So I have to be honest from the start – I’m a bit disappointed. Apparently ADEC has caught on to the fact that we don’t need these big lush apartments. This means that the new apartments for this year are smaller. But perhaps I’m a bit spoiled. Our place in Buffalo was truly perfect – 1200 square feet of charm. Our place here is very basic, no character, no closets, has a dark living area, and only 600 square feet. After a few hours of sulking and being jealous of what other people have, I’m fine with our place – its clean, new, and has more than enough space for the two of us, no need to get greedy now Jenna! The teachers that were placed in the older apartments have three bedroom villas with balconies. We have no balcony, but it is not worth comparing, we can do nothing about it and when it comes down to it – the place is FREE. We came here to work, explore, and save money. This has been a nice lesson in humility. What’s more important is that the people we are placed with are really great! They divided the apartments up alphabetically by first name (because in the Emirates, and most of the middle east, the last name is the father’s name so everyone here always goes by first name – in fact when I teach I will be Mrs Jenna). The apartment is in my name (J before S) so it is really funny because across the hall from is Jenna and Dave, next to us is Jennifer and her 10 year old son Drew, kiddy-corner is Jessica, two doors down is John, and across from him is Jobi and her husband Davin and their 2 year old girl. This all makes getting to know names really easy!!! The couple across the hall and down the hall we have gotten close with and I hope we become good friends. When it comes down to it I’d rather have a smaller place with people I like, then a large place with people I don’t get along with. Initially I was also disappointed because when we got there it looked like we were going to be living in the middle of nothing. But once we got home and looked at a map we realized that we are next to a park and only 15 min from the city center, 10 min from the zoo, and 20 min from the hot springs!! We will be fine – just a minor, unjustified freak-out on my part. So, without further delay here are the pics of our place:

When driving through Al Ain we were impressed with how green everything was – there are many traffic circles with beautiful gardens in the center – I took this one for you Claire – horses!!

The outside of our building – we are on the left side two apartments in

The Transco Building is right next door

We have a lovely view of this building from our apartment and the neon green sign is framed nicely by our bedroom window. I immediately thought of the Seinfeld episode where a fast food chicken place opens up across the street from Kramer’s apartment and he is up all night because of the neon red light. He finally decides to yell out his window and scare away business that way the place closes down and the neon light goes away. He screams, as seen in the youtube video below, “Bad Chicken – Mess You Up!”

I swear that one day you will see me out my window screaming: Transco! Bad Transmission – Mess You Up!! hahaha. Ok enough fun, back to the pictures:

Welcome to A103! (we are on the second floor – the first floor numbers are like A003)

My hand-drawn floor plan

The living space

Our cute little galley kitchen – oh and by the way – does anyone know what that black hose is for? Is it for a gas oven or for a dryer?

Gotta love the tile choice!

The first bathroom

I like these tiles – pretty blue flowers : )

The Spare Room

Did I mention that I’m pretty sure we have 12ft tall ceilings? They are much bigger than our place in Buffalo which had 10ft tall ceilings. It helps make the place feel bigger but I do worry about changing a bulb! I think too seeing it with nothing in it makes it feel barren, I know once we get furniture and fill it up then it will feel more like home.

Master Bedroom

This was a nice surprise – a master bathroom!!

Complete with a funky tile!

Also a nice surprise – a shared rooftop terrace!!

We are on 34th street in the Al Muwaiji District of Al Ain. We decided to call ourselves the Miracle on 34th street – you know what movie I’m watching during Christmas time!

We are planning on going to Ikea tomorrow to look at furniture – that’s right, they have an Ikea!! We have plenty of time to furnish the place as we are still in the hotel for a week and a half. This morning we did our medical exams and got our national ID pictures and fingerprinted for our Visa. We are off to the Lebanese Flower for dessert! Before I sign off – this one’s for you mom – Miss you: