Monday, December 20, 2010
Instead of writing a poem about a mouse, I decided to pick up the phone and call Emirates Airline and see about my flight home, January 1, 2011. I was originally scheduled to be on the 10:40am flight, but who really wants to get up and drive to the airport that early on New Years Day??? I don't want to. The evening flight was full when I booked. BUT tonight, rather than writing a poem about a mouse, I picked up the phone and spent 15 minutes listening to the Emirates elevator music. Much to my wondering ears did I hear, but a seat was to be found on the biggest airplane here!!! How many people can say they flew on this giant airbus? OK, ok, quite a few can as it's a HUGE plane, but have you?!??! I'm now confirmed on the evening flight AND I have a window seat. Not emergency exit row - I made that mistake on the flight home for Christmas and my seat was a good 15 degrees cooler than any other seat on the plane. NOT ideal for a cold girl like me... After securing a spot, I hung up and called Starbucks.
Now I've had my card registered with starbucks for a loooooooong time. And please believe, things were NOT adding up when I looked online and only had 6 stars on my account. SIX??? it takes 30 to get a gold card and tons of benefits, how come I only had 6???? I called the hotline and was immediately connected to my current hero who took one look at my account and bumped me to GOLD. Just like that. In 3-6 weeks my gold card will be arriving and I'll receive all the benefits that a Starbucks Gold Card can offer!!! SWEET! Sometimes it does pay to pick up the phone and dial that free 800 number...
But what's this about a mouse???
Twas the night before this morning, and all through the house, not a creature was stirring, 'til that stupid freakin' mouse.... whuuaaat?
I'm scared of mice. Ever since the Rat's of Nimh, I've been scared of mice, rats, rodents. They might look nice and friendly on the cover, but there are evil, malicious rats in the film. Do NOT show to children or they will be scarred for life. I'm not getting younger and I'm still scared to death. I love my parents house, but it's nearly 200 years old and a warm shelter for mice. At 5am I sprang to my bed 'cause there arose such a clatter - no wait, I dug deeper under the covers because I heard it plotting my demise. Squeak squeak squeak thrash clutter bang. A mouse had found it's way into MY CLOSET! I did NOT sign up for a roommate, I requested a single room, not dorm style. For over 2 hours, I lay awake listening to this little villain plot an uprising. I mean, I couldn't go back to sleep - not sure my fate should I doze off. My mother saved me two hours later. I heard her in the kitchen and ran in to ask for help and to get sympathy. I ran to the bathroom (I'd been holding it for awhile) and when I came out, my mom was chuckling at my fear. She had investigated and the murderous mouse was thrashing about and squealing in fear, stuck in a trap.
The mouse is now gone and I hope I will sleep, though nightmares of war might persist as I fear mice nibbling at my feet.
Moral of the Story: Invest in airmiles, latte's, and night lights.
Friday, December 10, 2010
Obviously the latte that's consumed with blogging is another great reason.
Tuesday, December 7, 2010
Because of some creative booking, I get to fly direct from Dubai to New York on Wednesday night. This morning I spoke with my principal and it's not an issue that I'm missing Thursday at work (so long as all my end of term marks are submitted before I go). phewf. He did remind me that teachers are expected back January 2nd and of course I'll be back... eventually (even I can't predict volcanic ash or a New York Blizzard)... blizzard, I miss DQ Blizzards. . . stupid detox.
You know what I won't miss when I leave this place? I won't miss the perma-wet bathroom floors, seriously, is it necessary to wet the ENTIRE bathroom floor while using the hand held bidet? SERIOUSLY? I'm pretty sure the toilets at the world cup were cleaner than the one at my school. ICK.
Also, what's with the teacher who wears the same shirt 7 days in a row? Does he have 7 different PINK shirts? Or is it the same shirt again and again? This week he's moved on to a peach shirt. Equally as attractive as the last one.
