Saturday, August 31, 2013

6 Hours In Paris


     As I said in the last post, I arrived in Paris at around 11 am and my flight to Abu Dhabi was leaving at 10 pm. So I had a few hours in Paris.  I have never been to Paris before and the Eiffel Tower as always been a dream of mine. I had to wait in line to clear customs and that took about an hour. The first thing I did was exchange some money to euros. I then emptied my huge purse into my carry on and checked it into this locker for 6 hours for 6 euros.
     I then asked how to get to the Eiffel Tower, I was given directions and a map. I bought two, one way tickets and took the train to the Eiffel Tower. I had to change trains, but after an hour I got there.  My friend had suggested that I walk up because it would be faster, she was right.  The line was much shorter.  I walked about half way up because the line to the top was too long and I was really on a time crunch.  The view was breathtaking.


     I was sweating like a mofo, but it was so beautiful.  I never want to see another set of stairs for awhile.   When I got down, I made my way across the street to the one hour boat tour.  I had to wait about 20 minutes , in the mean time bought a chicken and cheese crepe ( delicious).  The tour was amazing, cruising on the Seine so relaxing.  I saw the Notre Dame cathedral, the Sorbonne and even the place that marks the location of Princess Diana's death.  I was so tired that I kept nodding off and missed a bit of the tour because I haven't slept in over 24 hours. 


I headed back to the airport , collected my luggage and ate the best chocolate macaroon that I have ever had in my life (and a chocolate croissant, how are Parisians not a million pounds???).

I had about 2 hours to kill before boarding so I bought an hour and a half of wifi ( the Paris airport only gives 15 minutes of free wifi, really Paris!!!???).  I also called my mom from my iPad app and told her I was ok and got to see the Eiffel Tower. I then boarded the plane did I mention it is Etihad Airlines?

  I ended up being in the the section above economy (not first, but a super nice in between). Tremendous leg room, personal screen.  I swear this trip has been amazing so far, I have really been blessed. 

I cannot believe in less than an hour I will be landing in Abu Dhabi.



Friday, August 30, 2013

The Journey Begins!

     On Wednesday August 29th, I headed to the Montreal airport ready to start my adventure.  The day had finally arrived, I was moving to Abu Dhabi to teach for two years.  I was supposed to fly American Airlines from Montreal to JFK, then I was supposed To head to Abu Dhabi via Etihad Air.  The flight from JFK was supposed to be 13 hours.  I headed to the airport with my three 50ish pound bags ( two were included and I was going to pay 150$ for the third), my 8 kg (supposed to be 7) carry on and my handbag (note it weighed about 20 pounds, shhhhh).
                 


When I get to the counter, the American Airlines guy informs me the flight is late and I will not make my JFK flight (note-- it was later cancelled)  I suggest going through Toronto. He calls Air Canada to put me on the next flight to Toronto, there is no room.  He then suggests Air France, they have room.  I am now travelling Montreal to Paris to Abu Dhabi.  Please note that I have a 11 hour lay over in Paris.
       We head to the Air France gate to find out that I am only allowed ONE (WTF!!????) suitcase for free, so I have to pay for the other two, 275$ later my bags are on their way to Abu Dhabi and I am on my way to Paris.
     First thing I do is email the travel agent in Abu Dhabi and alert them of the change, I am hoping SOMEONE will be at the airport Friday morning at 7am to pick me up.  I also sent out a Facebook message asking my friends if I can see the Eiffel Tower in the time that I have in Paris.  I have NEVER been to Paris and have always wanted to go to the Eiffel tower, my dream is going to come true, I am beyond ecstatic, I fell like I have won the lottery.
     This is the plan; change money and get about 100 euros. Empty purse as much as possible and put my carry on in a locker.  Take the metro as close as possible to the Eiffel Tower.  Walk up, yes I said walk up. My friend said the line is shorter and it should take me an hour.  When I am done, I would like to go on an hour boat tour, eat a croissant and a crepe and then head back to the airport, get my bag and check in.  Sounds easy right??????  I really hope this plan works...

