Sunday, February 16, 2014

It's Not All Hotel Stays and Yacht Parties

     First, I would like to welcome all the new readers.  Thank you for all your kind words and if you are in Abu Dhabi feel free to message me, I am always open to help in anyway I can. I know it can be hard when you first arrive or are waiting to come so leave a comment! To those waiting on your tickets, they will come. 
     Last week something happened that took the wind out of my sails. A staff member at my school made an extremely racist comment. I was so shocked that I had to leave the room and be by myself for two hours to deconstruct what was said. The fact that someone would say something about blacks in front of a black person floors me and leads me to realize that she probably didn't realize the magnitude of her comment. Nevertheless it was said.

    Later that night when I was home, I still couldn't believe what happened and then it hit me. Many Middle Eastern individuals in this county (even Middle Easterners living here from other Arab countries) have never encountered a black person that wasn't a nanny, maid, security guard or prostitute. That is the sad truth my friends. Not only am I a teacher, I am a science teacher at that. Their minds have been blown and they cannot comprehend. In fact I am probably the first black teacher at my school. 

    Many of you who are coming out here to teach or are already here have to realize that compartmentalization is a huge factor in 'making it' out here. Yes, I am here to work and that is what is paying my bills and allowing me to live my dreams, nevertheless, teaching here is not like home. You will have kids that do not listen, you will have administration that will not listen, heck you will have parents that will not listen. You will have days that you question your decision to move and you will have days that you may cry yourself to sleep. Remember at the end of the day if you want to keep your sanity you have to take all those events, pack them up in a box and put them away in the back of your conscious. Do not let those moments ruin the great things that you are experiencing, do not let those moments stop you from being great.  Do not let others get to you.  Do not let them bring you down. I know this is easier said than done but you have to do it.  You have to leave work at work. This is why having a great group of friends is important. You will need people to vent to and who can console you when times are tough and you feel like packing up.  
   I always think of myself as a pioneer, this may sound cheesy but I think of all those young people during the Civil Rights movement and everything they went through. I have to show the world that blacks are not only good for entertaining and sports. We are educated, well travelled and multilingual.  We are beatiful. We are educated. We are accomplished. 
   Please so not take this post as a deturant, if anything this is the reason why you SHOULD come over to the UAE. People are always shocked that I am from Canada and not an African country. I speak French and a bit of Japanese. I have two degrees and have seen more of the world that anyone in my family and most people in the world.  Just today I was asked why I want to go to Sri Lanka for my Spring Break, my answer: why not. The world is my oyster.  I love being an ambassador for my race and breaking those stereotypes not only as a female but as a black female. I am not perfect but My goal is to educate others so that racial comments like the one I heard will no longer occur. 

My life is too sweet. I will not let anyone stop me from living the dream.

22 comments:

  1. I an so happy I found your blog. I will be moving to Abu Dhabi August. I am excited but nervous .

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  2. Hi Ms. Haneefa

    Your blogs are so insightful. I have my interview with teach away next week in NY. Do you have any tips on things I need to do in order to prepare for the interview. About how long does it take after the interview to know if you have the job.

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  3. I just got my acceptance email!!! Your blog is very inspiring. I think it's great how you are using this sad event to inspire others! I got a little choked up reading your blog. Keep doing great things, to change the world one step at a time:)

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    1. Hey David! Congrats on your acceptance letter you will have to keep me posted as to when you get here. Good luck on the process. Thank you for the super kind words. Happy travels!

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  4. Hi Miss Haneefa.

    I've been following your blog pretty much since you started it. I was very glad to find it as I know there are black teachers out there in the UAE (even if they are few in the grand scheme of things) but I know nothing of their experiences and how they navigate in a social and cultural climate in which they may experience they very thing(s) you have described in this post.

    My heart sank the more I read your post, and I thank you for sharing it. I, myself, have tried to acquire a teaching post in the UAE (unsuccessful interviews) and before even applying, this is something that was at the forefront of my mind (I suppose, as a black person, it is always is anyway).

