Written by 12:05 pm Dubai

4 Months In, where do I Begin!

Happy 2021 To You All!

Firstly, I’d like to wish you all a Happy New Year!
I’m sure we all had a rather different festive period, but I hope you managed to make the most of it. My Christmas was the most chilled out and relaxed Christmas that I’ve had in a long time. Having made the decision in November to fly home for it, I was looking forward to seeing my mum, aunties, and uncle. However, due to the restrictions that were announced on the 20th December, it ended up just being my mum and me.

My Christmas Day

We had a lovely, lovely day. I was able my presents BEFORE church this year, which always used to be the way but since being an ‘adult’ I’ve had to wait until mid-morning in recent years! So, it was almost a novelty to be able to open them before 10am this year.
We then proceeded to attend our church service in the comfort of our PJs in the living room, thanks to YouTube and Norwich Central Baptist Church live streaming for us.
Christmas dinner as usual, was cooked to perfection, having had 4 years to cook it by herself, my mum does a brilliant job! It was particularly tasty this year as I didn’t have to share my sprouts with anyone. After polishing off 10 sprouts, some potatoes and turkey I followed it up with a Chocolate Bomb… the best alternative there is to a Christmas Pudding if you ask me.
Now substantially full, we needed to walk this off and fortunately we have a very keen springer spaniel who never says no to a walk! So off we went for an afternoon walk, bumping into a few friendly faces on our way and catching a wonderful sunset over the fields of Reydon. Back at home we finished our evening with TV, more food and alcohol.

Quite possibly one of the best Christmas Day’s I’ve had in 25 years.
Christmas Day Sunset 2020, Reydon

Back to Dubai

This is what you’re here to read about after all, isn’t it?
Well as the title of this blog reads, I’m 4 months in and I am not entirely sure where to begin. This opportunity was so momentous back in August when I was offered the job and I couldn’t wait to get started. It was perfect timing and gave me a new wind of enthusiasm after the disastrous start to 2020. Here we are in January and it is safe to say that the journey this far has been… interesting? I think that’s probably the easiest way to describe it.

Do You Want the Good News or the Bad?

Ok, so let me sum it up for you all like this. I count myself lucky that I have the ability to build a good rapport with 99% of my swimmers. I’m often able to joke about with them in lessons and get them to focus when I need them to. So, it’s not unusual for me to ask the above question. Especially, when they’ve done something particularly poorly.

See, the conversation goes a little like this:

*Swimmers complete length, width, whatever distance of, say, butterfly
Me: Ok guys. Do you want the good news or the bad news first?
Swimmers: The good, the good, the good!
*there’s usually one that wants the bad, but we go for the majority vote
Me: Alright, the good news is, nobody drowned! You’re all still alive.
*roars of laughter from the kids
Swimmers: Ok Miss, but if that’s the good news… What’s the bad?
Me: Well, you all very nearly drowned. WHO DOES BREASTSTROKE KICK WHEN SWIMMING BUTTERFLY??????
*roars of laughter again

But it’s at this point I capture their attention for them to focus, and they’re now ready to listen to feedback and take in on board. Now see if it works with you guys, as my readers, because this post may not quite be what you’re expecting.

My Good News?

  1. I’m able to teach what I love.
  2. I’m earning money.
  3. Dubai, in terms of Coronavirus, is doing OK.
  4. I have a nice place to live.
  5. I haven’t drowned yet.

My Bad News?

Here, is where the post takes a turn…

  1. I don’t enjoy my job as much as I thought I would.
  2. Dubai is expensive, so I’m trying not to spend my money (OK this could be a good thing too, ha-ha).
  3. COVID-19 cases are still rising, in fact a colleague of mine has tested positive this week.
  4. So many up-front costs to get a nice place to live.
  5. Sometimes, it does feel like I’m drowning.

Shall We Start the Bad?

BAMN! That’s right, despite my posts back in September and October where I was practically screaming at you all how amazing this new adventure is… I can’t sit here and say the same thing. This perhaps is part of the reason it’s taken so long to give you all an update, because well, how do you sit and explain that everything isn’t as rosy as expected?
Especially, when you guys in the UK have probably got it much worse now with lockdown no.3, home schooling and what not all happening again. But somehow, I’m going to find away and get the negativity out of the way first, so I can finish this post on a high.

To put it simply, Dubai is not for me.

