Al Ain

We are now making our home in the city of Al Ain.  It is the fourth largest city in the United Arab Emirates, and it borders Oman (we were literally driving through the city and were like, “oh look, there is the border”).  It is the birth place of the founder of the U.A.E.  It is built around an Oasis, so it is much greener than Abu Dhabi.  It has trees here that actually might to be native to the area, as opposed planted here and watered.  It is a pretty flat city, but right across the border is a mountain.  We have a good view of it from our current living quarters.

For now, we are making our home in a four star hotel.  We have been told that they are still finishing our accommodations.  They have been built, but they are doing all of the finishing work.  I have heard that we might have to be in the hotel for up to a month.

We really can’t complain.  We have been treated very well.  First at the 5 star hotel in Abu Dhabi, and now at the 4 star hotel in Al Ain.  We get free breakfast every morning, and we are attached to a small grocery store.  We are a quick taxi ride to many things in Al Ain.

So far, we have visited the Al Ain Mall, the Bawadi Mall, and St. Mary’s Catholic Church.  They have parks and a zoo here, but I think we might wait until the weather cools a little to enjoy those.  The malls here are gorgeous and huge. We take the stroller, and the boys usually fall asleep as we wander through the mall.  The malls have several stores, some of which I’m familiar with, and others I had never heard of.  I found a few infinity scarves on sale at H&M (I should have bought more), and I also bought an Abaya at Bawadi Mall.  If I buy any more Abayas, I think I will go back to the Al Ain mall.  One of the stores there seemed to have a really good deal on them.

We went to church today at St Mary’s Catholic Church.  The land for the church had been donated by the founder of the country.  It is a pretty nice and simple church.  It is rectangular, and has large stained glass windows on either side.  There is a cry room that we sat in for mass.  The courtyard outside the church is covered by a large canopy stretched across the top.  Many of the people attending the church appeared to be from the Philippines or India, but I didn’t see many of them since we spent most of the time in the cry room.  Thankfully, the church is not too far from us, so it is a pretty cheap taxi ride.

Driving is interesting.  We have only taken taxis here so far.  The best day to learn driving would be Friday morning, because no one is on the road.  The rest of the time, the roads are pretty busy.  There are also several roundabouts (the British influence).  I think I am getting them figured out, but I still don’t feel up to braving them.  Besides, I don’t think I’m legally covered by car insurance until I have my resident visa, so I have some time.

I found out that I will be teaching at an all girls school here in Al Ain.  It too is not very far from here.  I will be teaching cycle 2 math.  I have connected with at least one other teacher there, and I’m really excited to start work on Sunday.  I know it will be different from the teaching I have done so far, but I am ready for the challenge.  I am also excited to be spending more time as a family.

One day this week, my oldest (3 years old) woke up saying he was done with hotels.  He wanted to go to our new home.  We told him this was our home for now.  He was over it by the next morning, when he woke up asking if we were going to go downstairs to eat breakfast.  My middle one has also been enjoying our time here.  Today, he said several times, “Best day ever.”  Today was nothing special.  We just went to church and then spent time together in the room.  Now, everyone is relaxing (napping or watching the ipad) while Sharly is doing a store run.  Yet, they really love having both parents around.  Hopefully we will get all adjusted as I start work in the next few days, and then again when we get into our housing.  In the mean time, I will go back to relaxing.