Patience is a virtue; so are small feet, apparently!?

15 Sep

Saturday September 14 and Sunday the 15th, 2013

Music today– “Groove Holmes” by the Beastie Boys, “Hand in Glove” by the Smiths, and “What I Be” by Michael Franti & Spearhead, and “Soil to the Sun” by Cage the Elephant.

Sorry, I messed up the dates during my travel. My first day here was the 10th, not the 11th

As if any of that matters…boy, our desire to be right can really be distracting, huh? 

I met some other educators today, which is always interesting. Regardless of the setting, the issues are usually similar. For me, it is, how do we make the system the most effective for the students? Of course, “the system” means you and me, whatever our capacity as a human might be.  We ALL have a responsibility to education…even if your kids are out of school. Schools make our families, our communities, our cities, our world…so support them, actively.  More on that later.

So I set out on day 2 (cue the dramatic music) “IN SEARCH OF…” size 13 or 14 shoes. I checked every shoe store in another mega mall, which is redundant, because everything is mega here. I even went to a place called “Shoe Citi”! Well, the mayor took one look at me when I said, “…size 48” and he banished me! In fact, even the Brit trying on shoes looked at me like I was out to smash Tokyo! Can I guy get a pair of brown casual shoes anywhere in this place? Not this guy, yet…I’ll hit Zappos up once I get a permanent address.

Speaking of shoes, here’s something I must get accustomed to…


That’s desert on my shoes…and in the spirit of full disclosure, my big feet wear big shoes and, at times, I kick myself in the ankles. After a day in my suit in the sun, I’m starting to really appreciate the dish-dasha, the traditional white robe-like garb the men wear here. From what I can ascertain through research, they wear only underclothes under it,and it’s WAY cooler than a suit. Here’s me, back in action, before the sweat…


Do not attempt to adjust your screen, it’s blurry…and yes, I still have some bags to unpack (sorry, poor pun). It is strange to start the work week on Sunday. (It’s also strange to reckon with how hard it is to post a pic of one’s self. If you really look at the underlying fear, you’ll have a heck of a conversation with yourself.)

After heading to ADEC Headquarters, we learned that we will not be allowed in the schools until the full health screening is completed, and we go through a full orientation. I’m almost finished with my screening, except for the whole “…in the cup, sir” thing. Not stage fright, technical difficulties…not on my part, by the way. Hopefully, on Wednesday it will all be completed. So God is teaching me patience…in work, and in shoe shopping. Thank you!  Here’s HQ….


Note the Porsche Panamera in front (on the right). Around here, they’re like Pintos in the 70’s–ahem, with all due respect, I’ll take one. Here’s another view…


The BMW 7-series…like an AMC Pacer…kinda…yeah, I’ll take one of those, too. 

Anyhow, I’ll be assigned right here in Abu Dhabi City in a mixed-use school, which means Co-ed…kinda. Same school, but they can’t share bathrooms, or eating tables, or recreational areas. Some of the schools have a bathroom in the classroom, but boys and girls can never use the same bathroom, so among the challenges for a principal is how to organize that issue. One more pic from HQ…


This is an indoor water feature…kinda cool. About 20 feet long and 10 feet high.

Last night I had dinner at a “tourist” restaurant with educators from England, Ireland, New Zealand, Atlanta, and Houston. A few of us are here for the first time. Others have been doing this for years. Nonetheless, it’s refreshing to talk to people in the profession and understand that we all face similar problems. It looks like our problem here will be to obtain and analyze an honest assessment of what’s happening, then begin to ease in the reform. We walked and talked in the hot, wet, wool blanket, night air about how to speak honestly to parents, how to empower teachers, and how to engage students. Honestly, that’s typical conversation for educators (and rather boring for everyone else), but it was our first time together and we’re in the polite stage. Real conversations come with time…is that good or bad? Tawk amongst yah-selves. Why must we wait to jump right in when you meet someone new?

On our walk along the Arabian Sea we wanted to put our feet in the water. The beaches are attended to throughout the night for various reasons. The workers are very helpful and we learned we couldn’t go to any beach. Some beaches are family beaches and only for people with children. There were 7 of us and we hardly looked like the Brady Bunch.  Of course, there are separate beaches for women and men, as well. Here’s a pic from the beach…


 The water is bathwater warm and the beach is pristine…and man made, so no rocks or large waves.

Two more interesting pics, and I’ll leave you alone.

I watched this sport on TV this morning….


 That’s camel sprint racing. They look like freakish greyhounds and the little thing on their backs is a remote control operated by the “jockeys” in the cars in the background. Interesting. The camels get to about 40 miles an hour, and frankly, the cars look like their in way more danger than the animals.


For about $4,500 you can buy this tub and chill. Delivery extra…this is not the deluxe model. Others had multiple pop up screens, extra massagers, and a coffee maker…kidding, most have servants for that…not kidding. Saw this in the mall—there was a whole showroom. For some reason, not one salesman approached me. Was it the khaki cargoes and Rage Against the Machine T?… Yeah, people go to the mall to buy this.

So, I messed up the schedule by not posting last night and including today, but we’ll all get over it. (I’m 9 hours ahead, btw.) I may be moving apartments as my bosses discovered we weren’t in executive suites and thought that wrong. How do you play that one humble? Nevertheless, I’m looking forward to showing you my school and my new place. Keep the comments coming and feel free to ask questions.

I miss and love you, thank you all!



9 Responses to “Patience is a virtue; so are small feet, apparently!?”

  1. Toni September 15, 2013 at 11:36 am #

    You are on target with the issues of the “system”…it is all about the students. I look forward to hearing more about the school and the reform.

  2. Heather September 15, 2013 at 1:28 pm #

    I am not surprised that you are making connections with others already. I am sure you are excite to get started with your new job and making a difference in the lives of the children in the schools there. Keep blogging. I look forward to reading about your new journey every day.

  3. afw September 15, 2013 at 2:00 pm #

    The strength to go reform something like this, in a different culture, really shows you’re passionate about what you do. Congrats on your placement in the big city! Keep posting!

  4. Amy Lowe September 15, 2013 at 2:01 pm #

    I like the selfie, it is a humble one:)

  5. artseesdinerblog September 15, 2013 at 5:08 pm #

    thank you for the indoctrinating us to the culture shift. I appreciate it very much. I am living vicariously through you at present. Some day I hope to learn from education models abroad. Be Well, and the prayers are directed your way too.

  6. Claire September 17, 2013 at 2:19 am #

    So we really are related when it comes to feet! I have issues here trying to find shoes for these boats, couldn’t imagine there!

    • ldabagia September 17, 2013 at 6:46 am #

      Claire, it’s the Polomcak blood. If you remember, Papa never tipped over…must be the feet.

      • claire September 18, 2013 at 12:40 am #

        So what are prices like over there? And how western are they when it comes to fashion? If you think about it Papa was a little man and I’m surprised none of the males in our family aren’t! Thank God! We didn’t need little man syndrome! lol

  7. ldabagia September 17, 2013 at 6:45 am #

    I am out to try once a again today. My new hotel is connected to a mall so I’m creating my plan of attack.

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