Image Map

Dec 31, 2014

Happy New Years Eve!

I hope that whatever your evening brings, you have a safe and happy New Year's Eve celebration. I will be welcoming 2015 in while on a desert safari! 

Dec 30, 2014

2015 prep

With all of the craziness that is what I call my life right now, I feel like I blinked my eyes and December is almost gone and I am facing another year head on. Going with my mantra, "If you fail to plan, you plan to fail" I think it is best going into a new year (or even a new month or week) with a goal or at least a plan of things I'd like to accomplish. I refuse to call them resolutions. I think those are made to be broken. 

So here are my big picture goals for 2015 that I will make baby steps for each month:

1. Have at least $15,000 saved.

2. I'd love to do a blogging challenge that covers the entire year, do you know of one?

3. Grow my blog to 500 readers.

4. Gain at least 3 stamps in the passport.

5. Kick the soda habit.

6. Learn the Arabic basics.

So what is your plan for 2015?

Dec 29, 2014

Furnituring & Napping for Weekending

It is always a bit difficult to remember to do any weekending link ups since my new weekend is Friday/Saturday. By Monday I forget and I am in on day two of my week and yadda yadda. However, this weekend was pretty decent so I may as well share.

Friday I decided that I needed to get busy with shopping for some furniture. I hit up the Gold Souk aka Madinat Zayed Mall. For your reference, the mall looks nothing on the inside as the pictures depict. It is more of a flea market type place, only the stores are actual stores and not booths like a traditional flea market.  However it does offer this "spiral escalator".

It is a little overwhelming as per usual Abu Dhabi, it is a large place. However, I wandered around the mostly Abaya stores (I have to get some more made) but I was on the hunt for furniture. I knew that I would be getting the keys to my new apartment on Sunday so I wanted to have an idea of how much I would be looking at. It is quite expensive when you have to furnish a home from scratch. I want a gray couch. I don't know why really other than I want to do the accent colors of teal, turquoise, and purple. So I guess it just fits.

So this gray couch has turned into a wild goose chase. I have found some that I really like, but they are not quite "it". I want separate couches, my hubby really wants a sectional which I am not opposed to so that doesn't keep me to just one type but the perfect gray couch continues to alluded me.  However, here are some that caught my eye:

I don't know exactly why this set has caught my eye.. but it is that chic, unique look that I am loving. This is my absolute favorite - only the couches and I do like the curtains but that is a whole other bear to be tackled at a later date.

This is the original couch I was going to purchase from IKEA sans owl pillow. I love owls, don't get me wrong. These owl look like they are hungry and will eat your eye as your sleeping.  This couch may still make it into the apartment and get shuffled to the upstairs living room once I decide on a nice set. Not that this isn't nice but for the space we have it will get swallowed up. 

How funny. I didn't notice but I guess this couch and the IKEA one are fraternal twinsies.

This sofa is the one that my husband really likes. It is really nice, and almost gray but is a dark brown. I was convinced that it looked gray until I uploaded this picture and I am seeing it on my computer screen rather than on my iPhone screen. Boo. I like the style of this but I.Want.Gray. Damnit.

I also scouted out beds, tables, chairs, and other miscellaneous household items before I threw in the towel. These are only a few of the pictures from probably 60 or so and several hours. There are just too many options. My husband is the decorator - I am the buyer. Not because I have the money but I have the haggling abilities and have absolutely no shame in asking for discounts, free delivery, and I don't do 8 hour delivery time frame windows. So as you can - I am missing an integral piece.

Saturday I went to the unbelievable breakfast buffet here in the hotel {that is dripping in sarcasm} and had some toast. It has been a running joke with my sister about the off the wall offerings here at the hotel on the breakfast buffet. As a friend said, it is like a T.G.I. Friday's exploded. They have toast, some juices, fruit, penne pasta, chicken wings, onion rings, egg rolls, scrambled eggs, pizza, apple pie, olives, pickles, hummus amongst many other random things. Truly bizarre. While at breakfast with another guy from my group he told me that he had English channels on his T.V. - say what?! I had not found any so I had given up and quit T.V. cold turkey. So when I got back to the room, I tried it out and hit a few buttons and by gosh I found movies. Only two channels, but I'd take it. I say on the couch, which turned into laying on the couch, which turned into napping on the couch. I woke up about 9:30pm had some M&M's and hot tea and went back to bed. I guess I needed the down day.

