Does it sound completely absurd to move two very young children to The Middle East so Mommy can teach and Daddy can establish our financial future? I’m pretty sure everyone is going to freak when they hear I’ve decided to take a job in the desert (fingers crossed – I’ve barely started the application). Baby Z is 3 and Baby D is only 1! What about my 13 years of tenure with the NYCDOE? What about our family and friends who all live fairly nearby on the East Coast of the USA? What about our awesome townhouse rental one block from the beach in New York City???
Ok…so about all that. I am already in the desert. Or like a deserted island. There’s no one around me for MILES. No family. No friends. No friendly neighbors. I’m surrounded by strangers that have they’re own communities and not taking in anyone new. I’m in Rockaway Beach, Queens, NY.
I used to have a community. Friends were a short bike ride or (who am I kidding) drive away. Mom & siblings a short 20 minute drive. Anyone else was a short 45 minute adventure through traffic. But then Hurricane Sandy (Super Storm Sandy) destroyed our house, 2 months before giving birth to Baby Z. Ever since then, we’ve been looking for home and not really finding it. I like it here, but no one really wants to come visit – the parking and traffic and potholes are enough to keep my old friends away. My sisters make the trek, but it’s hard on them too.
So, while I dream of coming home by 3:30 and popping over a friends house, arranging playdates on the weekends, and frequent dinner parties, it rarely happens. I haven’t had friends come by since my baby shower, nearly 1 and 1/2 years ago!
Anyhow, I envisioned a life of travel and adventure and that’s not happening with our dismal salaries, two toddlers, and rent that’s way to high. We need a change. We need to see the world. And this opportunity sounds pretty amazing…
How did the idea of teaching in the UAE even enter my head? My work BFF left me this year – up and moved over the bridge to New Jersey and be a SAHM. My name twin – Nancy O! She stalked me for months when she started working at my school 10 years ago. I actually would hide in the teacher’s center because I’m really shy and socially awkward – completely awful at making new friends! But before I knew it, we were inseparable at work. Between her TC Degree and my way-out-of-the-box thinking, we made a great team.
Anyway, the substitute-leave-replacement teacher who took her place, crossed the street from school into the bagel store one chilly morning without a coat.
“Why don’t you have a coat?” I had to ask as she was visibly shaking from the frost.
“I’ve been in Abu Dhabi for the last three years so I don’t even own a coat!” She laughs.
I perk up. “Abu Dhabi? You taught abroad? What was that like?”
I’m still waiting to continue that conversation, but that day I googled it. And I started a Teach Away profile. And my husband was already in. That was in October, 2015.
“I told you about jobs like this a long time ago.” he said. And it’s true. He had forwarded me a link to a job in Abu Dhabi 3 years ago, before we had children. But it wasn’t the right time because we were just married and got pregnant pretty quickly after.
And before I had met him, I had been in contact with a recruiter trying to gather info, but never applying. Back then, I didn’t want to leave my family and I wouldn’t have known what to do with the house. I was also worried that being a single female would present a huge challenge. So I gave up the idea without really giving it a shot.
So here we are. Two babies and no home to sell or rent out. Nothing really tying us down here…so if this isn’t the right time, then I don’t know when it will be. It never is…