     I am writing this post on the plan, so far the flight is ok. The meal was great; wine,port, bread, cheese, red wine chicken with noodles, a small dessert and water.  We have individual tv s, I watched a bit if The Wiz ( I just wanted to see Michael Jackson 'Ease On Down The Road').  I have listened to a few CDs: Amy Winehouse, Justin Timberlake,Rihanna, Beyonce and now Bruno Mars.  We are landing in about an hour and a half. 


 Oh the are just about the serve breakfast.

You will hear from me soon!

Xoxo

Wednesday, August 28, 2013

Quickie


  • My flight to JFK was cancelled.
  • I am now on a flight from Mintreal to Paris to Abu Dhabi
  • I have a 10 hour layover in Paris (I have never been there before)
  • I am going to see the Eiffel Tower, do a boat ride, eat a crepe and a croissant and head back to the airport!
Until later!

Tuesday, August 27, 2013

Sunday, August 25, 2013

No News Is Not Always Good News

     I couldn't take it anymore, I called my travel agent in Abu Dhabi this morning to ask about my visa status and see if talking to him in person (as opposed to email) would shed any light on my situation.  Aftab was really nice and he really tried his best.  I asked if there was any possibility of me still travelling on Tuesday.  He said that if he gets the visa tomorrow and it is ok, there is still a chance I could travel on Tuesday.  I then asked If I do not get the visa tomorrow, will I travel later in the week or do I automatically get put in group 3 which leaves in mid-September. He didn't really answer that question, he just repeated that he will let me know as soon as he knows anything. 

Sigh.

   Tomorrow is moving day. I am moving the rest of my stuff back to my parents house.I feel so nervous about everything, but I am really trying to take each day hour at a time.

Thank you for all your kind words and support it is much appreciated.

P.s. Teachers in Abu Dhabi got their placements today! Shout out to my girl Noragolden who placed in Abu Dhabi city, woot woot! 


Saturday, August 24, 2013

Coming To Terms

     I have come to terms with the fact that I will probably be in group 3 due to the typo on my visa. I will probably only be in Abu Fhabi in mid September.  I am ok with that.  I will not be living on the street, I will not starve and whenever I get to Abu Dhabi I will be taken care of and embrace whatever I am given.  


Friday, August 23, 2013

A Small Problem

Life would be too easy if everything went well, as I said in an earlier post I received my itinerary today.  My work visa was also issued.  I noticed a small typo in my visa; one of the letter's of my passport is printed in lower case, when it should be an upper case letter. I have notified the travel agent and all I can do is pray that it does not delay my travels.

I am sick to my stomach with fear that I am not going to be able to leave on Tuesday because of this.

So scared.

August 27th

This is my departure date. I will be flying Air Canada from Montreal to Toronto and the Air Etihad from Toronto to Abu Dhabi.  Ahhhhhhhhhhh! I cannot believe the day is finally here.  There are still a few things left to do:


  • Install my VPN
  • Get hair braided
  • Take passport pics
  • Go to the post office to forward mail to parents
  • Dollar store for Canadian trinkets (key chains?) for work staff
  • Move everything out of the apartment
Wish me luck! 

Exciting News

     They posted the list of the teachers that are going to leave next week AND I AM ON THE LIST!!!!!!!!! AHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHH!  Ish just got real!

Thursday, August 22, 2013

Renewed Hope

     Hello Blogger Fam, I hope that all is well on your side of the screen.  Last night I was lying in bed and started to think; what the hell am I doing?  I am picking up my life to move somewhere and I have no clue when I am going?  I have no ticket and no clue when this ticket is going to appear, have I made mistake?  Am I making the right decision? Am I crazy?

    This morning I woke up and I felt a bit better.  Once again some members of one of my FB groups (funny how these strangers have become fast friends and confidants) received their departure info.  With that, we are off again, waiting for departure ticket info.  This is the message that was received:

Dear ADEC Candidates,
I hope you are all excited about your upcoming departure! ADEC has provided us with some further information about travel:

1. Group Two
Itineraries and visas will be issued from now until August 25 for departure August 28-30.
Orientation will take place Sep 1-5.
We have been given a list of group 2 and will be contacting everyone on the list today and tomorrow.


