Tuesday, May 29, 2012

Destination: Abu Dhabi

On Sunday I got an email to complete my travel form.  It's on like popcorn now!  This form is what will be used to process my work visa in Abu Dhabi.  I needed to use my passport to complete the form and I'm not even going to talk about how the form didn't match the information on my passport.  I already said some choice cussing words about that on Sunday.  I even had to go get some retail therapy after all of that and bought two cute dresses!  I have yet to purchase an abaya.  Anyway, it's supposed to take six to eight weeks to get your work visa paperwork processed and ready.

I am beyond excited about this new chapter of my life.  Sometimes I just break out singing.  I can't really help it.  I just do it and laugh at myself later.  Indeed, I am feeling some kind of blessed lately.  I've even catch myself dancing in the mirror on the regular just because I'm walking by!  The happy glow is all over my face and my teeth are always showing.  No need to say cheese!

Everyday this is becoming more real for me.  I think I will really start believing I'm leaving, dancing, singing and cutting up, once I get those plane tickets with my name on it.  Destination:  Abu Dhabi.

Monday, May 21, 2012

OMG! What am I doing?

I'm promising myself that once school is out for me, I will be able to keep this blog updated and share my experience in detail.  Right now, there are four more days of work left for me and I'm getting it together.  I have plans to sell my car on Wednesday.  We will see what happens when Wednesday comes.  I thought about it today.  This new job opportunity is going to seem seriously real to me once my prized possession is sold.  I was so proud of myself to buy the car cash almost three years ago.  I have the title to it and even though it is now 15 years old, it is mine!  Hell, I might cry now that I think about it.  Of course, I will wait and do all my crying once the guy drives off in it.  I'll let you know what I end up doing.  I have to clean out the car tomorrow and get it ready to move on to the next owner.  God, what am I doing?  I've been asking myself that lately.  Every time I do that, it seems like I get more confirmation that what I'm doing has got to be the right thing and I'm on the right path for my life.  Better be.

The word going around the EMT community is that we will be leaving for Abu Dhabi in mid August.  Orientation in Abu Dhabi is on August 27.  That means I will probably depart the week of August 12 at the earliest.  I'm excited and anxious at the same time.  I'm thinking that it's not really going to hit me until I'm on the plane.  Then I'll have a slight nervous breakdown, while looking at pictures of my entire family, cry a river and an ocean, get myself together, pray, drink a glass of wine, and sleep off the tomfoolery my nerves and emotions are going to put me through.  When I wake up I'll be happy that I was crazy enough to take the leap of faith and that there is no fear.  I'll be happy that I'm headed to a new job, new part of the world, new culture, new experience, new adventure, a new life, the good life!

Friday, May 11, 2012

Leaving Georgia in 51 Days

I'm leaving Georgia in 51 days and after some deep thought, I know I'm not planning on coming back here to live.  I truly believe my time in Georgia has come to an end as I prepare to move on to Abu Dhabi.  When people ask me when I'm coming back, it's been so easy to tell them I'm not.  I've lived in Georgia for 12 years and I'm done.

I finally made my announcement that I'm moving to Abu Dhabi to my students at school.  I made a movie for all four classes to see each class period.  I did it using Windows Movie Maker and it was really cool how it turned out.  I used my humor as well as some great photos of Abu Dhabi, so the kids would have a clear picture of where I am going to live very soon.  Most students were excited and wanted to come with me.  A few of my students got sad, upset, and started to cry.  I reassured them that I wasn't going anywhere right now and it was all going to be okay because I would check up on them while I'm gone.  This seemed to make them feel better.  I'll admit I got a little teary eyed when I saw this.  Kids.

I do know that my purpose here has been fulfilled.  Mission accomplished.  I know in my spirit that I have been given the go ahead to move forward, move upward, with no regrets, no ties, no hang ups, just freedom to take this opportunity and experience the Good Life.  It truly feels right and I feel a sense of liberation inside.  I have been feeling like it was time to leave Georgia for over a year now.  I just wasn't clear about what my next move was supposed to be.  I had this conversation with some colleagues last November.  I just kept saying that I just didn't know what I was going to do yet, but I knew I was going to experience a career change of some kind.  Three months later, in February, I was interviewing to teach in Abu Dhabi.  Now I know without of a doubt that this is it.

I plan to go live with my sister in Raleigh, NC once I leave Georgia at the end of June.  This is where I will be starting July 31, until I leave for Abu Dhabi in mid-August.  We've been told that EMTs will all leave in mid-August in 3-4 days.  Sounds good to me.  Worst case scenario, I'll go be a substitute teacher at my niece and nephew's elementary school until I fly out on the big bird across the pond.

Opportunity Knocked...well Called

So I've done the phone interview.  I've went to the In Person Interview and on April 5, 2012 at approximately 9:45am, I received a phone call with good news from Teach Away.  I was offered an English Medium Teacher (EMT) position to teach in Abu Dhabi in the United Arab Emirates!  I was excited, a little scared, and somewhat in awe.  This was definitely what I needed, change, opportunity, and a fresh start.

Here are some of the questions that the interviewers asked during my phone interview and in person interview.

1. Why would I make a good candidate for teaching in Abu Dhabi?
2. What are my strengths as a teacher and how would they make me a good teacher for Abu Dhabi?
3. What is one example of a difficult challenge I faced with a student(s) and how did I overcome it?
4. What classroom teaching strategies/methods/approaches do I use in the classroom?
5. How might I deal with a classroom of students with low English proficiency to high proficiency?
6. What strategies do I use to ensure I know all students are learning?
7. Why do I want to teach in the Middle East/Abu Dhabi/abroad?
8. How do I manage problem behavior, and how do I prevent it?
9. What is my teaching philosophy?
10. What experiences do I have that would make me an effective teacher in Abu Dhabi?
11. What would your classroom look like?
12. How would you know students are learning?
13. How would you teach when students do not know English?
14. What is your worst experience with an administrator and how did you handle it?
15. What would a day in your classroom be like? Describe it in detail.

Later on in April, EMTs were told to have documents legalized by May 15.  I had my plan in place and a schedule set to send my documents to the delivery company recommended by Teach Away.  However, a few days later, Teach Away told us the new deadline was May 9!  What the hell!?  We've been forewarned that changes such as this are common in Abu Dhabi so don't stress or sweat it.  Roll with the punches and go with the flow.  This way you can keep your sanity and fare well in the richest city in the world.  So I'm scrambling like a mouse with a hungry mean cat behind me.  I get my paperwork sent off and I exhale.  Thirteen days later, my legalized documents return to me with the signature of the United States Secretary of State, Hillary Rodham Clinton.  Thanks Hillie!