Saturday, December 24, 2011

...a holiday wish

Sunday, December 18, 2011


While it's true that I traveled half-way around the world to take this job, I am not a world traveler. Sure, I've taken the odd trip here and there, and have been on an airplane or two, but I am not a sophisticated jet-setter by any stretch of the imagination. Flight numbers, terminals, layovers...not things I usually think about. I am also a bit of a scatter-brain at times, and forget about certain details...until too late.  (And I'm afraid I've passed a bit of that gene on to my offspring.)

Nate and Katie are flying in to Abu Dhabi airport tonight.  At 9:40pm. Terminal 3.  And that's all the information I thought to get from Nate about their flight.  I vaguely remember something about a stop-over in Brussels, and he did used the abbreviation "AA" in one of his emails, which I assume stands for American Airlines.

So now I have myself in a bit of a dither.  On top of being extremely excited (and a bit sleep-deprived because of it) I am now as nervous as all get-out that somehow we will miss each other at the airport.  I keep reminding myself that AD Airport is not large.  I will be in terminal 3 in plenty of time and we will find each other. All is well, all is well, and all will be well.


Thursday, December 15, 2011

...adding to the family

Nate proposed to his girlfriend, Suzie, this past week! He was going to ask on New Year's Eve, but he just couldn't wait. I am delighted for the two of them, and happy that I'm going to be a MIL!  Congratulations, Nate and Suzie!!!

...the end of the term

Trimester one is officially over! Halas!  I just spent the last 2 1/2 days in a room with about 45 other Cycle 3 (secondary) teachers, marking the official grade 12 reading and writing exam for the entire Western Region.  Whew!  That was an experience!

On one hand it was very tiring and stressful to read so many essays. Everything is done by hand, and, being human, errors were made.  We had to check, double check, and triple check each other's math skills.

On the other hand, it was nice to get to sleep in (marking was done here in MZ, so I didn't have my usual commute), and fun to interact with teachers from other schools. My neighbor Maddie and I rarely see each other because of our schedules so it was a treat to get to visit with her in between packets of tests.    So now...I am finished with school until January 8, 2012.  Let the fun and relaxation begin!

(Nate and Katie will be here Sunday night and are staying until the 29th.  Yippeeeee!)

Sunday, December 4, 2011

I live in a complex referred to as "the new teacher villas." There are "old teacher villas" and "teacher apartments behind the mall" as well.  The distinction is important for giving directions to delivery men since there are no street signs nor house numbers.  There is a lot of construction going on around us. In fact, our buildings are the only completed structures in this block.
Here's the front of our complex--twelve buildings in all.  Pretty nice, right?
This is the other side of the street.  I wish I had started taking pictures of this when we first moved in--they've been trucking right along, and maybe, just maybe, before the year is out, it will be completed.
Fencing off construction sites seems to be important here--whether to keep flying sand to a minimum, block the view to passersby, or to stake out the boundaries of the property, I have no idea.  The sheets of metal make a lovely sound when the wind is howling, though!
This is the view out back--if I stand on the ledge to my patio, this is what I see.  I'm hoping this project goes slowly--I don't want a building obstructing what little view I have! (I like to sit on the ledge in the evening--I can see the lights of Madinat Zayed and hear the call to prayer.)
This is the shortcut I take to walk to town--about a 20 minute walk.  I turned around and snapped this--you can see our villas in the distance.
Still going through the shortcut--sand, sand, and more sand...but look at that blue sky!
I imagine that in a few short years this area will be all built up and landscaped. 

Saturday, December 3, 2011

...ladies first

I've mentioned before that men outnumber women here--by a lot.  The majority of those men are laborers from India, Pakistan, Bangladesh, Sri Lanka, and the Phillipines. They occupy the lowest rung in the social ladder. 

The lines at the bank machine and in the grocery store grow quite long when the laborers are off work for the day.  I try to run my errands early in the day, but it doesn't always work out.  Sometimes I find myself in line, surrounded by many men.  Sometimes, no matter how much I protest, the men will step aside and motion for me to go ahead of them. At first, I thought this was chivalrous, but a couple of recent incidents have changed my mind.

Last week as I stood in line at the bank machine a man of status came along.  He hollered at the laborers to get out of the way, and made the man using the machine stop his transaction.  He motioned for me to move to the head of the line, all the while grumbling loudly about "these people."  He used the machine before me, then left in a huff.  After that, there was no way that the men would allow me to get back in line where I was.  I apologized, completed my transaction, and left.

A couple of days ago I was in the grocery store at a busy time of day.  As I stood in line a clerk came along and wordlessly took my basket from me.  I followed him, thinking that he was going to open another checkout.  Instead, he put my basket on the belt in front of someone else's things.  The men in line stepped back to allow me in. They had been doing back-breaking labor all day.  I had not.

So why don't I think this is chivalry?  After all, I was allowed to move to the head of the line just because I am a woman. To be chivalrous is to be courteous and generous, especially towards women.    For a couple of reasons.  Both incidents left me feeling embarrassed, with a sick feeling in my stomach.  I wasn't given a free pass to the head of the line because of my gender, but because of my social standing.  If it was chivalry, then the man at the bank machine would have allowed me to use the machine first.  He would have asked the men who had been waiting if they minded.  If it was chivalry, then the men in the grocery store would have invited me to go ahead of them. Instead, they had no choice. 

I have adjusted to many things here, and for the most part, I like it here.  But I hope I don't lose the catch in my belly when people are treated badly.  I hope I don't adjust to classism.