Sunday (my Monday) I went to ADEC first thing to pick up my contract as I was meeting the property manger at noon. I have to give props to the lady in housing (I won't use her name, she may not appreciate that) but she definitely runs a tight ship and was wonderful to me. I will be taking her some dates probably this week as a thank you. After picking that up, went right next store to the little coffee shop and had the best latte and breakfast I've had since being here in AD.

Who doesn't love pretty drinks?! 

Met up with my property manager at noon and finally got my {multiple sets of} keys! 

The view from my living room overlooking the Persian Gulf.

That, my friends, is how you end a great weekend!

Bella And The City

Dec 27, 2014

Expat Journey, V2: Authenticating Docs, Items to Pack & Cell phone needs

As promised, here is the second post of this series "So you wanna teach overseas".  If you miss my timeline of events check that post out because that is always a hot questions as well. I am not an expert but since I have recently lived all this I figured sometimes it is just easy to share to ease the mind of people that are making this journey or even just thinking about it.

So you've been offered a position in Abu Dhabi by way of TeachAway and now you have to gather up your documents and get them authenticated. I waited until I had the offer letter to authenticate because I knew that it was going to be costly. Major props to all those who do most of the authentication on their own. Me, not so much. I was under a major time crunch since I has an ASAP leave time and I was scared to death I would do something wrong.  Here is what I needed to have authenticated:

1. Current teaching certificate (I made a color copy at Kinkos to send)
2. My highest degree (again, a color copy)
3. My marriage certificate (obvi. you won't need this if you're flying solo)

My cost = $520
Yeah you read that correctly. If you only have 2 docs it should be about $370.

If you are a parent traveling with kiddos and/or your divorced there are other papers you have to get authenticated as well (like birth certificates, spouses permission, etc). The lady at ProEx is great, and can walk you through everything. I only had to worry about sending her my papers and she did everything else. I HIGHLY recommend them.

If you want to do the document authentication process on your own (mad props!) take a look at this post by another expat who gives really good directions.

Once you get those docs back DO NOT TAKE THEM APART!!! They will have stamps and ribbon and be bolted together. I am pretty sure I had the ribbon and the bolt thing in my craft room but it was all done. Now scan and send them to TeachAway.

So the burning question..What do I pack?!

Well I thought I had all of this figured out. However, when I took my 3 suitcases to the airline counter and was told I could have 2 of the three and to make my decision, I wasn't prepared. I needed everything I packed. Everything. Yeah, I didn't need everything but I wanted everything. So here are my must haves, or rather what I wish I would have brought more of:

*T-shirts - maybe I am just picky but I like what I like.
*Workout pants/capris - especially more if you plan on wearing an Abaya for work
*Tennis shoes - they have them here, but I think they are cheaper in the states
*Any hair products you are a die hard about (for me, deep conditioners or straightening serum) or brand specific.
-----they have several brands (Tresemme, Pantene, Herbal Essence, Lorel Vive) available but if you are a Paul Mitchell or Salon Brand person -bring some and have some shipped over. I haven't found them yet.
*Make up foundation. I wear exclusively MAC - the studio finish liquid make up is $58 a bottle! You can get it here... but it is not as cheap as the states. They also have Maxfactor, Lorel, and Maybelline; I have not found covergirl yet.
*Plus size clothing - bring clothing that you are comfortable in. I have found business clothes in larger sizes but for the most part, its size 0-14 or 16. I found 18 in a few places. Same for guys.
*Shoes- If you wear a size 10 or larger in ladies, you might want to bring your favorites. I have been able to find size 10 shoes, but it is not as accessible. I'd say save the room in your bags and buy here. It is not impossible to find.
*Passport photos - it has taken a few weeks to figure out why I need these, but I have to give one to my landlord, to the property management company, to ADEC. You will use them just not right away.
*Apple TV or Roku- I brought my Apple TV with me. I also have subscriptions to Netflix, Hulu, and Amazon Prime for movies.
*Headphones- my dad gave me beats with the noise canceling feature before I got on the plane. They were the best thing ever on that long flight.
*iPad/Laptop - I would definitely bring one or both. Keep in mind that many schools do not have laptops or computers for their teachers so you could be using your own. I brought a MacBook Air because the school computers are riddled with viruses.
*Pens - my family will laugh about this one, but I am a pen snob and I only like to write with certain pens. Again, this is a preference thing. Also Sharpie markers and Expo board markers if you are particular about brands.
*GPS - like a Garmin or Tomtom - when you rent a car it will be a life saver. I am great with directions and I paid attention a lot in the cabs so I am without one. I also can use my cell phone sometimes to load the map feature but sometimes it doesn't work. Or bring a good ol' map.

