Friday, November 27, 2009

Thankful for a Fun Thanksgiving

Though it was no substitute for being home, yesterday's Thanksgiving celebrations were a great way to begin the holiday season with friends here in Abu Dhabi (as well as the beginning of our 10-day break).

To begin the festivities, some friends and I did some grilling on the rooftop of our building on Wednesday night. We sat and relaxed under the stars and enjoyed the nice Abu Dhabi weather for several hours.

Then, on Thursday morning, my friend Sorcha had people over to her apartment for a nice brunch, with pancakes, fruit salad, yogurt, good freshly-baked bread, and some mimosas. Many of the people there were heading off to various places around the world this upcoming week, so it was fun to hear everybody talk so excitedly about their vacations. Marguerite and Kerri are going to Thailand; Sorcha, Steve, and Layla are going to India; John and Lyla are going to Egypt; and Andrew and Danielle are going to Oman. Several other people are staying in the Emirates but are traveling up north to the mountains or are going to explore the desert to the west.

After a big morning meal, I had to recover quickly in order to prepare myself for a dinner feast at Erin's place. We decided to divide and conquer for dinner, so I was put in charge of green beans and corn. So I ran to the store to grab these items real quick so I could begin preparing them. About 2 hours after brunch ended, I arrived at dinner ready to eat to my heart's content. Everything smelled so good (especially the turkey and pies), and Erin had some good old-fashioned holiday music playing to get everybody in the mood. Dinner was fantastic, and Jeff and I were competing to see who could eat the most. We called it a draw after 4 heaping plates of food. While recovering from dinner and making room for pie, we popped in National Lampoon's Christmas Vacation and enjoyed some good ol' Chevy Chase fun. Afterwards we polished off a few pies, then all of us went home to crash.

All in all, I'd say my first Thanksgiving in Abu Dhabi was a great success. Now I'm ready to go have some fun in Jordan next week!

Good night from Abu Dhabi,


Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Here I Am.

So you've probably been wondering the past month or so, "Where is Matt? What has he been up to?"

The short answers to those questions would be, "Abu Dhabi still. Teaching mostly."

The short answer is pretty boring though. So let me fill you in on what I've been up to since the last time I've posted:

I've been to Dubai a few different times. Not to be a pessimist, but I really think that city is overrated. Other than the many awesome architectural feats on display there, it really isn't anything but a big city in the middle of the desert! The first time I went to go clubbing with some friends. We had some very high expectations, and were therefore a bit disappointed when we had but an average night out. Some people tell us we just didn't go to the right places on the right nights, but I remain skeptical. The 2nd time in Dubai, I went to the Dubai Mall which, simply put, was ridiculous. The place wasn't the biggest mall I've been to, but it was still quite large. However, what separated it from any other mall I've been to was the sheer glamour of the place. Right down to the bathrooms, just walking through the place made you feel like you had a million dollars in your pocket.

The weather has been particularly nice the past few weeks, which has made getting motivated to go running each afternoon quite easy. Each day this past week has been in the 70s or low 80s and sunny, with the exception of this past Sunday, which was (gasp!) a bit cloudy. I hear I should get used to this because that is how the weather will be for the next 5 months, with the exception of when we'll have a chance of rain once or twice this winter. I think I'll miss the snow around Christmas time, but otherwise, I think I'll live with this.

Teaching has been going smoothly, and I really love my boys. They are so eager to please me most of the time (something I'm not totally used to from my other teaching experiences), and they seem very excited to be learning a new language. I am having a blast and have felt very good about my decision to come do this for 2 years as of late.

With the Thanksgiving holiday approaching rapidly, I have begun to feel a bit homesick this week. My friends and I are having our own Thanksgiving feast here, but doing it without family for the first time will be different for sure. Looking on the bright side, I do have a vacation of my own coming up starting tomorrow. In lieu of both an Islamic religious holiday and the UAE's National Day (the equivalent of our Independence Day), we will have 10 days off of school over the next 2 weeks. During this time, I will be traveling to Jordan for 5 days. I will be sure to fill you in on that trip when I get back!

Honestly, it feels good to be back on the blog again. Hope to write again soon!

Goodnight from Abu Dhabi,