Day 3 - Orientation began on Sunday. That's right the work week is Sunday through Thursday. Orientation began with all of the new teachers gathering in a ballroom in our hotel. If I had to guess I'd say there were about 200-300 of us. This was an article in the local newspaper about us. Click here to read it. They welcomed us and there were breakfast foods surrounded by the many vendors that wanted our business.
The day began with the overview of the day followed by receiving our placement letters and filling out information for a bank account. My friend and I decided to go to the placement letter table first and battle that crowded area and then go to the bank table. The placement letters were organized by first name. My heart was beating so fast! I was so nervous. The options for placement were Abu Dhabi which is like New York City, Al Ain which is like Huntersville right outside of Charlotte, and Al Dhafra which is the western region and can be thought of like the country. I got to the table and told her my first name. She shuffled through several papers and then she got to my name and asked me to make sure I received mine. I saw my name and let her know it was correct. I didn't look at the letter until I got a little far away from the line. I looked down and saw Abu Dhabi! I felt myself let out the biggest sigh of relief. I knew my husband would be pleased because he had been contacted by a few companies in Abu Dhabi. I immediately sent him a message. See his response below.
*****If you are reading this in hopes of joining ADEC I would suggest going to the placement table first as long as you have a SIM CARD. Thanks to my husbando I had mine but many teachers were unable to get them or were waiting on ADEC to provide them with one. SIM Cards were not available this year so get your SIM Card from the airport. Do not leave the airport without one. On Day 1 go to the placement table first and then get the bank forms and fill them out. They will walk you through what needs to be done but have it filled out so all you are doing is checking to be sure everything is complete. As soon as the last slide is shown go directly to the bank table. DO NOT WAIT! The line will get very long! Also, have copies of your Passport and Entry VISA. This is so important. Do not wait until you get here. Some will you say you won't need it but it came in handy having the copies made. *****
After turning in my bank information I visited the furniture and rental car tables to get information to discuss with Mike. I grabbed a little fruit and headed back to our room to discuss lunch and the plan for the remainder of our day!
That evening I checked out one of the groups I'm in on facebook called Best Bites of Abu Dhabi and looked for a nice place to eat. I found a place called Loca that served Mexican Inspired Dishes. The food was delicious and the service was great. We were the only people in the restaurant! Loca is located right inside but beside Galleria Mall which is on Al Maryah Island. This mall was an upscale mall and some places had security at their doors because of the items inside.
Day 4 - Orientation for day 2 was held at another hotel. We were bused there. On my way down I had to stop at the elevators to appreciate the view.
Orientation began with a welcome from the General Education Director followed by an overview of the Abu Dhabi Educational Model. It was really background on where Abu Dhabi has been as it pertains to education. Once this part was over we had to go outside to get in line to get our contracts and placement letters. Again it was all organized by first name.
*******If you are reading this in hopes of joining ADEC I would suggest sitting by the door. In Group 1 there were hundreds of people and well, as Ricky Bobby says, "If you're not first, you're last!" No, but seriously the lines can be treacherous. I was the 3rd person in my line.*******
I got my contract and placement letter and went back to my seat. I read over it ever so carefully making sure there were no mistakes because we were told if you sign and turn it in, as is, there will be no corrections. I did what a few VETS had said and took pictures of each page of my contract even though they said they would email us a copy. I turned my contract back in and then began googling my school. There was nothing! No website, nothing! I wasn't alarmed or upset I just decided that my school was too good to be on the internet! 😊😜
They corralled us all back and then went over cultural awareness, dress code expectations and some HR procedures. They dismissed us to lunch and again the lines were treacherous but not for me because I sat by the door! While I was in line to get my food I saw the man who was over housing in Abu Dhabi and I felt like a stalker because I watched his every move. I faintly heard him calling for teachers placed in Abu Dhabi and I made sure I could hear what he was saying so I waltzed right over to where he was. They had said in Day 1 that if we wanted to find our own accommodations we could and they would pay as long as it was under a certain number. Mike and I had scoured the internet looking and we found something so I needed to hear what this guy was going to say to make sure they didn't change their mind about paying. He basically said we all would be placed on Al Reem Island (which is where we found a place) and it would all be taken care of. Mike and I had an appointment to view a few apartments that afternoon and in spite of what he said we still decided to go.
