The Process of Moving Abroad

Imagine you’ve signed a contract to teach abroad.  You’ve quit your job, politely, but smiling on the inside. You’ve sold your house and most of your belongings.  You have 5 pieces of luggage packed and ready to go.  January passes and you


February passes and you


March and April pass and you’re still


It’s now 4 months past the time you were told you would start.

And finally you are told to


4 more months!

This is what has happened to over 100 teachers in April.  They were hired for a January 2016 start date and were prepared to go sometime between January and February, but their ticket never came!  I have been following several Facebook groups and Google+ pages dedicated to teachers heading to Abu Dhabi in 2016.  A large group had been posting about their endless waiting.  No information was offered through their recruiters so they were totally in the dark, waiting. They had quit their jobs, sold their homes, ended their leases and sold most of their belongings, but continued waiting.  With no income and no home of their own, life became strained.  Finally, notices were sent out that their contracts would be re-issued for August start dates instead of the original contract for January.  8 months of waiting!  My heart aches for these teachers and their families!  Am I ready for such a huge leap of faith?

I need to be prepared for anything.  This is not the first time a group has been delayed.  I’ve read a number of blogs as “research” into the moving process and many have stated that there is no rhyme or reason to receiving your departure ticket.  The best advice I’ve heard is, “hold on to your current job until you have your ticket!”  Even then, consider taking a leave of absence instead of resigning.

All of my documents were submitted to the UAE at the end of March, so I am just waiting for a visa to be issued.  It can take a minimum of 2 months but probably much longer. I don’t expect to hear anything before mid-July.  A teacher posted today that his recruiter sent an email saying his departure would most likely be delayed till October!  He was hired around the same time I was and expected to depart in August, just like me!  What will I do between now and October if we sell our stuff and move out of our townhouse?

I will remain optimistic; sell as much stuff as possible, pack our bags and be ready for when the “Golden Ticket” arrives!

*  *  *

Saturday we decided to have an impromptu yard sale.  I’ve been posting and selling things online, but I thought a yard sale would really get things going.  We put up a few little signs around our block and put as much as we could out in the yard.  The kids played with all their toys and, luckily, neither put up a fight if someone bought a toy.

Backyard Sale

The sun was bright and cheery.  We sat on our lawn chairs,then

switched to our dining chairs and then back over to the patio set.  After 3 hours, we made $10.

Things picked up after 3 pm…not so much in the money department but in the friendly neighbors passing by.

“Where are you moving to?”

“Abu Dhabi”

“Get Out!”

“Yep, that’s the plan!”

“That is amazing!”

“It should be!”

“Wow what an adventure!”


Since announcing our move, we’ve had one family cook us a BBQ, another invited our kids to the park across the street to play, and yet another invited us over to check out the ocean view from their high-rise!  Where were all these people these past 2 years?  All I wanted was a community, a village.  For our kids to enjoy company and not have to drive 45 minutes away to enjoy a meal with someone.  Suddenly, all of that exists here!  I guess it has been easier for me to open up to people now that I know we are leaving.  Because I know our time together is fleeting?  Because we are likely never to see each other again?  Whatever it is, I’m appreciating my neighborhood now more than ever before!

More walks on the beach

By the end of the weekend, we made a significant dent in our living room, dining room and garage.  There’s still a lot more to go, but I’m confident there’s someone out there that will take it!
Last crazy thing…we lost EVERYTHING 3.5 years ago during Sandy.  Where did all this STUFF come from????

One man’s junk…

Featured Image: On the Sand Dunes of Rockaway Beach 


Spring Break 2016

Building sand castles by the sea…should have been building smowmen!

The stretch between winter break and spring break was brutal this year. There were two weeks of practice tests, 4 weeks of test prep, two weeks of state tests and one week of make up tests and grading. Great weather throughout all the testing! Once we were finally released on break, however, the weather decided to stop cooperating. The sun can be such a tease!

My Little Sunshine

We headed to Beach Haven for a little time with Grandma Ellen. The gusts of wind and light rain didn’t stop us from collecting seashells along the shore, flying the drone, and taking the kids to the park. We painted the seashells, completed several puzzles, read all the children’s books in the house and caught up on episodes of Better Call Saul. 

My Little Man on the Moon

We got ONE sunny day we took full advantage – running in wide open spaces, participating in the fire department parade & picnic and flying the drone out over the bay to capture the sunset.

If all goes as anticipated, we have about 100 days left on this side of the planet!


