Tuesday, 6 July 2010

4 more sleeps....

I've been growled at for not writing and actually have a bit to catch up on so here goes, promise I'll stop before I start to ramble. It's only 4 more sleeps until I head back to New Zealand. It's really funny because I used to say back home but now I think of this place as my home. I've had this conversation with a couple of others lately, where is home when you're an expat?

As a child I moved around a lot so didn't always have the time to become too attached to people, places and things, to develop the sense of belonging that is so innately human. Many here have been expats for most of their lives and don't have a strong sense of belonging to one particular place. I can see how this affects people, how it actually makes them more willing to welcome others to the place where they are at the time. The downside is that there is often no place to go home to when others are off on their holidays, families scattered and fragmented living in other parts of the world.

I have an exciting holiday planned racking up the air miles with a flight to New Zealand, then back here then on to Heathrow with Sarah and Olivia then off to see Di and then Italy. I suspect I may need a holiday when I get back. I have six glorious weeks, much needed after the long semester we've just had. It's my third long semester in this part of the world, from February through to July is far too long without a break.

I've spent some time in Abu Dhabi lately, well just outside of Abu Dhabi is more accurate. I went to three days of leadership training and a conference on Yas Island last week. Yas Island is where the F1 track is and the hotels to accommodate those watching the big event. It's a lot quieter these days. Yas is not really an island in the truest sense of the word, although we did compare it to Atlantis as we were trying to find it.

You see Nina, Laura and I got horribly misplaced getting to Yas, an hour and a half misplaced. Now that's not so bad really except when the temperatures are soaring into the high 40s, you've run out of water and need the loo desperately because you've drunk all that water. The thing with this place is that signage is intermittent and unreliable, especially on the roundabouts and the roads are just plain confusing at times with few landmarks.

It was team building exercise, Nina and I taught Laura a thing or two about how colourful the English language could be. Laura taught us about being calm and patient, not exactly traits that Nina or I excel in. We learnt not to trust the man who had said to follow the brown signs, we learnt that asking someone, anyone was not practical.

Then breakthrough, out from the dusty murk, did I mention there was a dust storm blowing, loomed an Adnoc. An Adnoc is so much more that just a service station with coffee, more water, a loo and the man had a map and could show us where to go. Once we got on the right road, had gone around the roundabout a couple of times and negotiated the trucks it was only 15 minutes to our destination. We arrived a bit frazzled only to see another sitting outside the training. He grinned sheepishly at us and confessed he'd just arrived too. Seems like many got lost and we swapped our stories by the pool later in the day. Yep we all felt a little silly, nothing a few quiets couldn't fix.

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