Well here we are again! At the end of another year and I have dropped this blogging ball. I enjoy blogging very much but I can't seem to manage my time to sit and write and chronicle life. So here's the condensed version of what happened between April 2021 and now...December 2021.
After going to Turkey my friend and I decided to start a Travel Agency. It went great. Due to personal reasons, I decided to step away from that business to focus on things that truly need my attention...MY HUSBAND, MY MARRIAGE, AND ME! So much of the latter part of 2021 was spent balancing the duties of a travel agent, wife, and teacher returning back to the classroom after being away for a year and a half! What a whirlwind but I came out unscathed!
During Term 1 we followed the hybrid model of teaching. My classes were split in half. One week, half of them physically came to school and the others stayed at home and joined class virtually and they switched every week. This was a little confusing trying to remember who should be sitting in front of me because they all wanted to come to school 100% of the time. In January, when Term 2 starts, they all will be face-to-face which I'm currently preparing for because I have not taught a full class of students since February 2020! Readers, pray for me!
No marriage is perfect so that definitely includes mine. My husband and I have committed ourselves to putting our marriage first and making sure we strengthen it at all times. We have decided that in order for us to get different results, we have to do things differently. So we are reading together, praying together, doing marital check ins and so much more. I'll share more about this in 2022 because I'm so excited about what God is doing in our marriage. So, look for blog posts about this.
I plan on posting on a consistent basis. This is a wonderful outlet for all of the creative juices that don't have anywhere to go. I haven't danced or sewn in a very long time so the creativity needs to be expressed! I'll be doing weekly recipes and hopefully some sewing tutorials every now and then! I'm also going to do an activity here in the UAE at least monthly if not more so that means Vlogging!
As with most of the world, the current pandemic has slowed down my travels but not my passion. Unique Does Travel. a travel agency birthed from my love and passion for travel, will cater to unique travelers of all ages who want every detail of their vacations planned for them. We'll be hosting trips around the world. Our next expedition will be in December 2022 to Dubai! Habibi come to Dubai! Check out Unique Does Travel for more information!
You're all caught up now so get ready because 2022 is going to be one AMAZING YEAR! I'm declaring that right now.
What are your goals for 2022? What do you want to accomplish? Thanks in advance for sharing!
Happy New year and remember to Be Uniquely You!
2020 came in with a bang. I decided I wanted to go to Shanghai for my birthday so I could mark Disneyland Shanghai off the list. My birthday is at the end of January. If you know anything about world news you know that Wuhan was reporting a deadly virus that had flu like symptoms. At the time it didn't seem like it was too serious so we decided to continue with our planned trip. Oh what a trip it was! The world only saw the virus through what was being presented in the media, however, being in China was a different story. Once we landed, everyone was wearing masks and everything was closed. We did manage to make it to Disneyland. It was unreal to see how people were dealing with a virus that was still being debated if it was serious or not. Once we got home and settled we realized that this virus was ripping through the entire world. We are so thankful that we went into the belly of the beast and came out unscathed. It is so sad that many people all over the world don't have that luxury. Enjoy our Shanghai Disneyland pictures.
Schools have been closed now for 4 weeks and they will not reopen for the remainder of this school year here in the UAE. The UAE Government did an excellent job of being proactive. Malls are closed and so many other businesses are too. The cases un the UAE increased rather slowly but now we are seeing exponential growth because people failed to quarantine after traveling abroad. This is no longer an issue as airports are closed.
So, we exercise, I conduct online classes, the Husbando streams (Youtube - Split Media Solutions, Twitch - SgtSplit), the Husbando is also doing professional development and taking advantage of master classes, and I cook and we eat.
I have been vegetarian for 7 weeks and I have seen so many benefits being on this journey. I have also found so many plant based foods that I don't think I'll ever go back to meat unless it's for a chicken wing or 2 or 10. Who am I kidding, 20. With all of this free time I do plan on doing more Unique Does Cooking and letting my creative juices flow. Be on the lookout for what's to come.
Stay safe. Wash your hands. And Be Uniquely You!
Yes, I've neglected this! I am going to vow to do better I am just trying to live in each and every moment. Now where to begin...
The 2019-2020 year began with a bang. I can honestly say this year is an improvement from last year. The behavior of my boys, my creativity and energy, it's all going so well at the moment. I started this year living without my husband. He stayed back in Atlanta to become a Certified FAA Drone Pilot and to purchase a drone and he did just that.
*Insert the biggest smile of a proud wife*
I maintained our life here. Some of the highlights were going to a FREE DJ Jazzy Jeff concert.
