Tuesday, March 18, 2014

Three years in the sand...

I used to try and blog at least once a month. It was easier to find the time when Belle was an only child, and Zofia hadn't gotten mobile. Plus, my work commitments were comfortable.  The last six months have been a bit overwhelming in trying to balance the social lives of a toddler and preteen, my own needs, and my job. Something had to give, and sadly, it was the blog. Facebook friends have managed to stay up to date through occasional photo postings,  but the blog was neglected. I'm hoping to rectify this now that my schedule has been changed for the 9th time this year.

Three years ago, I was told I would need to be flexible and the last two terms attempted to see how much I could stretch. In my contract, I am allowed a maximum of thirty hours for responsibilities during the school week, and since September, that was what I was assigned. It was exhausting and I was always on the go. For the first term, I had a colleague keeping me company at the maximum hours, but the second term, I was the only teacher in my school with that load. What kept me going was the support of two of my coworkers who made sure I always had the copies I needed, helped me develop resources, supplied me with resources and tools, and made sure I kept my sense of humor. With their help, I still managed to have a reserve of energy to keep up with my two busy girls. For this final term, I am back down to a more manageable timetable.

Winter in Al Ain (end of November to the beginning of March) is the absolute best time to be here. The weather is like a New Hampshire summer with warm days and mild nights. We spent a lot of time outdoors, taking walks, visiting the zoo, climbing sand dunes, going to parks, grilling, and enjoying the temperatures.

Belle has been enjoying school this year and made some really good friends. She was named Star of the Week for two weeks in February, and is adjusting well to the Cambridge Curriculum (British) and spellings. In the last few weeks, she has been learning how to play rounders (British version of baseball) and has even scored a run. Next term, she is joining the school choir and she has auditioned to be in a school play after spending a term doing drama as an extracurricular. 

Rob's schedule doesn't leave him with much time at home, which has been hard for the girls. During the week, I have the help of Zofia's fabulous nanny, which makes the "single" parenting a little easier. But he is enjoying being part of the working force again after his stint as a stay at home parent.