Dec 9, 2014

All eyes on me



You know that odd feeling you get when you can feel someone staring at you? Like the little hairs stand up on the back of your neck and you don't want to look up too quickly to let on to whomever is, indeed, staring you down that you have this crazy sixth sense? You try to nonchalantly gaze up with just your eyes, looking side to side to determine where this hole is being stared into you from. Sometimes you are just being completely paranoid. Sometimes you really are the center of attention and while the stares are not harmful, you are definitely more acutely aware of everything that is going on around you.

Welcome to my first day of work here in Abu Dhabi.

Enter my alarm clock at 4:50am... I definitely snoozed until about 5:20am because I had plenty of time but with my habit of just hitting snooze, I figured I might as well set 14 alarms to ensure that I don't oversleep on my first day of work. I had to catch a taxi to the local Holiday Inn here on the Island to meet my manager who was taking me to the school. Wouldn't you know that I was lucky enough to find the ONLY taxi driver in Abu Dhabi that didn't know where the Holiday Inn was. Are you kidding me? We went in circles and roundabouts and all sorts of fun. Did you know that taxi cab drivers do not like to look at maps, particularly ones on my iPhone that say right where we need to go? I digress.  I made to to the Holiday Inn ten minutes late to meet my manager but then again, she arrived 15 minutes late so no harm, no foul and whats his face finally got me there. #getamap

So we drive and drive and I arrive at my school. It is huge. There are huge walls around it, which I don't know if I will ever get used too, and there are several security guards outside as the parents drop off making sure that the girls get into the building and there are no accidents in the parking lot. Walking in, I was a little nervous but ready to get this part over with. The reception area of the school is massive. Huge vaulted ceilings, large ornamental couches and chairs with velvet coverings. It looked like something out of a movie.

I met with the other Vice Principals and they both seem like really great ladies. One is well established within the school and one is newer. I also met the principal later on after she arrived and she was very kind and pleasant as well. They kept telling me that this is my home now and that we will get along just fine. It will take me forever to remember names because they are not the usual Jennifer, Mary, etc. My position is a newer position that not all schools have had so they are absolutely adjusting to my presence as I am adjusting to theirs. I have to share what my job description is and I hope that we can talk as an admin. team to determine if how the job is written will best suit the needs of the students. That is my main priority. I will say it is very odd to not understand anything that is going on around you. All of the conversations, both professional and just conversation, were in Arabic. Not that I expect things to change at all for me, but I definitely reverted back to some of my communication undergrad classes to try to get a grasp on what was going on. Did you hear that Meredith... we did go to class for a reason! #noiwillnotgoshoppingwithyou

The office they put me in today which may be mine, I am not sure, is definitely destined for me. It is Pink! Two walls are one shade of pink and the other two walls a lighter shade. #TheyKnewIWasComing I will be so happy when I have all the tools I need to work and get started on things so today was a down day. I met with the EMT's (English Medium Teachers) mostly from the U.S. and some from the U.K. They seemed like a great bunch and I definitely look forward to working with them. Especially since many of them were in my shoes at one point in time and some of the ladies have only been here a few months so they can definitely empathize with the struggles. Let me tell you this car struggle is real. Really real. I went to inquire today about a long term rental/lease. However, I also had to rent a car for a few days because I cannot take not being able to get around on my own anymore. I need my independence back. I also need to keep my dirhams in my pocket. Tomorrow I will head to the main ADEC building to get the rest of my stuff done (hopefully) and move forward with housing and being able to sign into school. They use your finger print (very cool) so I need to get that straightened out.

I will say that I had to stop myself from getting frustrated today because, like every American, I want it done now, Now, NOW! News flash... not America! Everything is so laid back and take your time. That is definitely the adjustment for me. That is an adjustment as well as having coffee & tea service in the school. There are two ladies who are there to bring us, the teachers, and the parents fresh coffee and tea all day.

Mind-completely-blown.