*Unlocked cell phone- You will need a GSM unlocked cell phone if you want to pick up a SIM card and be ready to go once you land. You can also buy a phone here, this is a preference thing if you want to shell out the money when you get there. Here is what I did:
1. Switched my service to T-Mobile before I left the states. They have coverage here in the UAE.
--My plan includes international coverage so I have my same unlimited texting and unlimited data with calls being .20 cents a minute. I have been using my phone on Wifi Calling in the hotel and the calls are free as well. My coverage is fantastic as they are partnered with Du (local provider here) and I have been extremely pleased with my service.
2. Before I left the U.S. I requested the unlock code from T-Mobile (keep in mind this takes about 72 hours to get sometimes so plan accordingly).  This means I can take out my US SIM card and put in the UAE SIM card to use my phone with a UAE number.
*I choose to not switch back and forth between the two; therefore, I carry two phones.

I did not want to do that but with my excellent plan from T-Mobile why give up that service, plus I am not losing my number from back home. I have an additional T-Mobile phone from home (also unlocked) and I have my UAE SIM card in that phone.
--Note: I was reluctant to getting the UAE SIM because I felt I didn't need it. WRONG! Everything here is done by SMS (text) and you cannot open your bank account without a local number. Go ahead and get the SIM card when you arrive.
--you will need a color copy of your passport which you can obtain from the hotel front lobby and your work visa for the SIM card

I feel like the packing should really be focused on necessities. If you want it, you can 95% find it here. There are more shops and malls that you can even imagine. However, if there is something that you are die hard, gotta have it - then bring it and buy some to leave at home so people can ship it to you. You can also ship things here in a barrel of sorts. Some of the ladies in my group did that! Good for spices, toiletries, and other things. They said it was very cost effective so I would google that for your area.

As always, if you have something specific you want to know about just comment or shoot me an email!

Dec 25, 2014

The Christmas that wasn't

What I am going to say might shock you. You know that run for the hills, she must have bumped her head, shock. This is my first Christmas, that wasn't. 
I couldn't be more grateful.

I love Christmas. I love the hustle and bustle. I love the shopping, the gift wrapping, the cookies, the candy, the food, and family time. I have never, ever, ever wished for a Christmas that I had none of those things. I, quite frankly, have always been an eager participant of the "hallmarking" of this holiday even though I know the true meaning. I keep my shopping list, which I never stick to, and I get the ultimate high of giving someone that awesome gift that I know that they will appreciate. So how in the heck am I enjoying my day, alone in an Abu Dhabi hotel while the entire rest of the world is eagerly awaiting Santa to bring his reindeer to their homes in anticipation of culminating morning that many Americans look forward to all month. It is simple - I have experienced Christmas for what it truly is supposed to be about. Reflection, thankfulness, and love.

Now, let me not sugar coat the fact that the last three days this girl has been driving the hot mess express because I wasn't sure how to cope with no gifts, no tree, no family, nothing that pertains to the holidays as usual. I have cried, been down in the dumps, and even said I want to go home. It has been torture of another level watching my Facebook feed stream endless Christmas memories that I encounter each year. However, with no lights to look at and no presents to wrap it made me dig deep and figure out how I was going to make it through Christmas Eve and Christmas Day without being a heaping mess.

I decided to be grateful.