I went to Disneyland Paris. I want to go to all of the Disney Parks in the World and this made #7!
In October, we took an impromptu/I miss you visit to Amsterdam. That is his favorite country hands down!
My cousins came to visit and we went to some of the popular tourist spots here in Abu Dhabi. One of our stops was the Emirates Palace and I had ice cream with gold on top!
At the end of November is National Day and we get days off. This was when the husbando and I were going to meet in Maldives and be reunited. *Insert song "Reunited and it feels so good." Check out the video below of our experience. It was amazing!
Life is good. So remember to Be Uniquely You!
My friends and I embarked on what we have coined an Epic Summer! Words cannot even begin to explain the amount of fun that we had. Check out the videos below.
This school year is so very different. The kids are different. The school day and routine are different. It's just different and I've struggled with getting in the groove. As a teacher, it is important to establish routine and procedures and I'm just not feeling that I'm there. So Term 2 was a blur. We introduced blended learning which was somewhat successful. It's hard being a teacher when I'm moving from class to class. I'm trying to be positive but I'm finding it hard to continue my creative way of teaching when I move classes every 45 minutes.
The entire term I was waiting for Spring Break. I had a countdown app and I looked forward to the quotes and seeing how many days that were left until vacation, DAILY.
With that being said, SPRING BREAK OWES ME NOTHING! I had a blast. One of the goals when moving here was to travel and I can mark that as done and I'm not even done traveling! I did a Daily VLOG. We traveled for 10 days and each day brought a new adventure. Every day is below.
I will do better about documenting my term 3 successes and failures.
Remember to BE KIND TO ONE ANOTHER AND BE UNIQUELY YOU!
For the past few years I've taken on the motto "Do Life Big." If you're wondering if I made this up myself, the answer is No. As much as I'd love to take credit for this I cannot. Jamie Grace, a Christian singer, has a song called "Do Life Big." The meaning behind this song comes from the familiar Bible verse that goes a little something like this...(I'm paraphrasing) Jesus came to give us life and we should live this life abundantly. I don't know what you think abundant means but to me it means more than enough, more than you can handle, BIG. Thus, "Do Life Big!" After my Mom died I vowed to myself that I would do my best to Do Life Big every-single-day-of-my-life. Perfect segue to how I spent the last 10 days of 2018!
We went on a Mediterranean Cruise on the MSC Meraviglia! This cruise left from Civatevecchia, the port in Rome. We spent 2 days in Rome before boarding an 8 day cruise that would take us to Palermo, Malta, Barcelona, Marseille, and Genoa, Italy. Best. Decision. Ever.
I would recommend this cruise and I actually want to do it again! We were adventurous and used the public transportation in all of the countries.
It rained when we ventured out in Rome and it was a little cold in Malta. Overall though the weather was pretty and a stark contrast to the usual sunny weather we experience in Abu Dhabi.
After this great vacay, I have really discovered that I love to travel and now I'm looking forward to Spring Break which will be our next getaway. I'm still in the planning stages of what we're going to do but we are definitely going to country hop. As I write this we have 86 days. 86 days before I board another airplane. 86 days before I catch the perfect sunset. 86 days for me to get this body swimsuit ready. (Head on over to Unique Does Cooking to check out the recipes I'm trying out in order to complete this mission.)
86 days for me to Do Life Big as much as I can.
Update: I never clicked post so this post has been in my drafts. So as of today we have 30 days and to say that I'm ready would be an understatement.
Remember to "Be Kind to One Another", "Do Life Big" and "Be Uniquely You"!
I have to start by apologizing! My last post was in September and here we are in December! Oops! So much to fill you in on so I can tell you what I'm doing now. I'm going to go month by month.
September began with our school being renovated. Renovations lasted all of September and if I'm brutally honest renovations are actually still happening.
I tried to do more healthy eating and I tried my first Spin class at this gym called The Room. I like working out but my butt and that bicycle seat DID NOT get along. Thus that will probably be my last spin class! LOL!
In October, I did another round of the smoothie cleanse and I was very pleased with my results! More so than the first time.
Mike and I went to an Oktoberfest event and we had a really good time. It was smaller than what I pictured in my mind but it was really fun! It was held at the Abu Dhabi Golf Resort.
So many people tell me that I talk a lot about what I do outside of school but don't talk about school much. Well, because being a teacher here is....DIFFERENT to say the least. A school was closed and so that school has combined with my school. The students from the other school are quite different from the boys that I had last year. They "found" a hurt bird and during the break they tried to "nurse" it back to health. The feet you see is that of a teacher protecting the bird.
