We took a trip to Ikea yesterday to order some of the big items for our apartment. We had all the measurements figured out and now all we needed to do was choose some colors and styles. I have never in my life bought so much furniture at one time. We have four carts full of our furniture and some more on the way. As you can see from the picture it was overwhelming. In Arabic the word hallas means finished. When walking around picking up our items the poor man helping us kept asking hallas? and each time we had to keep saying laa (no). You know you’ve ordered too many things when the guy at Ikea is overwhelmed by your purchase! We bought so much that they even gave us two free meals at Ikea! Now here is the list of what we bought: a couch, coffee table, two armchairs, two desks, a bed, mattress, two wardrobes, and a shelf. If you include the money spent on the fridge and the washing machine we have only spent half of our housing allowance! Which I think is pretty good! What is even better is that Ikea will deliver and install/set up all of the furniture – we don’t even have to assemble it! Now to explain the title of my post . . .
The man in the right side of the picture above is Gary. We ran into him at Ikea and I’m so glad that we did. He has been a cluster manager for ADEC for about a year. A cluster manager would be similar to a community superintendent in the states. He goes around and observes the schools, teacher, and students – so he knows what’s going on! He gave us so many tips and so much insight into our teaching jobs. I feel more comfortable about teaching after talking with him. One of the phrases he taught us was Shwe Shwe which means “step by step.” So if someone asks if we know Arabic we can tell them no, laa, but we are learning Shwe Shwe. I like this phrase, it really describes the state we are in right now. Step by step we are making a new home here, discovering not only a new city but a new culture, and preparing to be successful teachers here. We finally have phones and while we do not have everything it all is coming together Shwe Shwe. After visiting Al Ain the other day, Scott and I were really happy about that city. Being there feels more like living in a foreign country and less like feeling we are in an international country (like Abu Dhabi). In Al Ain the pace of life seemed slower, people were not rushing around, and there were many more national, instead of international, people all around. It will be a great place for us to learn a new way of life. Our small place is going to be a blessing because we have it basically all furnished and have only spent half of our allowance! Just today in the newspaper was an article about Al Ain entitled “Paradise on Earth.” It was about the botanical gardens, hot springs, and nature that permeates the city. I know that right now Scott and I are in the “honeymoon phase” or moving someplace new but I’m just going to keep on enjoying it while it lasts. Pretty soon school will start, a routine will start, and even culture shock. But for right now I’m going to continue to enjoy the UAE, this phase of our life, and all the joy and excitement! We will find ourselves settled and comfortable here in time, shwe shwe.