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Bettina's Blog May 2, 2015

May is finally here! Woo hoo! Summer break is getting close. Those of you who are waiting to arrive in August are probably going through all sorts of highs and lows right now. You’re probably wondering how you’ll get everything finished on time and how you’ll manage over here. This time last year, I couldn’t stop daydreaming about what it’d be like in the UAE, while at the same time mourning what I’d be giving up at home.

Now that I’m here, I don’t waste too much time wondering what it’d be like this time next year, and I don’t feel like I gave up anything (although I do miss my loved ones and some of my daily rituals back home). Life here is so full of fun things to do. I’m spending way more time living in the moment versus getting by for tomorrow. Don’t get me wrong, work is still work. I’m still planning, assessing, stressing more over my students’ work than they are, and wondering why I never seem to have enough time to get it all done. And, I still take my mental breaks by Googling my next vacation destination… the difference is I actually go to those places now.

While my workload will get much easier during the month of June, I’m working up until July 9. That said, it feels like school is almost over, and for my students it is —- classes for my cycle will end around the last week of May (finals are in June, so we spend our time proctoring, marking and planning for next year). So, while I am busy finishing things up, I’m also enjoying this term much more than my first one here.

My weekends are booked with adventures I didn’t even imagine before coming here. Last weekend I went on a camping trip in Oman, which included cruising along on a dhow and watching dolphins play. Before that, I spent a week in Sri Lanka, four days in Jordan, and a whole bunch of mini beach breaks in Abu Dhabi and Dubai. Today, I booked a room at Emirates Palace because it’s on sale for residents, and who doesn’t want to sip gold-laced coffee in their 7-star hotel room?

This is such a complete contrast to my first term here, where I spent hours upon hours researching strategies that might work here, planning and creating resources I wasn’t sure would work (some did, some didn’t). I lost sleep stressing over what I didn’t know, and oh how I missed my old students —- not because they were better than my current ones, but because they understood me (and I them!). My free time consisted of me passing out on the couch while my laptop played some television show from back home.

The point of my post is to remind all of you to try not to waste too much time fantasising about what it will be like over here. Do keep doing your research, and do keep asking your questions, but know that you will get past all of what you have to do to move here. Most importantly, do embrace your life right now. It too is full of magic and adventure —- especially now that you know you will be leaving it for a long while.