Friday, September 13, 2013

Getting in the swing of things

Abu Dhabi is definitely starting to feel like home. It really is a great place to live and I feel more and more settled each day.

Last weekend, I got the chance to go to the exhibition center to experience the Abu Dhabi Hunting and Equestrian Exhibition with two other teacher friends. It was not what I was expecting at all! We were hoping to make it in time to see the camel show (I want to see a camel SO bad!!!) but we just barely missed it due to a long dinner and a long taxi ride. One thing I've learned from being here is to budget way more time than I think I need. I'm an early person in general and normally get everywhere 10 minutes early but here I need to plan to be places almost 30 minutes early! Dining can take a long time and you never know what kind of taxi ride you are in for!

At the exhibition, it was mainly local Emirati men and very few women or expats. We were expecting it to be all hunting and equestrian exhibitions but there was so much more! There were many falcon sales (some falcon's were selling for up to 45,000 AED, which is about $12,000)! There were also exhibits where you could buy traditional garments and other items, like baskets and local crafts. A huge weaponry section took up a large section of the exhibition hall where there were rifles, shotguns, and many, many other types of weapons. There were also boats, cars, RVs, and much more. Overall, it was a great experience and I'm so glad I was able to go! Next year, I want to see the camel show and auction!!

In other news, I am done with week one of school! I survived!!!!! It was a great week but I have definitely realized that this year will be much different than teaching 2nd grade in the US. Since our school is on an international curriculum (Common Core and international assessments), it is a very rigorous curriculum. All of my students are Emirati, meaning they are all ELLs (English Language Learners). This poses a challenge when we are supposed to be teaching them a challenging 2nd grade curriculum, but I know they will succeed! The students are so sweet and seem to love school, which is always good :) One very different thing about teaching at this school is that the children, K-12, all call their teachers and administrators by their first names. So, this year I am Miss Rachel! Here is a picture from the school's Instagram account of my on my first day:

The only pictures that are allowed of the kids are ones that administration takes to put on the Instagram so feel free to follow @szpag to see the adorable kids!

I know this will be a challenging but great year for me, not only as a teacher but also as an expat in a country half way across the world. 

Check back soon for my list of things I'm looking forward to doing and seeing this year :)


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