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Showing posts from 2011

The Day the Earth Stood Still

When I saw it, everything else around me disappeared. Involuntarily, I let out a gasp (which, in retrospect was rather loud) and my husband immediately asked what was wrong with me. Without regard for anyone around me, I made a B-line for the aisle and dropped what was in my hands so that I could get the grits. I was SO EXCITED! And, true to my word, I got SIX of them...sigh. I smiled from ear to ear all the way to the house.

Southerners here get happy with the mention of grits while others have no idea what we talk about or why we speak so fondly of them,lol. You can eat them like this , maybe add cheese or spruce them up like this (one of my faves) .

This NYE I have what I need, a nice home, a wonderful hubby, and some yummy breakfast food. What more can a girl ask for?

keep your options open

I chuckle to myself when reading about experiences of others teaching abroad because their complaints and issues are often times the same as ours. It is true that there "is no place like home",lol. Realizing that and moving on is the best the only answer.

And while I plan on being here for quite some time I am keeping in mind possibilities of working elsewhere should the need arise.

This blog was one I came across. He taught there for a year if Im not mistaken. Teaching in Korea may be an option in the future. who knows what will happen! :-)

Happy Anniversary

and,of course, Merry Christmas!

A year ago today I waited patiently for the arrival of my most favorite earthly gift...

My husband :-).

Aside from that, there werent any festivities going on in my/our day. I remember it like it was yesterday. I woke up early to clean the house and to go out shopping for anything I needed before he got there. I went to get a pedi/mani and came home to nap.

After he'd left the US, I was unable to track his location anymore. Smart but annoying. At some point I was thankful I couldnt track it. A mere computer glitch of me no longer being able to see the plane would have sent me to the crazy house wondering where my love was! lol.

My Emirati friend Ahmed so kindly gave me a pretty neclace to wear when we picked him up and volunteered to take me to the airport that evening to get him. I was calm and happy. I had a hint of butterflies in my stomach. It was almost like we were teenagers again. We got there and I gave them his visa and learned that the pl…

Princess. A True Story of Life Behind the Veil. Book review

There are so many things that go on in this book that I wouldnt try to pinpoint one thing over the other. We all like to peek into the world of another. With the culture being so closed off to outsiders, it makes one that much more curious.

This book was very good and, as far as we know, an honest account of life for women...even one with the status of princess.

I finished last night and got the second book of the trilogy. Im sure I will have them all read before I return to work.

You can read the reviews and buy the book here. The kindle version is about 5 bucks. Cant beat that!

Tax mumbo jumbo

Its Greek to most people. While conversing on the matter one day, she said (much to my surprise), "oh,youre filing your taxes? They dont count income less than 92,000 dollars."

My response?: "yes, I know but you still have to file."

My question (internally,of course): Dont people know this?!

Out of curiosity, I am perusing the net today in search of information. (not the ideal way to spend time off I know but its free...minus Etisalat fees,lol).

What happens if you dont pay/file your taxes as an expat

And while its easy enough to file on your own using Turbo tax, doing so while working abroad may prove to be    more than one could bargain for.But dont take my word for it.

And after that awkward, split year of 2 incomes, it could be that you can go back to doing it on your own.

Movie review

I missed Sea Shadow and am disappointed about it. Ill be on the lookout for it and will inquire with some locals as to whether it's on video because Id really like to see it.

In the meantime, I am reading books about life in the Middle East. Not to say that the following post is what its like for women in this country. Our western minds are curious about life in this region and the books Ive been reading have really been eye openers!

In the Land of Invisible Women is a book about a wester,muslim woman's experience in Saudi working in a hospital. Her experience is dated (pre 9/11) but valid nonetheless. She now resides in the same city I went to graduate school :-).

Princess is a book I am now reading about the experiences of a Saudi princess. Ive not much to say as I just started last night but am excited to read. I couldnt put the last book down.Im wondering how Ill respond to this book.

And now for the movie!!

The Stoning of Soraya M can be seen instantly on Amazon if you are…


Well this is ONE way to use it...

But I think Ill pass! lol.

Mine stays empty for the most part. No clothes, toiletries,extra stuff that has no other place,etc. And Ive been thinking of this entry off and on. Probably each time I clean the dust off it.

How many uses does this thing have? (besides the OBVIOUS!)

wash your feet after coming home from the beachwash your unmentionablesclean out the mopwash off the bottom of your muddy shoes (though it rarely rains so idk  how they got muddy)do a quick scrub/pedilet your plant soak up some water. Especially good if youll be out of town!makeshift mop bucket if you dont have onesit your countertop items in it while you clean the counter*sigh*. thats all I can think of
What do you use YOUR bidet for??


If you are waiting to come over here...


It could save a life.

And if a lot of people are aware of how to do it then it could also save yours God forbid you need it.

Its soooooo worth it and more than likely a necessity for someone waiting on an ambulance here. Reminds me of an old rap song, "911 is a joke".

So when people ask what they need in preparation. I will add to the list-"cpr classes.child and adult". Nothing serious has happened that I am aware of BUT I regret the fact that I didnt do it at home and pray that I dont need it or need to administer it. Observations say it is necessary and there is no price to put on a life.Even if you've never met the person.