  1. I don’t enjoy the job as much as I thought I would…
    I feel unsettled and never know what to expect or where I’m meant to be. I miss working in a school.
  2. Dubai I expensive…
    As a country it is all very glitzy and glam. Whereas, as person, I am not. Everything here is so expensive, and you either have the choice of sitting on a beach all day or shopping in the 1001 malls in your free time. Now, I know aa lot of people would give their right arm to sit on a beach all day, but when it’s the only alternative to shopping, it’s a bit dull.
  3. COVID-19 cases are still rising, in fact a colleague of mine has tested positive this week…
    By this week, I mean yesterday. So, there I was last night at 10pm sitting in a hospital car park waiting for my drive through test, when I’d have much rather been tucked up in bed. I didn’t arrive home until midnight and have had to spend half my day off isolating until I received the negative result. Which fortunately came through about an hour ago.
  4. So many upfront costs to get a nice place to live…
    I think I touched on this in my previous post. So, I won’t go into too much detail here. But basically, you need around £1500 to set yourself up in an apartment here because they have deposits for everything. Oh, and there is this tax that you must pay to register your tenancy contract, you’re told that you MUST do it before you move in which stresses you out trust me. Turns out it’s a lie, because I’ve been living in my apartment for 3 months now and only registered my tenancy contract 7 days ago! That, however, was not for the want of trying 6-8 times previously!
  5. Sometimes, it does feel like I’m drowning…
    I can’t really expand on this I feel like it’s self-explanatory.

Also, one last pet peeve, socialising. Right, what is that?  

At home in the UK, I wasn’t necessarily the most social butterfly in terms of big groups of friends and going out each weekend, but I had interests you know and hobbies. Swimming, Girl Guiding, Church as well as hanging out with Friends and Family at weekends.
Here, its much more difficult.
My timetable has changed so many times since I’ve been here that I can’t swim for a club out here. The club I was swimming with training from 7.15-8.15pm on Sundays and Tuesdays, I now finish work at 7.30pm, so that’s that gone. Girl Guiding, well, having been in touch with guide leaders out here and setting the wheels in motion to join a unit, all units meet (via zoom) between 4pm and 7pm. I work from 3.30pm-7.30pm every day apart from a Thursday, Friday, and Saturday, but guess what? There are no unit meetings on Thursday, Friday, or Saturday because it’s the weekend, so that’s that gone. Church, now this is changing, I hope. Churches here meet on Fridays and I think I’ve found one to attend regularly. You have to book, but I went last week to a service held in a hotel at 7pm on Fridays, I can attend this because Fridays I work 9.00am-12.00pm. However, in terms of meeting anyone, due to social distancing and what not there are no gatherings after the service and you’re seated on your own. So for now, it’s not a success.

Good News Now, Let’s Turn This Around!
  1. I’m able to teach what I love…
    Swimming! A sport I’ve been involved in for so, so many years. I get to teach it. My mum said to me over the holidays when we were talking about a friend of mine that lives and works in America “You two are very lucky you know, to be able to pursue your passions and develop a career from them” (side note, my friend is Suffolk through and through, working as a farmer in the US). My mum couldn’t hit the nail any firmer on the head. The actual teaching part of my job, I love, and I am incredibly lucky to be able to do it, especially as I wouldn’t be in this position if I were in the UK.
  2. I’m earning money…
    YES! And due to the fact I’m reluctant to spend it, I’m also saving it! All going towards my lake District fund. I’ve developed a very unhealthy habit of checking Right Move every day for properties in Cumbria.
  3. Dubai, in terms of Coronavirus, is doing OK…
    So yes cases are rising. But the UAE seems to have a much better handle on it that the UK. Lockdown was strict in March last year and facemasks are mandatory EVERYWHERE, except your home and car. They have had more recoveries that deaths by a LONG way and have recently rolled out vaccine sites, free to any UAE resident. Which means in the next week or so I hope to go and get the vaccine when the queues have died down a bit!
  4. I have a nice place to live…
    My apartment is lovely; I am really pleased with it and my land lady is even nicer! She is Canadian and her husband is English, both are the most down to earth people I know and would help me with literally anything should I need it.
  5. I haven’t drowned yet…
    Look on the Brightside eh? Things could be a lot worse for me. I have low days and I have few people to share these with, out here which only makes it worse. But, you know, I’m trying to be more positive. Regardless of what I said about the socialising here, I have made one particularly good friend. She’s introduced me to her family and offered advice when I’ve needed it. We’re been walking in mountains and swim together every Wednesday, just yesterday she made me swim 3000+ metres at 8.15am and most of it was breaststroke! But it was a good day, and that says something, especially if you know how passionately I dislike breaststroke! I’m also hoping that this new church will open up to other friendships eventually.
  6. Bonus point…
    There is also a plan moving forward. After the lockdown in the UK, mum and my uncle should be coming to visit for a few weeks. The plan is to celebrate mums 60th out here in a big way, which I can’t share too much about because she is probably reading this! But yes, Mummy, Reg and I are scheming again. Will, too is hoping to come back out later in the year. In conclusion, there are things to look forward to and who knows I might eventually be settled enough to call this place home for a while!

Oh, and if that’s not enough to give 2021 some hope, on a totally unrelated Dubai note – my best friend gets married this year!!!

Let’s Call It A Day

I realise, whilst writing this, I haven’t updated you since before Will came out to see me for 3 weeks. Well, let me tell you now, it was wonderful! I’ll post some photos at the end of my ramblings so you can see for yourselves what we got up to.

You’re probably about as updated as you need to be right now. Take a break and let your eyes rest from reading this so far, 2208-word, blog!
I hope you enjoy browsing the photos below, I’ll try not make it so long next time!

2238 words later and it’s over and out from me. X

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