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XYZ is for...X-ceptional, Yas Island, and Zip

 Sunday, April 29, 2012


I must say, overall, I'm impressed with Abu Dhabi...the whole country of UAE, actually. They're dreaming big with how they see their country in the future. I say there's nothing wrong with dreaming big. I know the country has issues, but what country doesn't? And it's a fairly new country - they just had their 40th birthday in December - so they're going to make mistakes. Lots of them. I'm willing to bet the US made lots of mistakes in its infancy (slavery being one of them). Heck, the US is still making mistakes and it's over 200 years old! I'm not excusing some of the behavior (like the sense of entitlement that so many people have here), I'm just saying I'm not surprised. 

I like Abu Dhabi. I like living here. I like the things I've been able to do. I like my journey. In case you hadn't noticed, this journey is so much more than just my working here. It's about growth and boy have I grown. I'm still growing. I've experienced a few challenges here and there, but overall, I'd say Abu Dhabi is an x-ceptional place to live!

Yas Island

Speaking of x-ceptional places, I can't talk about Abu Dhabi without mentioning Yas Island, a man-made island in Abu Dhabi. It's not totally developed yet, but what they have so far is amazing. Yas Island is home to several hotels, including the gorgeous 5-star Yas Hotel. It's also home to the Yas Island Circuit, where the Formula One Abu Dhabi Grand Prix is held, and Yas Arena, where many of the concerts are held. I had the privilege of seeing both Janet Jackson and Sade perform last fall at the Yas Arena. Both ladies were not only gorgeous, but their concerts were awesome. Guess what else is on Yas Island? FERRARI WORLD! Ferrari World is a theme park where the world's fastest roller coaster is at. I haven't been to Ferrari World, yet, but I do plan on going. Especially since I love roller coasters. I mean come on. The world's fastest roller coaster practically in my backyard? Too cool to pass up! Eventually, they plan to add more to Yas Island, including a Warner Bros Theme Park.

Photo courtesy of YasIsland.eu
This is a computerized image from thecoolist.com, but it really does look like this.
Formula Rossa, the world's fastest roller coaster. Photo courtesy of travel-loc.com


A word of caution. If you ever plan to visit or live in Abu Dhabi, make sure you are careful not to say "zip". This seemingly harmless English word means "penis" or a more crude word for the male anatomy, if you know what I mean. Thankfully, someone told me this before I used this word at school, but other teachers have had to learn the hard way. Telling the children to "zip your lips" will certainly cause a round of giggles.

And now for some Arabic vocabulary...

yellow - asfar
you - inta (male); inti (female)


W is for...Where Has The Time Gone?

 Saturday, April 28, 2012

I can't believe I've been here almost nine months already! Time sure does fly. The question that has been going around is: "If you knew then what you know now, would you have signed the contract?" My answer? Probably not. My first thought was I wish I'd known the whole truth about the struggles we'd face here. But then, I think, nah. I'm glad I wasn't told. Where I was mentally and spiritually a year ago, I wouldn't have signed up for more struggles. I was already struggling. God knew what He was doing. He knew I'd chicken out and not go.

I do not regret my move. I'm taking it all in, the good with the bad. I'm at a wonderful place in my life. Everything that has happened while here in Abu Dhabi is contributing to God's molding and transforming me. I'm not the same person I was a year ago. I'm better. Stronger. I've stepped out of my comfort zone and survived! Being outside of my zone isn't as bad as I thought. It's actually exhilarating. 

Nine months. Wow. I'm so looking forward to whatever these next 15 months will hold for me.

And now for some Arabic vocabulary...

wahed - one


U/V is for...Ultimate Vacation

 Thursday, April 26, 2012

Yes, I'm cheating. This week has been draining, I had no energy to blog, and now I'm behind. To catch up, I'm putting a few letters together. Mafi mushkila, right? BTW, "mafi mushkila" means "no problem" in Arabic.

On to my post...

This past spring break, I was blessed to be able to visit one of the top countries on my "must visit" list: Morocco. As you can tell from my M post that I LOVED Morocco. But, as much as I loved it, Morocco is not my top place. No, my loves. That honor is held by Puerto Rico. I've never been, so I can't explain why it has such a hold on me. I just know I've always wanted to go since high school. 

