So the last 5 months have been so exciting. From flights to JHB for interviews, Skype calls deluxe and documentation coming out of my ears the time has finally arrived...
As I sit here typing, it is 39 degrees outside and 21h48 on Sunday evening! I'm also sitting in a room on the 10th floor of the 5 star Intercontinental hotel in Abu Dhabi listening to 5fm via Live Streaming! Loving life!
Friday August 7th, 2015
My new life and total adventure began in earnest on Friday at 15h35, when I boarded a plane from DBN to JHB. After an awesome Sushi lunch at CTFM I took to the air en-route to Abu Dhabi via JHB.
Now for those of you who know me well will know that I HATE airports, more than you can actually imagine, so once I had said my goodbyes I turned my back and NEVER looked back! (Sorry Mom, Dad, Dean and Gramps - but I just couldn't. Just like I won't return to College for a year in order to move on, I have made this decision and I have to follow what I promise myself!)
Once I had gone through the gates ready to board I was lucky enough to meet up with a old work colleague from College, Daniel Becker who (along with his wife and daughter) have been in the UAE for 5 years and starting his 6th with ADEC (same company as ME! - crazy hey!), we chatted before boarding our connecting flight to JHB. Once in JHB I met up with awesome friends Mike, Cathy and the boys (Marc and James). Was so great to catch up with them before the international flight. Having this special family in my life has been beyond awesome and I will miss them and their incredible humour! Cathy has to be the most amazing person, surrogate mother and friend as only she would source me a gift which I had NO space for!
Cathy (and family) know just how to make me smile, this canvas of the twins, Bech and I will be cherished and have a special place in my new apartment! Pity there isn't a nice photo of you and I Cath? Thanks to the Béchet's for an awesome catch up in JHB.
I then embarked on a 7 and a half hour flight to Abu Dhabi. My ticket was booked through an Abu Dhabi travel agency and was with Etihad Airways. I've only ever flown to the UK and that was a number of years ago but I have to be honest that the flight and plane was nothing to shout home about however, very grateful as I didn't pay a cent!
Saturday August 8th, 2015
The flight was LOOOOOOOOOOOOONNNNNNG as I didn't sleep a wink! Even after taking two sleeping tabs! Nothing! Not sure if it was comfort (or lack thereof?), excitement or both! Anyway, we landed in Abu Dhabi at 06h20 the next morning and I was bursting for the bathroom! Little did I know that I would be waiting in an immigration queue for over 45 mins, so by the time I found a bathroom I was really in pain! I will never learn though! Stupid me!
From the airport we hit a wall. I mean crashed into a wall. I mean walked out the door! The heat literally hit you as you walked out the door, the humidity was indescribable, and the best possible adjective or phrase to use would be say it is like walking around with a wet balaclava on your face after running 5kms. It feels as if you are sucking at air just to breathe! I welcomed the aircon on the bus and tried as hard as I could to just simply slow down all movements to lessen the heat effect. That didn't work so well!
We arrived at the hotel and were ushered into our rooms for a quick refresh and then some breakfast.
View of our hotel from the bus.
My bed, hello sweet friend....
View from my hotel window!
After breakfast I had a much needed snooze.
At around 18h00 ish our time (16h00 back home in SA) Daniel SMSed and said that he was going to his home nearby to watch the rugby (or so it is what they call it!) so he, Marc (an awesome guy from Mooi River I have met here) and I headed over to his place for pizza and cartoons - I mean Springbok rugby!
One highlight was the Savannah Light I was able to enjoy during the game - Thanks Dan - you are a champ!
Unfortunately due to UAE law the section of comments about the game has been edited out!
So night one did not end favourably thanks to the men in green and gold - however, as a friend of mine on Facebook said: "If you choose not to support them in their down times, don't celebrate when we win the world cup!" So they will remain my team!
Sunday August 9th, 2015 - Happy women's day back home!
We were up early this morning for our day of Orientation which took place at another hotel in Abu Dhabi. Now I have always known that there were span teachers coming from all around the world but never in a million years did I think it would be so many!
I was seated near the front (row 6) and there were around 35 rows behind me with each row seating 40 people.
We then went through, what can only be described as an information OVERLOAD. I mentioned to Marc seated next to me that I hoped that the kids I taught never felt like that as it was unbearable!
From Housing forms, medical requirements to bank details, banking, transport, security deposits to sim cards, housing allowances to the all important region placement. It was all too much!
Coming over the the UAE has always been a goal of mine and I would never have come over if I was not ready for change! Ready I am! I have been placed in the Western Region (Desert to be accurate! - More geographic term - Middle of NOWHERE - shame it isn't so bad. Google the place if you dare. My new home town is Madinat Zayded, Al Gharbia, Abu Dhabi.
Having survived that, we returned to the hotel and have had the rest of the afternoon/evening off. I made my way to the closest mall to get some dinner and bank my first cheque - exciting, and signifying the start of this amazing journey!
Are you ready, because I certainly am!