Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Keeping fingers crossed & announcing the FIRST TYLERS ARE MOVING SALE!

Today started with two allergy shots, and then I made two trips to the dentist (once for records, the second one for a filling).  I also stopped into Belle's school since I had a few minutes between the appointments and met about getting her school records. They were confused about what I wanted, so I gave them a list and asked for it all by Friday (mind you, I had notified them a week ago that this request was coming). They wanted to know why her records were needed now and I explained that the private schools in the UAE are taking applications now for next year and some schools already have wait lists.  The appointment for the fillings ran late - apparently lots of dental emergencies today - so I was only able to get one of the two fillings done & have another appointment for the last one in two weeks because going to the dentist is everyone's favorite way to spend a day.

I came home to a call from our realtor, the fabulous Joy Moore at Peabody & Smith, that our house inspection will be on Friday and if all goes well, we'll need to find a new place to call home until the BIG move. My fingers, toes, legs, arms, etc. are all crossed that it goes well.  With all this planning and running around, we've decided to hold a TYLERS ARE MOVING SALE!!! on May 7 & 8.  We'll be selling furniture, books, china, toys, tools, picture frames, electronics, dishes, cookware, candlesticks, clocks, bedding, clothes, ice skates, and an electric piano! There will be something for everyone & you do not want to miss the sale. RAIN OR SHINE.  Let me know if you need directions.

Sunday, April 24, 2011

Happy Easter and the joys of lists...

Tonight, I am sitting next to two lists that keep getting longer: one for me, and one for Rob.  I have two school applications to complete for Belle which require me to get her school records and begin the withdrawal process from her elementary school.  We are looking for a new home for our rabbit, who celebrated his 2nd birthday with us today (with a strawberry and two carrots) and Belle & I are returning to school tomorrow now that our vacation week is over.

I've prepared lesson plans for the next two weeks (one class is finishing a unit on colonial literature, while another is beginning a unit on propaganda, and my creative writing class will be learning about responding/peer feedback) and helped to plan our Middle/High School Voices & Scholastic Writing Awards celebration coming up in May.  When I get back to school tomorrow, I will start meeting with the graduation speakers for the Class of 2011 as they prepare their speeches.  All this on top of leaving the country in just a few short months. I'm feeling stressed/overwhelmed by the number of things left to do before the August 1st deadline and I can't decide what luggage to purchase to hold the items we'll take with us. 

So, tonight, I'm going to think about all the blessings we were graced with today.  We spent the day celebrating Easter. Belle completed two egg hunts (at home & at our church), we went to church as a family, and then we spent the afternoon with Rob's family for dinner, four-wheeling, and visiting.  Rob held frog eggs so our nephew & Belle could touch them and marvel at the small lifeforms inside. My brother-in-law, Chris, retrieved an old bird's nest so the children could see the wonders of nature.  Our daughter decided she had received too much for Easter and shared her treats with others. Audrey & Josh celebrated their first wedding anniversary.  And most importantly, we were surrounded by people who cared about us and who we care for. 

Worrying about all that we need to do can wait for tomorrow because next year, Easter will be very different. Today was a good day.

Friday, April 22, 2011

Coming home...

These past few days, Belle & I had the pleasure of being with some of the people we love the best in the world, namely my best pal (her godmother/namesake), Audrey, and Belle's best pal since birth, Katelyn.  We spent most of our spring vacation savoring their company and the beautiful region where Audrey has settled with her wonderful husband, Josh.  We introduced Katie to the wonders of Hokie Nation (which were first introduced to us through Josh at our initial meeting during the annual holiday baking - he started whipping up maroon & orange icing for Christmas cookies). We also spent some time enjoying nature through visits to local attractions, zoos, parks, and a stop at Dixie Caverns.  Not to mention, a stop for our sweet tooth at Bubble Cake (ok, it took us two visits to get there because the first day it wasn't open!).

It is hard to know that in a few short months our 13 hour car ride will be evolving into a plane ride of that length.  Distance from loved ones is hard, and it makes me think about how we will stay in touch and keep these relationships as close as they are today. I am comforted by the closeness I feel for the sister of my heart, and the closeness I observe between my daughter and her friend that no longer lives two houses away.  We've managed to maintain these relationships despite changes in our lives, including varying degrees of physical distance. Although we will be leaving this continent, I know there is a piece of these people that will come with us, just like we will leave pieces of ourselves behind.

Saying goodbye yesterday gave us our first taste of how hard it will be, but was also an important reminder that it really isn't farewell - it is: we'll see you soon.

Friday, April 15, 2011

A colorful day...

I just spent a lovely evening decorating eggs at church with some fabulous and creative people. Here's a sampling of the fun evening we had:

Thursday, April 14, 2011

"Thirty is hot..."

When Belle was learning Celsius temperatures, her teacher taught her a rhyme: "30 is hot, 20 is pleasing, 10 is cold, and 0 is freezing."  One of the teachers who has been working in Abu Dhabi for awhile posted this recent information for all of the US (non-metric system) people: 10C=50F  28C=82F   36C=96F  40C=104F  48C=118F..... So hello, heat wave says this northern girl!