While I miss my family, I now know how much I love and cherish them. Each text is answered promptly, important questions are asked.. not just the type you ask to create small talk. It is so much more meaningful now. I can't even express how much I miss my husband - but I know that the empty feeling is temporary. I know how a complete understanding of those who don't have their perfect match to spend time with, how empty, and sometimes painfully lonely, that feeling is. I have a new found love for my husband, one that I wouldn't have discovered sitting at home around a Christmas tree with twinkling lights. I am so thankful for my friends. How often we take for granted the ease of picking up a phone, texting or just dropping by. Now all calls are methodically planned and each minute is savored. How much richer my friendships are now, than if I was still back home.

I tried to go to midnight mass last night (I'm not Catholic) just to have a taste of home, the holidays, something. However, Abu Dhabi had other plans. With limited street signs, my phone deciding maps was not going to work I, instead, took a driving tour of Abu Dhabi and its neighborhoods. I finally stumbled upon the church which every other expat had. The road was closed off, people were parked in the streets an there was no getting to the church. Plus it was a little after midnight. As I sat in the car, I looked around and noticed that most of these people were Westerners like me. It was at that moment, and after a conversation with my good friend, that the message was clear. I am not alone here, as I have been grappling with the last few days. The perfect message for me - it renewed my spirit tremendously. It is about so much more than what I originally thought.

So you see, this Christmas that wasn't, was.

Merry Christmas!

Dec 21, 2014

Expat Journey: So you wanna teach overseas v.1

If all sentiments could ever be captured in a graphics about making the move to teach overseas, I am pretty sure that the above says just about everything - you'd just need to multiple it like 32 times for accuracy.

I figured that since I have gotten several messages since coming to Abu Dhabi, it might just be easiest if I do a few post about the prep work that brought me over here to the sandbox. Please keep in mind that this is my journey and everyones experience is at least a little different.

I began this journey with a recruiting agency called TeachAway. I had a great experience with this company and would highly recommend them to anyone who is thinking of venturing outside of the U.S. to teach. You don't have to pay for their service, it is pretty straightforward and I thought the recruiting ladies were awesome. They always answered questions and kept us informed which is critical when your life is hanging in the balance going through this process.

This is my timeline:

July 29th was my first pre-screening call for a teaching position - was told I would be sent to the next round of interview in either New York or Chicago sometime in October for a December 2014 start date

August 6th - the Academic Vice Principal position re-opened so I applied, which had an October 2014 start date!

August 8th - was sent to second round of interviews since I already pre-screened that were TBD

*At this point I started collecting documents like a crazy woman, more on that later.

August 12th - due to extremely short turn around, I was scheduled for a video interview with ADEC personnel @ 5am my time (nothing like a whole lot of pressure!)

September 9th - Received my offer letter for an ASAP start date projected in October 2014

September 12th - sent all documents through Pro-Ex to get authenticated

September 29th - The first window of possible leave date was given as October 16-18 via email. Talk about nerve-rattling.

October 3rd - received documents back from Pro-Ex fully authenticated

October 6th - sent finalized documents to TeachAway with all authenticated docs to begin the visa process

No one left between October 16-18 from my leadership group..... still waiting..

October 22nd - some in my group received an email stating that immigration was experiencing some delays which could further delay our departure

October 23rd - still in Visa processing.. I wasn't going anywhere anytime soon.

November 6th - my group receives an email saying we might have updated information about our departures next week. And that was the entire email...

November 10th - received my school placement *which NEVER happens before you go, this normally happens after you arrive in Abu Dhabi, so never anticipate this

November 14th - I have cleared Security and my Visa is processing!!! YES!

November 20th - several members of my group receive their golden tickets... me, not so much :-/

November 23rd - I received my golden ticket about 2:45am my time

November 27th - Depart for Abu Dhabi

So as you can see, while it seemed like it took forever my process was actually quite swift. I am so thankful because there were several in my group that started the process in January or February. I don't think I would have had enough patience for that. The roller coaster ride of this is something else. The highs are very high and the lows are very low. Remember that patience or flexibility question in your interview? Yep, this is what they were talking about. The waiting phase between the time you get your offer letter and your departure will test every fiber of your being. Not only are you packing, selling, etc. the things in your life at home but you are trying to prepare for the completely unexpected at the same time. It can be very physically, mentally, and emotionally draining. My husband was completely supportive of this and he really kept me grounded. You will need a support system to get through this process with your sanity. You will have people ask you 5 million times, "When are you leaving?" and you will want to scream because all you want to do is check your email and have that ticket waiting there. I will tell you I was starting to lose my grip and then that ticket came.