I feel motivated to work on this video I created of a day in my classroom to show how authentic assessment can be easily done as well as to show how things that LOOK like play are actually learning activities directly related to several learning outcomes that coincide with what ADEC wants for KG. There are several reasons why this video is neccesary and I do believe it could be very helpful. Depending on the outcome of me narrating this video, there could be more to follow.

And while my heart is in the right place, my body and brain is certainly tired. Im going to bed soon and it looks like I wont be seeing Sea Shadow tonite.

Just my luck and it wont be there come Thursday.

weekend baby!

This will be a busy weekend. I am currently making a rum cake for a shindig tonight. My first one and I hope it turns out perfectly!

This weekend will consist of taking a photog class. Its exciting and scary at the same time but Im hopeful that it will help me lots...and I will also be taking another class before the month is over.
And,yes, I will be here for the duration of the Winter break and its all good.


The kids are good. They are a joy to work with and have genuine smiles for me daily. Definite perk working with small children no matter what language they speak! I have a student who has recently started to translate for me.None of my kids speak English but understand it really well. This varies based on class and students. Its funny because I can tell that her translations are pretty much on point. After telling them today that next week is the last before a break where noone will be at school and teachers will be travelling, I go on to start naming places teachers will …

Pet Peeve

Some things you just have to pay for.

I understand that.

What irritates me is that people who are working in a CUSTOMER SERVICE role often give you misinformation when it comes to money and then you end up paying out of pocket. This often results in you thinking one thing and possibly not preparing to have to pay X amount of money on something that wasnt even on your radar.

Perfect example of why you cant spend your entire check each month.

Case in point. Took my car in for service today. It was for a part that was ordered over a month ago.Supposedly covered under warranty. He calls me today after dropping the car off at 8 that it is ready. Ahead of schedule! unbelievable. But, of course, there was a wrinkly in this seemingly beautiful occurance...The part ISNT under warranty, itll be 300 dh AND the car is ready.


What if I didnt have it? What if the part was 2500 dh and wasnt in my budget and, thus,wouldve had to wait another month to get done? None of this crosses anyone'…

A New Month

Maybe its because I spent this week in the house.Yeah I was sick but I felt rather blah also. Today I woke up with a purpose. I put my sleeves in my soon to be portfolio, played around with my template and now have a much more user friendly lesson plan template for the way that I run my groups. I found that I was rewriting lots of unnecessary things and if youre a teacher without an Arabic counterpart, its much easier to assess, to group, to maintain classroom behavior,etc this method may just work for you. No need to have different activities for every day-youre only ONE person. By the same token, rotating often requires much of your energy to make sure the rotations are going smoothly.Forget quality authentic assessments.

I also found that having the kids eat in their groups also helps me to know how didnt clean their table as t hey are all responsible for that table when snack time is over.They can deny it all they want but if their name is on that color/table for the day then it…

no biggie

Ive never been a last minute girl. Groupon will seldomly get my money no matter how enticing the ads look or sound. Today when I saw Etihads advertisement, I almost bit. Who could pass up a 40 dh ticket to Amman round trip to be used by Feb?
The catch (not really a catch)? You had to be one of the first 40 customers at the store. There was bound to be a line,it would be as last minute as they come, and that turns me off to lots of things. And while it is true that a person can miss out on a lot of things by not being available to "out of the blue" events, when it comes to financial events, I dont think its a good habit to get into such a bad habit.
Maybe we will go during spring break.


Call me crazy but many restaurants here are a bit too authentic for my American palette. Yesterday we ate a heavy lunch so for dinner I wanted something light. Being that Im far from being a sushi guru, I chose a place that Id been to before that had pretty good sushi. No such luck as they are closed...probably because Al Wahda hotel has yet to get a liquor license so I dont know how well the other restaurants are doing but they should be having specials to make up for that.

So we go home to regroup and figure out what we were going to do. We decided on Sho Cho and had a nice comfy seat outside and all was well except for the menu as most of their choices are not cooked. Those that were had a base that I didnt really want. Part of me wanted to try something new but the other part wanted something I knew Id enjoy.

So we end up at Meat Co. The LAST place I shouldve been when you take into account my previous meal. I had a burger and fry and ended up taking the bread off halfway throug…

needed items

first grits.

Now cornmeal.

Actually, Ive never seen cornmeal but was a little interested in getting some to make some cornbread. sigh. oh well.

Today I wish I could disappear and reappear home to eat with the family.

I did have a yummy lunch at applebees (cajun shrimp pasta with iced tea).

If someone sees cornmeal, grits, and while Im at it poultry seasoning-LET ME KNOW!


Ive been told of a dance (this dance) but didnt really have a picture in my head as to what it looks like. Never in a million years would I have imagined...
Somehow one of the vids found its way onto my YT page and a different world opened before my eyes. Its not unlike some things Ive seen back home and its here.I know...nothing is original under the sun.But this just blows my mind.Some of them are even burka'd up and doing the dances like nobodies business.

