The Waiting Game

Do you know when you’re leaving yet?

—- Nooooooo

How come you don’t know when you’re leaving?

—- That’s just the way it works. Stop adding to my anxiety.

The first wave of teachers was brought to Abu Dhabi last week and is currently divided between two hotels; it’s been really exciting to follow their adventures! Thanks to Facebook groups we’re able to connect, ask questions, make plans, complain, and celebrate progress together all day, every day! Orientation gets under way quickly. As an added bonus, teachers who have been in AD for a year or more have set up meet & greets for the new arrivals. They explain some pretty confusing processes, like how to get phones up and running and where to find places such as grocery stores, which definitely helps make the transition a little easier. The first group is now receiving housing assignments and keys, and we’re under the assumption that once they’ve been cleared out of the hotel more of us will be sent our plane tickets. The process seems to vary from year to year though, so nobody knows for sure what’s going on.

I received an email yesterday from my recruiter stating that the 2nd group can expect to go over in approximately two weeks. At least they’re kind enough to throw us a bone and send some sort of update our way, but the problem is that nobody knows who’s in the 2nd group, or how many groups there are for that matter! When our employer processes an entry visa, it’s given to their travel agency, who emails the visa along with a plane ticket. Although many teachers are chomping at the bit, I’m in the minority because I don’t WANT to be in the second group. Kate’s going back to school on Aug 14 and we’re awaiting confirmation from Jenna’s dorm of her Aug 19 move-in date. So, in a perfect world I’d receive a plane ticket to leave on August 21- it that too much to ask?? I know it won’t work out that way; if I’m in the 2nd group I’ll be rushing to leave before the girls are gone and if I’m in the 3rd or 4th group I’ll be sitting at home wondering why I haven’t been called over yet! It’s the stress of not knowing that is causing all my anxiety. Some teachers received 10 days’ notice of their departure but a small number of teachers were only given 24 hours’ notice. My current to-do list will require a minimum 3-day advance notice in order to properly execute my departure; however, once the girls are gone I’ll be ready to fly at any time. I’m so stressed out and need to re-group, so I had to declare today a stay-at-home day, where I’ll busy myself by cleaning the stove and refrigerator, and probably re-organizing some of my packing. It will all work out, as things have a way of doing.

For now, I’ll enjoy spending time with friends, family, my daughters, and my cats for as long as possible! I just popped over to beautiful South Haven MI for a short visit with my friend Robin and I will continue to enjoy this wonderful, mild Chicago summer!

Love Chicago in the summertime!

Love Chicago in the summertime!

In the Beginning…

For the past 11 years, I’ve generally felt “manageably overwhelmed,” though I look back and truthfully admit I’ve enjoyed the ride. Our little ranch house in Elmhurst, IL, as much as we tried to love it, failed us time and again until we finally gave it its walking papers (sold to a builder, which is fairly common where I live) and “moved on up to the big time” in our present condo. When you’ve had nothing but trouble, I’ll attest to the fact that a pool, clubhouse, and underground parking are dreams realized. I’ve been working full-time for the past ten years, sometimes with an extra part-time job or two, and also obtained my Master’s degree this past spring, all while raising two girls who will both be in college this fall. Unfortunately, I’ve barely been scraping by, knowing I needed to do something more for my kids and myself.

As far as careers go, I’m confident that I was meant to teach. I’ve encouraged my own kids to explore different paths to ensure that they have a good job after college, make decent money, and have some flexibility while raising a family. To date, my biggest accomplishment is the peaceful and joyous relationships I’ve created with my daughters, and I wouldn’t trade that for anything. I think I’ve successfully drilled into them that life is nothing but one big experience and they shouldn’t be afraid to explore unknown territory… which led me to teaching in the United Arab Emirates. I was surfing the net one day and happened upon a website to teach abroad in Europe. I soon realized that I was over the age limit (?!!) for that particular program and it hit me… if I want to make things happen I have to do it now. My research led me to opportunities in Abu Dhabi, the capital of the UAE. Hundreds of English-speaking teachers are hired yearly and move to the wealthy desert metropolis, so why not me? Yes, it’s far away (more than 7,500 miles from Chicago). But depending on how you look at it, it’s also just a plane ride away, albeit a LONG one. I happened to apply at the perfect time (February) and after my initial Skype interview I was informed that in-person interviews were taking place in Chicago the following weekend. Yay, no time to get nervous! After wading through the process, I was offered a position for the fall. Hearing this, I realized that I needed to quickly finish my Master’s degree, something I had put off due to lack of funds, because my pay would jump significantly if I obtained it before departure, but would not increase if I completed it once I was there. Done. Let’s just chalk April, May, and June up to sad times. But I plowed through my last two classes (online) and the cats were happy that I was huddled up at home every weekend working away on my laptop.

Upon graduating, I thought this summer would provide some badly needed respite from the chaos I’ve experienced in recent years. However, I’ve encountered an extreme amount of stress- setting up the girls to make sure they’re ok until I see them at Christmas, figuring out how I’m going to handle money, payments, cars, mail, and bills at home, working out all the tech aspects of moving to the UAE (HUGE stress factor), sorting, donating, throwing away, selling, organizing all my stuff while preparing the girls to leave for school in August, resigning from my jobs (but tutoring in the meantime), and taking that one last Berg Girls roadtrip (Memphis) for good measure. Now I’m waiting for my authenticated documents to be sent back from the UAE Embassy in DC. Pressing matters also include extensive dental work (major stuff for all three of us!) and an endless stream of paperwork, along with tying up a thousand loose ends.
So there you have the short version of it; the adventure has begun.

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