2. Group Three

Itineraries and visas will be sent out September 4-12 for travel September 18-21.
Orientation will take place Sep 22-26.



Hopefully I will hear good news Sunday, if not that means September.


I am trying to use my time wisely, spending time with friends, seeing movies and hanging with my parents.

I guess I cannot complain, I am moving out of my place August 30 (I had extended the lease just in case) and I will go back and live with my parents until I leave. I am lucky that I have a place to stay. I am also lucky that I can collect unemployment insurance until I leave (because I was layed off from my last teaching job) so I am not completely broke.


The teachers that have arrived in Abu Dhabi have posted pictures and they look beautiful; the hotel, the pool, the mall and the sun.  I saw so many teachers in long skirts that I got nervous and went to the mall to look for a few.  Since fall is coming, all the clothes in the stores now are for fall and the summer selection is slim to none.  I went to one store and they had no sizes so I did what any girl would do and I went to their online store and yup they had not one, but three long skirts in different colours.  With shipping I paid 60$ for the 3 skirts, they are suppose to come next week, I just hope that they come before I leave.  If not I will ask my mom to mail them to the hotel.

Another perk of not working is that you can do favours for friends, like watch their sick kids while they are at work. I have no children of my own, but love to help my friends out and watch their kids when they need.  One day hopefully I will be blessed with my own and I will already be a pro.

Tomorrow is a new day (that seems to be the theme lately)  and I am hoping to hear some good news.

Thanks for reading :)

Wednesday, August 21, 2013

Annoying Questions

     Yesterday I went to the car dealer to try and get some help sorting out my lease takeover. The guy who is helping me had so many year questions about my move to Abh Dhabi. I don't mind answering questions at all, nevertheless the question I hate the most is, "is it safe? Are there terrorists?"  Would I be going to a country that wasn't safe?  Would I put my life in danger? I am going to the United Arab Emirites not Yemen.  Just because there are issues in some parts of the Middle East it does not mean every country is dangerous.  The UAE closed its US embassies last week as a precaution (note I am Canadian and the Canadian embassies remained open).  I am not scared and I am confident in my decision to move.  As we all know terrorist attacks can happen in our own backyard.

    In departure news, someone in one of the groups got a ticket today for next week. Hope is alive again.

I keep praying for good news.


Monday, August 19, 2013

Not A Happy Camper

    I got some not so good news today;  supposedly if I don't hear anything by tomorrow, I am not leaving for two weeks.  TWO WEEKS!  Two mother f@&king weeks!  Whaaaaaaa! That brings me to Labour Day weekend.  What am I suppose to do during the day? Summer is summer, but when school starts, I have no clue what it is like to not work. 
       A teacher that is in Abu Dhabi and has a Nirvana hook up posted this info today. I am so shocked by this, I really thought I would be in AD by  this weekend. My life was great when all my friends were still on summer vacation, but now everyone is going back to work life is going to suck.  Honestly, what am I going to do? 
    Plus, money is getting low so I cannot be spending like a it is still summer vacation.  My heart sinks as I read all the posts of people heading to the airport today starting their journey. So jealous.
     I am not going to lose faith.  My ticket will come when it is time. 

     In other news, I saw The Butler, GO SEE IT! Amazing movie! Definite Oscar nod, for the movie and also for Forrest Whitaker. Civil rights movies are always hard to watch, this was powerful, honest and poignant. A must watch. 


Sunday, August 18, 2013

The Wait Continues


Hello World!
    Friday I got an email from TeachAnywhere that contained the following information:

For teachers who are still waiting (that's me) - DON'T PANIC
I understand this is a very frustrating time but be assured we are doing everything we can to chase for updates.  There are still a number of teachers awaiting their flight details so rest assured you have not been forgotten!  If I had a magic wand or limitless credit card I would book all of these flights myself!!  There will be more flights issued from Sunday onwards.  Remember to check your own email and that of your emergency contact as it has happened that some of the flights have been sent to the emergency contact.  You will receive a flight itinerary along with your entry permit.  Please confirm that everything is correct on your permit and itinerary and the travel agent will then go ahead and book your flight.  If your spouse is missing from your booking reply directly to (and copy me in) the travel agent and send through a clear colour copy of their passport and they will amend the booking.  Remember that you are conversing with people who may not have English as their first language so please keep it simple and to a minimum. 
This made me feel better.
Today, one of the member's of one of my FB group said that Nirvana (the travel company issuing our tickets) will need two days to work on the tickets, so I am not going anywhere until the end of the week.