See for yourself!


first time for everything

Today was the first day Ive worn pants to work since being here. I must say I enjoyed it,lol. Everyone said I looked different. I imagine so since I wear a jalabiya every day.
Today and yesterday were good days.
Yesterday the kids worked very well, many of them did very well after I regrouped and we went over patterns again. Many of them are now making them independently . Behavior was good and they werent too loud. The room was a bit messy as it often gets with no Arabic teacher.
Today I got all my assessment info filed into their portfolios (yay me!) and managed to clean the room, rearrange some of the shelves, get rid of some things we didnt need, and even got a few things to make the room flow more nicely when they are working.

Excited for tomorrow as I continue to make the room mine. I keep getting blessed with a good situation,we will see how this year pans out with no Arabic teacher full time this early in the year.I have high hopes for them and already I can tell that nex…

Im just sayin

My friend told me to stop trying to change the world.

Im not. I wouldnt.


I have to stand up for what I believe.Putting it off cant change that. Not trying to making waves but if they happen as I move then so be it.

not enough!

schools are shuffling as there arent enough Arabic teachers. Ive been hit twice as a result and yet another change is coming. I hope that my kids have gotten used to school so that they arent affected too much by the new change. They took losing their beloved teacher a little hard (some of them).

So I have the task of tweeking my plans for the remainder of the week as I will now be teacher alone. An Arabic teacher will come in for Islamic and Arabic studies for 45 mins. It sucks that my teacher has to leave after she spent the last two weeks working very hard to make the room acceptable. I could see the disappointment in her watery eyes. She smiles and says "no problem". I was excited for her as she was listening and learning and I could tell by her responses and how she would think about what I was saying about the teaching/learning process.

Ill be ok, I taught for quite awhile independently as my teacher was pregnant. I just need to think about how I want to work this out…


In the entire school we had 20 something kids-if that. I was ready for work/kids but it was nice to be able to actually get things done in the room. We need teacher work days for everything we need to get done. My arabic teacher said that she went home and thought about what i said last week regarding the overload of stuff on the walls and how it was overstimulating. I was very pleased about that. More work to do tomorrow and I wonder how much of it I will accomplish.


I dont understand. None of us do.We are on the same team. The simplest things that should make sense dont seem to. We arent trying to be difficult. We arent listened to. Our knowledge isnt being respected. Talking to other teachers, its not unusual for them to interchange terms that shouldnt be like centers and small group activities. People wanting LTs to teach a letter a week or day or even a number a week. I wonder how many kgs are ACTUALLY doing things correctly-not overdoing it, not shortchanging,not ignoring r…


disclaimer:what I am about to say is not the feeling or experience of everyone living here. There are many, however, who do share my sentiment. When reading posts (or in between the lines as many would have it), keep in mind that there arent enough words in the world to make you KNOW how it will be here for you. 

I was looking at the paper back home today and the market is crazy. Condos originally to be sold for 400 thousand are now going for 150. And some are even providing 60,000 buyers assistance-100,000 for teachers! Granted, the gentrification previously planned is all but finished until God knows when but homes are ripe for the picking. With that said, the writing is on the wall...or in our wallets I should say. And as I clean my apartment and contemplate what time to go to the gym I realize that at home, this place I live in would be 400,000 easy and not even in my wildest dreams. Was it worth the hassle of getting in? That would be an emphatic yes BUT my husband did most of th…

Food Woes

While there is a world of foods at your fingertips, I must say that I miss the food back home. The ease of finding certain veggies that just arent here. Please tell me why they have the bottom of the turnip but not the greens themselves?!?!?

As I sit here making my/our meal plans for the week, I get frustrated and solicit the help of websites in the hopes of creating a wonderful meal that Ive not had before as my palette tends to get bored but is not brave enough to try something completely different from what I like (unless its spicy).

Its not unusual for this task to take an hour. Ive also given up on the list for better things-like going to get something to eat at a restaurant,lol. Im almost finished with this one and, like most things in my life,I start out strong and then begin to lose the motivation to continue.

Why a list you ask? Well, in our quest for health and longevity, we are striving to eat things throughout the day that will increase our antioxidant levels. With all th…

what a week

This week had some challenges. A crazy night of losing my phone and trying to get a purchased wardrobe delivered to the person who paid me for it without having her address or phone number made for a not so good night. The next day at work didnt help and the silliness I had to endure sent me over the edge. Im sure my coteacher thought I wanted to kill her and her limited English prohibited me from properly explaining to her my belief system as  being the reason i was so irritated. That i was against decorating my room for the sake of decoration, and that it was currently set up FOR the kids and would continue to be set up for them and by them. What was happening before my eyes was too much for me when Id already been stressed from the night before without being able to relax or find resolve until the piece was delivered in one piece.

Went home after work, had a nice relaxing evening with some juice and my husband. Piece got delivered and I resumed my attitude of not taking anything p…

The price is right

Got new glasses for seeing today. Ive been looking for awhile now. The hubby picked them out and though I was almost sold, I felt like I had to go on a more presentable day to see if I really liked them. Today was that day and they do look just funky enough for me to wear. They will also have transition lenses so I no longer have to switch out glasses with shades or look for one after the other is no longer needed.

I wanted something without a name branded on the side but the one I chose has a small one that will most likely be covered by my hair. I wouldve never been able to get this brand of glasses at home for the price I paid. She says they will be ready by the end of next week. We will see about that. Im going to be a good girl and wear my glasses every day!

Will post pic at some point of my high quality peepers.