******ADEC hopefuls, things change all the time so be sure to listen carefully and take note of everything. We were told that they'd pay agency fees. The realtor showing us apartments told us just 3 days ago he closed a deal with ADEC teachers and they were told ADEC will not pay the fees. So, LISTEN!!!!*******
Day 5 - Today was a free day for me. My medical check is not until Day 6 so Mike and I decided to just hang out and take care of a few things. We had to go to the US Embassy to try and get some documents notarized. We got to the US Embassy and found out that we had to have an appointment so, we went to Mushrif Mall. This mall was really nice. The top floor was mostly food places. We saw Chili's, Applebees, TGI Friday's, McDonald's, Burger King, and then tons of places we had never heard of. We decided to eat at Marrybrown. Marrybrown is a nice chicken spot and they also have stir fry. We ordered our food and as we were leaving, Mike saw a Coldstone and he decided to get an ice coffee. We walked out, hailed a taxi, and made our way back to our hotel.
*****ADEC hopefuls, enjoy the free days but take care of your business. You still have to get some documents translated and attested so use free days to do this. We are going to a translator tomorrow to translate our marriage license and drivers licenses.******
When we got back to our room we were greeted by this...
Day 6 - Today was my Medical Day. We were told to wear plain short sleeved shirts as we'd have to have blood drawn. My time was 8am so I was downstairs around 7:30ish just to make sure I was in the know. Before we boarded the bus they told us how the day would go. We were going to get our passports, stamped VISAs, and Emirates ID Paperwork but we were to give it back immediately after our Medicals were done. We got on the bus and I sat in the very 1st seat because I figured we would have to be in a line. If I had to put a title on today it would be, "Hurry up, and wait."
The group of 10 that I was in, was taken to the ID area first. We entered and there were 2 women working. Well, they were actually eating a snack and laughing. They saw us come in and did not rush to finish their conversation or their snack. As I've learned and come to appreciate, everything will get done when it gets done so there is no need to rush. They called me up and took my fingerprints and my picture for my ID. She stamped my Emirates ID paperwork and I was out the door to wait in another line. The next line was for the medical check-in. I had to take another picture, sign some forms saying I'm aware of what's about to happen, and once he was done, I had to wait in another line. The next line was for my vitals. They took my height, weight, and blood pressure. I was told my blood pressure was good, given a cup to pee in, and sent on my way. I went to the toilet to pee, (it's called toilet here and not restroom) placed my specimen in the marked box, and back in a line to wait. As I was waiting I saw people that were in the group before me. (They had separated my hotel into 4 groups. Group 1 went to medicals at 6am, my group at 8am, 3rd group at 10, and the 4th group at 1. Seeing group 1 let me know today may be quite a long day.) The line I was in wasn't moving very fast as it was the line to see the doctor. Once it was my turn, she asked me if I could be pregnant, and what my name was. She asked me to pick up a book and read the numbers randomly. She then asked me to lay on the table and she took my pulse and listened to me breathe. She asked me to lift up my shirt and if I had any skin issues. I answered and she sent me to the next line which is where they take blood. The customer service lady asked to see my receipt and once she saw it said ADEC Teacher she sent me in to have my blood drawn even though there were a few people in front of me. The lady who took my blood didn't say much. She looked for the biggest vein, inserted the needle and started taking my blood, 3 tubes full! She gave me a band aid and I was off to another line. This line was for the X-Ray. They called me in, she asked me if I was pregnant, and then asked me to put my hair up and hold it. She took one picture and said, "Ok, Ma'am, you're done." After that I was off again to be directed to the next line. But there were no more lines. I was met by our travel agency representative who took my passport, VISA, medicals receipt, and 1 copy of my Emirate ID paperwork. She then directed me back to the bus. We had arrived at 8:30am and it was now 11:00am and I was only the 3rd person on the bus! I knew I would have to wait. If I had dirhams I would have taken a taxi but Mike had all the money. I wasn't upset though. I pulled out my phone and read a book in between dozing. Around 1:00 or so I started getting antsy and at that moment people from Group 4 began getting on my bus! I was so confused! Come to find out the air on their bus stopped working so they moved them to our bus AND they would not be able to get their medicals done because the facility was too crowded. There were a lot of us having to go through this process.