Somehow I ran out of internet time while drinking my green tea here at Starbucks... as I was rambling along here, forgetting my purpose, boring you in the process...
Moral of the Story: Should have stuck with Coffee.
Wednesday, December 1, 2010
Tomorrow is UAE National Day - 39 years as a country - and in anticipation, today was a giant carnival. Not eating sugar or starch made the buffet impossible and I resisted the smell of popcorn and cotton candy. At one unfortunate time I found myself at the top of the giant blow up air slide monitoring the kids (haha, you know I loved every second of it).
Happy National Day UAE!!! And don't forget to bring your guns to school!!
Saturday, November 27, 2010
BUT... I have a lot to be thankful for!
I am thankful this thanksgiving weekend for...
classes that are canceled because the kids are going on a field trip
a roomate who helped our living room morph into a christmas getaway
good friends who celebrated american thanksgiving with E and I... (they were British, Welsh, and Emirati)
a 3 day teaching week, followed by 1 carnival day at work, then a 3 day weekend
friends from home visiting and bringing a care package from my mom
17 days, 15 hours until I board an airplane bound for the states and family
I have a lot to be grateful for.
Moral of the story: even on a latte detox you can find joy and happiness!
Thursday, November 25, 2010
Thursday, November 18, 2010
Thursday, November 4, 2010
I procrastinated getting the tire fixed because I didn't want to go to Sanaiya, the male dominated "fix anything" area of town. You can get a hair cut, buy a kitchen sink, smoke shisha, replace tires, and best of all, drive in circles trying not to hit the random Pakistani who thinks it's a logical idea to race across four lanes of traffic blindfolded. So I was thrilled last night when someone told me that I could get the hole fixed at the Adnoc Petrol Station. I was dubious, but headed off to Adnoc. I was so cocky that I stupidly made a bet with my friend that there was no tire service at Adnoc - whoops, I could have avoided Sanaiya weeks ago and fixed the tire (don't worry, I was driving on a full sized tire, not a donut).
After a quick inspection, the serviceman had some bad news for me - they wouldn't fix the hole because of the location on the tire. Apparently holes on the side will just rip open again, if it's on the flat surface area, the reinforcements will help hold the seal. So instead of a 15 minute, $15 fix - it was going to cost me $100 bucks and take much longer.
Dad doesn't have a cell phone so I rang Jason again and again, hoping he'd answer from out on the golf course, but of course he didn't. I literally sat in the open trunk, elbows resting on my knees, chin on my hands, waiting for divine inspiration. I'm often taken advantage of in such situations, I know less than nothing about cars, tires, and batteries! I glanced forward and realized that an acquaintance of mine was about 20 feet in front of me getting an oil change. "Mohammad," I called out and waved hello. He came over and wanted to know the situation... he laughed at my distress and told me I just had to buy a new tire - easy! He told the handyman (in Arabic) something that sounded like "just do it" and commanded me to "come" as he walked off towards the convenience store.
Not knowing what else to do, I followed him, let him buy me some water, then whinged about how life isn't fair, my tires aren't more than 2 months old, and how I was sure I was being taken advantage of. Mohammad just listened patiently to my whinging, sipping his guava juice and avoiding the layer of dust on my car. He explained to me the benefits of nitrogen in tires and the differences between his nissan patrol and range rover. 30 minutes later it was time to pay up and head out. I followed Mohammad into the little service office and realized he had already settled the bill. Whoa! My two week procrastination had paid off after a perfectly timed arrival at the Adnoc Service Centre!!!
Sunday, October 31, 2010
1) Adam, the smartest grade 2 student (according to his mother), was wearing a sweatband in class today. It was so colorful and pretty - reminded me of nature... I mean, the Jamaican flag and that weird marijuana leaf on the side were very natural. I LOVED it and Laughed. Out. Loud.
2) The male PE teacher who insists on using the female toilets - can't seem to wear his track pants below his belly button. I'm pretty sure it's NOT possible for him to wear them any higher!!!