I spent today making an assessment template for literacy. We got one for math and its cool but we needed one for Lit with all the learning outcomes. If I werent so tired, I would explain an easy, fool proof (if there is such a thing) way to assess the kids authentically and not have to do it a week before ESIS.

While there are many who are used to ECE, many havent had to assess on so many learning outcomes. In addition, there are lots of teachers who have not been in such low grades for a long time-if ever. Maybe Ill just bullet this and be quick about it with (possible) details to follow.
FYI,this is for KG

use the full assessment paper as your guide for what lessons need to be taught.start somewhere.Anywhere. If noone can do it, thats fine,mark N for not yet. I for in progress and P for proficient in your personal notes.assess authentically, even when they are doing an activity for Arabic.You can assess fine motor skills, social skills.Get it out of the way while she is teaching.Use…

love it

I walked around class today with my notebook. My insides were gleaming with joy at what I saw. kids at the makeshift art easel painting letters,kids cutting at the table, kids on the computer, kids playing in housekeeping, kids matching letter cards and naming letters and sounds, kids working well together and all at an even volume. I fought to keep this class. They deserve me,lol. And I deserve them :-). I love their hugs in the morning and I know their smiles are genuine.

Im so happy that they are learning. And though school hasnt been in very long, I so appreciate N for the work she has done with them last year and see the progress that was made last year with just 30 mins per day in the morn of English. This year, they are further ahead than kg2 last year. Add to that the fact that they catch on quickly. I wouldnt dream of holding them back with 1 letter or shape per week. They deserve more than that. They love learning and their parents appreciate it. We are seeing more parents …

dont forget!

I think its so important to keep in mind why you came here.


Save money?

Make more money?

Throwing yourself into ESL?

Learning about a new culture?

Pay off . . .?

Just to have an experience?

Maybe something Ive not listed here.

In thinking about life and goals and desires, I remind myself to keep things in check. As humans we always want more. Always expect more. Add to that, there is much to be expected and wanted here. Add to THAT, some people have no idea how much some people need (while others are extremely pleased with the way things are going).

I just had to take a couple mental days to pull in the reigns. I  have my own little Dave Ramsey in my head and he was saying, "ARE YOU CRAAAAAAAZYYYYYYYYY???"

I got it Dave.We're going to get it together.

As for you? Make it work.If thats an option.

Hair fall out

Everyones hair changes when they are here,even if it doesnt fall out. Because my hair is locked I dont have to worry about that BUT it is dryer and especially since I color it. I condition and also lean towards using natural products like coconut oil, olive oil, rose water to spritz,etc.

Because I drink so much tea here (our goal is to consume as many antioxidants in a day as possible...more on that later), I thought that maybe it would be a good idea to rinse my hair with tea and use the tea bags from drinking.Below are a couple links Ive found.

tea hair rinse on natural hair

these tea bags may have health AND beauty results!

benefits of black tea and other links

quick update

I got some goggles and it was the best decision ever. Absolutely NO water gets into my eyes and I love it. Nevermind that Im the only adult not swimming laps wearing them but I.DONT.CARE!
They are from Speedos and are at Mushrif Mall for 73 dirham and come clear or tinted.
My lap pool is juuuuuuuust deep enough so that I can practice but can tap the bottom and come back up quickly. I worked hard and diligently today on treading and relaxing in the water. The only thing is that Ill have to do it 2 days back to back so that I can deep condition my hair after and retwist my roots. Husband says I must do that,lol.

Still have some things to put away but we are pretty much comfortable in the place. Cant take pics until all is put away.Checking out BHS this week for home items. I would like a center piece for the DR table and we also need a desk but that will come later.

No salsa tonight. My ankle is hurting and I have quite the limp. I think Im going to go to Central Market Souk and ge…

so nice

Im sitting here listening to dancehall and eating leftover taco fries I got last night.Im enjoying the new place and all that entails.If it werent for that wonderful hubby of mine, we would still be at the other place. And it wasnt bad, this is waaaaaaaaaaay better. Once I get everything squared away, Ill be posting before and after pics.No painting going on but Im pleased with the outcome so far. Dining room table comes tomorrow.I hope to finally sell this wardrobe soon, and will be on the hunt for artwork for the walls.

Went to the gym today and had a good workout. Plan on going daily to do cardio and abs with weight training on various days. Its been a long time but Ive got to get it together for obvious, and possibly not so obvious, reasons.








over it already

so my throat is sore.actually, my tonsils are swollen. I went back to work after having two days off for being sick and today I felt fine for most of the day.At some point, though, my tonsil began to swell and now it hurts to swallow. darn strepsils were a total waste of my money and without gas in the new place yet, im without hot tea.I took some pain meds but theyve yet to kick in.



If this months readers have mostly been from Macs, does that mean that cool people are reading me? lol. just kidding.

Anyway, I got a  nice surprise today...there is another closet behind the door of our bedroom!!! In addition, the lights can be turned off by a switch that is on the wall by the bed and its down low so noone can see it! How great is that. No more, "I WAS IN BED FIRST!!YOURE CLOSER!!! I dont care, Ill sleep with the light on, Im not getting up!" hahaha.

Some more unexpected expenses as far as getting some things turned on or off or transferred but its cool. Next task? punch a hole through the key, which happens to be a card. I dont even wanna THINK about losing that thing, which is a very likely thing to happen.

