About Me

My photo

so i am a camel hunter in the deserts of the uae. 

Monday, December 20, 2010

Customer Service WOWZERS... and a mouse.

A lot of the time I can't be arsed to pick up the phone and make a call.  Sheer laziness leaves me in the dark, though I have an important question.

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

Why Blog?

Inevitably, all bloggers post about why they blog.  There are many good reasons - typically asking people to look inside and think about some deep universal truth.  BUT what if I just blog because twitter has a word limit?  Would anyone judge me?

Obviously the latte that's consumed with blogging is another great reason.

Tuesday, December 7, 2010

I'll be home for Christmas

I love Coldplay's new song, it's exactly how I've felt the past while... haven't been feeling the Christmas spirit. BUT in 8 sleeps, I'm headed to the airport and flying home to spend Christmas with my family.  And I feel a little Christmas creeping in.  Last night I finished up my shopping for my secret santa here in the UAE.  A few of us girls are getting together this week and doing a gift exchange and dinner... obviously, I can't eat the sweets because I'm still detoxing, BUT the girls are going to enjoy dinner and desserts.

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

... this isn't columbine ...

Living and teaching overseas opens up a can of craziness.  I know facebook is trying to force our lives into the truman show, but sometimes I just wish that there was a camera following me around.  When I arrived at school yesterday I was NOT looking forward to the day... but after hearing the music teacher announce over the microphone to all of the students at assembly, "don't forget to wear your traditional clothes tomorrow and to bring your guns to school," I couldn't get rid of the smile on my face.

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

thankfulness

Yesterday was a blah crappy day.  I wasn't feeling thankful and I was struggling to find anything to be thankful for.  I have a new life plan and unfortunately, I can't move on to the new plan for at least 12 months so I was discouraged.
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. 

Thanks.

Moral of the story:  even on a latte detox you can find joy and happiness!

Thursday, November 25, 2010

Delicious Desserts

I didn't want to make an entire Turkeyday feast this year because I'm still detoxing.  No Sugar.  No Starch. So I created a potluck style dinner.  I made the turkey (a roast rather than a large turkey, our oven is smaller this year than last) and gravy.  Elaina made the pumpkin pie and stuffing.  Everyone else was given a dish (along with specific instructions on how to make it) and we had a feast!!!

Because I wasn't stuck in the kitchen making the main course, I experimented yesterday with desserts (Elaina suggested I post this to help my wife resume).  I made chocolate covered pretzels, peanut butter cookies with candy-cane hershey's kisses on top, chocolate covered oreo reindeer cookies, and a four layer 10 kilo cake, covered with M&M's and surrounded by kit-kats...

For dinner, I ate turkey, asparagus, and frozen strawberries. . . next year I'll stuff my face with the rest... a skinnier healthier me!!

 four layers of sugar
 the bottom two layers are separated by a chocolate sauce
 yummy yummy yummy
emma and sarah dig in... with a spatula!

Thursday, November 18, 2010

Arranged Marriages


My brother Josh often mentions how he supports or at least is interested in the concept of arrange marriages.  Since moving to the Middle East, I've witnessed some arrangements thrive, and others horribly fail.  But I believe that there is hope for these marriages - IF the person arranging them truly knows and cares for both the bride and groom.

This is an open invitation to all you meddlers out there.  Though I have a back up plan (someone who has agreed to marry me if I'm 30 and single), I thought I'd give this whole arranging thing a shot.  If you want, I can even provide you with a short list!

Elaina is also onboard with the plan, but we can't rely on each other to find our perfect match considering our geographic limitations, so we're accepting interference!  Since Elaina's smoking hot and I'm funny, this should be a breeze!?


Requirements:
25-45 years old
Loves traveling and must collect airmiles
Must respect and be willing to support our coffee addictions



* Volunteers will also be considered.  We are equal opportunists and do not discriminate against race or color, however we do discriminate against gynecologist, pediatrists, urologists, snake charmers, or professional clowns.

