Friday, September 9, 2011

First Week of School

One week of school down.

Everything went well.

By the end of the week, the kids didn't even want me walking them to the bus or being there to pick them up.  Heck, by Day 2 they were wondering why I was walking with them.  Glad to see their flame of independence is shining brightly.

They made new friends each day and Bella was excited to tell me about them.  Not only would they share names, but also the nationalities.  It's kinda funny considering they never did that before.  Bella never said, "I made friends with Maria and she's Mexican."  Alexander never said, "I made friends with Jacob and he's American.".  But, here in Abu Dhabi, there is something different/new/exciting to come home and tell me about their new friends from other parts of the world.

I'm also finding that I'm having a heck of time getting names straight so I just don't say them.   Sigh....

I've met a few people in the compound with unique (to me) names.  I couldn't even try to remember them here or come close to the proper spelling of them.   I've had them say their names more than once and it doesn't seem to stick either.  I think I'll ask for them to write down their names and the names of their children and then I can write down the number of their villa and hope to get it all straight.   I'm sure if someone from the States said, "Hi, my name is Jennifer." and you responded with "Hi, Lisa it's nice to meet you.".  They would look at you like you were crazy and wonder if you had a hearing problem.  I swear that's how off the names are probably sounding when I repeat them.  It's just that they are so different and sometimes they have sounds that aren't part of my English language.   I apologize but I don't want to say a name way wrong.  Sigh.   I'll get it, eventually.

The kids are learning new Arabic words every day.  Bella and her friend Ella (yes, Bella & Ella and they are 3 days apart in age) practice Arabic on the bus ride home.  She used to practice Spanish and would tell me that when she says Hello, how are you (in Spanish) that I would respond with I am fine, how are you (in English).  Way harder in Arabic.  In fact, I can't even say some of the words.  They use a sound from the back of their throat that we don't do and it's hard to master (let alone attempt properly).  Sigh....I'll get it, eventually.

Alexander had a swim party at school with the other 5th grade classes and had a blast.

He also learned that the 6th graders do an Archeological trip to Turkey.  He's a little excited (although hesitant to show too much excitement about anything here).  I'm a little excited and would love to chaperone.  Brian said that a lot of parents want to go and there is some kind of lottery.   As a typical sibling, Bella started counting what grades she would be here for (3rd - 4th - 5th) and looked dejected when she realized that she would miss the Turkey trip.

They do a trip to Malaysia in 8th grade.  I wonder if we'll be here then??

It's still very hot out and hard to walk around much.   Alexander tried kicking the soccer ball in the front yard yesterday (it's a tiny strip of area between the carports and not idea).  I warned him that he would hit a car and he countered with (not if I kick it up straight in the air - accompanied with a look of "duh").   The balls OBVIOUSLY comes down from the air (hello - gravity, duh) and almost hits a car every time.   I sent him to the tiny patch of dried grass that is our backyard and Brian told him not to kick it over the walls.  Two seconds later....he kicked it over the side wall.

I told him that he would now have to go to the neighbor's house and ask for his ball back.   He refused.  I reminded him that he did it all the time at our old house and he explained that he knew our neighbors back there so it was different.  I tried to explain that this was a GREAT way to finally meet our neighbors (even though we've been here a month I haven't even SEEN the people on either side).  This weather really keeps people indoors!

So, I went next door with two (suddenly very shy) kids in tow.   The woman was very nice and they have 4 kids (13, 11, 8 and 5) and her husband is a doctor (I feel a little safer now) and they used to be in Michigan and before that NY.  I didn't meet the husband, only the wife.  She had a thick accent, maybe East Indian???  I'm not good with the nationality differences.   The kids were nice and Bella ended up heading in to play with the 5 year old girl.  I stayed and chatted with the mom for a bit.

Twenty minutes later, the doorbell rings and it's Bella and a crew of kids.   Turns out there is another 8 year old girl who lives across the street (and her 11 year old sister).   They have lived in Abu Dhabi for at least 15 years (the parents).  Met the mom - very nice.  Bella ended up staying over for a movie night with the kids fora  couple hours.  Then, they came by and got Alexander and headed to the compound hang-out (kid play area that is indoors above the pool area).   They were there until 10:30 having fun.  When they got back, I asked Alexander if he had fun and if it felt like back home - hanging out with all the kids in the neighborhood.  He said, it's not the same - he knows them all better back home.  At least it was a good start.

Alexander also got signed up for Little League.  Yes, baseball in the Middle East - outside.  They play in Dubai once a week.  Practices start tomorrow morning at their school.

The kids are trying out for a soccer team next week and Bella is trying out for a swim team at school.

So - all in all.  A good first week.

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