Each morning, I entertain myself by reading some of the teacher updates from Abu Dhabi.  They are still waiting to be paid for their flight home and the salary for the summer.  These are for the teachers ready to leave and return to their countries.  It is rather entertaining because I remember myself being in the same predicament in 2011.  I left with my summer money and flight money but they waited until the last moment.

They also did this with the renewal of contracts.  They waited to the last minute.  I really enjoyed working at the second school that I was transferred to which was in the city of Abu Dhabi, unlike the first school which required a 30-40 minute commute.  The one thing, I was unwilling to do, was drive in Abu Dhabi and that created some problems.  Most of the other teachers didn’t live in the same area; the car was packed with teachers, etc. so I ended up sharing a car with mostly Arabic speakers.  Before 7 am, I would cross the street with all my stuff for the day, to wait for a car with all Arabic speakers to pack in to.  The conversation was loud and sometimes uncomfortable as I had no idea who or what they were talking about.  One day, with a strange burst of mistake by technology, I managed to inform all the instructors and heads of department in Abu Dhabi, on the education site, that I was not thrilled to be heading to work with all Arabic speakers (this was during the Arab Spring).  Well, my mistake, and I heard from everyone including one American male teacher who berated me for making the technology mistake and informed me that my message had been send to everyone working in the system.  Hmm…

Then, there was the cab driver who picked me up 1 hour ahead, so that he could avoid the traffic.  The first time, the Manager of the Hotel Apt. told me at 6 am, my driver was waiting, and I was still not dressed for school.  Of course, long pants, long sleeves, etc, and neck covered.  I didn’t wear an abaya which my first principal (Yemenite) did not seem to like.  Anyway, Mike and I were anticipating my return for a second year.  We were planning on spending the summer break in Europe.  Well, we ended up visiting the Caymans and that was wonderful.  My second head of Department offered to speak on my behalf to the Education Council but I said, no, time to come home.  So, I returned a year earlier and Mike was getting tired of working in financial services and very stressed.  I was stressed with the idea of returning to work in the public school setting, when the idea for cupcakes was born.  Shortly after, I was offered the chance to work at Saint Leo University with the newly formed Bridge Department.  There were Middle Eastern speakers arriving from Saudi and they were interested in my educational and work background.  Presently, I work in the English Department at Saint Leo as an adjunct for writing classes.  The Bridge Department is still trying to recruit more students and most of the Saudi students have moved on to their majors with the University.  And we are still with Cupcake Cache.  I was remembering the other day all my rides to work including with teachers who loved to party, packed cars, nonstop conversation in Arabic, and remembering that I rarely missed a day.  Somehow, I always found a ride. One afternoon, I even rode home with the cleaning crew because I wanted to work in my classroom and all the other teachers wanted to leave by 2:50.  I miss the interesting culture but I don’t miss people playing with my future, or my monies.

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