Polar in the desert

Okay, so it isn’t that cold. But when at 8am you put on a wetsuit and head toward a man-made lake for 750 meter swim in water that is 17 degrees Celsius (or less) it seems mighty polar. More on this later…

Since returning the UAE from my spectacular winter vacation I’ve been busy getting back into “regular mode”. I don’t talk a lot on this blog about my job, for various reasons, but these past two weeks have been difficult. Our school will be undergoing on accreditation inspection sometime in the coming weeks and it has put a lot of stress on the administration and consequently the teaching staff. In addition to this, the students seem to be having a hard time getting back into school mode. All-in-all it has been a difficult two weeks. Plus, a really good friend back home got married last weekend, and I was very sad to not be there. These two things led to my first real bout of home-sickness since I left last August. However, you need not worry about me, I always find a way to keep myself pumped up. So here’s what I’ve been doing to take my mind off of everything.

Last Friday I went to Abu Dhabi for a shopping trip at IKEA. While I realize I could probably find deals if I’d shop around here in Al Ain, this was just so much easier. I should be getting my delivery and set up on January 30. Then I will finally have what I need to host any guests who may want to visit. I also went to see The Hobbit (it was very good) with my friend Krista, who lives in Abu Dhabi. And finally got to check out her sweet “high-rise” apartment.

The following Monday was a big day for me as well. Tickets for the Dubai Duty Free Tennis Championships went on sale at 9am. I was very, very lucky to get tickets to one day of the men’s tournament (it sold out in 45 minutes) and two days of the women’s tournament. I am ecstatic about it! Unfortunately, my friend Krista (same as above) wasn’t as lucky…so I’ll be going alone. Still hoping someone will be selling tickets for Krista to buy, but maybe I’ll just have to make new friends.

Now, back to what I’m sure you’ve been waiting for. The reason for my early morning, wet-suit clad, swim. Before winter break two friends and I signed up for a triathlon as a team here in Al Ain. I did the swimming leg, Simba did the bike and Hayley did the run. It was a very cold and very windy morning. Mad props to Simba who had the toughest leg, biking up the 4,000 foot Jebel Hafeet. And even more props to my training mates who did the whole thing by themselves! Amazing.

Before the race.

Before the race.

Finishing my swim leg.

Finishing my swim leg.

After my swim leg was finished, and I was changed I headed to the top of Jebel Hafeet to cheer on the competitors and my team mates. It was so windy up there! Which meant the bikers and runners had a serious headwind to contest with. But everyone did an awesome job and our team even came in 1st place in the Teams category!!

Accepting our 1st place Team award.

Accepting our 1st place Team award.

It was a fun race and we got an amazing reward for it, Polar heart rate monitors! Such a great prize! I’ve already used it and I’ve had it for less than five hours!


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.
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4 Responses to Polar in the desert

  1. Mom says:

    I am impressed! Excellent job to you and your teammates. 🏊🚲👟

  2. Valerie says:

    You seem to have found your your wy around and experiencing all there is to experience. I just found out 2 of my friends I graduated HS with both live there…one just had twins this weekend, and both work for the department of State…I can contact them on FB if you want any more US contacts.
    -Valerie Villa

    • Andrea says:

      Yes, it has been amazing. That is interesting about your old high school buddies. I can say, it might not be bad to know some people at the Department of State. If you get a chance I’d love to make the connection. Thanks! Hope you are well!

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