My original introduction to Puerto Rico happened during my Senior year of high school. Was it through pictures? No. Was it through history? No. It was through a gorgeous Puerto Rican boy. I can't remember where I met him. I don't even remember his name. All I remember is that fact that he was FINE. Man, that boy was gorgeous! Then along came celebrities like Jon Seda, Ricky Martin (as an adult), and eventually, my crush, Adam Rodriguez, and like that, I knew I had to go to Puerto Rico. So yes. I admit it. I originally wanted to go cos of the gorgeous Puerto Rican men. But eventually, I looked up pics of PR and became even more determined. I mean, come on. You can't tell me this is not beautiful.

Photo courtesy Puerto Rico Vacation Rentals
Or this...
Photo courtesy San Juan Vacations
Paradise, no?

So, you're probably wondering what does this have to do with Abu Dhabi? Well, it's cos of my job here in Abu Dhabi and the good money it pays, that I can finally say after 18 years (Eep! I've been out of high school that long?) I AM GOING TO PUERTO RICO! Yep. That's right. This August, I will spend a blessed week - or week and a half - on the beautiful beaches of San Juan, Puerto Rico. Resting, relaxing, flirting, dancing, enjoying the wonderful view of gorgeous Puerto Rican men beaches, surrounded by beautiful cabana boys water, listening to the soothing sounds of sexy men telling me how beautiful I am and how much they love me the waves crashing. Heehee. This, my friends, is my ultimate vacation!

And now for some Arabic vocabulary...
up: foak (fōk)
vegetables: khudra (khoodra...kh sound from the throat, as if you were about to spit)


T is for...Traditional Wear

 Monday, April 23, 2012

Men: The men's traditional clothing is known as the kandora, which looks kind of like a robe...or a man-dress. I've seen white, dark blue, tan, and black kandoras, but most of the men wear white. Now, I must say, I've never thought I'd find any man in a "dress" attractive, but I've seen some attractive men in kandoras here. Along with the kandora is the traditional headdress, keffiyeh. I've seen red/white as well as white with a black chord around it.
Yes, my dears. This is Snoop Dogg in a kandora. He came here to perform last May.
Women: Women wear abayas. Abaya means "black dress" which is exactly what it is. Sure, the abayas would have fancy decorations on it, but the dress itself is black. The headdress for women is called a shayla. Some women cover only their hair, while others cover all their face except the eyes. Still, others cover the entire face. I own three abayas: two that open in the front and one that I'd have to put on over my head. I only wear them to work. I love wearing the one I'd have to put over my head because it doesn't require me to dress up under it. I only wear yoga pants and a tank top with flip flops under it. Thanks to my being vertically challenged (aka, short), my abayas are so long, you wouldn't be able to see what kind of shoes I'd wear. We don't wear the shayla, because, from what I'm told, you only wear it if you're Muslim.

These women only leave their eyes uncovered.

And now for some Arabic vocabulary...

Ta'ala (male); Ta'alay (female) - Come with me.
thalatha - three
thamania - eight
tis'a - nine


S is for...Skype and Salsa

 Saturday, April 21, 2012

Thank God for Skype! I don't think I would've been able to live so far away from my family without being able to see them. It's so awesome how I can talk to my family and friends on the computer, while being on opposite sides of the world. I won't be surprised if, sometime in the future, we'll be skyping with holographic images of our loved ones. It will be them, but...not.

I've been taking Salsa classes since November. Yes, I know. Salsa dancing in a Middle Eastern country? But they do have Salsa nights. I've always loved to dance and was excited when I found out that a fellow teacher offered classes. The moves are getting more difficult now that I'm in the advanced class. I'm still not quite confident in my abilities, but I'll get there. I'd promised my little sister that I'd work on my salsa so, when I go back to the States, I'd go with her to Salsa clubs. My sister? Oh, she's a Salsa queen. I want to be like her when I grow up. Heehee.

And now for some Arabic vocabulary...

shokran (shoo - krahn) - thank you
sitta - six
sab'aa - seven


R is for...Religion

 Friday, April 20, 2012

Religion is a big thing here. The official religion practiced in the UAE is Islam, but thankfully, they practice freedom of religion. That was one of the first things I checked on when the opportunity to teach in Abu Dhabi came up. I wanted to be able to practice my faith freely, without having to look over my back. Abu Dhabi is full of churches, mosques, cathedrals, synagogues, etc. The thing the country asks of non-Muslim expats is for us not to proselytize, or try to convert others to their religion.

Emiratis themselves are very spiritual. I may not practice their religion, but I do admire their faithfulness. Five times a day, a call to prayer is heard throughout the city. They have prayer rooms in the schools, malls, and even some restaurants. In school, students are taught about Islam and the Qur'an. I'm always hearing them say Insha'Allah (Allah willing), or Alhamdulillah (Praise to God). Here is a picture of the Sheikh Zayed Grand Mosque, the largest mosque in the UAE and the 3rd largest in the world.

It's a gorgeous building, inside and out!

My coworkers do not practice my religion (Christianity) but they admire me for believing in a higher being. They respect me and love that I'm faithful to God. I do not plan on converting to Islam. Ever. But the faithfulness of the Emiratis to Allah inspire me to be just as faithful, if not more, to God and Jesus Christ.

And now for some Arabic vocabulary...

Ramadan Mobarak - Happy Ramadan (Islamic month of fasting)


Q is for...Quite An Experience

 Thursday, April 19, 2012

Despite the challenges I've faced while here in Abu Dhabi, I must admit: I'm totally enjoying myself. I've been doing things I haven't been able to do back home. I'm living out of my comfort zone and I'm loving it. For me, the good outweighs the bad. I would've have never dreamed I'd be here, thousands of miles away from my family, enjoying myself, living life to the fullest.

So far I've...

  • Met some awesome people
  • Attended a Janet Jackson concert...stood right by the stage!
  • Attended a SADE concert...all who knows me know I love me some Sade
  • Gone on a desert safari
  • Ridden on a camel
  • Camped out in the desert
  • Visited Morocco, one of the top countries on my "Most Visit" list
  • Moved into a high-rise apartment
  • Stayed several 5-star hotels
  • Visited the tallest building in the world
  • Held a snake without passing out
  • Ate at restaurants located in 5 (or more) star hotels
  • Swam in the beautiful waters of the Persian Gulf 
  • Learned more about myself
  • Learned more about God
And this is all in eight months. I so can't wait to see what God's got in store for me in the next 15 months. I don't know just yet if I'm going to renew my contract after my two years is over July 2013. Whether I do or not, when I go back home to the States, I'd be able to honestly say I've had quite an experience in Abu Dhabi!

And now for some Arabic vocabulary...

Qur'an - religious text of Islam


P is for...Pride

 Wednesday, April 18, 2012

Pride is a big thing here. This, I've noticed, can be both a good and bad thing.

Pride sometimes keep you from admitting it when you're wrong. Pride can make you feel like you're better than others. It can make you walk around with thought that you're untouchable. Pride can make you have a sense of entitlement...like because you have this, you're entitled to that. One thing that annoys me is when I'm at the store, waiting in line and someone waltzes right up to the front, skipping everyone else, with no apologies. The person ignores everyone else and looks at the cashier, or whoever, as if they need to drop everything and wait on them. It's important to remember, though: "Pride goes before destruction, a haughty spirit before a fall" (Proverbs 16:18). The US had to learn this the hard way.

Don't get me wrong. Not everyone here walks around with an air of superiority. I've met some awesome locals. The hospitality of some of the Emiratis is amazing. We could learn from some of them. Some, though do have this "I'm better than you because I have millions of dollars" attitude. To me, it's the ones who are hospitable - who don't have the attitude - that makes my stay here awesome. I've learned to ignore the rest. Or pray for them. Honestly, I don't think they know any better. This is a fairly young country who came upon a crazy amount of money in such a short time. I believe it's this young generation - the ones I'm teaching - who will make the changes this country needs.

On the good side, they have such an awesome pride in their country. The students start in KG (earlier, if parents start) learning the national anthem as well as the pledge. And they take it so serious. The kids know they're not supposed to move when singing the anthem or saying the pledge. The kids can also recognize a map of their country. At least my students can. Our letter for this week is "U", so of course, a vocabulary word is, "U.A.E." I showed a map of the U.A.E. and before I could get the words out, the kids got excited saying, "Emirat! Emirat!" This is amazing considering the kids are only 3 and 4. There are people - adults - in the States who wouldn't even be able to tell you where the state of Illinois is. Emirati children are taught at a young age to love their country and have pride in being an Emirati. While I know American pride is still alive, I think, somewhere down the line, that pride diminished. A lot of people don't teach their kids to be proud to be an American.