The good news...
I came home to find an envelope from the NH Secretary of State's office, so part one of the document authentication is complete AND I received a phone call from the NH State Police Criminal Records people, who have promised to send me my criminal record report (I filed the initial request almost two months ago - this is request number two) after it is processed tomorrow. Yay, me!

Then I went to the US Department of State and downloaded their lovely cover letter for step two of the authentication process (which the website says will take 15 days, but other people who have already completed this step have indicated is closer to 30 days). I'm going to express mail it tomorrow (well, technically, Rob will be doing that as I have one more day of school before vacation) and keep my fingers crossed that this part will take only one attempt and I will return from Virginia to find copies of all the NH paperwork I need done.  I do have to contact Plymouth State (again) and ask for a letter that states they are accredited so I can send that to the UAE Embassy. And the last part of authentication: verify that we aren't taking any restricted medications or those will need to be authenticated too.

I received my first newsletter from the ADEC to begin preparing for the next school year, and I have started to move out of the positions I currently hold at my school - handing off the school wide summer reading program, winter carnival ball planning, and beginning the process of cleaning out my classroom.  I've started to list (and sell!) my vast library of books on Amazon - so if you want something, please let me know. We are planning on having a mega yard sale Memorial Day weekend (so mark your calendars) - with sales starting earlier if spring really has arrived.

Tomorrow night, I am going to go to church and make Ukrainian eggs for Easter (for those of you familiar with my artistic talent, this should be interesting! Thank goodness my church is not judgemental!).  Saturday morning, Belle and I are off to Virginia with Katie Courageous to visit Audrey & Josh.  I'm going to take everyone's advice and spend as much time as possible with everyone I can before we leave on our grand adventure. Please let me know the best way to get in touch with you so we can see you all before we go. Summer always goes by so quickly and I have a feeling that it will be even more so this year.

Less than forty school days left and only 16 weeks until the first group of teachers (which may include me) fly over to Abu Dhabi...

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

Paperwork and more paperwork

There is a lot of paperwork in moving to another country for two years. A LOT of paperwork.  After submitting our marriage license, Belle's birth certificate, and copies of my degree to the NH Secretary of State's office, three times (yes, three times), I am hoping that it really is the charm.  Then after we get the paperwork back, I can forward it onto the US Secretary of State's office for the next stage of the authentication process. Apparently, I filled out the wrong form for my criminal background check too, so I had to redo that process. UGH.

Meanwhile, I've received my passport, Belle's application has been submitted and we have to clear up some confusion on how Rob spells his middle name so his application can be submitted.  I'm hoping that will be settled sometime in the next two weeks.

 At school, grades closed last week - which means all grades are due by tomorrow, and my students are anxious for the spring break to start on Friday at 3:05pm.  This all means th

at I am surrounded by paperwork wherever I go right now. I am looking forward to visiting Audrey & Josh, while Belle is looking forward to spending some quality time with Katie (me too).

We've started to make decisions on what we are doing with our possessions, and have decided that it makes more sense to divest ourselves of what we don't need rather than store a bunch of things for two years. So, heads up, lots of yard sales and other opportunities to acquire previously owned Tyler trinkets. ;) You know you want something!

Sunday, April 3, 2011

Testing the waters....

For many reasons, this last year has been full of challenges and changes. The school year started with a renewed sense of purpose and commitment, and the entire family engaged in the learning process. I had just stepped into a new role in launching the NH writing region of the Scholastic Art and Writing Awards (a fabulous program) and was looking forward to a return to teaching mostly 12th graders (outside of my electives). But life has other plans, and in February, I applied to teach in Abu Dhabi.


The initial application was fast and easy, and the follow up (more in-depth) application followed quickly.  When I completed the follow up, I started to wonder what I was getting myself into, and began to wonder what it would mean.  At the same time, the world seemed to be imploding with natural disasters (earthquakes in New Zealand & Japan and tsunamis), revolutions (Libya, Egypt, and more) and the changing forms of local and national politics.  How could I consider taking my family out of the country and into this unknown? And yet, I continued to research and the more I talked to others, and thought about it, the more I wanted to do it and the more the timing of this felt right.  I don't know if I felt this confident for my phone interview about the decision, but by the time I went to Boston (armed in my first grown up suit),  I really wanted this opportunity and the world seemed to be in agreement. I found on the street parking - that I did not have to parallel park for! - steps away from the interview site, was complimented by a stranger, and the sun was shining (not always a guarantee in mid-March in New England).

There are challenges that have occurred as we've embarked on the long process of preparing to move overseas -finishing the current school year, papers returned or other documents needed, deciding what to hold on to, what will fit in our six bags, and how to divest ourselves of the things we've acquired, preparing for what to expect in a foreign country, and how to hang on to the relationships and friendships we have while living away.

We are starting to experience the first of our lasts - this will be the last time for two years that we will think about winter, attend this birthday celebration, etc. and this raises the question of how things will change during the interim....

Seventeen weeks.