First Day of Orientation

Published August 17, 2010 by Christa Maurice

We were told that we’d receive a message as to where orientation would take place and that it would last from 10 to 2. Since it is Ramadan we assumed there would be no food or drinks. Wow, wrong on all accounts.

I had planned to get to breakfast at 8:30 but when I went to get dressed, I realized none of the wrinkles had fallen out of my clothes and I actually had to iron. Gasp. So I got to breakfast at 9 and nobody else had gotten a message either. We ate and milled around until someone got the idea that we should mill in the lobby. If enough of us were missing, they’d come looking. So we milled in the lobby until someone found a message board off in a corner saying that the ballroom gad been reserved for ADEC. I was a little surprised to see that not everyone had paid attention to the dress code. I assumed this was the first day on the job and dressed appropriately. Others showed up in t-shirts, knee length shorts, sleeveless blouses. Maybe I’m too stuffy.

They had had our medical insurance cards ready. Someone came from the bank to collect paperwork to open our accounts. We had some other paper we had to fill out. They took our photos for IDs. They gave us effin amazing goodie bags. (Canvas bag with a $25 Abu Dhabi guide book, a flash drive, a notebook and something else – the guide book stole the show for me. I couldn’t find one that good in the US.) They also served food and drinks though they reminded us not to take anything out of the room and to be aware of eating or drinking in front of someone who was fasting.

I was done and walking out at 1 when Lorna stopped me in a panic because she was afraid she hadn’t filled out her banking paper correctly. She didn’t have to worry about it. The bank man was checking everything, but I sat down with her and pointed out what he’d had me do. By 1:15 I was back in my room.

The night before I’d had a really awful night’s sleep so I ended up napping for two hours, washing out a few things in the sink and wrapping up previous blog posts. I’ve been writing them all offline and then jumping on just long enough to clean out my email and post, so don’t think I’m ignoring you, I’m just too cheap to pay for more internet time. With all that, it was sundown before I realized it and I didn’t have any dinner plans. For a while I considered being a coward and hiding in my room eating crackers that I bought yesterday at Carrefour, but I decided I wouldn’t have any respect for myself if I did that. I got dressed in appropriate clothing, long skirt, long sleeved blouse, and headed downstairs. I figured if I walked around looking pathetic enough someone would invite me to dinner. At worst, I could get a cab and go to the mall again. I happened across Laura who was headed out for Lebanese so I tagged along. She’s a nine year veteran of Japan so we compared East Asia scars and discussed how many of the other teachers we thought were going to make the year. I have some misgivings about her because she doesn’t seem to be aware of how she’s not fitting into the culture. When we walked into the restaurant she asked me if I saw how the man at the front looked at “us.” I didn’t notice, but I wasn’t surprised. She was wearing a sleeveless dress that fell only about halfway down her knees. ‘Round these parts it’s expected that you will cover your shoulders and your thighs.

Now, I have to get to bed. I need to be up at 5:30 for my medical check. WooHoo! Wake me up early and stick me with needles. Then, apparently, I am done for the day.


3 comments on “First Day of Orientation

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