Nothing can prepare you for opening your email box and it actually being there. Nothing. I remember saying some pretty words and then I got excited and then immediately overwhelmed and a bit scared. Not scared because I was afraid, but the scared of packing my bags, getting on a place and leaving every single thing I knew behind. What was I thinking? However, the excited was still there and it still is. In my next post - I'll talk about the document authentication process and why it was just so much easier to let Pro-Ex handle that.

Feel free to comment with questions. Don't forget to check back for more post to include document authentication process, what you should (and sometimes should not) bring with you, and some other things I found that helped out along the way.


Dec 20, 2014

My blog is growing up!

It is a milestone here at Just Call Me Sparkles...

So many people do lots of prep and have a great post all planned for the milestone that their baby blog will achieve, but not I. No, that would require planning on my part and these days .. I'm all Inshallah up in here. Inshallah for those scratching their heads pretty much translates to "God Willing". As my good friend Martin said the other day, "I'm about over Inshallah". Here in Abu Dhai it is used for everything, I relate it to hopefully back in the states. For example:

"We will get the plan for the testing done, Inshallah."
"I hope you have a great semester break, Inshallah."
and my least favorite way it has been used thus far: 
"When you get your first paycheck Inshallah."....... Wait, what?

I've also learned that inshallah can be used to describe ones state of mind, like mine currently.. its pretty much a "whatever" state of mind. Not bad, not over the top great..just okay :)

Now that lesson is over with, lets talk about What is next here on Just Call Me Sparkles. I am really trying to get some good content up and stop beating y'all with Abu Dhabi this...and Abu Dhabi that. I know you are probably tired of reading about it (even though my stats say differently). I am going to focus on some interesting post, maybe not so journal-y post. But then again, sometimes you have to go with what you know and this blog has definitely given me an outlet that I enjoy writing to share adventures and different things going on in my life. So thanks for continuing to read and keep up with me. 

I do have to admit, that I make no promises to:
1. Stop talking about Abu Dhabi (inshallah...see what I did there..ha!)
2. Stop posting journal-like post. I can't help that I am interesting.
3. Stop using profanity in my post. Sorry - this is not always for the faint of heart. And that is just me. Plus did you know that you are not supposed to curse here? Do you know how hard that has been?
4. Stop with the tangents - see #3

What I would like to accomplish here:
1. Continue to grow!
2. Continue to amuse my readers with my sometimes snarky content.
3. Share this crazy adventure I am on.

I'm now going to go cruising around in my roller skate to prepare for my next big move.. to my new apartment! More on that reveal later :)


Dec 19, 2014

Friday Favorites: Christmas Picture Edition

Happy Friday!

This weeks Friday Favs are going to be a little bit different for me. I must admit that the last day and half has been pretty shitty because I knew that school was ending for break which normally is one of my most favorite days of the year. However, this year with being so far from home and all alone and big holidays rushing their way to us - I am absolutely dreading it.

I just can't really wrap my head around not being with my husband and family for Christmas. It seems so foreign to me. I am trying to be strong and I know that next year will be different but I just didn't think it was going to be this hard. This complete separation from the holiday season has definitely made me reflect and think about how much I do take the family time for granted. So I challenge each of my readers while you are wrapping gifts, shopping, looking at Christmas lights, or just prepping for the big day remember to be thankful for spending time with loved ones and cherish the memories that are going to be made. Also take lots of pictures! I am really glad that I do, especially this year, when that is all that I have...well that and the 3 chipmunks Christmas CD that the restaurant plays on repeat.

Here are my favorite pictures from past Christmas celebrations.

This was my moms Christmas Present one year - she is so lucky!