When are we moving? I dont know.It doesnt feel like a rush and we dont have ANYTHING packed,lol.We probably need to do something about that.We have this weekend though and can no doubt do some damage. I hope to get rid of two pieces of furniture befor…

Done deal

so we paid the money and will be getting our KEYS tomorrow!!!!!!!!!!
exciting news.

In other news, my Arabic teacher...The one I was hoping to be able to work with this year.The one who is wonderful with the kids, with classroom management, who takes note on best practices and does what she can to follow the LT and NSM, the one who is so peaceful and has really worked hard with her students in all aspects???


She's sad.
I'm sad.

Just when I thought it was smooth sailing. Oh well. Another interesting year.

And now I'm off to do some work.It seems as though I've appointed myself the resource lady at school,lol. Im super lame.


Awhile back I was THINKING about this new place that was opening but wasnt set on moving. I reluctantly started the process with much help from the hubby (who made this possible because it takes 4-6 hands to complete the job without losing any sleep) and am proud to say that I am holding my contract today!

Next step? get some things signed, get keys,move,and get other papers turned in, KHALAS!

previous post about the towers

off to a great start

well, not my first week with the kids because i went to bed late ONE night and Ive been off all week.Not to mention that my car being serviced is taking an entire week so Im back to carpooling (which I didnt include in my budget and riding in and out of tourist club daily is killing it!!). Yes, I just got the car but after driving it for a week, there were some things I needed them to look at and its under warranty so its all good.

Anyway...the first day (and week) has started off slowly.At least for me because I dont have new aka screaming kids. My class of kids is used to a routine and they listen and my coteacher is very good at teaching the kids. I am ever so happy in the class :-). Today she worked up a sweat changing things in the room and thats a great thing. The collaboration is good but I like it better when more ideas and coming from her in this regard because thats what we are here for,to facilitate the thought. Whereas before they were told how the rooms were to be and no…

What day is it?

Going in to work tomorrow. Building is not ready as they are still remodeling but kids come on Sunday. I packed a suitcase and a bag of items to take in to put on the shelves.I have to think about how Im going to lay out the room and then wonder if its going to stay that way.

What better way to spend my saturday?No doubt I wouldve been in my apt, sitting on the computer, doing nothing anyway.

What can i say?

Maybe, "What do you want me to say?"

People ask questions, have questions, have doubts, have thoughts, sometimes incorrect thoughts, some correct ones,etc.

Point is: I could read peoples comments that contain lots of concerns.People who obviously want answers and i could say nothing.

Or I can tell you what the truth is as things stand, the likelihood of your concern ending up like (a), (b), or (c), and let you form your own conclusion based on that. And in many cases, the words may not sound pleasant and probably isnt what someone wants to hear but its probably a very viable option and we all know things change in life (or it wouldnt be life) but the chances are slim and people like to know their odds (or maybe not??). . .so save the defense because Im not jumping on anyone.

Dont kill the messenger.

I hate when that happens.

And I know its sad but as much as I would like something to be true, I cant make it be, I cant force someones hand...begging wont do.Nor will threateni…
In case anyone wanted to know, I soooooooooooo want the nokia n8!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
In orange or blue

Great day

if you discount the fact that they kept my car for service until next week (I wont even go there!) and that this morning we got off on the wrong bus stop for work in Al Rahba and had to be picked up by a colleague because we (maybe just I) wouldve passed out had we attempted to walk there.Well maybe not but I didnt have water but I definitely wouldnt have wanted to be in a room with anyone til I got myself freshened up and cooled off!

I got the rest of my jalabiyas for work. Its what Im wearing instead of western clothes and instead of abayas for several reasons:
they are made of cottonthey are colorfulthey are fairly light (airy)I can put powder on myself without it showing throughthey are made of cotton so I can wash them at homewashing wont make embellishments come off because theyre sewn onironing them wont run the risk of having a hole burn through them at some random point

 There are some that are considered house wear but they have short sleeves and are usually found in Carrefo…


Hi, my name is Brandy and Im a

Actually, "holic" added to anything has a bad connotation in most if not all situations. Let me just say that I LOOOOOOOOOOOOVE my job. And not my job here or there but the act of teaching itself. So much so that if I were to have a conversation with the lay person, I think Id feel sort of strange if they didnt share my sentiment only because it appears to be out of the norm.Of course, Ive taken no surveys BUT...when's the last time you got a little misty eyed in a good way when you think of the work that you do?

Today was an overall great day and its not even 3pm yet. Some high points and not so high points which I will get to in my next entry but for now, Im about to head to Mussafah, TRY and get this ac fixed and talk to my honey about plans,plans, and more plans.

If you have a honey, go and kiss them right now.spread the love!

Been a minute

And while Im happy to be back in the UAE, yes there are some of us who genuinely feel this way though we are the minority, I havent quite jumped back into blogging but thats because ive not been doing anything. Went to Al Mushrif and some stores are open but not many...I have to take my car in tomorrow for service because the ac isnt cold and my  blinkers arent working. something TOLD me to get out and look at them!!! Im just hoping that it can be done in that day or that they can order something and have me come back. My saving grace is that, when driving, one doesnt necessarily NEED signals. You just get in where you fit in and its all good. And as I type this, whats even more strange is that I JUST noticed something...and does this mean that Im a good driver????


so today we went to check out that place and it should be a go and we will see. He has high hopes and after seeing it again today my hopes are up as well. If the move tak…


Back in the sands

And one of the good things about teaching is that you get two times in the year to evaluate and begin again :-)

Maya Island

September second marks the opening of Maya Island and it's fun,fun,fun!

