Friday, October 11, 2013

Marhaba and Eid Al Adha

The past week has been SUPER busy but also super exciting. Let me start by talking about an event that was held for the new staff at our school - Marhaba. Marhaba is an event that was thrown by the 9th grade girls and some of the Arabic staff to welcome all of the new staff to the school. It was amazing! Wednesday after school, the girls gave us a short presentation to tell us about the history of Abu Dhabi and UAE, the 7 Emirates, and weddings. They put together a Power Point presentation and had music and pictures. It was a great learning opportunity!

Then, we went outside where the courtyard which was set up with a traditional tent with rugs, pillows, games, and coffee set up. There were also tables and tables of traditional Arabic food for us to try. In addition, one of the girls brought her pet falcon. I did not hold the falcon because I got to hold a falcon earlier in the week at a class field trip to the Falcon Hospital (I'll talk about that later!). The girls also brought in jalabiyas, which are their traditional dresses, and we were able to try them on! 

After trying on the jalabiyas (and deciding we all wanted our own, which we bought at the Gold Souk later that night) we ate some yummy food! At Marhaba, there were two ladies doing free henna, so of course we all had to get some! I got mine on my right hand but many of the girls got it on both hands and feet. The women did a wonderful job... I love it! (You can kind of see the how the tent looks in the background.)

I wish I could have taken more pictures but the students are not allowed to be photographed for security purposes so it was really hard to take good pictures without them in it. Overall, I really enjoyed Marhaba and am so thankful that I got to experience such a big part of the culture.

On to Eid Al Adha...

Eid is a holiday here that is determined by a moon sighting. On our school calendar, we had tentative days marked off for the holiday but nothing is official until a special sighting of the moon. It is all a little confusing to me. We were pretty much guaranteed to have Wednesday and Thursday off of this upcoming week but there was a chance we could have Monday - Thursday off. Well... On Tuesday this past week, it was announced by the government that we would have off the ENTIRE week (Sunday - Thursday)!!! Instead of having a 4 or 6 day weekend, we were lucky enough to get 9 days off for Eid. This is completely unheard of and crazy, but I'll take it! 

Since we have 9 days off... I'm flying to Bangkok, Thailand tomorrow!! Thailand is somewhere I really wanted to travel to and even though it won't be a ton of time there (6 days), it is better than nothing! I'm so excited and can't wait to blog about my experience there. I don't know if I'll be able to blog while I'm in Thailand but I promise to post the full update (with pictures!) when I return to Abu Dhabi :) 

Time to start packing...


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