Wednesday, May 8, 2013

Springtime and other transitory things

Time goes quickly here. The school year seems so long at the beginning, and when people post days left until the end, those numbers make it seem even longer... This is true of school breaks as well, because suddenly you have all this time and then you wake up again and it is back to school. I haven't even written a word about our spring holiday and in three weeks, my grade 12 students will stop coming so they can prepare for exams. In about two months we will be headed to the US for our first visit since we moved to the UAE in 2011. I am sad that the last day of school is July 4th because it is one of my favorite holidays, but this year we can take comfort in knowing we'll be seeing family & friends for BBQs & picnics, even if we miss out on the fireworks.

For our spring holiday, we mostly stayed around town. It was nice to have the family time, do dinners with friends, and just recharge from a chaotic first term back after my fabulous maternity leave. We did take a mini family vacation out to the western region of Abu Dhabi (think very remote and a bit barren). We went with our expat extended family and enjoyed pool time, meals, camel rides, and Rob even went out on a quad (4-wheeler, not chair lift) with the other husbands.

This term back at school has not been without its challenges, but I feel like I have a better grasp on the curriculum this term (because I was part of the planning!). The girls are already planning their graduation celebrations and in the office the phrase, "Next year, we should....", is increasing in its appearance.

Our family started this year planning to return to the US, but we have reconsidered that decision and are planning to extend our time here. This is a bit of a bittersweet decision because many of our friends who started this journey with us (from the "oh my God, we are going to Abu Dhabi" stage) are completing their UAE experiences. Every year we've had to say goodbyes, and this year it seems like there are a lot more farewells. We, of course, have made friends who will be completing their "newbie" year and others who extend beyond their initial two year contract, but it reminds you that we live in a country and a community that is constantly in flux. You make friends faster here than you would ever do at home because you know time is short, but the shared experiences and need to rely on one another create strong bonds that you would never imagine happening in other circumstances. But I'm going to hold off on the farewell post until the end of June because I don't want to think about how much I'm going to miss the people who have been such a rich part of our experience.

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