27 September 2015

The Case for a Smaller Place

Its been forever, I know. It's a wonder I've updated for this long. Life gets monotonous and there is nothing to post aside from a few complaints or surprises.  The (not so) recent move was, at first, a minor irritant and a reason to spend money I would have preferred to keep in my pocket. It turned out to fulfill my secret wishes though and I am so happy that we were able to had to move!

Basically, we lost a room. Well, we also lost half of what was already a small kitchen but it is open so we have a bar. We were also losing storage space and I spent months mentally preparing for this  change. Funny because I toyed with, even romanticizing, the idea of having a smaller space when I was convinced we were going to move to South Korea or Shanghai. In real life, I was walking from room to room, trying to decide what wasn't going to make the cut and it was driving me CRAZY!

Some things were an easy choice. Other things, not so much. It was a bit cathartic at times and now that we are all unpacked we can enjoy the benefits of everything having a place-or not being a part of our apartment. We have a balcony and that is super exciting! I even called the guy to come put up the shelves and curtains. In the last apartment I think it was well over a year before I got around to getting the curtains installed and shelves weren't a necessity. We've been careful about picking up after ourselves and putting things back where they belong. And maybe that is something some people never have a problem with but we aren't those people and I shall not be ashamed,lol.

So while I have no office, the bedroom is large enough to fit a full sized desk and still have room, we have no storage closet but have a wash room with shelves for our towels. We have no dining room table but instead chose to put in a rug where one would go, place a book shelf behind the couch, and add a side table to hold everything that won't go into the kitchen because our cabinet (and counter) space was cut in half, and use bar stools instead. Other than that, the layout is very similar to the last place only cozier and in a great way! I also got the bed I wanted to begin with along with a nice new mattress!

Maybe Ill add pictures soon because words cant do our "back yard" justice!

15 May 2015

You Likey?

I finished a small group activity with some children, it was really informal. After calling some children I really wanted to work with, I began to call others and some just showed up to the party. Unless the group is just too large you can join in as you like when it's something like this. Shaykha sat down and I was sure she would breeze through, become bored, and move along to another center. It was counting out manips on a 20 grid paper because they'd been having problems adding without recounting what they already had in front of them.

To my surprise, most of the children who played asked to play again and Shaykha made sure to let me know just how she felt about it when the game was over. "why-ed haloo, wheyyyyyy-ed haloo." Basically, it was very nice. I laughed and told her I was glad that she liked it and we could play it again another day. Now that I think about it, its funny how something so simple can catch their attention. Other times, I can laminate and cut my heart out on something that they couldn't care less about. Those little boogers,lol. 

summer time sadness

Looking back home at all the summer concerts...only summer starts there before we actually get off work. You catch yourself thinking, "man, yet another reason to go home." Which is true, but then you realize that if you were indeed home, you probably wouldn't have the money to go to the concert to begin with.

Ah, such is life.

25 April 2015


Since being here, Ive been able to slide into the old adage of letting things slide off my back. I don't get too caught up in the (crazy) happenings going on around me. At least I try not to. Still, there are some things that still irritate the living _______ out of me! Thankfully, the list isn't too long or Im not sure how Id cope. Much like others are coping here I suppose.

1. People who bounce from lane to lane as if they were taught that that is the way you are supposed to drive.

2. People who change lanes in SLOW MOTION. Are you getting over or not??!!

3. People who aren't changing lanes. They're just straddling the lane even if someone is IN that lane next to them!

4. "Pharmacists" who don't know the names of medications nor do they know what interacts with what. It is ridiculous for me to have to adamantly tell you that I don't want a medication because they paper inside says X,Y,Z and then you say its not problem. Where did you go to school?!?!?

5. The lack of maintenance knowledge for pretty much everything.I could let it go if it weren't such a health hazard. (If you don't have renters insurance-GET IT!)

There! I can count them on one hand! Im proud of myself. There are many people who can't say the same,lol. 5 years and counting! Inshallah, two more before heading home. 

08 February 2015

1st Quarter Assessment 2015

Seems like my last several posts have been about getting the hell outa dodge. I seem to go back and forth but continue to come to the same conclusion which is to stick to my original goals. Ive stayed the course thus far and to veer from it now would mean that some things wouldn't come to fruition and since I won't be making this my permanent home, it doesn't make sense to do that.

I even have a teeny tiny itch of missing America. Though I know Im not ready for all that comes with that right now. Im sure a month of being with family will cure that really quickly. I just have to wait about five months for that to happen. In the meantime Ill just start planning for summer vacation. And if I have my way, its going to be AWESOME! Like, really awesome. This is the year to reward myself for staying said course and I am planning to see a couple really cool places in addition to going home. It is a bit overwhelming so I won't say anything beyond that just yet. Prices and booking and making me feel anxious just thinking about it. Im so type A when it comes to those things.

In school news, this is the first year that I have readers.Well,not quite. One year I had a group who were on the cusp. This year, I have enough time to really guide this process along. Its a bit scary for me as I feel like I need to know more, to do more. I also don't always feel like what Im doing is developmentally appropriate but it is what I am supposed to do. That is an entirely different subject that I won't delve into at this time.

