My Farewell Tour

Years ago, sitting in class, didn't you wonder why you had to learn where Mesopotamia was? Why learn about the places so far away? What was the point of knowing about some huge desert in a place it was unlikely I would ever visit. Well, now I know why. One never knows in life what sort of interesting things will come about. And my life has certainly been interesting. But, now it's time to learn about another part of the world and depart from my safe haven of New Hampshire and head out to parts unknown in a place called Abu Dhabi.
I am calling this part of my journey, before I leave, my "Farewell Tour" because haven't you ever noticed that when a cool rock band is going to change members or break up, they have a Farewell Tour that lasts about a year? Well, I began my "Farewell Tour" at the Thanksgiving dinner table last November as I sat and looked around at my family, my cousins, aunts and uncles and I asked my mother what she would think if I decided to teach overseas. My mother responded favorably and I thought, well, then, this is it. This could be my last Thanksgiving dinner with the family in New England, for a couple of years. I mentally looked around at the family as if to impress their faces and that moment on my mind. At that point, my mother was the only one who knew that I was planning such a crazy, wild journey of my heart. I applaud her for being open to such an idea. Now that I am further along in my journey, she is still so very supportive. What more can one ask from her parents?

Sunday, September 18, 2011

Woke up, it was a Chelsea morning...

Early one September morn…

Week one of my new job in my new school has come and gone. I not only love this job, but I am finding that I am at peace, here in the desert. Oh, it’s certainly not a bed of roses. There are many things I would change about this job, if I could. However, the overwhelming sense of peace descends at the end of the day. There are many imperfections…the day I was moved from my delightful job at the boys’ school to the girls’ campus was particularly difficult, and getting to the girls’ campus to find that no one in administration had thought that pens, pencils, paper or other supplies were essential to the running of the school was a particular jolt. However, we were given a stipend to go buy supplies at the store. And a few days later, copy paper made its way to our campus, as well as staplers, tape and paper clips. There are just certain things that make you feel that you are a teacher. Obviously, I can teach with merely a stick in sand, and I was fully prepared to do so, but the pens were a nice touch. We are still lacking internet and our overhead LCD projectors are still on the ceiling without a remote to run them. But, those are mere technicalities, and I expect with a little more patience, those things too, shall be ironed out. Strangely enough, last Thursday a brand new, automated (and free) vending machine for coffee, mochaccino, cappuccino, and cardamom tea appeared in the faculty lounge. One can certainly understand where Arab priorities lie. I didn’t think I would like cardamom tea, but am finding it particularly delightful. I’m thinking I will become addicted to mochaccino and cappuccino with this fantastic addition to our teacher lounge. (I do dislike coffee unless it is really flavored up) Of course, I can still enjoy my first love, Earl Grey tea with a bit of milk and sugar, but let’s face it, on my half hour morning break, it will be so much easier to just push a button. Oh, yes. Break in the morning is 25 minutes long, versus the hectic, stateside jam-your-worksheets through the copier, spend 5 minutes swearing at it and another 4 minutes trying to remove the jam and by that time you realize that you have to run to the rest room before heading back to class.  Abu Dhabi culture does have its advantages for the older bladder.

On another subject entirely, I had a pretty good weekend. On Friday, I pulled off an afternoon tea for an assortment of new friends and colleagues. We munched on tea sandwiches, drank sun tea and laughed about life in Abu Dhabi. On Saturday, I got up quite early and attended a charity flea market at the Sheraton Inn, and came away with some amazing purchases; plates, serving dishes, towels, pillows, a duvet and a duvet cover, several lamps that match my décor,  an African ebony bowl and a framed coin collection. After that success, I wound my way over to Nefertiti furniture, a used furniture place that had been closed during my spare time during Ramadan. I purchased an IKEA chaise lounge, two large pillows, two glass-topped side tables and a kitchen bar for my kitchen supplies that are starting to overwhelm my tiny kitchen space. As I walked away from Nefertiti, in the blazing hot sun, I thought that it was the right time for my friend Michael to be returning from his morning jaunt and I hoped he would pass by me in his taxi. Instead, I baked my way to the edge of the road and waited a few minutes for a taxi. Later that afternoon, Michael mentioned that he had passed me by in the Khalidiya area carrying two pillows. My prescience is alive and well in Abu Dhabi, it just didn’t extend to “seeing” Michael stopping for me. Had a second moment in class, this morning, after class had started and we were well on our way toward 8am. I was doing a last attendance check when I mentioned to the class that I fully expected Huda to walk through the door any moment…and at that very moment, she did. I enjoy these little moments of clarity and prescience. God has put me in a good place.

1 comment:

  1. Nancy...Just catching up after being out of town for a bit. I'm so glad you are liking this assignment. What grade(s) do you teach? Is it all curriculum, or one or two subjects? What a pioneer you are!