** Parents need not participate.

Thursday, November 4, 2010

thanks

I've been waiting for 2 weeks to get a puncture in my left rear tire fixed.   After taking my Honda racecar in for servicing last week, it took nearly 48 hours for me figure out the spare tire was on my car and my regular rims were in the trunk.  A quick call to the service centre informed me that there was a nail in the tire, they swapped it out for me and 'forgot' to tell me...

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!!!

Thanks!

Sunday, October 31, 2010

Joy

This might be a shocker to you, but I don't particularly LOVE my job.  But we're taught to find joy in every situation, and so for today, these are the three things at my work that made me smile.

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

dark and twisted

I'm dark and twisted.

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

Shut up. Violence in School.

     The traditional Arabic style of teaching is quite different than the modern Western style.  In most classrooms you will find a lot of yelling, lecturing, pushing and shoving.  The students yell, the teachers yell louder.  IT's crazier than a futbol match!!  True, many Arabic teachers have adapted a more cooperative learning style, incorporating group work and peer teaching.  But for students who are used to the violence and belittling, the change is hard to adapt to. 

     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

... just like riding a bike

there are certain things in life you're not supposed to ever forget - for instance, your name, your birthday, your first kiss, how to ride a bike...  wait a second, how to ride a bike? 

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??????

My FIRST Diet EVER... and the last.


I wrote this posting a couple weeks back and thought I should give it some time to re-read it, edit it... excuses excuses.  Truthfully, I was scared if I came clean the world would judge me - and then the world (YOU are the world) would be watching me and tracking my success, some people even rejoicing if I were to become a failure... BUT - it's time to come clean...

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.

Then my mom came on skype and I was stunned.  She looked amazing!! 5 years younger than the last time I saw her, happy, healthy, and thinner!  I asked her what the secret was, and she said she'd tell me when I came to visit, not wanting to talk right about it over skype.  Over the next few days I hassled and harassed her until she introduced me to "My Fat Cure".

I have no will power.  I have no self control.  If I see food, I eat it.  I binge.  I am talented in the kitchen and LOVE to bake, cook, and EAT!  What I'm saying is that if this can work for me, it can work for you.  It's NOT a crash diet, it's a homeopathic method to reset your metabolism and retrain you how to eat properly, broken down into four phases.  I can't explain the medical/scientific side.  But I am proof that it works, proof that ANYONE can be successful and lose weight.  Actually, I didn't lose it, I shed it.  It's NEVER coming back.

There are four phases to the fat cure protocol, and I'm currently in Phase 3. This 3rd phase has two parts where you slowly re-introduce the foods you've been detoxing from (carbs/sugars) and been avoiding and watch to see which ones affect you and which foods you are sensitive to. I've learned a LOT about nutrition through this process...

Stage four is the rest of your life, eat healthy and apply the skills you've learned over the past 3 months! Without gaining the weight back!

BUT the link has a lot more information on it, and there is a website sortof like facebook where everyone shares recipes and can answer any questions and offer support. AFTER you join! This is my fat cure, the first diet I've ever tried, and the last one that I'll ever do!

http://www.myfatcure.com/cmd.php?af=1233811

Moral of the story: I gave up Coffee for 50 days. You know I love my Latte's, so there must be something to the fat cure!!


 

Wednesday, October 6, 2010

New Years in NYC

Life plans are meant to change, right?  Yesterday the plan was for me to spend Christmas in California.  Today I got an email and the plan is for North Carolina.  I'm ok with any plan, so long as I get to see my family, smooch a nephew, and eat at the Waffle House with Seth!!  (he always spends half of his holidays in NC and half in Cali... good times).

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

espresso


after 50 days without coffee, I am finally able to enjoy my espresso machine once again.  this shot was compliments of caribou coffee.

thank you coffee.

Wednesday, September 29, 2010

countdown until COFFEE

If you're my friend, you know that I love coffee.   You know that Starbucks is my happy place and latte's provide comfort for me.  When I go to sleep tonight, I will have completed 48 days without coffee.  The goal is 50 days. My espresso machine misses me.