If Ive conversed with you here, on facebook, or even if you have enjoyed reading and happen to see me there, come by and say hello!

And speaking of which, if you see me anywhere,disregard my seemingly mean face and say hello. I promise Im not as mean as I look!

Hello Abu Dhabi

Feeling a little 2nd home sick and wondering what this school year will bring. Call me crazy but working is what I do and as stressful as it sometimes is I love it.

In preparation

Ive been home for awhile. I cant say that I experienced this grande feeling for being on US soil as others have described. I guess that home is wherever Im comfortably making my living and enjoying life.idk.

Im enjoying family and food. Ive mostly been relaxing and trying not to eat too much tainted food.Ive also been doing a lot of SHOPPING. Ive gotten some things for myself but a LOT of things for class. Things that werent on the list but were needed anyway. My buggy was running over at the dollar tree. I also went on a spree at thrift stores for books as well as discount stores. Today I placed a pretty big order of items from oriental trading and Im excited to get those things.

Im going to have to get another luggage for the things Im taking back EVEN THOUGH I packed lightly and only had things in a couple of our luggage brought over. Luckily, some things I already had here but didnt bring initially. Im going to go through the things again to see what I may not need.

Im enjoying th…


One more day and then we are leaving. I realize there are posts I never got to and Im going to try and catch up on some things before I leave.Ive tried a few times for pic posts as well as videos and idk if its my computer or the net but it hasnt been working for me. As I type this, I have a literacy video of materials Im trying to load so that I can post it. I also have some restaurant reviews with pics to post.

Wish me luck!

In the meantime, enjoy the clouds, the stars,and the rain.You may not see much of them here and sometimes its the little things you miss!

*still moving urls soon.If not familiar,go back an entry*


I honestly have no idea how many people have links to my blog but Im considering changing my URL. I know that I get traffic from others who have linked my page and I really appreciate that! (thanks Mimi

Ive been thinking about it for awhile and to continue to put it off makes no sense.If you have experience with this and/or think its a HORRIBLE idea for a valid reason,please share. I know that I could make a new page and transfer but Id still be tied to this site and I have other pages to tend to.

In the meantime,save the intended url:
If youre a follower TA on FB,it would be posted there as well in the discussions.

Yay or Nay?

So I toyed with the idea of moving. Things like traffic,location,transportation,the irritation of moving,the joy of amenities, etc...all of these played a role in my thought process. The decision was made for me based on a couple things:budget of one of the places teachers were looking at, the fact that if you get a real estate agent, theres a big chance youll have to pay a 5000dh fee to him/her.In addition to that, I just dont want the headache.Im comfortable here,we have space,we are outside of traffic,and parking hasnt been a problem (but that can change quickly).

So today I went to look at this apt building that is HUGE. The good thing, though, is that you dont have to stay on a top floor AAAAAAND, they have balconies so if you had to, you could get out easily IF you are on a lower floor. yes, I think about these things

Sadly, I forgot my camera to take pics/video but may go back if we talk to the guy. There were only a couple things on the list of being here that we would miss and…

Moroccanoil Soap

If youve read this blog for any length of time, Im sure youve gotten your laughs off my Moroccan bath experience. As crazy as that was for me, i believe I will be going to get one again, though at a much better establishment!
Today, I ran across this product

 And while waiting in line for a price, an Arabic lady gave it the once over, looked inside, and nodded her head in approval of what was inside. After seeing it was only 9.50 dhm, I got another. Once I try it, I will certainly give a review! In the meantime, here is information about the product-or products like this:

Moroccan Black Soap and How To Use It

The black soap is part of the traditional hammam ritual. It is the first treatment in oriental public bath. With a texture of butter, this natural vegetable paste based with black olives is rich in vitamin E.
It is obtained from a mixture of oil and crushed olives, soaked in salt and potash. In the nineteenth century it was used as a product of Dermatology and later became a real b…

Taps fingers


These days are going slow.

You would think Im waiting on my ticket. In a way I am...waiting on my date for a ticket home.

Not homesick but have lots of things to do while home. Things to see,smell,touch,taste. My senses may be in over load!!! And with everyone gone, I have a rotation of things to do that isnt very big. Combining two of them, Im making a visual of things ill see and do while home.

I know Im forgetting some things but its cool.

Cant help myself

Teachers are notorious for gleaning what they can from here and there to use what works best for them in the classroom. By the same token, teachers can be notorious for sticking to their old ways or failing to realize that every tactic doesnt work for every child.

I may not speak in the same tone or at the same speed that I would at home. Id probably emphasize different things, definitely have to repeat things ALL year that I wouldnt normally have to even think about at home.

I have to accept a certain level of work, academically, from my kids as they are learning a language and modification may take place throughout the day or some days not at all depending on the topic.