At this point I am just taking each day at a time. It is getting to the pointe that I get angry when someone asks me when I am leaving. Trust when I know you will know. I get asked at least three times a day. 

Going to see The Burler soon, a good way to keep my mind of things.   Tomorrow I am dealing with my car and Tuesday I am going to have lunch with some ex students that I hold very dear to my heart. 
In the mean time, I am packing up the apartment.

Got someone MAC gift cards for my birthday and went on a mini spree (hey, more that 2 items from MAC is a spree in my books). Got some great times! Thank you friends!!
Hopefully, tomorrow I will have good news.

Thursday, August 15, 2013

5 Stages

    The waiting game is not a fun one.  I have never waited like this in my life.  Even when I was waiting for my acceptance into University it wasn't this bad.  I was talking to a friend today and realised this waiting for my ticket is similar to the stages of grief.  This caused me to create:

The 5 stages of waiting for an e-ticket:
1. Happiness--Yeah, I am going to Abu Dhabi!  Woo hoo!  No more winter.

2. Anticipation--Today is the day I will get my ticket!  I am going to be off on a new adventure.


3. Depression--Everyone is getting their ticket but me.  What did I do to deserve this?  She is from the same city as me/interviewed the same day as me and got her ticket!!??


4. Anger--When is my f!@king ticket going to get here!  I swear, why can't these people have their act together!


5. Acceptance-It will come when it comes. I have no control over when it is coming , so I better just enjoy the time that I am here (I am here now...sort of)


Today I started packing up my apartment, boxing things up and taking it to my parents house, this made me feel so helpless, despair washed over me.  Everything just looked so empty.  This has been my home and now all my personal items are packed in boxes and I am setting off leaving half of the stuff I love behind.

I am meeting the guy about taking over my car Monday, I am so excited that I found someone to take over the lease, this has been such a huge burden, I am praying that it all works out.  I am also having a Sushi dinner for my birthday (it was Monday) with all my friends tomorrow, cannot wait to see them all.  

Wednesday, August 14, 2013

Packing Is A B!@#h

     Packing is a pain the ass.  There is no way to sugar coat this.  It is all fun and games when you are going away for a week or two, but when you are moving around the world, nothing is more difficult than deciding what to bring and what to leave.  Especially when you are going to a country like the United Arab Emirates and there is a dress code. My wardrobe doesn't consist of too many shorts/short skirts/dresses, but on the other hand I do not have a plethora of long sleeved tops that aren't winterish.  My love sleeved shorts are meant for a Montreal winter, not an Emeriti desert.  Also I am about a size 16/1x so I am not sure what the clothing selection is going to look like.

     First of all I am bringing an extra bag no questions asked, I will pay extra for it.  I packed all my bags today and they all weighed 50 pounds.  Sounds great right!?  Well the problem is that I have not put in my jewellery  make-up and bathroom/shower stuff.  I need at least 10 pounds somewhere.  I started by going through my luggage again and taking everything out and eliminating what I thought was half of the stuff (funny how some EXTRA stuff seemed to "jump" back in my suitcase) When all that was said and done I had only removed 3 pounds. WHAT!!!  So here I am trying it with the other suitcase (I managed to get it down by 8 pounds, wooohooo).  I just want to take everything.  I feel like I am playing Survivor with my clothes, "you are voted out of the suitcase".  I must admit that there are some items that have "immunity"; my shoes.  I wear size 10 and need them.  Hopefully, when it is time to put the rest of the items the damage will not be too bad.  One of my friends is taking about coming to visit in November, maybe she can bring the items that I have to leave behind.  Well I better get back to it.

    I am excited someone is interested in taking over my car lease, I am going to meet him tomorrow.  Keep your figures crossed!  The last dude was a no show.

