I don’t think calendry is a word but since moving here it has become an art. I’ve basically been able to keep track of my “social commitments” to this point, but everything else seems impossible to organize.

My work schedule: This is our tenth week of school, and my personal schedule at my place of employment has already changed twelve times. Where else on Earth would this happen? Sometimes my schedule changes by a class or two and other times it’s completely rearranged. A newbie just has to go with the flow- I’m probably one of the few who hasn’t made a beeline to administration when I’m presented with a modification; after all, I know it will be different next week. In addition to my hyper-awareness and constant double and triple-checking of where I need to be during any given class period (teachers don’t have their own classrooms and migrate from one room to the next hourly) our start and stop times have changed as well. Our current schedule of 7:45-3:15 has actually remained constant for, oh, a good five or six weeks now, but one never knows. We’ve also kept hours of 7:40-3:10 and 8am-3:30 (the 3:30 thing lasted about two days because the parents were up in arms about the late end of the school day- yay for them in that respect).

Bells: I can’t talk about bells very much, or I’ll go bat-shit crazy. Classes are generally fifty-five minutes long. And I stress the word “generally” because things can go haywire. Let’s take today for example. We were outside in the courtyard for morning announcements (a completely different post for a later date). The whole process ran long, so our first period class was cut down to 35 minutes. My 10th graders are in the middle of a huge “research” project that’s worth 60% of their first trimester grade. Because most of the girls don’t do much work outside of school, I scheduled time in the library this morning in order for them to make some headway. Right after announcements I met them in their classroom, took attendance, walked across the courtyard to the library, took attendance again (don’t ask) and set everyone up with something to work on. We were barely even settled when the end-of-class bell had the nerve to ring eight minutes early. This went on ALL day, with some classes running longer than they should and others shorter. Deep breath. Or better yet, “InSHALLah!!!!” with a choice word inserted between the first two syllables.

Sunday is the New Monday: No joke, for me this is one of the most difficult aspects of living in the UAE. Our workweek is Sunday-Thursday. It’s great on Thursdays since, once our weekend has begun, we do let loose and have some great times but Sundays are beastly. As I’m driving to work at 6:35 in the morning, all I think about is how my friends and family back home are smack in the middle of an enjoyable Saturday night. Makes me homesick because I know I’m missing out on so much fun stuff, which I guess is the downside of the upside of being blessed with having so many awesome people in my life. Not that the people here aren’t fantastic, but I think they all know where I’m coming from on this one.

UAE holidays: Many holidays are based on moon sightings, and days are counted to determine when the actual holiday will take place. This means that the school calendar changes as often as the sandscape (I think I made that word up too, but who cares, it’s only a blog). Veteran teachers know that weekend getaways and jaunts to other countries shouldn’t be booked until the last minute for this very reason. But many of us who are new to the UAE just want to see this part of the world and can’t believe that the calendar isn’t set in stone. We ALMOST got an extra day off two weeks ago but didn’t and we ALMOST got a 9-day holiday last month, but it ended up being a 4-day weekend. Don’t dangle the carrot in front of the tired and downtrodden- I don’t think Allah would approve.

Gone are the days of me juggling the schedules of three people, yet I find it more difficult here to manage just myself. I’m used to booking vacations in advance and planning and pre-paying for all kinds of activities. I’ve always been where I should be and at the right time, if not a few minutes early. I don’t like when things are so messed up that I can’t keep track of them in my head. Anal? Nah! Rigid? Possibly. I guess I’ll need to learn to be a bit more flexible in my old age. Thanks for letting me vent about my calendry issues. If it’s not a real word, it should be. I’m sure it would be worth a lot of points on Words with Friends. Instead of writing a book, maybe I should write a dictionary filled with words that weren’t words until they needed to be invented in order to describe this one-of-a-kind experience.


3 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. Maureen Polte
    Nov 02, 2014 @ 16:54:43

    I love reading about your adventures. Your descriptions are both hilarious and really provide a good mental picture of how things are. I give you a lot of credit to keep trucking along… and thanks for taking us all with you

    Liked by 1 person


  2. joyce belluomini
    Nov 02, 2014 @ 20:50:23

    Talk about going with the flow. You’re putting a whole new spin on that old adage!
    Love reading about your experiences. You are hilarious!
    What next? Can’t wait to read about it! 🙂

    Liked by 1 person


  3. Letisha M.
    Nov 03, 2014 @ 01:07:39

    I miss working with you we had many days of laughs. I’ve also changed jobs. NOTHING like what you are doing. I am working in another school district closer to my home – Sign Language Interpreter. Looking forward to viewing your photos and scrap books. Stay healthy! Letisha M.

    Liked by 1 person


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