Reflection

It’s been a little over a year since I accepted a job teaching overseas.

I don’t even know where to begin or how to begin.

It’s been full of ups and downs. I’ve had some good days and bad days. The hardest days have been after I sent my daughter to the states. This is the first time we’ve apart for this extended period of time. She went to states on May 9 and I won’t see her again until July 15. I’ve been without my baby for a weekend, a couple of hours and a week but a whole month and half. When I dropped her off at the airport I wanted to cry but I didn’t want to upset her. My brother told me she silently cried on the plane for about an hour and half. I speak to her daily. Thank goodness for video chat. My next hardest days were the deaths in the family. Elise lost her grandpa and that was hard to process for various reasons. There were some people from my home church who died. Funerals are needed for closure and I am unable to do that. Missing Thanksgiving and Christmas was hard but I didn’t cry and mope around about it.

I have enjoyed my job and teaching once again. The students are the same as they would have been in the states. The biggest difference is I don’t have anyone breathing down my neck behind performance. I don’t stress about planning and people coming into my classroom judging. I don’t take any work home. I am able to plan at school and gather my materials ALL at school. I love my TA. I stay to myself concerning my co-workers. I’m not that person. I’m not here to change the world. I’m not even really here to make friends (at work).

Homeschooling was a journey in and of itself. However at the end of the school year and through assessments my daughter is above grade level in math and reading. She will continue doing school work over the summer. 

Travel has been amazing. We’ve been to Thailand, London, and Dubai. I travelled to Kenya and Tanzania. 

I am looking forward to next school year and everything else. 

Ramadan

Okay quick information on Ramadan.

Ramadan 2017 began in the evening of Friday, May 26 and ends in the evening of Saturday, June 24.

At sundown Friday May 26, 2017 Ramadan began. Here’s what this means somewhere around 3:45 am Saturday morning fasting began and fasting would end around 6:45 pm Saturday evening.

Now here’s what this means for me as an expat. I have to conduct myself in a certain manner and be mindful and respectful of the rules and laws during this time in public.

NO eating, drinking, chewing gum, PDA, makeup, and proper dress and positive manners at all times. AUS_Ramadan

Now in my mind I was picturing life to be complicated and boring during Ramadan. NOT the case. I can still go out and shop. I just have to check the operating hours. I still have to show up at work even though I don’t have any students. My work hours have been reduced from 7-3 to 9-2. It’s against the law to work longer than 6 hours during Ramadan. The malls are open but the restaurants won’t be open. The malls, stores, banks, spas, salons, government offices, etc have reduced hours where there are morning hours and evening hours. I have to remind myself not to chew gum…this is big thing for me because I am always chewing gum. No drinking water in public and it’s hot as an oven so it makes sense to not even be out until the sun goes down. I went out the other day after the sun had set and the fast had broke…..and baby it was crowded. Traffic was worse than usual. People were everywhere. I ordered from Talabat like I usually do from time to time. It took longer than usual. Even the restaurants on Talabat have different hours.

Bottom line Ramadan isn’t a huge change in daily activities in my host country. Behind closed doors most Muslims are okay if you eat or drink in front of them. I choose not to because I find it hard when I’m hungry and see people hungry and I can’t eat. I am able to eat in my classroom. I just shut my lights and I covered the window on my door. I am bored at work with no students. I am watching Netflix catching up on TV shows and movies. My daughter is in the states so I can be an adult and watch adult TV and movies. I do miss her but it’s been nice to be an adult and not just mommy all the time. She’ll experience Ramadan next year. It will move up 15 days and it will be mid May next year.

Be aware of your surroundings. Be respectful. Use common sense. If you are ever unsure ask questions. They are human. They are people.

Jordan 

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I had the pleasure of visiting Jordan specifically the Dead Sea region.

 

It was an amazing experience. It turned out to be quite relaxing. I truly cannot place into words the experience. I will visit again. My daughter says she wants to go. I want to visit Petra and Aqaba next time. I want to see more of the historical sites.

I was able to visit the baptism site where Jesus was baptized.

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Was able to see the Jordan River. I opted not to be baptized in the Jordan river.

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The Jordan River. One side is Palestine and the other side is Jordan. 

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The Palestinians had a more formal type of baptism ceremony in place with a priest and minister present prior to them going into the river to be baptized.

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We stayed in a hotel that was right next to the Dead Sea.

Yes I got into the water. Yes you can float. Yes I placed the mud on. Honestly I didn’t like the feel of the water. It was thick feeling. I could almost feel the salt.

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