My First Blogging Award!!!
We moved around quite a bit when I was younger.  My Dad is a proud Ex-Marine, which meant I was constantly the new kid on the playground.  I can recall a number of times when I would timidly make a friend on the swings, then get introduced to her friends hanging out on the monkey bars and by the end of recess, I’d have a whole new group of friends playing tag!
Well, I’ve met a few friends on the blogging playground and I have to say a great big thank you to Delta, who keeps a heart-warming blog at Rev2point0 – Thanks for the nomination! Delta’s blog embodies the spirit of living life to the fullest!  I don’t mean sky-diving or climbing Everest.  I mean all those little moments that add up to a life well-lived.  The Mommy moments, the growing closer to your spouse and enjoying adventures with friends – all of these that we look back on and can say “I did it all!” (Cue One Republic Song).
I started this blog to document my attempt to secure a new job abroad and new adventures.  It has become a great reflection on my life and has connected to so many people who wonder, “What if we just picked up and moved?”
So the rules for the Liebster Award are as follows
11 Questions I must answer from Delta:
1. What is your favorite (non-blog) website?…although I mostly use the App!  I’ve been a Yelper for about 6 years and I was even a Yelp Elite for a while!  This meant free events, shows, tastings, and drinks! No time for that nowadays!
2. If you could time travel to any decade in the 20th century, what would it be?
Bring me back to the 90’s!  Love the music, love the clothes, love how carefree I was to be a teen!
3. If you were to invite five famous (in any sense) people to your home for dinner, who would they be?
Although I would be a nervous wreck organizing the house and making dinner, I’d like to invite the Obamas and Jane Goodall.  What would we eat?  Would Malia be bored?  Will Michelle ask if I grew the herbs in my backyard?  Does Jane even eat meat?  I think it would be an amazing dinner!
4. What would you serve them?
Crap, that’s what I want to know!  As much as I love cooking and making delicious meals, I can’t handle the pressure of feeding a high-profile party!  My go-to catering is A Taberna in Island Park, NY.  Delicious food from Portugal!  They have amazing Paella, Grilled Veggies and Roast Lamb…I’m sure there’s a pasta dish of some sort for any possible vegetarians!
5. If you were marooned on a desert island and could only bring three books, what would they be?
100 Years of Solitude by Gabriel Garcia Marquez, Les Miserables by Victor Hugo and Alice in Wonderland by Lewis Carroll.  I think they’d keep me very occupied and provide enough inspiration to survive.
6. If you could be a character in any book you’ve read, what character would you choose and why?
Anne of Green Gables by Lucy M. Montgomery.  Growing up, a friend and I pretended to be Anne and Diana when we played.  She was always Anne because she dreamt of romance and travel.  I was always Diana for my long hair and willingness to go along with her ideas. But I’ve always really wanted to be Anne: Adventurous, romantic, headstrong and driven!
7.  Do you read on an e-reader or do you read physical books?
My favorite reads have all been physical books.  For books that I just need to get through I use an e-reader.
8. If you could move to any part of the world, where would you choose and why?
I want to retire in Costa Rica.  I love the “Pura Vida” life, the weather, nature, food and ocean.  But Spain would be cool too.  And I think I’m meant to live in France at some point. But right now, I’m moving to Abu Dhabi in The Middle East!
9. What is your favorite time of day?
Nap time.  I love sleep!  But there’s something so special about a nap in the middle of the afternoon…it’s the best sleep and I haven’t had it in at least 3.5 years! (Before kids!)
10.  What is one thing that can turn a bad day around?.
Good coffee, lunch with a friend (especially if it’s sushi) or a hug from my husband and children.
11.  What inspires you to write?
Everything!  I jot down everything that is seemingly significant.  I keep notes that I’ll probably never get a chance to look back on.  My “notes” app on the iPhone is crammed with lists and ideas.  I read an abbreviated version of The Diary of Anne Frank in 4th grade and have kept a diary ever since.  Some years I write more than others.  But I always want to be writing!  It’s more than a hobby.
11 Random Facts About Myself
  1. I did not consider applying to teach in Abu Dhabi until I was certain there are sushi restaurants there.
  2. I hope to someday teach students in the US while I’m abroad – virtual classroom style.
  3. I started drinking coffee when I was 29… It started with one cup very few days and has increased to at least two cups per day. I cannot quit any time.
  4. One of my many summer jobs, while in college, was washing hair at a boutique hair salon in the Hamptons. Many of the Hamptonite ladies complimented me on my English.
  5. After high school, I immediately enrolled in Katherine Gibbs…”finishing school” for girls. I thought I wanted to be a secretary. I learned to type, shorthand, and how to style my hair like Rachel, in Friends.
  6. I run a community farmers market via which allows my family to get farm fresh food at a huge discount. It’s just a little bit of extra work every Monday when the farms deliver the food and I distribute to the community members.  Totally worth it!
  7. I currently Love the comedic style of Trevor Noah!
  8. My top 5 Pandora stations are Alicia Keys, Sara Bareilles, Adele, Disney Sing-alongs and Frozen.
  9. I have a three-year-old daughter who completely amazes me every single day.
  10. Her little brother is 20 months younger than she is and the sweetest little thing ever.  Except when he’s trying to jump off the kitchen counter.
  11. I loved the TV series, Lost, for many reasons.  Including the fact that it was filmed in Hawaii and I love everything about Hawaii.
And the Nominees Are…
Top 11 Blogs I currently follow that have less than 200 followers:
1) Teaching Abroad – American Teacher in Qatar
2) Tanai Bernard
3) The Stories of Dubai
4) Karla’s Not Lost
5) Nurse on Fire
6) Dreaming in Arabic
7) Black Girl in Abu Dhabi
8) Adventures in the World
9) My Cipher Keeps Moving Like a Rolling Stone
10) NYC Educator
11) Finding Out Who Started It
For those who have been nominated, here are the questions I’d like you to answer:
1) If you could give someone $1,000,000, who would you give it to and why?
2) If you won an exotic, all expense paid trip, who would you bring with you?
3) What are the top 3 most beautiful places you have ever visited?
4) What tip would you give someone who is just starting their blog?
5) If travel were something everyone did as a rite of passage growing up, where would you recommend they go? (one country only please)
6) What is your favorite dish?
7) Have you ever hesitated posting something on your blog, but did it anyway?  What was it? Link it here:
8)  If you could move anywhere in the world, where would it be? What would you do there?
9)  What is your favorite non-blog website?  Post a Link!
10) When you’re in trouble, who do you call?
11) Where do you see yourself in 10 years?
That’s all Folks!  This was fun, but a lot of work!  I hope you take a moment to discover a few new blogs out there, especially Rev2point0!  Remind your friends and family that there’s a lot more on the web than Youtube, Facebook and Instagram!