Sunday, September 26, 2010

Holidays

The 'non' excitement of my job is definitely being made up for by the excitement of my life, of my amazing friends, and of my upcoming travels.  It's time to take advantage of the region of the world I'm lucky enough to live in and see what I can see!!  AND still make it home for Christmas!



Kuwait






Sri Lanka





Laguna Hills, California

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

an entire year of this?

I forgot how tiring kids can be.  Who knew that the Grade 1's would be better behaved than the grade 4 boys...  And today wasn't even a full schedule!!  I had 5 classes, meaning I had 3 breaks.  BUT I was also the duty teacher and had to stand outside before school, after school, and during two of the "recess" periods (40 minutes total).  Of course I was late this morning (wasn't aware I was supposed to be outside and not in my computer lab on the internet) and then I didn't see the kids climbing on the roof.  Am I a failure?  And this is just the second week....

 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

FIVE years???

This week I had a freak out moment.  One of those moments where you just stop, pause, and then seriously FREAK OUT inside of your head.  I had just met the Grade 5 girls class and was having a wonderful chat with them.  They were laughing at my jokes, saying I looked 19 years old, and calling me skinny.  Basically a perfect day. 

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

"like"

Joben is a rockstar. He has a fabulous wife who can cook, massage, clean, and put up with sports 24/7. He has two of the cutest boys around - who also can cook, mass... oh wait, they don't. But Asher sleeps approx 17 hours a day and Judah is on his way to becoming as dormant as his brother. They're super cute boys who LOVE their Aunt Hannah.

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??

Thanks.

blood. sweat. tears.

It's begun... there is no turning back...

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

blueberries

so yesterday we washed and froze about 15 pounds (out of the 20 purchased) blueberries. and since becca is such a great blogger, i'll let you read all about it on her blog.

Thursday, July 22, 2010

Judah Shia-Jack Barkey


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!
At the beginning of this month I decided that I wanted to spend my summer in North America so that I could go to two weddings in Canada, visit my family in NC, and spend time with Jo-Ben and Amanda and be there for the birth of my next nephew. Last night after 30 hours of labour and an emergency C section, I got to meet Judah Shia-Jack Barkey (Jude) who stats were 20.5 inches, 7lbs 6oz. Everyone is sleepy but Amanda and Judah are both doing well.

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

lions or camels

i like random. i like lions. but my mom told me that my dad wants me to be careful. translated: no lions, tigers, wild boars.

i didn't promise anything other than that i'll be careful. and last weekend, instead of lions, i played with a camel. and i drank fresh frothy milk.



Wednesday, March 10, 2010

for rebecca

Bmac's been complaining about her google reader piling up on her... i'm just testing to see if she's on top of things, whether or not she cares about the 'friends' who blog, or just the pro bloggers.

this is a test.

we'll see if Becca passes or fails.

don't forget, it's ROLL UP THE RIM!!

Sunday, February 21, 2010

completed

Sarah and I finished our half marathon in 2:18:10. a respectable time.
now to recover and start training for the next one.
hahaha
yeah right.

Wednesday, February 3, 2010

growd-up

I reckon it's time to admit that I just might actually have turned into an adult. I've been in denial for quite awhile, using the excuse that the teenagers at the cinema have no respect for me when I ask them to keep it down. But really, only adults would complain about noisy teens. Today I picked up the keys to my new apartment. This is the first time since University that I've paid rent. I also researched and purchased car insurance for a year, signed a year long lease for an apartment, wore heels to work, and drank a coffee. I'm closer to 30 than to 25. I have sun damaged skin. I like getting a good nights sleep. Undoubtedly, I have become an adult.

How do I quit?

Saturday, January 30, 2010

if that were a date, it would've been a record!

Eleven hours later, I'm home. And it's just 4:15pm. And I'm ready for bed. and might smell like a horse.

Should I back up 11 1/2 hours as I crawled out of bed? or two days ago... or even four months back?

... Two days ago I got a phone call telling me that it is time for endurance horse racing and learning to ride.

... Four months ago I sent an sms asking if it was riding season... (delayed response).