Let me tell you, America has its issues. I don't agree with everything that happens in there. Sometimes, I'm embarrassed by the tactics of Americans. But I am proud to be an American. I love my country...just as much as Emiratis love their country. I love the U.A.E. This is a pretty awesome to live, despite the problems I've noticed. It's beautiful here. But as far as countries go, America will always have my heart.

And now for some Arabic vocabulary. There aren't any words equivalent to "p", so I'm using English vocab again...

purple - banafsaji
Peace be upon you - Assalamu alaikum (This is the greeting. The response is "Walaikum assalam.")


O is for...Over the Top

 Tuesday, April 17, 2012

One thing I've noticed is that Emiratis love their bling. I see evidence of this everywhere. From their jewelry to their cars. We hardly ever see the locals in anything other than their traditional wear, but even that's decorated.

Back home, when someone has gotten engaged, the gift is usually something the new couple can use in their new married life. Here, they get gold. Real gold. Back home, when someone is sick, they'd usually receive flowers and a card from coworkers and friends. Here? Jewelry or expensive perfume.

So yeah. They are all about the bling here. I guess when you're worth millions of dollars, you can afford to be blinged out.

And now for some Arabic vocabulary...

I haven't learned Arabic words that would phonetically start with an 'o' yet, so, I'm using an English 'o' word...

orange - bortukali (bor-tu-KAHL-i)


N is for...No Car

 Monday, April 16, 2012

I do plan on visiting other blogs and commenting. I just haven't had the time or the energy. But I will soon.

N is for...No Car

I miss driving. I didn't think I'd ever miss it this much, but I do.

Before moving to Abu Dhabi, I sold my car, an electric green 1999 Ford Mustang. She was my baby. I absolutely LOVED my car; had a hard time with the decision to sell her. She was the first car I'd bought myself. I loved her cos she was a 'Stang, but even more so cos there weren't too many cars on the road her color. That was the main reason why I chose that specific color. I don't have a pic of my baby with me, but she was similar to this car...

Anyway, I sold her cos she was sick. It would've cost me more to keep her. And a mechanic was interested in paying more than I thought I'd get, so there you have it.

I have not bought a car here in Abu Dhabi, nor do I plan to. But I do plan on renting one sometime soon. Taxis are cool, but after awhile, you want to be able to go places without having to count on taxis or other people. And like I said. I miss driving. I'll have a car one day soon. Until then, I'll let other people navigate through the madness of Abu Dhabi streets. The driving here...crazy. I don't look forward to dealing with that.

And now for some Arabic vocabulary...

na'am - yes


M is for...Morocco and Mom

 Sunday, April 15, 2012

I know my theme this month is my Abu Dhabi experience, so you're probably wondering what does Morocco have to do with Abu Dhabi. It's part of my experience, I promise.

Three weeks ago, we had our Spring Break. 

Best. Spring Break. Ever. 

The first week, I went to Marrakech, Morocco. I LOVED it! OMG, it was so beautiful! Although Morocco is a predominantly Arab country like the U.A.E. it was not the same. The atmosphere was different. Friendlier. More relaxed. I saw more smiles. Don't get me wrong. Abu Dhabi is a great place to live. And there are some friendly people. It's just that I saw more in Morocco. Marrakech isn't as rich as Abu Dhabi. I didn't see many high rise buildings. But it was still beautiful to me. And it rained! It doesn't rain much here, so we were excited to see rain. Mountains, waterfalls, greenery, all add to the beauty of Marrakech. 

I love the accent of the people there. They speak French, Arabic, English, and Berber (Berbers are the indigenous people of Morocco...kind of like the US Native Americans). Their accent was a mixture of French & Arabic. Beautiful. I especially love the accent when a gorgeous man spoke. Yes, the men were gorgeous. I'd heard about Moroccan men before going, but I paid no attention to it. I'm glad to say it is true. The men - actually, the men and women - are beautiful.

I have to say, I fell in love with Morocco. If they were hiring English teachers, that would be the next place I move to (unless, of course Puerto Rico came calling). By the way, we also visited Casablanca. Gorgeous as well! I took too many pics to add, but here are a few...

Mountain View

We climbed a mountain to see the beautiful waterfalls!