    I like what you said about regarding yourself as a pioneer, as a positive representative of black people, although my own opinion is that it's a unfair burden for us to carry, even if we choose to accept it.

    Again, I am thankful for this blog and I am especially thankful that you chose to share this particular experience.

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  5. ^
    Little bit annoyed I cannot edit for error correction in the above message...

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  6. It's not that anyone should have to represent their own race; but that love and acceptance in the the face of ignorance and fear creates the power to overcome...

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  7. I agree with you 100% that I should not have to represent my race but the sad reality when you are traveling the world is that many people will not encounter tons of blacks so when they do I am sure that they. Annoy help but assume this is how blacks act. For this reason I always try and educate as well as portray us in the best light.

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  8. Miss Haneefa, I am so sorry to hear of the emotional pain you experienced. You are truly amazing, to be able to take a step back and see that the individual who made the racist comment may not have as open a world view or experience as others. I can already tell from your blog posts that you are much loved and making great impressions to those around you. That is a beautiful thing. Keep smiling. :)

    I will be moving to Abu Dhabi next month and I've been following your blog since last summer. You've asked in a recent post how people found you, I really don't remember, but I do know that your blog is the one I keep going back to, checking in on you and how you're doing. I just love your positive spirit and honesty in sharing your experience. You have helped me take this step to become an expat myself. Thank you thank you thank you. You are special in so many ways!

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    1. Christine this comment made my week. Thank you for your uber nice comment. I am so happy that readers are enjoying and benefiting my blog. Hopefully one day we will meet!

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    2. When we do, that will make *my* week! Hugs.

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  9. Very informative. Thank you. Your blog provides each reader an unbiased view of day to day life in Abu Dhabi. I will be moving in August. I am so excited and nervous. Your blog is a wonderful tool. Keep posting.

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  10. This post made me cry. I'm moving in August as well. I want my husband to read this. At first he was so excited... now he is having second thoughts. Teaching abroad is such an awesome opportunity and I am glad you are allowing others in your world to experience it with you!

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    1. Nakia,
      Please don't change your mind because of this post. This was one negative incident out of the many positive ones that I have had. Like I did, I posted this because I wanted people to know that there are days when it isn't all chocolates and candy canes. Trust me the positive does outweigh the negative. Good luck!

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  12. I cried because of how eloquently written it was, not because of the racism you experienced. I, bring an African American, have had many experiences with racism here in the United States. Just want to say live reading all your posts and am so excited to be moving there

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  13. I found you on a google search. I love your posts! As a multilingual international traveller, who was once married to a Spaniard in Spain, I thank you. Keep represtentin'. Please tell me if you think I should move to Dubai or Abu Dhabi as a single mom...eventually wanting to date. My brother has lived in Bahrain playing basketball for the past three years!

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  14. Thank you much for your post. Will the money you make be the same in Dubai and Abu Dhabi. I think you will have a better chance to date in Dubai but the cost of living is more than in Abu Dhabi from what I have experienced.
    I am definitely going back to Bahrain again, I really liked it! Thank you for reading!

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  15. I truly enjoy reading your blog. I too am a science teacher and plan on applying to ADEC for a Jan 2016 start date. I was wondering if you could provide some advice as fas as what ADEC is looking for in the way of classroom management and keeping EAL students engaged in the in-person interview?

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  16. I truly enjoy reading your blog. I too am a science teacher and plan on applying to ADEC for a Jan 2016 start date. I was wondering if you could provide some advice as far as what ADEC is looking for in the way of classroom management and keeping EAL students engaged in the in-person interview?

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    1. Hi Obi1,
      Thank you for reading. Good luck with your interview. I would say to be honest. In terms of classroom management give examples (if you are asked) about things you have done to help your students. ADEC IS big on positive reinforcement and routines. So mention that the first thing you would do in your class is establish routines with the students(you probably to this anyway). Honestly, at my interview I was asked more about planning and teaching practices.

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    2. Thank you so much! What you do is such a blessing.  :)

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