At Christmas lane with Karissa, Eric and my husband

Lindsay @ my parents house after opening gifts

 My hubs and Grandma on her last Christmas with us

WFB tried out for a reindeer position, but he was given the elf spot instead.

 Mom, the master of ceremonies

My husband and I at Disney's Hollywood Studios

 The big guy on Christmas Morning

I am ashamed at what i would do for some of these cookies or fudge right now... seriously. 
This was taken at one of my cookie exchanges.

 With my mom @ Cookie Exchange

Black Friday Shopping with my sisters to kick off the Christmas season!

I miss home... but this too, shall pass. 

Dec 18, 2014

My 2014 Music Picks

The Best Songs Of 2014

For what many find in books, I find in music. It is my escape and it usually offers a great amount of relaxation and unwinding. I can usually be found listening to just about anything except Jazz. I took the plunge this year and signed up for Spotify (thankfully!) and I have loved every second of that subscription, especially being in the UAE. I can download my favorites, make them available off line and I have some perfect driving tunes while I cruise around town. I am going to attempt to list out my top songs of 2014 and I will probably include my not-so-favorites because well, they annoy me and someone needs to know!

Hot Jams:

#15 ~ 23: Mike Will Made It; Miley Cyrus; Wiz Khalifa; Juice J
I know that Miley is not a favorite of mine, but I can jam to this song.
Favorite line: "I'm MC Hammer Fly, you can't touch"

#14 ~ Follow your arrow: Kacey Musgraves
It definitely has that country twang but I think it is quite a cleaver write. I like easy poetry and plays on words
Favorite line: "Say what you think, love who you love cause you only get so many trips 'round the sun"

#13 ~ Thinking out loud: Ed Sheeran
I love this song because it reminds me of my hubs... I know, how mushy. Maybe because I'm 8,000 miles away from him ;) 
Favorite line: "Me, I fall in love with you every single day"

#12 ~ Birthday Song: 2 Chainz
Well we had to get right off the mushy train and on to the raunchy train. I think that rap songs have the most ingenious rhyme and lyrics, or they are just simple and give me a good laugh. Plus, I can memorize them and I can pretty much become the rapper.  Yeah I am aware of the profanity but I hear the same in the schools hallways.  I just like the dance-type songs...always have, and always will. 
Favorite line: "She got a big booty so I call her big booty" <--- genius lol

#11 ~ 0 to 100: Drake
LOVE.LOVE.LOVE. This song quickly shot up to the top of my favorites list after seeing Drake and Lil' Wayne in concert this past summer. I could fill this entire list with Lil'Wayne & Drake. But to be fair, I will let some others have some sunshine.
Favorite line: "I run this shit they like go forest, run forest, run forest, go forest"

#10 ~  Something in the Water: Carrie Underwood
I am a big fan of Carrie Underwood. She has that knack for telling a great story while sounding amazing. This is just another great example.
Favorite line: "Now I'm changed, and now I'm stronger. There must be something in the water."

#9 ~ Beachin: Jake Owens
This was my perfect summer song. It just has that southern beachy feel that always made me want to run to the nearest pool or heck even the beach when I was back home. I love summer songs.
Favorite line: "Laid back in a thrift store beach chair dropping limes in a Corona"

#8 ~ Blank Space: Taylor Swift
I know first Miley, and now Taylor - but I can't help that these girls have some musical skills to write catchy tunes. I love this song and it made my list because I'm sorry, but did you see little Ms. at the VS fashion show? if not go youtube it. 
Favorite line: "Darling I'm a nightmare dressed like a day dream"

#7 ~ American Kids: Kenny Chesney
Another country goodie by another country killer. Kenny Chesney is another favorite. I heard this song on Songza when I in my Songza phase and it has stayed with me on my favorites list. 
Favorite line: "Growing up in little pink houses, making out on living couches, blowing that smoke on Saturday night, little messed up but we're all alright."

#6 ~ Work: Iggy Azalea
Iggy is another lyrical genius. I do love her work. Too bad her and Nikki don't get along - they could make some amazing music. Maybe in 2015
Favorite line: "Walk a mile in these Louboutins, but they don't wear these shits where I'm from".