3) 2 weeks until Eid holidays and 8 weeks until Christmas break!! I love that in November and December combined I have 3 weeks paid holidays... And a 3 day weekend thrown in for fun... and a random weekday off!
Moral of the story: If all else fails, just go home, make a latte, and crawl into bed!
Thursday, October 21, 2010
Life is happening. For better or for worse, it's happening. Things change, people change, cultures reject, tears fall. God is not revealing His plan to me in my timing and things appear to be spiraling out of control.
How do I cope? Do I run or hide? Or do I confront and move on?
In a few hours I'll be boarding a plane to Kuwait.
I remember the first time I ever heard of Kuwait was in 1991 in a bar in New Orleans. Since I was only 9, it's doubtful that it was a bar - but that's how I remember it. The war was all over the news and I remember the tv above the bar. Strange - it seems as though I'm running from the dark and twisted to this memory - for a holiday.
Dark and twisted.
That's how I feel.
Moral of the story: Airports have Starbucks, Latte's soothe.
Tuesday, October 19, 2010
My computer lab is situated smack dab at the end of the grade 4-9 boys hallway. And luckily for me, the grade four 'class' shares a concrete wall with me. You'd think that the concrete would block out the noise, but I'm constantly listening to yelling, banging, screaming, and the occasional whistle. Yup - a whistle. The grade four boys are particularly bad, only responding to shrieks and shoves. I taught the class for 3 weeks and then refused to step food in their classroom again, passing them off to the male IT teacher. I'm not sure what is accomplished by adding to the chaos, but one teacher loves her whistle... I hear it at least 4 times each 40 minute period. And she also loves to screech SHUT UP numerous times each class.
I cringe when I hear her yelling, and I judge her. Everything inside of me hates the way she treats the students. I would like to confront her, but in this culture, it would accomplish nothing. I will have to speak with the principal if I want any hope for change. The students are disrespectful towards their teacher, thus she is disrespectful towards them. Or is it the other way around??? Would they respect a teacher who gave them respect?
Respect. I have tried to go this route making sure that I don't yell over the students - instead I sit waiting for them to settle down. Occasionally this takes 20+ minutes out of my 40 minute lesson. But I like my vocal chords and want to keep them intact until I'm 30. Some of the classes respond to this, others have been taught chaos and do not know how to respond to my more gentle approach.
Today I snapped. I'm not proud of this and I don't know what to do about this. When I lived in Asia I was often angry, things in the culture enraged me and I didn't now how to respond. I couldn't change that women were abused, children peed in bottles in the stores, or that old men yelled at me while I was riding my bike - just because I existed. So I moved away and my attitude changed.
And now I struggle because I don't want to turn back into that angry person while I'm in the UAE. Ali* spent most of today's IT period terrorizing the other students. He turned computers off, pushed students in line, kicked a boy in the stomach, punched me, laughed in my face when I tried to correct him. He's a 6 or 7 year old kid, but boy does he have spunk. And then I snapped. I grabbed him by the arm and literally dragged his crying 'ars' down the hall to the school psychologist. I nearly threw him into her office (where five grade 4 boys were on the floor doing homework as they'd been kicked out of their class).
At this point I was sweating - nearly swearing, and my face was flaming red. I explained everything to the psychologist who calmly asked Ali to come to her desk and calmly asked him about puzzles (until this point he had been trying to pry open the door and run away... another one of his favorite things to do). Everything inside of me was enraged and I wanted her to start yelling at him, until I paused and though, "she's the professional, maybe her tactics are better than mine?" I was humbled and embarrassed that I had become a screecher, an abuser.
I am not that person. Yet I am not equip to handle 30 grade 1 students, 4 of whom are special needs. I'm struggling here people... help.