I find myself thinking about next year,which will be here before I know it. Call me crazy but theres not much to do in this apartment. One can only fantasize about where to eat first for so long before it loses its appeal.

I finally read the information (pdfs) I got about SIOP model of teacher prek and kindergarten k…

let the blogging begin!

My husband says that school is over so take a break,lol. Im still thinking about next year as I find a place to put all my things.

After napping today, I took the time to update my resources document for sharing again as others prepare to come over. I hope that it is of some use to you. If you are in KG this is who I made it for BUT these items can be used in higher grades. Actually, its probably preferrable as they want a more child centered way of learning for the kids and these activities would allow one to use a whole-small-whole strategy in the classroom.

But enough of that, enjoy the link as you wait on *that* email!

KG resources

Pack Light?

I cant, in good conscience,tell you not to pack manips and such on your journey here. As with everything in life,there are pros and cons. There are also solutions to problems.

problem: it costs a lot to pay for another luggageit costs more to send for it or to have to buy it over here
con: They could already have these items in your school,then you brought these things for nothingreal con: they dont have it and you didnt bring it :-(solution: (a)you have materials for your class that are enough for you to create workable centers and dont have to divide items up between classes or sign it out. (b)you no longer need these materials and can sell them for a profit
problem: I dont know what Ill be able to wear at schoolsolution: now this is something you actually CAN wait for! long skirts abound here (if youre not too "big"). Be careful of the sizes and try everything on.Itll save you a headache later. Bring a couple things just in case. Remember that you may decide to wear a jalabi…

Eating on a Budget

Many teachers are coming over soon and,understandably,have budget concerns and constraints. It took me awhile to figure out I could buy food from the deli and save money. This is not only great when one doesnt feel like cooking and the food tastes good.

They have food from various cultures but I dont stray too far from what I know. You can get plain rice,chicken fried rice,vegetables (though notably doused in butter),beef meals,chicken meals,and fish meals.

Just to give you an idea of what you could get and the prices. I got a whole chicken (lemon herb) today for 12.99 dirham (3.50 US) . They also have 3 or 4 other types of seasoned chicken

If youre not into meat, you can get potato salad, hummus, cold slaw,or arabic salad for around 5 dirham for 1 serving which is less than 2 dollars.

The deli has pretty good options if you are close to a supermarket. Although I LOVE shwarma, I wouldnt recommend trying to live on it for any extended amount of time though you HAVE to try it when you …


Once you become acclimated to this place and the way things work time lines become different. You learn that doing something at 2pm is COMPLETELY different from doing it at 7 or 8 pm.

Case in point:I couldve gotten my translation at 7 last night but it probably wouldve taken me 45 mins. Today it took about 15 mins. I couldve sat around and relaxed until about 7 and then gone to get my license but I went at 3 and was done in about 15 mins.

In two days,Ive done everything I need to do. All thats left is to pick up 1 piece of paper that SHOULD be ready tomorrow. Dont worry, I wont hold my breath!

If all goes well I could be driving soon,though not too excited about that. What I AM excited about is being able to drive to work.Well,not really but when I get home Ill definitely be happy to drive around and blast my music!

Once things are complete Ill tell you about the process and the "man". With the benefits,I think its better than finding someone on your own.

Working on it

Im sleepy yet still looking for resources. I had all day to do this and now its my bedtime!

Anyway,stumbled across a seemingly good resource and the book is probably fitting for 1st grade as well with some who would say theyd use it for 2nd or even 3rd depending on where you are in the city.

Anyway,after much searching,the following link will allow you to look inside the book to determine whether you want to purchase it. Once I get some rest and can see properly,I may very well do the same.

SIOP model for teaching ELL

...also made a short video of literacy activities to be posted soon.Dont expect anything fancy to include editing,lol.

Isnt the year over?

Im tired. But only because I went to bed late.No kids at school but I cant even do decent searches at school because everything is blocked!

So I sit here, surrounded by paper, scouring the internet with 4 windows open making lists of age appropriate books for themes,making a (new) list of what I want to bring back,looking at resources I currently have,checking and conversing on facebook,and checking out resources online.

Either I am a super multi tasker or my ADD is working in my favor.

Time for ice cream, latin dance class, and a movie (and on a school night nonetheless!).

I feel like Im not blogging as much but I DO have posts to come.Theyre in my head and in my computer (in the form of files/pics/videos).

I Implore You

Its not often  that I say this but Im glad its Thursday.

What Im about to say could rub someone the wrong way but I dont care and that could rub someone the wrong way as well. What I am about to say needs to be said,needs to be considered by those coming over,and by some that are already here.Take it for what you will but remember,at the end of the day,its about what works best for kids.

disclaimer:none of this is to say or imply that I have all the answers or even most of them.just my humble opinion,with a little knowledge backing it up :-) . And this is not aimed at one school over another as all schools need a lot of the same things.

There are some things the schools are trying to move toward,some at a faster pace than others. How fast a school moves toward that place has a lot to do with the teachers in the school as well as others in leadership positions. As a teacher, I feel it is my job to stay informed about BEST PRACTICES and implement them to the best of my ability. That may …


and might I add that I will probably add another page to the blog to consist of lesson activities and ideas to use in class to include pictures of items I make or purchase (cheaply) from surrounding stores.


