Sunday, September 13, 2009

Decisions, decisions

It's twenty til three and I'm hungry. This doesn't really shock me. Since coming to RAK I've experienced this sensation...heretofore largely unknown this year...basically daily. I'm not bitching or anything, because I know that it means that I'm not overeating (for the most part - there's a very good chance I may have eaten a large pack of caramel waffles one day this last week). Instead, I've actually eaten brekke - I'm on granola bars and lite hot choco right now, although I was eating a fried egg and slice of toast as long as the dozen eggs the school originally supplied me with held out. I've fixed myself a PB&J daily since school started, and paired it with a small pack of chips or an apple. And for dinner - pasta, coke, and a snickers (don't even talk to me about the healthfulness of that...remember, this is me talking, and coke and snickers are the foundation of a successful diet in my world). I wish I could say that I took my move to the UAE and made it a springboard for lots of positive changes in my life...but, well, it's kind of been a necessity, because my financial choices in the last year have left me without a whole lot in the way of savings, and I'm trying not to add to my debts. Which means I don't get to eat out, and since RAK doesn't have a Taco Bell, I'm mostly okay with this. However, I might just kill if a Barnes and Noble sugar cookie were at stake. Seriously.

I made the decision, on the other hand, to go ahead, bite the bullet, and get a cash advance from the school for my membership at the Hilton Beach Resort. What it basically comes down to is this - that nice long week off we have next week for Eid, when Jane was supposed to come to visit? Well, thanks to her broken arm, she's not coming, and I've got all of two books at home I haven't read yet, so desperate times call for desperate measures. It also promotes me being sociable, since most of the new teachers are going to be hanging out there during the vacation.

Hmm. Well, goody for me. Because, actually, I attempted to be sociable this weekend, with mixed results. Thursday night was the new staff welcome dinner, and one of the teachers I like but keep crossing wires with, asked if I was coming to it, and honestly, social events are really not as painful as I make them out to be. Plus it was free dinner (ie: more meat in one sitting than I have eaten since I came to RAK...I seem to somehow have become more-or-less a vegetarian this month). Before the dinner I got to talk a few minutes to the new year 6 teacher, a tall, blonde Irishman. Mmm. We'll see if there's anything left of him after the harpies have descended (if any of my fellow teachers happen to be reading this, please know that I don't really mean you're a harpy. Probably). We went to the sailing club, and it was well enough, although I did a pretty good impression of a wall flower most of the night.

I managed to get up in plenty of time for church, and due to the baptism ended up spending a total of SIX HOURS there (no, I'm not counting the hour's ride there, or back) - and was rewarded by eating cheese cake...not cheesecake, mind you, but cake that had been frosted then sprinkled with fancy shredded parmesan cheese. SICK. AND. WRONG. Suffice it to say that the family who made the cake was NOT American, because WE damn well know how to make sweets, and that ain't it. Got home and had no intention of going anywhere but the internet cafe for the rest of the night. Then one of my colleagues came by to tell me how late she'd stayed at the sailing club after I left, and to coerce me into going again that night, and convinced me with the fact that they have free wifi.

On the other hand, it cost 20 dirhams for admission. I can do the math. Still, I thought, whatever, I'm attempting to be social. One of our Saffer colleagues showed up with her nice-looking, 20-something son, which seemed like a bonus at the time, but the colleague that coerced me into coming started putting the moves on him, and by the end of the night I was glad she did. She wanted the party to keep going, and convinced me and another teacher into playing wing girls for a while - I was firm about the fact that I had an early roll-out for my Skype date with Tori, and only planned to stay about ten minutes. Yes. Some wing girl I am. At least in this situation. Well, we got home and she proceeded to get violently ill from too much drinky-poo, and so for the next hour I babysat the douchebag while wing girl #2 tended to her. And I actually realized during this time that he was, in fact, a douchebag. He told a racist joke about Indians (dots not feathers), and after I told him that one of our friends is Indian, he proceeded to tell us ANOTHER, and summarized his feelings by saying, "I hate them." There were other topics we passed over that reaffirmed his status to me, but I actually got pissed when he started hassling me for leaving an hour after I intended to. I'm sorry, you git, but I have a life, and you have no right to call me lame for getting up early to stay close to the people I love.

Saturday I retaliated by staying in all day after my morning Skype session, finishing off season 2 of X-Files, drinking coke, and walking on the beach at sunset. I reveled in my anti-sociality. Go me.

Last note: the sheikh started a scholarship program last year for teachers in RAK to get their masters or PhD or whatever. I'm seriously considering going after it...it would mean an extra two years (at least) in the Emirates, but to get my masters AND have it paid for??? Seriously. My two main considerations are a.) if I like it here well enough (so far, so good), and b.) if I can find a good online program for a masters in international education. There's another possibility - he'll also pay for a summer educational program, and if I can't commit because of a.) or b.) to the masters, well, Semester at Sea runs a special summer program, Teachers at Sea, and I'd almost rather do that...it's been in the back of my mind for a while now. Stay tuned!

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