Monday, November 25, 2013

Going, Going, Back, Back To...


Last night I booked my Christmas vacation.  My friend and I heading to Thailand, Vietnam and Cambodia for three weeks.  I am so excited!  I have already been to Thailand,but it is honestly my favourite place in the world and I am so blessed to be able to go back.  I am hoping to head to some areas that I have not been to before (Chang Mei). I am so blessed to have to much time off to travel during the break. Most of the other teachers here are heading home, but Montreal is too cold for that, so I am heading to the beaches of South east Asia.  We are leaving on Dec. 15th out of Dubai, cannot wait.

In the meantime, school is pretty much over for the term.  The older girls at the school (Grade 12) are in exams and the rest of the school doesn't come during that time.  That is fine with me because then I can enter my grades and relax. 

American Thanksgiving is one Thursday and the friend that I am  travelling with to Thailand is having a little get together so I am excited for that. She is ordering a turkey and everything so I am so psyched for that.  since I have to travel (she is in Abu Dhabi), I am bringing a dessert.  I think that I am going to make an apple crisp because the ingredients are easy to find and it will be easy enough to transport on the bus. This weekend is also National Days, the Sheik made the announcement (he actually tweeted it!) that we are going to have the Sunday and Monday off so we have a four day weekend.  I am going to spend Thursday and Friday in Abu Dhabi and then we are going to head to Dubai Friday and Saturday and then back to Abu Dhabi for the festivities.  There are going to be concerts, performances on the Corniche and fireworks!  I will be sure to post pictures.

I went and got my hair rebraided last night.  I go to a salon that is owned by an Ethiopian woman that is married to an Emirati and the women that work there are Ethiopian.  They do braids, weaves, wash and set and more.  I am really impressed with the prices and also the braid so quickly.  Since it was a week night the salon really wasn't busy and I was out of there in 3 hours.  When there were no other customers there were three woman working on my hair at the same time.

I still find it so weird that we are almost in December and the weather is still 25C (77F) in the day! LOVE IT!  I must admit that it is a bit cool in the morning and you do need a sweater, but besides that the weather is marvellous.

Have a great week!

Thursday, November 21, 2013

Science Festival and More National Day Festivities

     Last Tuesday 30 of my grade 6 students and I went to Abu Dhabi for the Science Festival.  The bus ride was a bit long (2 hours) because the bus can only go 80 km/ hr on the highway. I was extremely impressed with the Science Festival.  It was like the had constructed a Science Museum on Yas Island.  

The first station that we went to was all about marine animals and what was inside them.  The animators dissected a crab, squid and a fish to show the girls their anatomy. 

At the next station students got to build their own wind turbines. They even let the girls solder the pieces together. They attached an LED light and had the girls test their wind turbine when they were done.

All in all I think the young ladies had a fantastic time. If you are in Abu Dhabi and have kids, I would highly recommend you take then to the Science Festival I think it is on until Saturday. 

Yesterday we had a huge National Day celebration at school, they handed out chocolates and we had a talent show where different grades performed songs and dances. 

Parents and relatives came to watch the girls. There was even a fashion show at the end where different country were represented by that countries music and dance.  I got to see some trational dress from Egypt, Syria and even Sudan. 

Many girls also came to school blinged out in their finest jewellery. Many students wore gold necklaces, rings and earrings.  I especially loved these gold headdresses that many students were sporting. 

Absolutely. Stunning.

Wednesday, November 20, 2013

My Trip To Jail

     Don't worry this isn't what you think.  I didn't do anything bad.  I promise.  I went to jail with my students. Wait, that doesn't sound much better. Sometimes I wish I could put some of them in jail...But that is a whole other story.  Let me start at the beginning.

     As I mentioned previously, National Day is around the corner (December 2 and 3).  National Day is a BIG deal here.  I always thought that Trinidadians (where my parents are from) were patriotic.  We have soca songs that praise our country, we always wear T-Shirts and sport red, white and black whenever we get a chance. I have a few pairs of earrings that are in the shape of Trinidad, I love Trinidad.  I also thought that Canada was super patriotic.  I do have more than a handful of friends with maple leaf tattoos, we are always proud to say that we are Canadian.  Then I came to the UAE. National Day, oh I am sorry days (yes 2 days) is a huge deal here.  We have been getting ready at school for a month.  Everyday a class at school gives a presentation at the morning assemble talking about the country and the girls come to school decked out in red, green and black, the colors of the UAE.  They dance, sing and feed us chocolates and tea. There are pins, cell phone charms, flags, hats, dresses, chocolates, cakes, decals for your nails, the list goes on and on.  This year they are celebrating the 42nd year and there are 42's everywhere.  I have been given a few pins that I sport every day at school. Sorry, I am getting of track.  I was informed that today all the grade 6's would be going around the town that our school is in and we would be giving out chocolates and singing songs at the Polics Station, Bank, Phone Company Office and Family Center dressed in our UAE best. We headed out on the bus around 9 am and did just that, we sang patriotic songs and gave out chocolates.  At the police station we even got to visit the jail.  Some of the girls were scared and did not want to see it.  I took a look and there was one prisoner in the jail cell.  I was told that he was arrested for driving without a licence (or stealing, depending which student you believe) and that he was going to be in jail for 3 weeks and then be sent to Al Ain, the big city, to be processed I guess.  They gave him chocolates, which he accepted. I felt bad for him, he was kind of like a caged animal with all of us gawking at him.

Tomorrow we are having a big party for National Day!  Parents will be coming in and we will be eating and dancing our little hearts out!

Just another day in the UAE!

Saturday, November 16, 2013

A Little Bit Of This and That

Hello lovely readers! Life in the UAE is moving rather quickly I really must admit.  I cannot believe that November is already here and I can almost see then end of it.  School is still work, I will leave it at that, we are going on a field trip this week to the Science Expo in Abu Dhabi so that should be VERY interesting.

I am enjoying life and I am still happy with the decision that I have made to move out here.  I thought I would fill you in one the last few weeks of my life.
     At the beginning of November we had a long weekend thanks to the Islamic New Year.  My friends and I got tickets to F1 (Formula 1) which included tickets to the Jay Z concert. Yes! Jigga man was going to be in the UAE! 

Now let me explain these bracelets. The first white one was 'a surprise' we were given at the door.  Our first guess was that a Beyonce hologram would pop out, but I knew that was too good to be true.  Actually, during the concert these bracelets lit up blue lights on everyone's wrists and let me tell you it looked so cool. Instant light show. The blue one was my ticket to get into the concert and the yellow was to prove I was over 21 to be able to buy alcohol, yes you read right alcohol. We had pondered before this event if alcohol would sold. Since the UAE is a Muslim country alcohol is only sold in the hotels. But to our surprise they had drinks for sale at the Du Arena.  The prices were RIDICULOUS I paid  27$ for a double vodka 7up! Yikes! Just writing that makes me hang my head in shame.  But at the same time they could have charged 100$ and I am sure some people would still have purchased (not me...).

I have to give Jay Z credit, I think that he is one of the few artists that sounds live how he sounds in person.  He sang ALL of his hits old and new. He even brought Timberland to play on the keyboard!

The next day I headed to my home away from home the Corniche. I can never get enough of the beach.  I am still amazed that I can go to the beach in November.  While it is 3c in Montreal it is 33c here in the UAE. 

Then headed to ladies night at my favourite restaurant in Abu Dhabi Cho Gao in the Crowne plaza hotel.  The drinks were delicious! 

National Day is coming up at the end of December.  Everyday at school during the morning assembly the girls give out sweets (usually chocolates) and tea.  They then perform a dance or give a little speech on National Day.
For National Day we are supposed to have a 5 day weekend. Wooooohooo.  I was thinking of going somewhere out of the country, but I think that it a bit much since two weeks later I am going on vacation.
 This is a pin that one of my student's gave me.  On the left is Sheik Khalifa and on the right is the symbol of National Day, all the Sheiks holding the country's flag.  This year will mark the 42nd year of the UAE.  In Al Ain were I live they are doing it up, there are lights on almost every roundabout and it really has a Christmas feel to it. 

I am currently planning my Christmas vacation were I will be going to Thailand, Vietnam and Cambodia.

Thank you once again for reading! Please comment if you can so that I know SOMEONE is reading this blog ;)