Takes your breath away, doesn't it?

Beautiful Casablanca beach!
The second week, my mom visited. I was so excited! I miss my family and having my mom with me...priceless. We relaxed the first few days so she could get over her jetlag and time difference. We visited the Grand Mosque, Dubai, Emirates Palace, Marina Mall, went on a dinner cruise...and enjoyed each other's company. By the time she left, Mama said she felt like a queen. I'm glad, cos she so deserves it. I love my mommy!
We visited the Grand Mosque. Had to wear shaylas in order to get in.
And now for some Arabic vocabulary...

ma'a salama - goodbye
marhaban - welcome


L is for...Languages

 Saturday, April 14, 2012

I am a woman on a mission. That mission - should I choose to accept it (sorry couldn't resist) - is to become multilingual. Knowing only one language is so...blah. Knowing more than one language, tho, opens up a whole new world.

Since I live in Abu Dhabi now, I'm trying to learn Arabic. It's a beautiful language. And they talk so passionately here...with so much expression. I'm not so sure I'll be able to read & write it. I mean, it looks so confusing! For example, the word, car, looks like this, سيارة (I got this from Google Translate, by the way). I've learned that it sounds like sayara. I'm learning more and more Arabic words everyday. Not so sure about writing/reading it, but who knows. Hopefully, I'll be able to hold a basic conversation in Arabic. One thing I notice is they love it when you make an attempt to speak their language.

I wish I'd started learning new languages as a kid. It's so much easier to learn when you're young. I see my students and how quickly they're picking up English within less than a year. They're going to be totally bilingual before they even reach the 6th grade! Unfortunately, I started in my late teens. I know and understand Spanish, tho I'm still learning how to respond.

But I started and that's what counts. I'm determined to be multilingual. And when the time comes for me to have kids, so they will be multilingual, too. 

So, after I've conquered Spanish and Arabic, what language should I learn? Japanese? French? Portuguese? Who knows! The sky's the limit!

And now for some Arabic vocabulary...

la - no


K is for...KG1

 Friday, April 13, 2012

I teach the local children, literacy, math, and science (all in English).

Public education in Abu Dhabi has four groups: KG (1 & 2), Cycle One (1st - 5th grade), Cycle Two (6th - 9th grade), and Cycle Three (10th - 12th grade). When I started my Abu Dhabi journey, I'd hoped for Cycle One, more specifically 4th grade. After all, my favorite age group was 4th - 8th grade, and my employer was not hiring for Cycle Two. I'd hoped and prayed for 4th grade. In my interview, I was told 4th grade boys (beginning in Cycle One, boys & girls are separated). I came to Abu Dhabi expecting 4th grade.

Then I got my assignment.

I was going to a KG school. Just so you know, KG1 is equivalent to US preschool and KG2 is equivalent to US Kindergarten. KG??? I sooo didn't want KG, but that's where they sent me. My school is brand new. We met a few weeks before school started so we could come up with everything that comes with being a new school. We patiently - ok impatiently - waited for our assignments. I'd hoped for KG2 instead of KG1.

Then I got my assignment.

KG1...three and four year olds. I've never taught kids that small! I don't count summer camp at church. I swallowed my disappointment and started the school year with a positive attitude.

I must admit. This is one time I've been glad God said no to my prayer request and gave me something else. I absolutely adore my students. They're my babies. So precious and wanting to soak up everything they learn. Yes, some of the behavior drives me crazy. The good thing is, they're at the age where we can change certain behaviors that they've gotten away with elsewhere. And seeing their growth! Man, I LOVE watching them grow. I have students who didn't say anything at the beginning of the school year & now they're participating in class, playing with their classmates. I have students who cried at the beginning of the school year cos they wanted to stay home with mommy. I mean, everyday. Crying like someone was doing terrible harm to them. And now? They love coming to school. When they call my name, run to me, and give me big hugs? Ahhh, pulls at the heartstrings. And their English! Some of them have picked up English quickly. They even help with the students who may be still struggling.

My employer made changes, so I now have two classes instead of one. Double the work, but double the kids for me to reach (have to think positive about this change or I'd go crazy, lol). Here is what my schedule looks like:

  • 8:00 - 8:30 Calendar
  • 8:30 - 10:00 Class #1
  • 10:00 - 10:40 Planning Time
  • 10:40 - 12:10 Class #2
  • 12:10 - 12:30 Dismissal
Looks easy, huh? Students leave at 12:30, but teachers have to stay til 2. Teaching 50 three and four year-olds who don't understand my language isn't as easy as people think. Although my day ends at 2, I'm usually DRAINED by the time I get home. It feels as if I was at school all day. I don't love the technicalities of teaching (how they want you to teach, the paper work, the evaluations, etc), but I love teaching. Despite the energy I lose and the technicalities, I love what I do. The excitement my students get when they understand a concept in English is soooo contagious. Seeing the smiles on their faces, hearing the excitement, having them show their love for me, makes it all worth it.

I'm so glad God put me in KG1. Did I mention they're my babies? Cos they are. My heart. I love my babies!

And now for some Arabic vocabulary...

kabeer - big
khamsa - five (the "kh" sound is from your throat...like your about to spit; gross I know, but that's the only way I could describe it).


J is for...Jogging

 Thursday, April 12, 2012

Ok, so you're probably wondering what in the world does jogging have to do with my Abu Dhabi experience, right? It's because it's here in Abu Dhabi that I've actually taken up jogging. Well ok, more like walk/jog, but must we be so technical? Believe me, my doing any kind of running is huge cos I don't like running. At all. Walking as a form of exercise? Of course. Dancing? I LOVE dancing! Running? Yeah, not so much.

It's my friend's fault. She pestered me into, um I mean she convinced me to jog around the area where our apartment building is located. I figured, I'm in Abu Dhabi, doing new things, why not add jogging to my new experiences? So yeah. I'm jogging. Ok, walk/jog, but whatever. I even bought brand new running shoes. I was so excited about my purchase - I mean, what woman doesn't get excited about new shoes - anyway, I was so excited, I told her about it. What did I do that for? Now, she's got us running (me, walk/jogging) more. *blank stare*

I'm not gonna complain too much, tho. Especially when I see the results. Who knows. Maybe I'll actually like running.

Then again. Maybe not.

And now for some Arabic vocabulary...

Al Jum'a - Friday


I is for...I Love My Life!

 Wednesday, April 11, 2012

I love my life!

Really I do. I mean, sure there are a few things I'd add, like a husband, children, and a successful writing career/business. And yes, there are things I'd get rid of, like pesky student loans and these unwanted pounds, but overall? I. Love. My. Life.

I am so blessed. Even without this Abu Dhabi experience. God has been so good to me my whole life. BUT, I'll just concentrate on my recent experience. I feel I need to remind you that this time last year, I was seriously struggling financially. I'd been subbing, which started out paying pretty good, but ended up not being enough to pay bills. I'd applied to several jobs, got close to being hired, then for some reason, I didn't get the jobs. Talk about heartbreak. I'd seriously thought something was wrong with me. Why am I not getting hired? Am I missing something? These questions and more went through my mind. And then came the opportunity to teach in Abu Dhabi, an opportunity that I was only seconds away from ignoring when I heard a still small voice say, "Go for it."

I won't go through the story again. You can read the posts here and here. Needless to say, I got the job and now I'm here in Abu Dhabi, having the time of my life. Yes, I've experienced challenges. Yes, I've felt like going back home at times, but God has been with me every step of the way, pushing me, keeping me from giving up. He's been giving me the strength I need. And overall, the experience have been a good one.

And let me not forget the fact that I have an awesome and supportive circle of family, friends, and church family. While I'm here, on the other side of the world, they are back home praying for me, encouraging me, and following my goings-on. The funny thing is, some of them have told me that they're living through me. ME! Never thought I'd hear someone tell me they'd be living life vicariously through me. It still boggles my mind. I love my support.

God will eventually add the husband, children, and successful writing career/business. I'll eventually get rid of the loans and the unwanted poundage. But other than that, I wouldn't trade my life for anything!

And now for some Arabic vocabulary...

ismee - my name is... (although some say it's esmee, guess it depends on where you are).


H is for...Henna

 Tuesday, April 10, 2012

I know I'm a day behind with the posts. No worries, I'll be all caught up by Sunday.

Henna is actually a plant with different uses. The most popular uses here in AD are temporary tattoo and hair coloring. The most popular areas where women get henna are the feet and hands/arms. They get intricate tattoos that sometimes cover both the top and sole of the foot or a design that starts at the hand and continues on up the arm. I've seen some beautiful henna designs as well as hair color. 