In classic B fashion,the PD began to come together well this morning in my mind. I knew roughly what I was doing but bits and pieces came to mind as I did this or that.This is what I did and why:

So we have standards for phonemic awareness,talking/listening,writing,reading and these are the same for us teaching in English and the Arabic teachers teaching Arabic. The need? for the children to do center activities to learn these things,less paper/pencil activities,less sitting,more participation,more activities that allow for authentic assessment.

Possible solution? A PD that is translated let me back up...that is INTERESTING to someone who speaks English SL or possibly not at all. So :interesting,easy to duplicate,relevant to what you need to be doing in class,fun for the kids,etc.

My teacher translated for me after each segment.The teachers seemed interested and seemed as if they just might duplicate some of these activities to teach Arabic to the kids.

I enjoyed it,it was fun.Could …

beginning of the end

The Arabic teachers make some of the best food. We enjoy eating on a daily basis. However, I dont think they like our food as much as we like theirs. Its ok,scrambled eggs for breakfast are wonderful but Id take this spicy Arabic dish any day over something I can have any time I feel like it.

Still packing my room. Man, I have a lot of things. Also got some things from a teacher who is going to another country. So grateful for those things. A bit sad to see her go but its an opportunity for her family so thats always good. Also another teacher is leaving. She and I had a lot of the same ideas about approaches to learning and bounced ideas off one another. Shes moving up in the ranks so thats a good thing for her. I know shell do well.

WHO ARE WE GOING TO HAVE NEXT YEAR? idk but not going to worry my little head over it now.
Currently prepping for my PD on wednesday. Have to collaborate with my AT for translation else all this will be for a lost cause.

I hope we have some good food tom…



Theyre supposed to be coming back until the 23rd but now that Im home I feel this may be the beginning of the end.

Saw many parents,got some (surprise) kisses and a parent told me she loved me.Neither of these people have I met before (knowingly).

...and I cried! All of a sudden it hit me-with all these parents in the room.And it felt like the end.

I hope they know how much I enjoyed teaching their kids and how I love them so :-)

pack light?

You can get a lot of things here, but sometimes you just want what you want.

Like some sundresses I got rid of because they were strapless.Everyone here sells them but not like mine...I want THOSE sundresses.I can have them made but havent gone through the portable hood attachment to dry my hair via a handheld blow dryer. Though not used all the time,it came in handy and as it weighed nothing much I should have brought it.more shoes.I wear a size 9 and they consider it a big size.Even when you DO find your size, it isnt always comfortable. Its best to bring shoes from home.ESPECIALLY if you are a shoe person.If you have favorite outfits-unless they are streetwalker worthy-I say bring them.You can wear a shawl,scarve,or jacket to cover  your arms.When not at work its ok to show them (or your legs),though if you become heavily acclimated,you may not feel right doing so.I wouldnt pack jeans unless you have a body type thats difficult to fit. With that said,I am about a size 11/1…

too funny

Though what Im doing right now isnt fun or funny, assessing a particular student is.

standard: Can repeat particular sounds

Not only can he repeat sounds, he repeats my sentences.

"Come to the caaaaaarpeeeeet!"

"Go to the gym boy"

"Do you want yellow?"

"Dont copy me"

Its too cute and funny.Sometimes I have to not smile because i really am serious when I say some things but his enunciation is good,lol.

He always wants me to come to the gym with him and wants to sit by me. In the beginning, i thought he couldnt care less about me being his teacher...until that day he gave me one of his cupcakes from the snack lady. (aaaaaaaawe,sweet I know,lol).

perspective II

I saw this and it seemed very fitting. I sometimes wonder what they think of people who are not covered. You have to remember that, just like at home (wherever that is for you), everyone has different opinions. You could see someone in full garb shopping along someone with the skinniest jeans and cutest LITTLE shirt you ever saw and all seems cool. People dont stop and stare in shock if someone passes with their arms and legs out...though Ive heard they may put you out of some of the malls! Often times I find myself looking more than the locals seem to be.

It comes down to a matter of personal comfort. . .and what youd be comfortable bumping into your coworkers or principal in :-P. Ive gotten to the point where I feel funny if my knees are showing,but not if Im with my husband,lol.

Its almost over?

Im getting ready for a dinner date but wanted to quickly update about my class. Im so pleased with the class and the kids progress. Before one can teach anything,management has to be in order and my kids definitely tested me and were extremely defiant in the beginning. Its gotten so good that when I dont have a coteacher, Im very reluctant to split my class.Im sure others think Im crazy for not doing this but as I skim the room, theres not one who isnt off task and you can tell their little brains are working and they are enjoying the learning experiences and activities in the class.  Of course, they do little things as its kg but now I can give a look or say their name and theyre holding up their hands and saying sorry (asaf) or that they wont do it anymore (khalas).

My most challengint student has become one of the best behaved and Im so proud of him!!! I cant wait to have this translated to his mom at graduation!

Highlights of the week:

kids discussing whether it was 8 or 12 oclock …

quick pic post

view from the hotel in the marina. super suite! :-P
the view from the yacht as we set off
same balcony view,different perspective
the only pic I got of myself from my camera. Ive got to do better!

Ive got more pics but the uploader is acting super slow and its past my bedtime!