Have a great night!

P.S.  Still waiting on my departure date...

Oh, Nubian if you are reading this I didn't get your email can you send it to haneefa [underscore]c at hotmail dot com, would love to get in touch with you!

Tuesday, August 13, 2013

The Wait Continues...

Honestly, I think I am going to lose it.  I am addicted to checking my email waiting for this e ticket. I stay up until about 3 am, waiting for the email pings on my iPad.  Then I get up at about 8 am and check my email like a mad woman.  The sadness sets in when I realize the 20 emails I got while I was sleeping (visions of departure dates dancing in my head) are only from the 50 million Facebook groups that I belong to. *SIGH*

Rumour on FB is that the first group's ticket have all been sent out and we now wait to be sent in the second group and that looks like they will leave around August 24.  About 1/3 of the ADEC teachers have received their flights.  The good news is I know that I am not alone in this flightless boat.  I am in touch with a few girls that I interviewed with and no one has heard anything.  Also only about 2 Canadians have received their flights.  All this puts me at ease.  The bright side is that I get more time with my family and friends, although many of them are going back to work next week.

As the time draws nearer, I have been packing like a mofo, realizing that I am going to have to leave quite a few clothing items behind, I have never considered myself someone that has tons of clothes, my friends out do me in that area. But the idea of fitting all I want to bring in 3 suitcases (I am bringing a traveller's backpack as my 3rd piece of luggage for my Southeast Asia adventure in December) is harder than I anticipated.  The fact that I do not know what airline I am flying does not help.

I get asked about 5 times a day when I am leaving.  I tell all my friends that soon as I know, they will know. This is the order of how people will find out when I get the info:

1. Call parents
2. Text friends
3. Send email
4. Post on FB
5. Post here!

This way no one can say that they did not know.


One of my childhood friends is coming in from out of town to see me this weekend.  She could not make it to the going away party, I am happy that I am leaving a bit later because I would not have been able to see her otherwise.

I am following the adage "Good things come to those who wait" and "No news is good news".

I really hope that I hear something soon.

Thanks again for reading, feel free to leave me a comment to let me know that you stopped by.

 :)



Thursday, August 8, 2013

It Really Is A Small World

On Tuesday I was at the mall waiting for a friend.  A black lady and her daughter walked by me and smiled.  She spoke French and asked if she could sit next to me. I told her no problem and she started asking me about my hair; where I got it done and how much I paid.  She told me that she usually wears wings because she lives in Dubai.  WHATTTTTTTTTTT!!!!!  I was floored.  I told her that I was moving to Abu Dhabi in two weeks (hopefully).  She told me that she owned a store, gave me her card and told me to contact her when I was planning to go to Dubai and she would show me around.  Her name is Alma and she has been living in Dubai for 17 years, she is originally from Niger in Africa (hence the French)  I asked if she had family in Montreal, she didn't she was just on vacation.  What are the chances of me running into someone so randomly from the UAE!?

     I am still "patiently" waiting for info on my e-ticket.  I am hoping that it comes in the next week.  My birthday is on Monday (Christ year--33 baby!) and that would be the best birthday present ever.  In the mean time I am trying to see all of my friends before I go and pretty much just enjoy the rest of the summer.

    I am thankful for all the Facebook groups that I am part of because I know that I am in the same boat as so many people.  It seems as though most Canadians do not have their info yet, so that makes me feel better.
 
   I am still trying to find someone to take over my lease, the guy that was suppose to meet me today didn't show up.  So it looks like I am back to the drawing board.

Packing is a b*&^h and I do not know how I am going to fit everything I want to bring into three suitcases.  I need a packing whisperer. 




 Thanks for reading!


































Thursday, August 1, 2013

Departure Date

     Members of my various Facebook groups are getting there departure dates, so exciting! The good news is that instead of August 8-12 that they were projecting, it is looking like we will be leaving around August 19/20, I am happy with this because that means I can ease up on the packing and relax a little.  There is one lady that is leaving Montreal and she on Turkish Airlines, so maybe I will be on her flight.  I am checking my email every minute like a mad woman hoping for departure info.

Soon my friends, soon!