The first quarter of the year will soon draw to a close and so far, so good!

11 January 2015

What to Do?

Its that time of year where you think about your goals.Where it (usually) goes from there is anyone's guess. Except we make goals regularly and work to see them through. And that got me to thinking about something that I keep touching on in my posts about changing jobs. Its such a catch 22 because the two major things I want don't really support each other.
(1) I want to go home in a timely manner AND I want to meet more of our financial goals before leaving. (2) I want to be in an environment more conducive to using the skills I learned and was able to use at home. Initially, I was sure I should just make the move, take the pay cut and just deal with whatever comes. But...isn't there always a 'but'? I got to thinking (think long think wrong) that this is but a blip in time and the things I can accomplish financially I can't accomplish in even half the time at home and there is no guarantee I will be in a better situation if I move.
Having looked at school around the world-literally-it has come to my attention that they have the same gripes that we do. Granted, I understand that most people who rate their schools are extremely happy or dissatisfied with their school situations. Even so, I realize that having an International school doesn't solve all ones problems. And in keeping my eyes on the prize I have to remember that the end goal is home. Whats the fastest route to getting there?
Before today, I thought about the fact that I do like my school, for the most part, and I am a part of something...we are making a difference. But...there it is again...I messaged my teacher today to see if she was coming back-I have a feeling she isn't-and she is undecided. I filled her in on what's happening without her and she does miss us but her baby comes first and that is understandable. But whyyyyyyyyy? It will be a long here dealing with a stand in who isn't an educator or young children.It has already been a long couple of weeks.
Five years strong and I've not had to deal with the craziness that can come with all this but I fear that may come to an end if she doesn't return.Funny because I'm now thinking of how I thought this would be a long year starting out because it was the first year I had to share a class full time with another teacher. It's only the second term, though, and I refuse to drive myself crazy with what might be. I've learned enough about life that I know better.

Whatever happens today is preparing my for my tomorrow. Im sticking to that mantra and will see what lies ahead.

14 December 2014


There have been several times where I've thought, "I need to go write..." but I never got around to it. So in the spirit of keeping this place updated I figured I should come and write before the year ends. Maybe Ill just recap the highlights of the semester.

  • This is my first time having a class for a second year in a row. Its quite different from getting kg2s who haven't been to kg1. Every year I felt bad because my kids weren't using English but it was because they  hadn't heard it long enough. They did, however, understand English and I was usually satisfied with that. They are using a good amount of English,especially to tell on each other.They also translate for me when they can.
  • I have a few who are ready to start reading cvc words, that is also a first.
  • We continue to get more materials for the classroom. Though not much for Arabic. Its unfortunate and if someone were to get into production in that area they would make a fortune!
  • My teacher is preggers and, therefore, out of school for the next two months. At least. I can't put into words how much I miss her.She's a good Arabic teacher. I had to take a mental step back because I was irritated about my kids not having someone to fill her shoes but it is out of my hands so no need working myself up over it.
  • I've started looking into International schools and the funny sad thing is that a LOT of the schools suffer from the same issues. And not just in this country. Granted, people who are jaded are much more apt to write a review. Even so, a good school can quickly turn bad when there is a change in administration. I try to keep an open mind about reviews and also hopeful because I still have that burning/yearning for an International school,lol.
  • I also think about Asia but if I'm honest, I do think I would kick myself for leaving this country. I want to go but the cons make me hesitant. Not sure why the place is still bouncing around in my head. I try to tell myself the smog won't be so bad, that arctic winter winds don't last forever, that I can live off street food and no stove to cook familiar comfort food (possibly), the lack of English being spoken, understood,written in public places, and the fact that there won't be any in either of our sizes. Oh, and I have to add makeup.Thats important! I think that visit got me. Though I wouldn't want to move to Thailand just bc I had a nice time there. IDK. . .
  • My HOF is leaving in one year. So even if I wanted to stay at my school indefinitely, Id be extremely leery of who will come in after her. Those are some big shoes to fill as she is great!
  • Im trying to keep momentum, and I'm not even one to look forward to breaks but I hope this one gives me the restart I need. There is a glass ceiling that I feel is preventing me from doing things I could do if only the kids spoke more English...or if I spoke more Arabic.
  • Im preparing my brain for the possibility of moving for two reasons. 1 is my landlord is selling to another investor who could raise the rent if they choose.The other is that if I get a new job, we will most likely have to leave. Im looking around wondering what we I will have to give up to make room for a smaller place. I keep telling myself I can live the Ikea life,lol. Maybe we'll  find out.

13 November 2014

Term 1 Happenings

I know what must be done and I'm going to put my best foot forward and see what comes of it. I also decided today as I listened to Brazilian instrumentals while on the way to work that I'm going to try one.last.time to contact someone at my old school for a referral using the referral he gave me when I thought I'd go to grad school (again) to jog his memory. *fingers crossed*.

Aside from that, the year continues to go well. Even so, I mustn't let that blind me from the fact that this unhealthy relationship must come to an end as I've completed the goal I initially came with (five years) and it is time to move on. Truth be told, I would have no problem staying if it weren't for so many unforeseen changes that could adversely affect us. It seems that black and white holds no weight and too many "official" things aren't. As they say in the south, "I need to get while the gettin is good!"