Side-note: The grade 9 boys are ALWAYS in trouble. Always in the hallway being lectured by other teacher or the school psychologist. However, in my class they're great!! Obviously everyone LOVES computer class and is more apt to listen, but they are just an awesome class for me. I asked them why they were so great for me and horrible for the other teachers to which they replied, "we are good for the teachers that we like"
Moral of the story: Latte's aren't always the answer
*Names have not been changed for anonymity because every class has an Ali or two... or five...
Saturday, October 16, 2010
I'm a failure, I remember being taught how to ride a bike. TWICE.
If I've already failed at bike riding, something EVERYONE knows you're not supposed to forget, is it possible that I've forgotten how to chew gum? Seriously?
If someone were to poke around inside my mouth right now, at this very second, they might think I have a crazy ulcer outbreak or amazonian disease. But the truth is actually much much worse. You see, during my 50 day detox/cleanse, I was not allowed to chew gum. I LOVE chewing gum. LOVE it. Have some sick obsession with orbitz gum and always having it in my purse, pocket, bag. I remember one field day in Peru where I ran the mile and blew bubbles the entire time - one missionary lady came up and commented that she'd never seen someone blowing bubbles on their third lap before! (I must've been about 10 years old...)
Confession time: I stopped chewing gum for 50 days and I forgot how to do it. Now every time - literally, that I put a piece of gum into my mouth, I chomp on my cheek, lip, tongue. Yesterday I was seriously worried that I might need to get a stitch in the tongue to stop the bleeding - or stick an earring through it and say it was done on purpose.
WHO FORGETS HOW TO CHEW GUM??????
The truth is out; the photos are proof. After 50 days I am 25 lbs lighter.
My journey began this past summer in British Columbia when I looked down at the scale and saw 159lbs. I'm not sure how it happened, but somehow my closet became full of brand new clothes... 4 sizes too small for me. It didn't happen overnight, and it certaintly wasn't because I was lazy. Seriously, I ran a 1/2 marathon last February - how come I was nearly 160 lbs??? Obviously something was going wrong inside my body with my metabolism and if I didn't get it under control, I'd be headed to work in sweat pants. I never thought I'd turn into a frumpy 30 year old, but it was looking like I might turn out that way.
Wednesday, October 6, 2010
Well with 85 days until NEW YEAR'S EVE in New York City, I was thinking perhaps I should take advantage of my layover in NY and make a trip out of it. I'm not too keen to spend the night in the city alone, so I thought I'd throw this out there and see if YOU want to come and join me??!?!?!? Anybody out there want to share a latte in the big apple? pound down dinner from a street vendor? freeze are arses off at the park?
This is my invite, come one - come all.
Saturday, October 2, 2010
Wednesday, September 29, 2010
Sunday, September 26, 2010
Laguna Hills, California
Wednesday, September 22, 2010
But then my brilliant roommate Elaina came up with a monthly weekend travel plan including Kuwait, Jordan, and Beirut! So as I hide away in my computer lab with one class left today, I dream of travel, airplanes, and new adventures. And I have 14 weeks paid holidays a year...
Moral of the Story: 40 days without coffee are LONG friggin' days.
Tuesday, September 21, 2010
Then one girl asked me how long I plan to stay in the UAE. I paused for about a millisecond and then said, "probably two more years." Then she asked me how long I have lived in the UAE and I answered "nearly 3 years." When I remember that I've lived here for 3 years it doesn't seem so long. I moved here when I was 26 years old and this year will be turning 29. But when I realized that 3+2=5, that's when the freak out happened. I just verbally committed myself to living 5 years in the MIDDLE EAST?!?!?
I have lived in Canada for 7 years of my life. I have lived in the United States of America for 2 years of my life. I lived in Peru for 15 years of my life. And now I'm saying that I will live in the United Arab Emirates for 5 years? WHAAAT? That was not the plan. Prior to this desert "pit-stop", I spent 5 years traveling, always moving on after 8 to 12 months... I know I have great holidays (spent 10 weeks of 2009 in North America and already have spent 9 weeks of 2010 back in North America, with 2 weeks for Christmas already booked).
