Learning the lay of the land

In 2003 I bought a car and took it down to Whittier, California where I was going to college.  Driving in California taught me how to merge (better) and how to navigate in unfamiliar places (no GPS or GoogleMaps back then for me). And now, nine years later I am having to learn how to drive all over again.  Defensive driving has a whole new meaning. I don’t really have the words or experience yet to describe it, but it will take some getting used to. Cars are going so fast they seem to come out of thin air and appear right on your rear bumper. It is a bit unnerving. But I will learn to be a good driver and hopefully keep myself and my passengers safe.

There is an amazing array of nice cars on the roads here. To a car lover like myself, it is a little slice of heaven. It is not uncommon to see Ferraris, Porches and Corvettes. I saw a Lotus the other day and I’m sure I’ve seen others that I don’t remember. Your typical luxury cars (BMW, Mercedes, Audi, etc) are here in abundance as well. I really enjoy seeing them, and wish I could drive them…but for me it is a Toyota Yaris rental for now.

Okay, so enough about the cars. I hate to say that things here have been a bit “normal” over the past two weeks. Early this week (Monday and Tuesday) I attended the orientation for new teachers which was very interesting. We learned a lot about the culture and the goals and aspirations of ADEC and had time to socialize with other new teachers. We found out our school placements and received our housing allowance. In the time when I was not at orientation I was eating, sleeping, shopping or waiting for deliveries (with a few pool days added in).

Things are coming together in my apartment. It is newly constructed and had a lot of construction dust that needed to be cleaned out. I’ve done the best I could, and have started moving in furniture and appliances. It is nearly ready to live in, so when the time comes to move out of the hotel, hopefully I’ll be fully set in my apartment.

Some shots from my new apartment.

I’m very lucky that I’ve found two other women who are like-minded about life and this adventure that we are on. We’ve been able to spend almost every day together, trying to get ourselves organized and still enjoy our “summer”. They have been a blessing! Furnishing a house from scratch is really hard work and it is great to have some friends in the same boat!

We decided that today we needed a rest and relaxation day. We started off with a long leisurely breakfast, then headed out to get manicures and pedicures (which were awesome and such a good deal–about $35USD including tip!), ate lunch at a cute little Australian place called jones the grocer and now after some time catching up on email and my blog, I am headed to the pool.

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About Andrea

I am teacher and traveler blogging my experiences living as an expat from the USA. From 2007-2012 I lived and worked in Oregon, USA. From 2012 (when I started blogging) to 2014, I lived and worked in Al Ain, United Arab Emirates. In August 2014 I begin living and working in Santa Ana, Costa Rica.
This entry was posted in Abu Dhabi, Al Ain, Expat Life, Friends, UAE and tagged , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

7 Responses to Learning the lay of the land

  1. Lara says:

    3 years I lived in Dubai and the only time I ever drove was when I was forced through work to take a Defensive Driving course! scared the life out of me ha! Although thinking about it, I wonder if I was actually any safer taking taxis 🙂
    So jealous.. I really miss having frequent mani/pedis and massages for soo cheap! When the weather is unbearable theres not better place to go other than shopping 🙂

  2. Paula Wilkes Consulting says:

    In the midst of all the wealth, I’d love to know if there is a class or race of people who are left to do the menial work. I certainly see that now that we’ve moved back to Los Angeles, and I imagine there might be a similar disparity between the haves and have-nots where you are.

  3. Tip when driving: carry a stress ball with you in the car and make sure you have a good, loud horn… If you see an older car. like an old Nissan Sunny or a Toyota Hilux…give them space, if you see a flashy car, get out of the way!!! 🙂 By the way, good call on Jones the Grocer!

    • Good advice! I also make it my goal to stay out of the “fast lane” and always, always look every direction all the time! 🙂

      • The “fast lane” is full of slow drivers who haven’t a clue and fast drivers on suicide missions. Best advice is to stay in the “slow lane” as this is generally more under-populated and you can travel without let or hindrance… may the force be with you 🙂

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