From what I hear, henna is very popular with brides here. They get an intricate design, where the artist hides his/her name within the design. During the wedding night, the new husband tries to find the name. Interesting, right? Makes for an interesting wedding night. ;)

I've been thinking about getting henna, especially when my time comes to walk the aisle. I've seen gorgeous henna design that sparkles. I'm thinking that's what I'll be getting when I get married.

And now for more Arabic vocabulary...

hatha - this


G is for...Garretts Popcorn

 Sunday, April 8, 2012

Ok, so I know Garretts Popcorn isn't an Abu Dhabi thing, but it is apart of my Abu Dhabi experience. Let me explain. 

Garretts happens to be the BESTEST popcorn in the whole wide world. It's Chicago-style popcorn.

Best. Popcorn. Ever.

I was born in Chicago and lived there til a few months before my eighth birthday. I still have family in Chicago. Whenever the Houston family go back home to Chicago, what is one of the places we absolutely MUST visit? Why, the Garretts Popcorn shop, of course. If we came back to Houston without Garretts, the rest of the fam would not be happy.

Oh how I love the yummylisciousness of the Chicago Mix. Side Note: I know I've made up a new word in "yummylisciousness" but I'm a writer, so I can do that...call it poetic license if you must. Anyway, the Chicago Mix is Caramel Crisp popcorn mixed with Cheese Popcorn. The sweet flavor of caramel mixed with the cheesy flavor of cheese...YUM! 

Chicago Mix
 And, since I have a sweet tooth, I can eat the Caramel Crisp all by itself.

Caramel Crisp
So, what does this have to do with my Abu Dhabi experience? There are not one, but TWO Garretts Popcorn shops in Dubai, both located in the Dubai Mall. Do you know how ecstatic I was when I heard this? Sweet, cheesy yummylisciousness only an hour away. And before you ask, YES, if I had a car, I would so make that hour trip just to get the popcorn, it's just that good. I've had friends wonder about my Garretts obsession. They thought I was crazy...til they tasted it. They love it, of course.

If you have never tasted Garretts before, WHAT ARE YOU WAITING FOR? Chicago and Dubai are the only places I know of that has shops, but you can order it online. Watch out, tho. You just may become addicted!


F is for...Free

I love that word. Free. 

Another thing that attracted me to teaching in Abu Dhabi - besides the beaches - was the benefits from the employer. I mean, an untaxed salary? Travel allowance at the end of each school year? Furniture/appliance allowance? Living rent-FREE in a high rise apt? Yeah, I was so there. I don't know what I expected when they told us they'd put us up in housing. It sure wasn't a high-rise apartment. I love my roomy, 2 bedroom home away from home. And I have an awesome view. My only bill is the cable/internet bill. We will eventually start paying electricity, but that hasn't happened yet. Here is a pic of my apt building...

So, yeah. Free is an excellent word!

And now for more Arabic vocabulary...

Febrayer (feb-brah-yer) - February


E is for...Emirati vs Expat

 Saturday, April 7, 2012

E is for Emirati vs Expat

The locals in the UAE are called Emiratis. Less than 20% of the UAE population are native Emiratis.The rest of the residents are known as Expats (expatriates), people who've moved here for work. Though most of the people who live in AD are expats, it's the Emirati people who hold most of the money. The word emirati actually means "commander". 

And now for some Arabic vocabulary...

Esmee - My name is...


D is for...Dubai

D is for Dubai

Dubai is not only the name of an emirate in the UAE, but it's also the name of a city in the emirate. Dubai has the largest population and the second largest land territory in all of UAE. Let me just say that, while I love Abu Dhabi, I LOVE Dubai. I guess cos it reminds me more of the US than Abu Dhabi. Parts of Dubai looks like a big, busy US city. Dubai is home to several cool buildings and designs.

Atlantis, The Palm

Burj Al Arab - one of the world's most luxurious hotels

Burj Khalifa - the tallest building in the world, featured in Mission Impossible 4

The Palm - a set of islands in the shape of a palm tree

The World - a set of islands in the shape of the world; still under construction
This is what it'll look like when completed!
And now for Arabic vocabulary...

dub - bear


About This Blog

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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