...11 1/2 hours ago I crawled out of bed, hoping I had not waken up in vain and would be remembered by S. The phone rang 15 minutes later saying that it was time to go. Where was I going? How long would I be there? What would I see? I didn't have an answer to any of these questions. Who really knows what a desert endurance race is without having been? I sure didn't. Nor was I prepared for the 6'C it was this morning. S meet me near my house and we drove towards Abu Dhabi. An hour later, after a petrol and prayer stop, we arrived at the Endurance Village. We were late, the race had begun. So we tore into the desert looking for our racer. Today's race was a 120km race through the desert. 4 laps, 30km each, with a mandatory half hour rest break and vet check between laps. Not only must your horse be fast, but it must also survive.

The course was pretty phenomenal. 30km of desert track, woven between two lanes designed for 4X4's to follow along. Thus I never had to get out of the vehicle, just clutch the sides of the seat as we swerved between the cars in our Escalade, tracking our favourite horses. Police cars patrolled along with us, protecting the horses from us, and us from ourselves. Every 100 metres, guys would jump out of the trucks and race onto the track to give a 1 1/2 bottle of water to the jockeys to keep the horses cool, with maybe a sip for themselves (I'm not sure about the recycling programme... just a thought).

And thus finished the first lap. The horses are pampered and examined by the vets, the ones who are deemed fit to continue are soaked with water and massaged, while the other ones return to their pens in shame. While we took a coffee break and assessed the damage.

Then someone would realize that the 30 minute wait time was nearly finished and we'd jump up, prep the horse, and then race to the vehicle. I'm not sure when the actual race ended, I may or may not have fallen asleep during one or two of the laps. Our horses were deemed lame after 2/3 laps (we had two horses racing). Hopefully they'll be back racing in 3 weeks times, and I'll be there to cheer them on.

Maybe I'm not meant to be a runner... being a jockey must be easier on the knees!!

Friday, January 29, 2010

half marathon

Hey, my friend Sarah and I are running in the RAK half marathon (www.rakmarathon.org) on February 19th, 2010, here in the United Arab Emirates. That's just three weeks away!! This past weekend we finished the Dubai Marathon 10km race in 1:00:22 as a preparation for the half marathon and we're both all psyched for the 21km race. Sarah and I really wanted to raise some money while we ran.

Both of us LOVE running, the second we finish running. SO to encourage us through our run, we decided to ask YOU to be a part of our run by donating your coffee or movie money to the victims of the Haiti earthquakes. You may have donated in other ways, and I really appreciate that, as do the survivors in Haiti. I was privileged to go to Haiti when working for Royal Caribbean. The cruise line owns a private island called Labadee, where many local Haitians work. Over christmas we were able to go into a village on the mainland and give out gifts for the children. Sarah and I weren't sure where to start when we decided to fundraise for Haiti, but found a way through facebook. Facebook has teamed up with many well known charities and created "causes" where you can go to the site and directly donate to the cause. We chose Oxfam America's Haiti relief fund, here's a blurb from Oxfam:

Earthquake hits Haiti – help urgently needed

Your donation goes to fund this project organized by:
Oxfam America, a 501(c)(3) nonprofit

A major earthquake has struck Haiti near the capital of Port-au-Prince causing catastrophic destruction across the city of two million people in the western hemisphere's most impoverished nation.

Oxfam has an emergency team based in the capital responding with public health, water and sanitation services to prevent the spread of waterborne disease. As soon as our assessment teams have a fuller understanding of the emergency needs Haitians across the region face, Oxfam will work urgently to meet them.

The people of Port-au-Prince need your support.


To join our Facebook Cause, please cut and paste the following link into your browser and "join cause". If you're not an active Facebook Member, I'm not sure if it will let you donate on the site, Sarah and I are also collecting donations and will be directly donating to the fund.

Thank you for your support as we run!

