Well, this is what happened. Once we had a good look around Nova Scotia and realized that a decent position was not going to materialize, I investigated my old friend, the Higher Colleges of Technology. After applications, interviews, and a long flight from Toronto, we found ourselves in Al Ain, United Arab Emirates (population ~768,000 circa 2017).
They placed us in the Ayla Hotel for our first two weeks, which was well located in the center of Al Ain, and across the street from the Sheikh Khalifa Bin Zayed mosque.
We had a great view of the mosque from the roof, where we were also able to catch views of the city and Jebel Hafit in the background.
We had a frantic first three weeks trying to find a flat, buy a car and get the many different IDs and licenses that we need to live here.
Eventually, we got ourselves organized. Along the way, we found a lovely villa in Al Oyoun Village.
One of the features of this compound that attracted us was the pool and clubhouse. Oddly, we have yet to go and use it!
As we settled in, I rediscovered a few things that I always loved about living here. One thing that I have always missed are the amazing olive bars in every supermarket.
I also loved the date palms that are planted everywhere. They have been grown here forever, and are grown everywhere. The UAE is one of the top 10 producers of dates.
Another aspect of the UAE that I have always loved is the desert. So, we found a decent used 4X4 to take us out into the desert.
Then, we went out into the desert, or actually just close to the desert.
Soon enough, we will start doing a bit of dune bashing. In the meantime, we have been exploring our new city. It is relatively flat, but being almost to the foothills of the Hajar Mountains, there are a few hills we can climb to get a view of the surroundings.
Oh yes - by the way I did in fact go to work as well. Previously, I have taught at the Dubai, Ras Al Khaimah and Sharjah Women's Campuses. Now, Al Ain Women's Campus will be the fourth! Some of you will have seen this photo:
After getting my vaccinations approved and noted in my 'Al Hosn' App, I was able to go to campus and start working.
One of my roles is Teaching Practice Coordinator. This and my teaching duties takes me out to many schools. The UAE and Al Ain has some very impressive new schools - huge, well appointed and very colourful. Many of them have huge courtyards covered with huge shades.
And some have quite grand entrances.
The UAE has a number of holidays and celebrations and just like any other school system, they love to put on shows. I was lucky to arrive at a school just in time to watch the UAE Flag Day celebration.
Our first actual exploration of local history was to visit Qasr Al Muwaji, the one-time home of Sheikh Zayed bin Sultan, father of the modern UAE, and the birth place of Sheikh Khalifa bin Zayed, the current Shaikh of Abu Dhabi and the President of the UAE since 2004.
Our second adventure was a surprise weekend in Abu Dhabi. One Thursday morning a week or two ago, my supervisor offered me a voucher for the Conrad Hilton in Abu Dhabi. I almost said no and then at the last minute came to my senses and accepted her kind offer!
As a gesture to people whom we met and from whom we purchased some furniture, we agreed to foster their cat.
I look forward to many adventures and posts on those adventure over the next five years! Here are a couple more photos for your viewing pleasure.