Weird is the new normal

First off I’m still bumming off my neighbor’s wifi. There is progress though. My internet sales rep just called me to get my other neighbors number, so that he could call her to get her internet installation guy’s (she got hers installed today) number. I’m hoping this is so that he can get the guy to come install mine. Or, maybe he just wanted him to pick up a schwarma. Who knows?

Anyway, I’m swamped with all sorts of stuff that’s stressing me out right now. I took papers home to grade (even though I have 3 to 4 prep periods, I somehow managed to get overloaded), and I’ve completed two. Soooooo, I need to de-stress by sharing some of the weird stuff that is now my new normal.

1. My beautiful, sweet girls who behaved during their morning class turn into banshees the last half hour of school. The first time I had them last period (I was spared this nightmare my first week) I just stood there like a deer getting run down by a Ford. Now, I try to look like I’ve got it all under control (but inside I’m freaking out that they might just mow me over to get out that door).

2. Getting my electric bill texted (not mailed) to me — all in Arabic.

3. Seeing other teachers pray at the back of our pod while I’m teaching.

4. Waltzing through a group of Muslim workers on their way to Mosque, which happens to be attached to the tiny corner grocer I needed to buy candy from. Why? Because I wanted to reward the girls who didn’t go too terribly wild on me. Oh, and the fact that I think it’s okay to buy already-hyper girls candy as a reward.

5. Walking through plastic blinds to get into said store, which is about the size of a small closet.

6. Cars or SUVs parked in the decorative tree area. I’m thinking for the shade, but who knows?

7. Big-ass SUV driving on the sidewalk when there’s plenty of room left on the road.

8. Buying my single-serve meals at “hypermarkets,” which is the perfect name for these grocery stores attached to malls. They are truly hyper, huge and packed with people running you over with shopping carts — at night. It’s a family affair and sometimes social event. If I could understand what people were saying I’d catch up on all their drama while patiently waiting for them to move away.

9. Men sitting in median strips or on hot rock anywhere. They’re just there chatting. Considering our heat they must have the real buns of steal.

10. Camels in the back of a pickup.

11. Camel crossing signs.

12. I can now decipher different types of call to prayer. My favorite one is from the Mosque behind the Bookshop, a store that sells more other stuff than books (but they do have books).

13. Discovering that I have ESP because I seem to know when some fool is going to shoot at full speed from inner circle to my circle to exit roundabout, missing me by one millimeter only because I knew to tap the brakes (something that is unwise to do here because the same SUV driving the sidewalk may very well be on your bumper). And, then, praying this new ESP skill NEVER fails me.

14. Almost a month after moving in (and putting in what in the west would appear to be an abnormal request) having maintenance men show up at 8:30 p.m. to install my shower rod. Why? Because my walls are either tile or concrete, so I can’t screw anything in without a drill. Oh and checking to replace blown out lightbulbs — don’t have a ladder, so can’t do that either.

Want to know what was normal and is now weird? Taking a shower without shooting water all over the bathroom.

And, now it’s time for me to do something really normal any where I live. Get ready for bed. Maybe I’ll wake up early and get some more of those papers finished…

Posted on September 16, 2014, in Abu Dhabi First Quarter. Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.

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