#5 ~ Stay with me: Sam Smith
Even though the radio played the hell out of this song, I still love when it comes on. 
Favorite line: "Won't you stay with me, cause you're all I need. This ain't love its clear to see, but darling stay with me" 

#4 ~ Anaconda: Nikki Minaj
Because we all love big butts and we cannot lie. Maybe because I will still rock some Sir Mix A Lot, but my girl Nikki killed it. 
Favorite line: "Oh my gosh, look at her butt"   

#3 ~ Timber: Pitbull & Ke$ha
I do love me some Mr. 305 (that is old school because he now Mr. Worldwide) and I like Ke$ha as well seeing as she sings about glitter, a lot. She is another catchy sounding artist with her songs. Mostly dumb content but who care. Even though Pitbull is a babyman, he is still a favorite. I think this was a late 2013 release as well, but again my list. 
Favorite line: "It's going down, I'm yelling timber!"

#2 ~ No Worries: Lil' Wayne
It's by my didn't think he wouldn't be on the list did you? I know it was released in 2013 but doesn't matter. 
Favorite line "It's okay if you turn off just don't turn off my light years"

#1 ~ Tuesday: ILOVEMAKONNEN Featuring Drake
Cause the clubs going up... on a Tuesday. Well it may have been when I was in college but now I am just too old for that nonsense. However, this is my current song on repeat. This is my frozen. 
Favorite line: "I don't need the pills ,I'm just gonna' have another drink. And when I'm puttin' work in on a weekend I'll look back on this and think how we had the club going up... On a Tuesday. Got your girl in the cut and she choosey"

Songs that I can totally live without. 
Actually, I prefer to live without them, like yesterday wouldn't have been soon enough.

1. Let it Go.. the frozen Mantra. For the love of God, someone let it go...far away. 

2. All about that bass by Meghan Trainor - just not interested in the bass

3. Drunk in love by Beyonce - I'd rather be drunk that listen to that; I have not been impressed with Mrs. Queen B in a little while now. 

4. Problem by Ariana Grande - My problem with this song is they played it like 402 times a day on the radio. It was complete overkill. It may also have to do with me getting pissed off at her brother Frankie on Big Brother. I'm shallow like that.

5. Type of Way by Rich Homie Quan. What the hell does that even mean? You've got me feeling some type of way? Why don't you just say, "I'm pissed" or "I'm upset"? Why does it have to be made into a new phrase that these kids pick up and say to me. For example, "Ms. she's got me feeling some type of way." My response: "Let's use our big boy words to tell me about your feelings". I'm disappointed Rich Homie Quan and it sounds like you have marbles in your mouth the whole song. Let's get that corrected, mmmkay?

Dec 14, 2014

'Merica {shudder}

I purposefully named this post something I completely despise. More on that later...

As I sit here on this Sunday afternoon listening to the call to prayer, I am reminded that I am so extremely fortunate to be experiencing this part of the world that many only experience through the travel channel or national geographic. I have received many messages expressing concern over my being here and that I definitely thinks should be address by someone who actually lives here.

A little over a week ago an American teacher was randomly attacked by a local woman and killed in the bathroom of a public restroom. To say that it shook the emirate of Abu Dhabi is an understatement. Aside from the fact that a human being was randomly targeted and killed is what should have shaken me, no matter what the nationality. What was more frightening for me was my reaction to this news. It didn't phase me. It didn't really bother me or shake me into fear where I didn't want to go to a mall alone or to the local convenience stores. People in American die all the time; they are killed by someone over a lovers quarrel, gunned down in their homes, stabbed in bar fights, or even randomly attacked. Being this de-sensitized to such a horrendous act, when you really analyze the depth of what happened, is quite disturbing.

