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Toto, I don't think we're in Houston anymore!

 Saturday, August 20, 2011

One week down...103 to go.

I am definitely NOT in Houston anymore! It's gonna take some time to get used to how different things are here. Houston and Abu Dhabi may be "twins" and there are similarities (the hot, humid climate and diversity to name a few), but the differences between my hometown and my new home are quite noticeable.

Before I go on, let me make a correction. In my last post, I said an emirate is a city and there were no states. That's wrong. An emirate is actually like a state. So, my new country is the United Arab Emirates (UAE), my new "state" or emirate is Abu Dhabi, and my new city is Abu Dhabi City.

Photo courtesy of www.lonelyplanet.com

So, anyway, here's how my week went:
  • Sunday. We opened our bank accounts first. They already had our cards and everything. We just had to fill out the information. Later on, we had our first orientation. We found out that we'd be getting an advance of 5,000 AED (about $1,360 USD). Of course, I was excited. This will definitely help since I came here with limited funds. We'll also get a 20,000 AED (about $5,400 USD) furniture allowance. Both will be deposited in my account soon. ADEC (Abu Dhabi Education Council) hired teachers to teach and live in three cities in Abu Dhabi: Abu Dhabi City, Al Ain, and Al Gharbia. After orientation, they put up some of the Abu Dhabi City placements. I was on the list! I got the key to my apartment that night! YAY!
  • Monday. In the morning, we went to have our medical exams. They checked our weight, blood pressure, and skin (for skin diseases I assume). We also had a chest x-ray and blood taken (for diseases check). It went quicker than I thought it would. Very organized. Afterwards, while trying to figure out what to do, my new friend and I came across three people who were going to see their apartments, so we went with them. OMG, I live in a high rise! Like, seriously, I've always wanted to know what it felt like to live in a loft/high rise building and now I'll know. The apartments are brand new. They're not even finished yet, that's how new they are. Gorgeous view, health club (workout room, suana, jacuzzi, steam room, massage area, pool) on the roof, doorman...I'm in heaven!
  • Tuesday. We had to go to the police station to have our pics taken and fingers printed. I was in group 3, which meant we went to the station at 10. At night. Before going, I ate dinner at the hotel restaurant with new friends. I decided to step even further out of my comfort zone and eat shish kabob (grilled lamb cubes). OMG! So. Good. I'm definitely a new lamb fan. The only thing is they cook it medium rare. I just can't get with eating it like that. I only ate the cubes that didn't have red in them. I must say, the pic they took of me at the police station was NOT flattering. He caught me by surprise. I sooooo hope they don't use that pic for anything. It looked like a mug shot...fitting since it was taken at a police station. Anyway, we didn't get back from the police station til about 1:30 am. Very interesting, this trip.
  • Wednesday. We took a shuttle to Marina Mall. Saw some of the awesomeness that is Abu Dhabi City. This is truly a beautiful city, man. I'm thanking God every day for sending me here. We rode down the Corniche and saw the beach. OMG, how BEE-YOO-TI-FUL! Absolutely gorgeous! I've got to go one day. It's so hot, tho. But I may endure the heat just to go to that beach. We also saw the Emirates Palace hotel. Definitely a place I'm going to visit. I'm sure the price to stay there is crazy high, so clearly I won't be staying. The Marina Mall is like the Galleria Mall in Houston, only better. And it has a Carrefour (like Walmart) under it.
  • Thursday. Didn't do much today. Just went back to my apartment to take more pics.
  • Friday. Didn't do much today either. My morning started off rough. I overslept and missed breakfast as well as church (Fridays are their sabbath day). I'm thankful I'm in a place that practices freedom of religion. They have a few Christian churches here. We can't proudly display our Christianity, but we can practice it. This will definitely put the "let your light shine" thing to the test. I pray that God lets His light shine through me the whole time I'm here so that people, even the Muslims, will know there's something different about me. Anyway, I was having a hard time with this growth thing God is putting me through. This whole trip is about my growing in God and Him doing some reconstruction within me. Not an easy thing to endure, but it's necessary. I admit, I cried my eyes out Friday morning. But after talking to my mom, who knew what was going on even when I tried to hide it (awesome, right), and listening to my Jesus music and praying, I was fine. In fact, the day ended waaaay better than it started. My spirit was lifted. I went to a festival at the convention center. This is where vendors set up inside and sell, sell, sell. Kinda like a flew market. If you're a great bargainer (and I'm not), you can get awesome things for cheap. My first item, I didn't bargain. The second thing I wanted, I couldn't get them to change their minds. But afterwards, with the help of my new friend, who was awesome with bargaining, I got a dress and a comfy lounge around dress for way cheaper than regular price. I'm definintely gonna work on my bargaining skills! I also noticed how much they love Spongebob Squarepants. I mean, he was everywhere! Sheesh! We ended the night at a Lebonese restaurant where I ate lamb and chicken. I am absolutely LOVING lamb!
  • Saturday. Today was just a chill day. Didn't do anything special. I'm trying to save the little money I do have cos I'm not sure when we're getting our advances.
So that's it. That's how my week went. Tomorrow, we go on a desert safari. Dune bashing, camel rides, sand boarding, eating an authentic meal, and watching the sun set in an Arabian desert. I SO can't wait! Enjoy my slideshow!


Rebecca Bany August 22, 2011 at 5:54 PM  

I can't wait for some cooler temperatures!


Rae August 23, 2011 at 1:33 PM  

Me neither. I heard it actually does get cold here in Abu Dhabi, which is a surprise. Where are you at?

sheena August 24, 2011 at 5:41 PM  

This is my first time reading your blog and I really enjoyed it. I wished I would have chronicled my adventures after college about my first career job.

Rae August 26, 2011 at 12:58 PM  

Thanks, Sheena. This isn't my first career job after college (I graduated college 13 yrs ago), but this IS a big change for me. So, you can actually chronicle any kind of change or period in your life. :)

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This blog is all about my adventures while living in Abu Dhabi. Come along with me for what will be an awesome experience. Sit back, relax, and enjoy the show!

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