BUT FIVE YEARS IN THE MIDDLE EAST???
Moral of the story: Am glad the coffee detox ends in 11 days so I can relax with a latte
Sunday, September 19, 2010
And you know what else? Joben has Soccer Shots. It's an after school programme for lil' tykes teaching them the fundamentals of soccer - skills, sportsmanship, and how to roll on the ground for sympathy!!! Please go to the site and click "like". If he reaches his quota on facebook, it'll start putting up ads for his group on the sidebar!!
I have 623 friends on facebook... maybe you could "like" and share the link??
Drops of blood are in the hall, a student vomiting in my class (though his mother kindly handed him a tissue and said perhaps I should place the garbage can next to his desk... he does this every year until he's accustomed to school), and an hour spent with the Grade 9 Girls when I was scheduled to be with the Grade 8 Girls.
WHOOPS! Is this how it's going to be?
I'm NOT complaining, when expectations are as low as mine, they can't be destroyed. I'm glad that I have internet, I'm glad that I have a quiet computer lab to myself, and I'm glad that there are girls toilets. Now you might think obviously there must be girls toilets at a school - at all public facilities... one would think. But I'm reminded of the Al Ain Club and the first soccer/futbol game I ever attended here. Halftime signaled time to pray, use the toilet, or whip out your chips and box juice (no joke). I thought about using the toilets until my brother Stephen warned me that the guys were using the girls and guys toilets indiscriminately. wHoOpS!!
I'm just happy to be working, happy that I "should" have a paycheck in two weeks, and happy to be living in a country where the sun shines EVERYDAY!
Moral of the story: Always pack tissues, not all toilets come with supplies!
Wednesday, July 28, 2010
Thursday, July 22, 2010
living with a pro blogger has made me feel unaccomplished... a little guilty about my poor blogging skills. And I have so much to write about!
Tuesday, April 13, 2010
Wednesday, March 10, 2010
Sunday, February 21, 2010
Wednesday, February 3, 2010
Saturday, January 30, 2010
Friday, January 29, 2010
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The people of Port-au-Prince need your support.
Sunday, January 24, 2010
Tuesday, January 19, 2010
Tuesday, January 12, 2010
Saturday, January 9, 2010
Friday, January 8, 2010
Thursday, January 7, 2010
March 1st 2007, I left my hostel at the crack of dawn... well, 4:45am to be precise... after hauling my overpacked, overweight baggage a few km to the train station, up and down the stairs (joking, the lift) and all the way to the international departures. Everything was going well at 7am when we took off and were headed to Auckland. My 6+ month stint in Australia was over.
I had just nodded off when was rudely awaken by the captain, announcing that there was a refridgeration problem and we'd be returning to Sydney. everyone remained calm until we landed and noticed a considerably heightened security force waiting for our arrival. As we taxi'd down the tarmac, we were joined by 6 firetrucks and a few other blinking lights. We weren't even alloud to go back to the terminal but were forced to park the plane down by the cargo holding area. I was a bit confused, as I'm not sure how a "refridgeration" problem needed so many firemen... So after the firemen came onboard and deemed the area safe, we were evacuated and shipped off to the terminal via bus.
After hours of being bounced from area to area, ignored by the airline... i finally confirmed a flight at 4pm to Auckland... After I spent nearly 11 hours at the airport, I took off - again - and made it to Auckland this time...
Moral of the Story: if you're getting stuck at an airport, make sure that there's free internet and good coffee.... and that you can use your meal vouchers on any type of food or beverage!! :)
Moral of the Story: Basically, what I'm trying to say, is that though I am planning on flying back to the UAE tomorrow... who, other than God, really knows. Inshallah I'll make it... or at least get a Starbucks!
Wednesday, January 6, 2010
Out of the night that covers me,
William Ernest Henley