding this task was ongoing. Language barriers with the workers was a real hassle -- they could not follow instructions and seemed to lack common sense. They would drag furniture on the ground scrapping the surface and move furniture in a pick-up truck without any tarps causing further damage. I was on my hands and knees cleaning out a fridge in a flat while they stood and watched me. They did not take the initiative on anything and had to be hand held to get a simple task done. I worked so hard the first two weeks to get most of the snags worked out in all the flats. I was even at school one night until 1:30 a.m. making new teacher welcome bags after spending the day shopping for cart loads of pillows, blankets, and the works. The teacher welcome bags were amazing compared to what I received when I arrived last year.

The next day had me delivering all the bags to the new teacher flats with, you guessed it, the mindless labour guys who needed to be spoon fed with directions -- so challenging to work with!!

I enjoyed 3 evenings of events with the new teachers -- dinners, drinks and parties. They seem like a great bunch of people and the orientation for them has been better organized this year compared to last year.

All the returning teachers eventually arrived in AD and our orientation began. Most people were thrilled with all the improvements to their flats, but there is still a long way to go to upgrade all that needs to be done. My task is done as far a housing is concerned and I got my reward in my recent paycheck.

The chaotic schedule has begun at school with meetings and classroom set-up. Today is Friday, Sept. 10, 2010, the official end of Ramadan and we are enjoying a 5 day Eid El Fitr holiday. I tried to book a last minute flight to Nepal on Wednesday night, but the Qatar airways flight from Abu Dhabi to Doha was full. Oh well, probably better I rest and get more done. I am hosting a grade 4 team dinner at my flat on Saturday night to officially welcome my teammates. My nemesis from last year is gone -- hooray!! The new team seem great and I am hoping for the best this year.

I have lucked out with a flat to myself this year. My roommate has also received her own flat. They hired more single men and couples this year, so more females have their own flats. It is fantastic to be on my own. I am still getting my flat organized and the first 2 weeks I arrived I was far to busy to spend time unpacking or setting myself up.

We had an Iftar dinner for all the teachers on Wednesday evening at "The Club" (formerly known as "The British Club"). It was a nice evening. Don't really know what all the hoopla is about surrounding "The Club". Costly to join and far removed from where I live -- not my cup of tea. I joined Abu Dhabi Country Club for aerobics only. This is enough to get me through to the fantastic weather of November to March, during which time I will bike ride, walk and do pilates.

I've been out to my favorite haunts of last year -- 3rd ave and Captains Arms, but no music during Ramadan has dampened the mood. I plan to hang low this year and do my own thing more -- less cocktails and less men -- what's the point!!

I will start the onerous task of researching what I will do with myself at the end of this 2nd year contract. As there are no jobs in Ontario, Canada, I may stay international but where, I still do not know. I plan to spend alot of time on my computer investigating my options and hope this big question mark reveals an answer to me.

November will see me travelling to Singapore and hopefully meeting with a couple school officials while there. I am already booked for this trip and hope to meet up with some fellow Canadians and some American friends of friends as well. School officially begins on Sept. 13 so I'm sure I will have plenty of news for subsequent updates.

Until then, MacEachern out. XXOO