I’ve been living and working in Abu Dhabi for over a month now. I suppose it’s time I caught you up to speed. Hold tight… It’s a long one.
First impression upon landing: Damn! It’s hot AND humid.
Who knew the humidity in the desert would be worse than anything I have experienced in a tropical climate? Yea, I thought I was prepared, but I wasn’t ready at all.
This was the hotel where my employer placed me for the first 2 weeks.
It was pretty lovely having a little place to call home while I did everything I needed to do to get settled. If you’ve been following my blog from the Korea days, you’ll notice that this is a huge step up from my teeny, tiny Korean apartment.
Before I arrived, I asked people what to pack. Many of the women I spoke to told me to bring my hair care products, any seasonings or spices I thought I might want from home, and dresses for going out. Fair enough. My brief experience traveling in East Asia taught me that I may also need to bring some toiletries as well: deodorant and razor refill cartridges being chief among them. Imagine my surprise when I went to a smaller grocery store near my hotel and saw this:
Yea, I definitely didn’t need to pack those last 2 items.
Before I arrived I was also told that driving in the region (Abu Dhabi and Dubai) was absolutely crazy, so I had an expectation of madness… That is until I spoke to a fellow New Yorker (as in NYC) who told me if I could handle driving at home, I would have no problems driving here.
Don’t get me wrong. It is crazy on the roads at times in Abu Dhabi, but it’s not nearly as bad as everyone has said. Once again, NYC is proving that if you can make it there you can make it anywhere. After a few weeks in the backseat of several taxi drivers who thought they were competing in the next Formula1 race, I decided to get in on the action myself. I’m currently renting a tiny little car – a Ford Figo – for the month and it does the job. I really miss my SUV, though so I may consider purchasing one in a few months.
I found a lovely furnished apartment in the exact location that I wanted – Al Reem Island. My place has enough space for me, my many shoes, and a guest or 2… or 4 if some of you don’t mind sleeping on the couch. What I don’t have enough space for, unfortunately, is my food. I know. I know.
But the person who designed the kitchen did a beautiful job then gave up the ghost when it came time to the refrigerator. How is it possible that my fridge in a full-sized kitchen is smaller than the one I had in Korea? I shop often for fresh produce, but don’t have a lot of room to freeze things. This is essential when you’re a cheap bastard and live alone – waste not want not and all. I’ll make a decision in another month or so if I’m going to buy an additional fridge and give up some of my living room space.
In the meantime, I will continue going to the grocery store downstairs and happily carting my goods back up to my apartment.
Work is not something I will talk about in too much detail on this blog. I’m a guest in this country and a professor at a government-funded school. I enjoy teaching, really enjoy my paycheck and the life it affords me. If you want to know something more specific, ask me face-to-face or in a more private forum.
Generally, I love my students and have developed a good relationship with many of them in a short period of time. I’m currently teaching a course in Human Development to 1st year, 1st semester Emirati college students… for whom English is NOT their first language. Let that sink in for a second. Now you have some idea of the fun I’m having. Most of my students are motivated to learn and I’m a damn good professor, so I have no doubt that they will be up to speed by the end of their tenure at the school. At least, that’s my goal and that is going to be my focus – along with getting some research off the ground.
My social life isn’t like it was in Korea. Going to the bars to drink and play darts or noraebang-ing until the wee hours of the morning are all but a distant memory now. Fortunately, there is so much more to do here than those things. I’ve networked and been to a few meetups since my arrival.
Slowly but surely I’m figuring out who my people will be. The beauty of being an expat is that you get to choose who your family away from home will be. I’m enjoying the process.
Some of you have inquired about my dating life…
I have one… and that’s all you’re gonna get outta me right now. 😉 The last relationship really did a number on me, so I’m slowly trying to ease myself back into things.
Well, that’s my update so far. If you have any questions, feel free to ask away in the comments section or send me an email at livetravelmore(at)gmail(dot)com. I need some blog topics so I can keep this thing going regularly. Help a sista out. 🙂