Hannah (and Sarah)



http://apps.facebook.com/causes/436875/21479996?m=1a240be5

Sunday, January 24, 2010

a lion, gazelle, teradactle and a flying dunebuggy

Right now I wish I were Joben, who could take an SAT story and turn it into a blockbuster. . . or Jason, who could take a few phrases and make them into a depressing love poem, or Josh, who could weave together make belief and reality and create a masterpiece. because last week was amazing, and there is no way I can articulate to you the meshings of a gazelle, teradactle dinosaur, and potentially a flying dunebuggy?

It started when I rang my friend N and asked him when I could play with his pet lion. Yup, he lives a few villas away from me and has a lion in his compound (he decided one day that he needed a pet lion so he purchased one). I haven't seen it since it was just a few months old, so I thought I'd play with the cat. N wasn't home, he was out in the desert, and since his farm was on my drive home from Dubai, I stopped by for another exciting Emirate evening. Good thing there was a fire, as I was pretty cold. I perched by the fire for about an hour, chatting with the cousins and agreeing to marry one 21 year old (helping him get a Canadian passport) - and then phewsh... there went a ... gazelle? Yup, a pet gazelle went prancing by. Good thing the lion was back in Al Ain or we'd be having gazelle for dinner.

Maybe it would have been nice to have gazelle... I tried to leave around 9:45pm, but was informed that it was almost dinner time and that I 'should' stay (meaning, you are staying). Forty-five minutes later, dinner arrived. I'm sure it was a taradactle. It looked like it had a beak, but there were definitely teeth inside. And if there were wings, they were tiny. In reality, it might have been a baby goat, but as I crouched around the platter of rice and meat, surrounded by 7 Emirate men, all I could think was, "I'm eating an arabic dinosaur... with my hands". Cutlery was optional, and I optioned out. It's much better to eat with the right hand, using the yogurt to help hold the pieces of food together! I think I finally got myself out of there around 11pm and raced home to my warm shower and bed.

So the flying dunebuggy, how does that fit in? Since you asked... the farm that I was at belonged to M. He's half brother to N. And he's into extreme sports, most recently a flying dunebuggy. This is an odd contraption where two people sit (one in front of the other) and have a huge fan-like thing-um-a-bob strapped to the back. Rising above them (Inshallah) is a giant parachute. M had tried to describe this contraption to me around the campfire to no avail and realized the only way I could begin to understand would be if I were to see it for myself. Two days later, as the sun was setting over the gargantous sand dunes, I found myself strapped into the contraption, hoping it would fly. We taxied down the sand, hit a tree stump or two, and were off! M even let me guide the parachute around the desert, though he ensured that we stayed well above the power lines.

What's the moral of the story? Maybe giving up on a latte for a few days can create a wickedly amazing unique adventure...


Tuesday, January 19, 2010

I've been scheming to discover ways to cut down my commute, and finally it's paid off!! Today I got my computer formated with some sortof VPN allowing me to access work's database and emails from a remote location. And that remote location is... drumroll (not my bedroom)... the local office!! I'm still going to make the drive into the far office twice a week for meetings and motivational speeches from the team leaders... but my quality of life is going to improve as I'm not commuting forever through dubai! And my poor lil' racecar is going to appreciate a break.

Tuesday, January 12, 2010

Business Class

I found favour in the eyes of the Emirates Airline gods and was bumped to Business class. Now I'm a spoilt rotten brat. I had a chair that massaged, reclined into a bed, and four course (or was it five) for every meal. They even greeted me with champagne... unfortunately, jetlag still affects the elite travelers. My first night back I slept from 11pm - 5am, waking up 4 times. But lucky for me, I slept from 8:30pm - 6:30am, only waking up twice!!! And it's the weekend!

Saturday, January 9, 2010

Detour

So I it's ironic that after posting about travels, and not knowing if you'll make it to your destination until you actually get there, that I'm sitting in my brothers living room in Laguna Hills. My plane just landed in Dubai... but I'm in California? I got bumped from my flight in Houston, convinced the guy to let me lay over in LA rather than San Francisco, rang up Jo-ben, and now am in the hills for 3 days until Emirates can fly me home! Not a bad deal. Guess I won't be going back to work on Sunday.