The question remains though, get where? Here? Another Emirate?Another country? So many variables to consider while considering that comfort feels good but may also be a hinderance to us. I find myself looking around our house wondering about what I can do without. The same could be said for a new school. I can love a school that doesn't use writing workshop...but I'd LOOOOOVE a school that did,lol. In all honesty, most Title I schools at home have reading programs so I wouldn't be using writing workshop anyway. Who knows, I can't see into the future. I am, however, trying to alter it a little bit by getting out there and testing the waters. I still wish China weren't so polluted! I would've applied to Chinese schools last year. South Korea beckons something in me but something tells me we might wondering what in the world we got into.

Me thinks I'll just apply to good schools and see what happens. In the meantime, Ill continue to enjoy my little ones who, by the way, are starting to put cvc words together. Well a couple of them. It was so funny today in small group when one student noticed that another girl was sounding out the words before her. She asked me if the other student was good (while holding up a thumbs up) and I said yes to which she replied, "noo!". I smiled and laughed, "It's ok, you're good too".  Talking to a bilingual teacher the other day reiterated to me one of the in-house reasons I need to go. While exploring ice outside they began to get frustrated because the ice was melting. A couple students became irritated and angry and one wanted to know where her ice went! Another student talked about how his ice went into the ground. These are the things I miss most. I want to ask questions and hear them talk about their observations.


Last year I was all set and then I decided to stay. This year will not be a repeat, Inshallah.

05 November 2014

Small gains??

Wow, I was averaging about 4 posts per month for years...YEARS! I realized recently that I haven't written since August and its not because I have nothing to write about. When things happen I have the thought to but it just never came to fruition.

But now Im here so lets hope this is a sign of things to come. I think I'll just bullet the items that are most pertinent recently...

  • after a mini lesson about the writing process the children are starting to catch on to furthering their writing. A couple of them are labeling their work. Albeit in Arabic but that is to be expected. The point is that they used the lesson and transferred the knowledge!
  • I have a little translator. She explains things to the kids after me sometimes and If I ask her what something is she will tell me or act it out,lol. Sometimes she just pokes out her bottom lip and shrugs which means she doesn't have the words to tell me.It's too funny.
  • Kids who were in my low group last year have made major gains and are easily doing things that got me blank stares last year. 
  • While checking their home notebooks I noticed some English words and this is unusual. I was surprised to see that a parent wrote me a note thanking me for my work with her 'baby' and how he was enjoying the new English books we have sent home with them.
  • Another parent told my coteacher about how she was noticing his gains at home. He is no longer shy around other people to include his family, he notices letters when they are out and about and attaches them to people's names that he knows and he is about to identify some letters when looking at print at home. 

Which reminds me. I was feeling a bit unsure about things a month or so ago. I'm sure its the positive changes I've been privy to along with the ease of not moving.Add in there the fact that each year has been a good one for me and it's a recipe for complacency. I need to shake it off and stick to my guns. Just recently the embassy sent out a message that made me question my next move further. Though I can't stay in the house forever or avoid certain places entirely, it is something to think about moving forward.

At this point, we are well into the last quarter and I need not let it pass me by without completing some very important goals. Once of which is my breakup with Sallie Mae. When it's official I'm celebrating like everyone thinks you do when you're 21.Or maybe they really do and I just missed that boat,lol. In the meantime, I need to get my ducks in a row and make those babies walk.

23 August 2014

Summer is Over

Just as fast as it began for some. Especially for those who were counting on another week to enjoy family, friends, or just sitting around enjoying (insert destination here). Unfortunately, things you would think are set in stone aren't here and either you learn to deal with it or you don't. Such is the conundrum for many people here.

My intention was to write about my time at home while I was at home. I figured it would be interesting, at least to myself, to note the differences (if any) about my feelings after being away for two years. There were many feelings but I was mainly away from the internet so I didn't bother. And with that said, Ill just make a quick list to which many things will most likely be left off.

1.Being unplugged-it felt nice to be 'out of the matrix'. I enjoyed family and tried to soak up every moment of it.

2. Being uber aware of my surroundings-I found myself more aware of the possible intentions of people.In all honesty, I was paranoid that someone was going to try and harm me or take my belongings. I was admonished in Walmart for walking a few feet from my bag to get something off the shelf and then told multiple stories about thefts and crimes to which I feared succumbing to if I weren't careful. It didn't help that I kept the tv on ID which shows non stop crime television.On the flip side, you can leave your purse and your baby and head to another aisle in the Dabs if you so choose.

quick list huh?

Everything else was the normal stuff you do while home. Eat foods you've missed, go places to see and do things you can't while you are away, buy things you 'need' to take back with you,enjoying nature. The usual. Something else stood out to me that I should probably note for future reference: it was like I slid back into my space and time was normal. It didn't creep or speed by. I wasn't dreading coming back or counting the time I still had at home. I just lived in the moment and that told me that I am where I need to be at this time in my life.

The question is now, "will I feel that way in a week or so?"

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