Back at the hotel Mike was waiting on me because we had to go get our licenses and marriage license translated and attested so we could get UAE licenses and to start his residency VISA process. Someone who had went through this process told us there was a lady across from Al Wahda Mall who would do it cheap and fast. So, with our new couple friends we hopped in a taxi and were on our way. She took our originals and let us know it would be ready for pick up the next day. Since we were right at the Mall, we went in because I wanted to get a phone that I could put my UAE Sim card in and Mike wanted to get some drink to have in our hotel room. I was able to find a nice and cheap Samsung in Lulu's. Lulu's was like Carrefour. Lulu's had TVs, clothes, and food. Once I purchased my phone we went to look for drink and some food we could make in our hotel. We found some pasta and soup that we'd only have to add water to and we knew that would come in handy when we craved food at midnight. We paid for our items, met our friends who also purchased some food and drink, and we were back in the taxi headed for our hotel.
Mike and I decided to eat our leftovers and soup for dinner. The hotel in room dining service would heat up our food for us so we called them up so they could do that. They brought our food back and I made soup using the electric kettle in our room. The food wasn't the same as it is on the stove but it did the job!
At about 12:30am I was hungry and I asked my husbando if he'd make me some pasta. He not only made pasta but he figured out a way to heat up our chicken, that we also had leftovers of, without a microwave and calling in room dining. He put it all on a plate and I couldn't even get a picture of everything because it was sooooo good! He handed me my plate and within a short minute or 2 it was all gone!
*****ADEC Hopefuls, when doing Medicals, bring a light jacket because it is quite cold and try to bring some snacks because the wait could be long. If you want to save money, don't eat out as much and try to go to the store and pick up food that can be made in the hotel room. I'm going at some point to get peanut butter, jelly, bread, and Doritos so I don't have to order so much room service.*******
Day 5 - We slept in today because there wasn't anything imminent that we had to get done. We went to pick up our documents from the translation lady and we went back to Al Wahda Mall to look around a little more. We went to the Food Court. I was itching to try the McDonald's and Mike went to Popeye's.
The food quality was a better than back home. After eating we walked around the mall and to my surprise we saw a Red Lobster. I went in and got a chocolate lava cookie to go that I would enjoy once we were back in our room. I was so excited and happy.
We continued to walk and talk and came upon a London Dairy that will definitely give Dairy Queen a run for its money. Mike ordered a milkshake. This mall, Al Wahda Mall, has a bowling alley, movie theater, and sports lounge INSIDE of it. I cannot wait to go back to explore it a little more and go shopping! Once we were done walking and looking, we got back in a taxi and headed back to the hotel.
My Dad has now learned how to text and answer his face time calls so he and I face timed and I updated him about what we had been up to!
We decided to reorganize our bags because we were probably going to be in the hotel for another week. We will be having a housing meeting in a few days and we hope at this time we'll be able to let them know where we want to stay. The teachers who will be in the other 2 regions, Al Ain or the Western Region, will be bused there on Friday and put up at another hotel while they wait for their placements. Since we're placed here in Abu Dhabi we'll remain at this hotel. We were told once we have our keys we have 5 days to check out of the hotel. Mike and I have decided that our first purchase will be a bed and after that, we'll play it by ear.
And that is our first week in Abu Dhabi wrapped up! We have thoroughly enjoyed being here but it does feel a bit like vacation. I can't wait to get into our apartment and live our life!
As always, Be Kind to One Another and Be Uniquely You!
Hi! I'm Unique. Follow along with me as I try unique things and travel the world!