I have been trying to do different things with my hair. Below is 1 day when I was "feeling" myself.
November was a busy month!
November began with Flag Day. If you've been following this blog you probably remember me talking about Flag Day last school year and how big of a deal it is. Nothing changed! If anything, it seemed to be a bigger deal now!
Working in a Muslim country has made me appreciate cultural differences. We have a large area for teachers to work in and one thing that will catch someone unsuspecting off is if it's prayer time there could possibly be someone praying. You don't have to stop what you're doing to pray. You don't have to be silent. You just have to respect that they are praying and move on. The first time I saw that I was taken aback because in the U.S. prayer is not allowed in schools by children and most definitely not the adults!
My little brother got married this month. So, I ventured back home because I was not going to miss that. It was a wonderful time and I was so glad I got to see my brothers, my Dad, and some friends and family. I don't think I'll be going back home again until 2020 but you never know. My little brother asked me to do the Mother-Son dance in memory of our Mom...(cue the water works)... well we had to add a little flair to it. See below!
While I was home I surprised the dance team and it was sooooo good to see them and dance with them even if for a very short time!
I did my first 5K! Let me clarify though! 5K Walk! It was great. Mike and I had never done a 5K and I was so proud of us. There were so many people. The only negative thing I have to say about this event was the water stations all ran out of water! How?!? On the positive side if you know me, you know I LOVE STILTS! And there were some stilt walkers before the walk began. Talk about overjoyed!
I really am trying to take charge of my health so my friend, Jennifer and I, went to a fitness festival. It was a great experience. They gave out free passes to gym classes, they offered workout sessions, and my favorite was the cooking class which I think we won but they wouldn't declare a real winner. We made fish cakes with tartar sauce and they were delicious! I really am going to add that to our menu in 2019.
I was invited to my first lunch at an Emirati's home. They had so much food just for me. I couldn't believe that they went through all of the trouble and the food was great too. She served Biryani which is rice and chicken (it could be any meat). She also had fresh mangoes, a salad called Tabbouleh that has quinoa, lettuce, and a sauce. It was good too. We ate on the floor which is how her family eats and it was a very enjoyable time. She also offered to teach me Arabic. I can't wait!
November ended with National Day! National Day is where the UAE celebrates becoming 1 country made up of 7 emirates. National Day is a BIG DEAL! Below are some pictures from my school celebration. The women are cooking Luqaimat. They are like doughnuts with honey and sesame seeds. They are my absolute favorite! I know I ate at least 10 of them that day!
December was pretty slow. School slowed down because it was Exam Time. The kids' last day was December 12. Staff's last day was December 20.
The one highlight in December was one of my favorite cousins took a cruise out of Dubai and it stopped in Abu Dhabi! Mike and I took her around the city to see some of the must see attractions. I really enjoyed her and I invited her back anytime!
And that does it. You're all caught up. You need to be caught up because of what comes next!
Disclaimer: This is not a post to talk down about being a teacher here. I love teaching here. This is a post that shows what being a teacher here is like. Teaching here is not for the faint of heart. Teaching here is not for those who dislike being out of the loop. Teaching here IS for the flexible. Teaching here IS for those who can Go With The FLOW!
Today is the first day for students AT MY SCHOOL. The 1st day for students for everyone else in Abu Dhabi was September 2. Yup! I know what you're thinking. Why? How does that even work?When last school year ended we found out that our school would be renovated (CLICK HERE TO READ THE POST THAT CONTAINS THE PICTURES) because we'd be welcoming more students due to school closures and schools combining. We were told it would be ready by the time school started.
The first day for teachers was August 26. I pulled up to the school on August 26 and this is what I saw.
The UAE is home to so many world's largest, tallest, fastest, longest attractions.
The world's largest indoor theme park - IMG World - Dubai, UAE
The world's fastest rollercoaster - Formula Rossi at Ferrari World - Abu Dhabi, UAE
The world's largest mall - The Dubai Mall - Dubai, UAE
The world's tallest building - Burj Khalifa - Dubai, UAE
The world's tallest hotel - JW Marriott Marquis - Dubai, UAE
The world's longest zip line - Jebel Jais Flight - Ras al Khaimah, UAE
Before today I am able to say that I have been/rode/visited all of the above items on the list EXCEPT 1.
After today I am able to say that I have been/rode/visited ALL OF THE ABOVE! Today I conquered the longest zip line in the world!
Hi! I'm Unique. Follow along with me as I try unique things and travel the world!