Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Vacation Time!

Well, I have been vacationing with a vengence! We started break on Thursday, and found out soon after that King Abdullah extended the break to the 27th! This is most pleasing, though it throws our academic schedule off quite a bit. But I'm determined to not worry about it, and to just enjoy the extra 5 days of vacation.

Yesterday we got back from a camp in the desert. It was super SUPER cool. We got out of Riyadh to this nature preserve type area, complete with big red dunes. We got to dune board and see a falconing demonstration. That was really cool. There was also a huge feast and lots of delicious things to drink, including warm milk with ginger and sugar. It sounds weird, but it was incredibly delicious. We were with some of the Saudi guys from the company, other teachers and our hosts. We were allowed to play around in our regular clothes, because the abaya would've been impractical, and it was cool enough that we were fully covered anyways. But I think I scandalized some of the Saudis by instigating a soccer game, as well as being the first one who wanted to try everything new. Oh well. I enjoyed myself immensely.

I took a gazillion pictures, because the desert is just so ridiculously photogenic. See fb for full visuals.

We still haven't pulled together the rest of our trip, cause it's hard to get the group to make a collective decision. Now that we have a few extra days, we'll try to get moving next week. Today is Eid, so we'll probably lay low, and then we have another trip around Riyadh in a couple days, which will be cool.

I'm enjoying lazing around and watching movies and catching up on sleep. We're going to be changing books after the break, so it's hard to do any advanced planning since I only have one of the four books necessary. It also seems like there will be lots of staff changes, as we're losing people left and right. Let me just say the pregnancy is an epidemic around here...Anyways, I'm determined to enjoy doing nothing for a while, before heading back to work in a week and a half. :)

Tuesday, November 2, 2010

Eid al-Halaweaat

Well well well well well. Since the last blog post, things have improved somewhat on the administrative end. Not hugely, but enough to take the edge of things, at least for today. Getting paid--especially on time--does wonders for one's motivation.

My girls threw my co-teacher and I a party that was celebrating finishing a quiz, and the first day of November etc. etc. The fact that it fell the day after Halloween was entirely coincidental. We called it Eid al-Halaweaat, which means the holiday of sweets. They went crazy with cake and cupcakes and candies and doughnuts. They really are a ton of fun. We ate and studied, but it was really funny because the unit we were starting was titled Socializing. So when I said, alright ladies, we really have to get to work, they said,"But Teacher, we're practicing! We're socializing!!" It's hard to argue with such logic. :)

This past weekend was a lot of fun, because I got to go poke around the old city some more, and I saw the gold market. That was incredible! I've never seen so much gold in one place in all my life. I also got to see the camel market which was super cool. It was just camels of every color as far as the eye could see. It's right on the edge of Riyadh, but the city just stops so you feel like you're pretty well out in the desert.

Anyway, things are going better. There's still quite a bit of room for improvement, but we're making our way. I have to get serious about planning for my vacation time! I love vacations! :)