Welcome to My Blog!

I hope you enjoy hearing of my adventures and travels as I live and work in Abu Dhabi and venture to other parts of the world.

Sunday, July 7, 2013

A Hectic Life

I logged in and checked the last time I wrote something and was very disappointed in myself. Things have been really hectic and I let the blog disappear into the background. I would love to say that I promise to do better, but all I can say is I would like to start working on it again. We will see how things go.

Until next time . . .

Friday, November 11, 2011

Observations and Thoughts

I have been meaning to write for a while now, but to be honest there hasn't been much happening. Though, there have been somethings that I have been thinking about and wanted to share with you.

First, the anniversary of Sheikh Zayed's death. For those of you who do not know, Zayed was the beloved ruler and leader of the Emirati people. He is the man responsible for forming the country and having the vision to know what it needed to grow a prosper. The key word I want to address in all of that is beloved.

Last week in school we honored the anniversary of his death and I witnessed first hand how much his people love him. We may not have a lot of Emiratis at our school, but because of the each one was allowed to honor Zayed in their own way. What I found most memorable was that whether reciting a poem, prayer, or a simple message-each of them cried. Not the eyes get watery and you can tell them are upset, but actual tears rolling down their cheeks. I was taken aback, not just because I don't do well around other people crying without crying myself, but because I could really tell how much they love him and miss him. This is a man they never elected, who never campaigned, but was just such a powerful figure in his country's life. I immediately started thinking about our leaders in the US. Would we cry? Would it be just tears of general sadness at the loss of life or tears because we lost a great person? In a country where we get to choose who leads us, we do not have the same connect. At least most of us don't. What does that say about our society and systems?

Now, before my patriotic friends start getting all upset I am not saying that I don't love America, I do. However, notice that I said America. We as a country and people love an idea. A group of people and lifestyle. We love our freedom, our opportunities, etc. I know it hard to compare just drastically different cultural, but it was just something that made me wonder. Is there anyone in our history that we value that greatly?

Sure in times of tragedy, like the shooting of the Arizona congresswoman, we band together to get justice. However, as optimistic as I am in nature, even I have to admit that we are not so kind and generous all of the time. It is the unfortunately reality of life that humanity shines brightest in the darks hours. Watching these students pour out their love for Zayed gave me hope that maybe humanity is surviving more than we know.

We hear about death, destruction, bankruptcy, unemployment . . . and sure those problems are real and they are serious for a lot of people, but does that mean humanity for each other has to die in the process. I think sometimes we all forget that humanitarian acts do not need to be a large gesture. Sure the larger it is the more you will be noticed, but those that are small are noticed by those who you helped. As a teacher, I am bias and believe that most of out there, despite all the trouble, try to instill this atmosphere in our classrooms and in a lot of ways are humanitarians everyday. Like I said, I am bias, but I would like to see humanity back in our lives more. In tough times it is hard to focus on what is good, but I think that is the only way we can move forward.

I know a lot of you are probably lost in my logic, but I hope you got the message regardless. My thoughts may not be linear and logical, but they make sense to me and this was just something I was thinking about.

Saturday, October 22, 2011


I was killing time on the internet and decided to look and see when the last time I wrote an entry. Considering how consistently I wrote my first year here in the UAE, I was appalled that I had not wrote anything of note.

Two things occurred to me.

The fairly obvious thing is, that things do not surprise me as much anymore. However, the sadder reality is that I am not doing anything exciting enough worth documenting. When you first move somewhere you want to explore as much as possible. You go out on the weekends to all the new places that are part of your new home. I know that is what I did.

Coming back for another year, I haven't done any exploring. I have still only been to three of the seven emirates. I have not been to Oman of Qatar which are right next door. I keep telling myself that I will get there someday, but it has yet to happen. For better or worse, Liwa has become home for now. I know my way around and have explored the beautiful, yet limited, sites to see.

Recently, a friend got a fancy camera. What I mean by that is he got a Digital SLR. Explaining to him when I use mine, how to use his, and the quality of pictures, has made me want to get back out and explore more. Go to the dune and try to climb to the top this time. Find a local with a buggy to ride the sand dunes. Go up the mountains in Al Ain. Go to some of the other costal towns in Abu Dhabi.

I don't know how much of this to do list I will be able to accomplish. Though life is pretty laid back here, it isn't like I can take off work to explore. I still have to work and study. However, what I do know is whether or not I manage to see all these places and do all these things-- I need appreciate what I have while I have it. I don't know how long I will have this job and the ability to travel like I have been. I have to remember that and make the most of the time. It may feel like I am just back for the same old gig, but I need to remember there is always something new and exciting out there if I look hard enough to find it. 

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

A New School Year

A new school year has begun. I have kissed so many cheeks and gotten everything from hugs to handshakes. I am less of a stranger now. I may still not know most of the Arabic, but I have an idea of how things work.

When I think back to my first impressions and experiences this time last year it is hard to remember all the details. Struggles and triumphs throughout those first few weeks stick out the most in my head. The daily ups and downs are lost in the blur of new news, new faces, and new language.

This year I returned a seasoned veteran ready to take on any challenge thrown my way. As I read posts stressing over getting to the first day of school, or what grade they might teach, I would smile and remember not to judge too harshly because that was me just a year ago. The major difference is they have someone to answer their questions. When I think about the fact that we did everything by trial and error really, I am amazed at what I accomplished last year.

With plenty of rest, a year behind me, and new brilliant ideas, I cannot wait to truly get rolling. I'm sure ADEC will throw a few curve balls my way throughout the year, but at least I am prepared and can hopefully see them coming, and duck out of the way.

Since this may be my last year in lovely Liwa. I don't know where life will lead me next, but I plan to the most of the time here and continue to grow the relationships that have come to mean so much to me in and out of the classroom.

Monday, August 29, 2011

Coming Back

It is hard to explain being back in Virginia for the the past month. Things are still familiar and I know my way around, but it is not the same place that I left, nor am I the same person. Midlothian, Virginia will always be my childhood home, but it isn't where I currently call home. I know that some say that home is where the heart is and I am not saying they are wrong, but I think that your heart can be in more than one place. I love my family and friends, but a piece of me and my life are in Abu Dhabi. For all its quirks that is home for me, at least for one more year. 

Being back in the states has been a lot of fun. I got to catch up with long time friends, make plans for the future, and get some much needed rest-- sometimes. While a month seems like a long time, it was just enough for me. I have some good memories to take back with me. The wonky house we rented at the beach for a week, the silly laughter with family and friends, and my bed-hog of a 96lb. dog. 

I wish that I could say that I want to stay, I am sure it would make my friends and family feel much better, but it would be a lie. It was really nice to come back, but it is not where I am supposed to be right now. Home is Abu Dhabi for now and I don't know where my next home will be . . . I am living my life moment to moment for now, and I kind of like it that way.