It’s been over a month since my last post. Why? The fear of nothing to say? The fear of saying too much? Actually, it’s probably both. When I created my blog, my job offer to go to Abu Dhabi as a an Elementary Principal was a mere week and a half old. I envisioned a quick turn-around offering a wealth of topics from cultural experiences, to new friends, and plenty of adventure.
Instead, almost six weeks have passed since my last blog. My anticipated quick turn-around is actually par for the course. It takes 6-8 weeks for my work visa to be completed. Knowing the timeline does not make the wait any easier.
Waiting is not an easy thing to do. Waiting patiently is almost impossible. How have I managed to survive my personal purgatory? I’m not gonna lie . . . the first four weeks drained my emotions and my motivation. Here are some things I did to make it through.
1. Utilized a calendar: Having 2-3 events to look forward to throughout the week was similar to setting small, easy to accomplish goals. (i.e. dinner with friends, a pre-departure webinar, going to a movie) One memorable family activity entailed getting a tatoo in Arabic!
2. Took a short trip: When I faced the fact that my work visa was not going to be miraculously completed in two weeks, or even four, I drove to Des Moines to spend a few emotionally healing days holding my youngest grand-daughter, Lillian. At that point, she was about 7 weeks old. I returned home with a positive outlook.
3. Studied Arabic: Not only does this keep me busy and out of trouble (no shopping), I am confident that the time spent with Rosetta Stone will enhance my ability to function and experience the culture once in the UAE.
4. Exercised: While I had already established a regular exercise routine prior to the job offer, I knew that maintaining was going to be a struggle but a necessity. The stress of waiting challenged my motivation to workout. Reducing my workouts from 5 days a week to 3 allowed for the unmotivated days, relieving me of self-induced pressure.
5. Networked: Facebook provided an invaluable tool for meeting teachers and administrators who were already in Abu Dhabi, as well as those in the same waiting stage. We commiserated, supported one another, and made plans. Having a group of internet friends, who have or are going through the same process, waiting on the other side of the world creates a secure feeling when embarking on an adventure in a foreign country.
My work visa should be completed in the next week or two. Meanwhile, I am feeling positive about my future and ready for the challenge.