Tis the season to be thankful
While my friends and family back home were sleeping, my new friends/family over here and I celebrated our Thanksgiving. Um, and then much later while we were still celebrating, you guys back home were smelling your turkey roasting in the oven. And, now, while some of you are doing your Black Friday shopping we are all sacked out on the couch being thankful for not having to go out in public.
Of course I miss my home now, but I’m also very lucky for a few things:
1. I live in a small apartment complex where I’ve become friends with my neighbors. Three of us just left our doors open while the party migrated from one place to the next. Photos will tell more of the story in a bit. Another one of our neighbors runs a take out service, so we ordered our turkey and some sides from them, which was awesome.
2. Some of my Abu Dhabi friends made the trip to spend the holiday with us, so I got to also enjoy more time with them.
3. National Day is next week. It’s a major holiday over here, and the town is lit up with green, red and white lights, so while the lights coincide with the country’s flag colors, they also give a festive feel. Emirates are in good spirits; we expats are in good spirits; Mother Nature with her nice temperatures is in good spirits. It’s a good time to be here.
4. The school term is winding down. All I have left to do now is grade papers, proctor exams and prep for January. The girls are happy; I’m happy.
Sooo, while I didn’t get to taste my daughter’s first turkey — she and Kelley made Thanksgiving dinner for Joe and Aaron — and I didn’t get to feast with my family, I’m not depressed. I’m really, really grateful for this because now is the time I could see me getting horribly homesick. So thank you to everyone involved for helping keep this a happy time of year for me!
I had to work on Thanksgiving, but only until noon. In celebration of National Day, the school had an outdoor party for the girls. There was music and traditional dancing, food and the girls showing off arts and crafts. They also got to wear makeup, jewelry and their pretty dresses. It was so nice to have fun with them and their families. I also got to laugh with fellow Arabic teachers when the girls swarmed over me to braid my hair, henna my hands (with a traditional design versus the flowery kinds we see now — love the sentiment, but the flowery ones are more to my liking), and rub saffron oil on my face.
I was nervous about the saffron oil because I really didn’t want to walk around for several weeks with an orange stripe on my face, but whew! It wiped off. The women use saffron oil for its scent and because it’s good for the skin. They used to make their own saffron and henna pastes. My girls looking pretty in their jewels and dresses. I wish I could show you their beautiful, happy faces, but I can’t. Just know that they melt my heart when they’re having fun. Hahaha they almost melt my temper when they’re not, but we’re on a thankful thread, so let’s stay on the good stuff. I love getting to know them, and I truly am grateful for the opportunity to spend this time in their lives. I also really enjoyed meeting some of their mothers, aunts and sisters. We may not speak the same language, but we all appreciate the beauty of joy, and there’s something nice to be said about time alone with other women.
There’s also a whole lot of nice to be said having time alone with your own people — men included. It’s mostly women in my complex, but we like our male teachers too.
Two turkeys and a carcass. I love that the camera focused on the bird’s butt versus my crazy girls Lisa and Ashley (Kaylene take a good look, Ashley is my current wine daughter) Good times indeed. Lots of feasting and laughing, which led to this…
Badminton in the hallway is what happens when you no longer feel like playing ping pong in Lisa’s dining room. But, you see, it then leads to a badminton match between my balcony and parking lot…
which inevitably leads to “cocks” on the roof
which brings us to this…
And then came the dare to go ahead and climb on to my patio from there
which thankfully was a success! It’s all good we’re insured, but I guess this proves that just because we’re brave souls who’ll take a job a gazillion miles from home, we’re not necessarily the brightest bulbs on the planet — but we do know fun.
Up next is some of the Al Ain crew going to Abu Dhabi to celebrate National Day. I love this time of year!