Saturday, April 30, 2016

It's the little things...

On one of the FB groups I follow diligently, a member posted a photo recently. She bought a key chain. Just a simple key chain that had her sorority's pink and green letters on it. Though these are obviously the wrong colors for me, I can appreciate her message. 

She said, "It just occurred to me that when I board the plane, I will not be taking any keys with me, so I just bought a new key chain to open all of the new doors I will get to open (literally and figuratively)."

This just spoke to me. I decided that I was going to our local specialty shop and get my own key chain (DST of course). I decided this and haven't told anyone. 

Well, I just stopped by to visit my mom and what did she have for me? A key chain! How could she have known!?!? Oh well, I'll take it! Thanks Mom! 

Until next time...

Saturday, April 23, 2016

Delays, Delays, Delays

As Kevin and I plan for this journey, we learn more and more about the "Abu Dhabi" way. Americans live a very rushed, "I want it now!," lifestyles. One of the challenges/adjustments we have to deal with is timing. One phrase I'm getting to know is "Insha Allah" or "Insha'allah" which means "if God wills it." The culture and climate is less rush rush according to my research. 

Some expatriates, or expats, find this concept difficult to deal with as we're accustomed to a different mindset. However, I'm surprisingly looking forward to a slower paced lifestyle. The one thing I'm going to have to adjust to are the delays with governmental stuff. For example, beginning January 1, 2016, the United Arab Emirates had a new law regarding work visas for expats go into effect. 

What does that mean exactly? Well, here's an example. There are about 150 people who were supposed to leave for Abu Dhabi in JANUARY 2016. Yes, you read that correctly. Though delays are the norm, delays that long are not. Well, many reported in the recent weeks that they have received an email stating they they would not leave until August 2016! ARRGGHH! Now, what makes this difficult, is that these people have been without a job since last December. By the time they actually leave, they will have been out of work for 8 months. YIKES! 

Luckily, it seems the government is working on a solution to the problem faced by the companies hiring expats as well as the expats themselves. 

How does this affect Kevin and I? Well, our expected departure date is August/September 2016, but we're preparing for delays just in case. My research shows that in previous years most people were in Abu Dhabi by the end of October, beginning of November. However, the latest I've read about is the end of November. Either way, we have plans in place for survival. I'll be a substitute teacher since I will have to give notice at my current teaching post. Our apartment lease is up at the end of August; so we should be okay. But, if not, we're going to move in with someone. So don't everyone offer us their spare room all at once. LOL. 

Until next time...


Where is Abu Dhabi?

Since I've announced my big move, people have been skeptical. When you tell people you're moving the the Middle East, the reaction is always interesting. People have actually said things about me getting my head chopped off! 

Well, as I try to educate them about the area, some have their fears alleviated while others continue to try to "scare me straight." For my husband, Kevin, and I, this is a journey of faith. Most importantly, we know who supplies all our needs, and we have faith that the Lord will provide. 

So, for those of you who don't know much about the United Arab Emirates, visit this blog to watch a video about the country. 

Happy Days!

Tuesday, April 19, 2016

Checklists Galore

Hey folks!
While waiting on paperwork to be processed, I've been searching for other things that need to be done to prepare for the big move. Well, thanks to the many Facebook groups, I've found several "checklists." 

Here's the kicker; I'm not a naturally organized person. I have to really work at it. So I thought I had found a pot of gold with these checklists. Alas, I was wrong! Having multiple checklists was driving me crazy. I couldn't seem to keep anything straight. 

Solution! I combined them all into one working document. I'm going to share this document with you in  hopes that I will help you prepare for your journey. Link to my document:
I will also post the links to the other documents in case you would like to see them. I did consolidate some of the information. 

If you have any questions, additions, or deletions, please feel free to drop it in the comments or shoot me an email. 

Documents found in the file sections of the FB groups I belong to (a comprehensive list is at the end of the document linked above). 

Happy Days!

Thursday, April 14, 2016

Getting Ready for the Big Move


The more I plan for my upcoming journey, the more excited I become. On the flip side, this is a bittersweet time in my life. I'm leaving my friends and family behind. It finally hit me on Saturday morning, and I had a cry-fest! And I mean "snot slinging crying." My BFF had me all in my feelings after reading the sweetest post from on her Facebook. Ok, enough of that...

The Facebook groups have been a God-send. I have gleaned so much information from watching posts and having a forum where I can ask questions and make friends before embarking upon this journey. If you're interested in in joining these groups to gather more information, see the bottom of this post for specifics. 

Now on to this planning. On a few of the FB groups, people posted links to a couple of checklists. I will include links to all of these below. I must be honest; it was overwhelming trying to flip back and forth between 3 different lists and the notes I've jotted down from Q & A posted on the FB. So, I decided to compile the lists into one. I'm including information from discussions on the FB posts as well as my own research. The link to my list is: This is a working document; so, I encourage you to check back often as I will continue to update this checklist until I arrive in the UAE. 

If you have suggestions for things to be added to the checklist, please feel free to post them in the comments or shoot me an email at 

Links to the various checklists I've found: 

Facebook Groups: 

Wednesday, April 13, 2016

Now comes the wait...

I recently received the following email.

Well, now the waiting game begins. From what I understand the folks who were supposed to leave in January are still waiting to leave. The UAE created a new law that went into effect in January 2016. This new law altered the way visas are processed causing HUGE delays (I'll post the link when I find it). The Jan 16 group has recently received emails stating that they will not leave their home countries until August 2016 at the earliest. Yikes!!! People who have left in previous years report that the last group of teachers leave in November each year. 

For those of us who are Aug 16 hires, we're extremely nervous about the impending delays we could face. Some folks have decided not to resign until they have tickets in hand. However, some don't have that luxury. I, like so many others, have to give notice. So, most everyone from the 2015 group recommended the following options: 
1. Don't resign until you have flight tickets and visa in hand. 
2. Work part-time or sub or both until you get your Golden ticket. 

I'm leaning toward option 2 as I don't want to leave on bad terms or burn any bridges. 

Basically, have a plan one way or the other. As I get more information, I'll update you. 

Happy days!

Friday, April 8, 2016

Abu Dhabi, Here We Come...

So, I've decided to take a job in the United Arab Emirates, specifically Abu Dhabi.

This was a big decision that was made in a split second. I saw posts on a group I belong to on Facebook. I saw the same post 3 different times. I must admit; it made me curious. So I started researching. I have always thought about teaching in Japan. I've always wanted an opportunity to travel the world and learn about other cultures. However, I thought I'd missed my "prime time." Seeing these posts gave me hope. I got downright excited when I realized there were places in the world that would pay for my family (husband-no kids, yet) to come with me. Then, I started realizing that I could make enough money to get completely out of debt! Who wouldn't want that?

Over Christmas break, I took the plunge and applied with the full support of my then fiance. Within a few days of completing my application, I had a phone interview. I was invited to an in-person interview (IPI) at the end of the call.

My IPI was scheduled for February 10, 2016. I went, I interviewed, and apparently, I conquered because a month later I received an offer letter.

On March 19, 2016, Kevin and I got married. Now I can officially take him with me (it is illegal to cohabitate in the UAE).

If you want more info check out TeachAway

I'll be back with more as I press forward through this journey.

Happy Days! -Ashley