Friday, January 8, 2010

goodbye

I don't usually cry at airports. Not often at all. BUT I might have shed a small tear or two saying goodbye today. It's not so easy saying bye to a 2 year old who is going to change so much before you see him again.

Thursday, January 7, 2010

I'm starting to learn the rules of traveling. I know I've been doing it for awhile, but I am finally now just piecing together some important factors. For instance, I am planning on flying to the UAE today. I really intend to start my travels today and arrive there tomorrow. However, I've learnt that you can't really plan or count on a trip until you actually show up at the destination (I'm not promising that it's going to be all you counted on, but at least you've arrived).

For example, sometimes you might arrive at an airport and not be allowed to check in because they say that you're too close to the departure time (90 minutes before the flight: Elaina's Eid holiday 2008). Or, arriving at the airport 15 minutes before take-off (Greece... not sure how we planned that one - delayed takeoff for 2 hours, but without us on the plane). Other times, you can get al the way through check in, 2 security checkpoints, and then AT immigration find out you can't leave the country (UAE). You can also be on a plane, headed for your destination, and then wake up almost back at the original point (New Zealand/Australia)
new zealand has been an adventure thus far...

let's rewind.

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!


Travel Competition

Becca posts all the time, like more than once a day. Which is one of the reasons that I started blogging in the first place. I want to share things with people things all the time, and lots of the time, nobody will listen, or I'm all alone. For instance, everyday, at 7:30am, I pass by a camel racing track. I like watching them for the 14 seconds as I drive by. I always wish someone was experiencing this with me. Other times, I get caught up in the randomness of my life and just wish that others really understood what it's like to be living my life. SO - I became a blogger. For all 4 of you who regularly read this, and all 1 of you who comment (again, thanks Becca).

blahblahblah. continue.

I came back from the UAE this Christmas with two suitcases - 0ne inside of the other, with the intention of leaving one suitcase here. I've accumulated quite a few suitcases in the UAE and needed to transfer one back to the parents attic. Unfortunately, when I started packing tonight, I realized that I'd be filling BOTH of them up? I guess that I could blame the two costco sized boxes of Cheerios, or maybe it's just my poor packing skills. I'm not sure.

I doubt I'll live in the Emirates forever, so I've had to think about what I'm going to do with all this crap, and therefore I've decided that I'll have to have a competition. I won't be able to bring all this stuff back to .... wherever I go next, so I'll need one of you to help me. I reckon it'll be cheaper, or at least more fun, to fly someone over to the UAE to help me transport my stuff. You'd be allowed a hand carry, and I'd take care of the rest of your luggage. Sounds good, eh? A free trip to the middle east?

I dont know what sortof requirements this competition should have, nor am I moving anytime soon. But I just wanted to throw this out there to get you all thinking to yourselves (all four of my readers) - what do you have to contribute to this competition? Aaron is out in the lead, as he's given himself a lot of points for random reasons... he is a biker, going to build a tree house, and was sipping starbucks as we were chatting. Raquel got some points too, as she can't say no to a dare (so long as you dare her 3 times). So here's where everyone stands in the running:

Aaron: 34
Raquel: 14
Mateo: 100 points for cuteness* (can't travel alone, nor can he carry his luggage)
BMac: 12
Damaris: 20

Wednesday, January 6, 2010

Invictus

Invictus

Out of the night that covers me,
Black as the Pit from pole to pole,
I thank whatever gods may be
For my unconquerable soul.

In the fell clutch of circumstance
I have not winced nor cried aloud.
Under the bludgeonings of chance
My head is bloody, but unbowed.

Beyond this place of wrath and tears
Looms but the Horror of the shade,
And yet the menace of the years
Finds, and shall find, me unafraid.

It matters not how strait the gate,
How charged with punishments the scroll.
I am the master of my fate:
I am the captain of my soul.

William Ernest Henley

rugby call center

my dad said to me tonight, "i'm not sure if it's a step forward to go from being a college hooker to a professional arab call girl"



moral of the story: even hookers and call girls love starbucks.