I was almost ashamed to admit that this was how I felt. However, this is the the world that I grew up in. Not saying that I came from the streets or I lived a rough upbringing, no. Yet I have witness this news story I can't even count how many times. Now I am living in a world where the locals apologized to the expats here for the behavior of one of their own. They are ashamed and embarrassed that their country now has a smudge on its otherwise welcoming and warm nature. This was an act that I never witnessed in America. There is no apology. There is no remorse. Are Americans that removed and de-sensitized to such acts? What was more striking about this was the apprehension of the suspect which was all video-taped. The arrest of this woman was caught on camera and unlike in America were suspected criminals are permitted to hide their face and save whatever dignity that they may have left, here that is not something that if afforded to criminals. They showed her face on T.V., they showed her home, and they were extremely forthcoming with any information that they could provide the public. For that, I applaud the police force here in Abu Dhabi because within 36 hours of the crime, the suspect was in custody. That beats the first 48 for sure. I could go for a few episodes of that now that I mention it. I digress.

My main reason for this post was to inform everyone that while yes, an instance of a horrific crime occurring is terribly sad, I do not plan to come home early. I also want people to know that I do feel safe here. I have never felt safe in the U.S. like I do here. The Arab culture is one that is mesmerizing; I want to know everything about it because it is so intriguing. I know that I still have plenty to learn and I am sure that my feelings could and may change. I really think that before rash decisions or judgements are made by people, you should really ensure that you have the experiences of more than one to make a sound judgement.

I have witnessed many things that I believe the U.S. could benefit from, for example the video taping and public broadcast of apprehension of suspected criminals. Maybe if people understood the severity of the consequences of their actions they would knock off the BS that they pull. I also believe that the U.S. needs to stop coddling people who do wrong. Some Americans have become to entitled to what they perceived as deserved that they are ruining themselves. I see Americans here in Abu Dhabi, dressed in shorts with their butts hanging out. Um, eww. While I am not muslim, nor a huge conservative, it is a sign of respect {even to yourself} to at the very least dress appropriately {plus it makes me not think in my head "Damn she doesn't love herself, she looks trashy"}. It makes me look bad as an American when I have ol' girl in her hootchie shorts standing next to me in line at the mall. Don't you know, I move away from them as I don't want to fall into that category with her because we share the same nationality. While I know some will call it conforming, which to a degree it is, I like to think about it as being respectful. You don't curse at your grandma's house, but you do at your friends house. Again, its about showing respect. Don't even get me started on this 'Merica business. When is it going to die? Just crawl into a hole somewhere and don't come back out. Ever. I absolutely hate that. I think it is one of the most disrespectful, uneducated bandwagons that people have jumped on. Since when did sounding dumb or uneducated become cool? I was told this was the "redneck" way of saying it because apparently that makes it so much better. #NO

So now that this train has completely derailed I will ...nope, never mind this train has jumped the track and there is really no way to tie this all together. Bottom line, I am safe and I am loving Abu Dhabi. Police forces back home, start videoing take downs of the big perps and broadcast it. Make sure we can all see their ugly mug, it is great T.V. and makes me want to hug the police for doing a bang up job. Lastly, American girls that visit Abu Dhabi - bring some capris. That is all.

Dec 12, 2014

Friday Favorites :)

Hooray for Friday, which is really Saturday, but that is a whole other confusing story. So I am linking up today for my Friday fav's so let's do this, shall we?

My new little car - isn't she darling? I am stoked to have a way around this emirate now! Most of all - I am thankful for no more cabs!

*name to be announced when I figure one out

This is my niece Bella. She is the funniest and most expressive doggie ever. She likes her mommy to send me snapchats..often.  They always make me smile. She is currently spending a lot of time with her cousins before they come to Abu Dhabi.

My baby boy Princeton. He is such a smoochy face! I miss him so much & I cannot wait until he gets a stamp on his doggie passport and gets here!

Some of my favorite sights of the week

Aldar HQ building. The first circular Skyscraper. It is huge & really pretty. I can also see it from my new prospective apartment in Al Raha Gardens.

My School! 

Who knew they even still had these? 

The roof in the Aloft hotel.

Myself and a former teacher at my school back home who got here in August. I will tell you that Brunches here in Abu Dhabi are unbelievable. Food & drinks for hours!

Abu Dhabi sunsets can't be beat. 

Things that made me laugh this week

Yep. All day. 

Go find this list on Spotify - I died. 

Hope you wrap up the week, enjoy some Christmas shopping or whatever festivities you might be partaking in and have a great weekend :) 

Go and visit some other great blogs in this weeks link ups!

Meet @ the Barre