Monday, May 30, 2011

It's Official, Abu Dhabi here I come!

     I have signed and sent away my contract.  I will be moving to Abu Dhabi to teach elementary at the beginning of August.  I will be part of the largest educational reform currently taking place in the world.  The Abu Dhabi government is in charge of the reform and is recruiting English speaking teachers to come and teach in public school .  I will be in charge of teaching Reading, Math and Science to local children in a public school.  I will be teaching in English and very few if any students will speak English fluently.  So that should be interesting.  I am 1 of 1,000 teachers going over there this year and there are already teachers there who have blazed the trail for us.  This whole process literally started about three weeks ago and on a whim I applied.  After applying I received a call within three hours to do a phone interview.  The phone interview was on Wednesday and on Saturday I had an in person interview with a representative from Teach Away (the recruiting company hiring teachers for Abu Dhabi).  I was then told to get the proper documents ready and be ready for an interview in about 10 days.  I went to my interview on a Thursday and interviewed with a government official from the education council.   When the interview was done and I asked my long list of questions I was offered a position.  I walked out of there kind of in a daze because I still had no clue as to what I wanted to do. 
     I decided to talk to those close to me more and wait on the contract to see if it was worth it.  I did a lot of praying, research, talking and contemplating.  I received the contract late last week and after having it for two days I decided to accept the job.  I just couldn't pass up on this opportunity and I knew that this job was given to me for a reason.  I believe that my higher power put this opportunity in my lap for a reason.  I can't tell you the reason right now but I am sure I will figure it out over the next 2 years.  I am scared to leave all my comforts here in Houston.  I am going to be leaving some amazing people. 
     My friends here are what get me through all of my tough times and are there to support me.  I truly hope that those relationships will continue to grow even with the distance between us.  I am also leaving my boyfriend who I love more than I ever thought I could.  He is my best friend and a true blessing in my life.  I am not sure what is going to happen to our relationship but I am confident it will take the coursee it is supposed to.  My mom and dad will still be in Houston but I have my fingers crossed they will be visiting regularly.  I will miss calling them daily and having them calm me down over one of my irrational freak outs.  I guess I will have to learn how to change windshield wipers on my own, how to deal with a stressful situation, decide if I should go to the doctor or not, set up my apartment, buy a car, and so much more that I rely on my parents for.  Ugh that sounds horrible.  My little sister will be in Lubbock and I will miss being able to share her excitement with her through her college years.  She is at Texas Tech so I am confident she will be fine because when you are a Raider nothing but good things can come from that.  Now, if she was at some other schools that are not to be named I might worry. HAHA.  My older sister, brother-in-law, niece and nephew are in Saudi Arabia which is about an hour flight from me.  I will be able to see them pretty regularly and look forward to watching their family grow.  I also will be leaving a job that I have become comfortable at and have met so many great people but the things I have learnt and experienced from that job make me better prepared for what is to come.

Now that I have teared up and got all sentimental let me tell you about where I will be moving...

     Abu Dhabi is located in the United Arab Emirates which is the same country where the infamous Dubai is located.  Abu Dhabi is the capital of the country and is known as the worlds richest country by some due to their wealth in oil.  I will be living in an apartment that my employer provides.  The accommodations are very nice from what I have seen.  I will have to get a car once I receive my residency visa.  The official religion of the country is Islam but is very tolerant of other religions.  About 26% of the UAEs population is made up of nationals and the rest is expatriates from other countries.  Abu Dhabi and the UAE are very safe.  As a single, non-muslim women I feel very safe in the UAE having lived there when I was younger and visiting a couple of years ago.  As opposed to other Muslim countries I will be able to drive, I will not have to cover my head unless I choose to and probably will when I am in public so my hair does not attract a lot of attention.  I will have to cover up my arms, shoulders, legs, and collar bone while I am working.  I will probably wear abayas to work (that is where my blog name came from).  While I am in the city I can wear my regular clothes as long as they are not too revealing.  So no daisy dukes and tube tops for me, haha! 

Me in my new work attire

     My dog Max will hopefully come over after I am settled.  I have to find dog friendly housing which will be a challenge because Muslim people are not big fans of dogs.  After I find suitable housing and have thought out if it is suitable for Max to live here, my parents will put him on the plane and send him to his mom. 
    I think I have written enough for today.  My wish is that all of you will keep in contact with me and visit my blog to see what I am up to.  I will be posting regularly with pictures, links, stories, videos and so much more.  I will have skype, facebook and email so I will be able to keep in contact.  If you are reading this please know that I will miss you and at some point in my life you have helped me become strong enough to make this exciting journey possible.

Here are some pictures of Abu Dhabi:


  1. Congrats, Ashley! Glad to meet a fellow Houstonian-turned-Abu Dhabi Expat. I'm so excited about this adventure. I'll definitely be following along with you.

  2. Hi Ashley,
    I love the name of your blog. So appropriate. I will follow your blog and hope to hear of your adventures. I am on the same crazy path, but I will teach in a private school in Abu Dhabi. Perhaps we will meet in the desert. Happy Blogging.
    My blog is at

  3. I am so excited for you and know how scary, overwhelming and exciting making a move like this can be. I look forward to seeing you and having you here for Christmas! Also, look into getting a vonage phone (it is internet based) which will give you a Houston based number so it isn't long distance to call you and unlike skype, you don't have to be online for people to call. Love you and let us know if you need any help!

  4. Wow Ashley! How very exciting! I am sure that your parents are so proud of their brave daughters, and I am sure you will do great!

  5. When you entered the mosque, you will really be awed and amazed at the grandness of it. It really is amazing just to be in there.

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