Thursday, July 28, 2011

Ireland


Day 6Another day of traveling, but this time it was a day worth traveling, as I headed to Ireland. Started the morning on the bus and stopped off to see what inspired the movie Brig’o Doon. It was such a beautiful place. I am sure that the pictures I am taking are not going to even start to show how breath taking this place is. After leaving there the bus stopped at Rabbie Burns’s (a famous author) house. Then the bus traveled down the coast of Scotland where from the bus you could see Ireland. The driver said that in the nine trips he had taken this year, this was the best day he had seen. The weather stayed with us as we took the ferry a crossed from Scotland to Ireland.

Once in Ireland we head to Belfast where our tour guide hopped on and started telling us about the history of Belfast. The things that I learned I never knew, like the fact that there is a wall down the middle of the city so which Catholics live on one side and Protestants on the other. This was because when the United Kingdom first took over the top counties in Ireland half wanted it and half didn’t so there was a war between the two. After that back to the hotel for dinner and then went to see a local Pub. I decided not to stay while the rest of my party is still there about to enjoy the music.

Day 7
Today we headed out first thing in the morning; the bus drove alone to coast of Ireland. The first stop was Mount Stewart House, I have to say the house, was nice, but full of a lot of stuff. Yet the gardens where worth going for, the colors and the way they were laid out were amazing. It was such a nice day to walk the grounds and just enjoy my time in the fresh air.

After leaving the Mount Stewart House the bus headed a crossed the Strangford Lough on ferry. The first stop was the St. Patrick Center where there was a short video on the life of St. Patrick. We then headed to the Down Cathedral. It was a beautiful old church with nothing really special until you walked the grounds. This is where you will find the grave of St. Patrick, which I have to say I learned some interesting fact about him that I didn’t know before I came over here. It was a great sight to see, after that we were back on the bus and back to Belfast for a few hours of shopping before dinner.

Day 8

Today we started by driving north along the Nine Glens of Antrim. The views from the highway where amazing, the first time we stopped for a photo was to see the little rope bridge the fishermen use in the summer to access a small fishier. Next we stopped at a spot that overlooked the sea. It was amazing at how far you could see. Once back on the bus we headed to Giant’s Causeway.

Giant’s Causeway was an amazing sight to see.  I was amazed by the way that the rocks where formed and how they were just coming out of the ground. For those who don’t know the story about Giant’s Causeway it is a story about a giant named Finn McCool, who used to live there with his family. Well he liked to through taunts back and forth between a giant in Scotland. One day the giant from Scotland decided to come across the causeway to pick a fight with Finn. Well Finn’s wife saw the size of the giant and new Finn could not beat him, so she dressed him up a baby so that when the giant got to Ireland he would think Finn was not there. Well when the giant from Scotland finally got to Ireland he took one look at Finn and said, “If that is the size of the baby I don’t want to see the size of the Da” and turned and ran.

After Giant’s Causeway we headed back south on the coast where we were able to stop and take an amazing picture of Dunluce Castle. Then we stopped in a small coastal town, where there was a fair going on. I was able to walk the dock and just enjoy the weather. Sadly I enjoyed it a little to much and ended up sun burn, who would have thought.

Day 9

The day started with a drive south to the Glenveagh Castle. The castle was built after the first owner evicted 220 people from their homes. After he died his wife took over the castle and started giving the landed back to the people, the next two owners where Americans which I found really interesting, the last owner gave the castle to the Irish Government in 1983.

The afternoon was spent heading to Derry (or Londonderry), which is also known as the walled city. We were driven through where Bloody Sunday took place. I was really fascinated to learn that Ireland’s troubles have only recently stopped. Then the tour guide took us to walk the gates of the city. It was amazing to see how this whole city was walled to protect it back in the 1600s. Then so down time in the city and back to the hotel for dinner and relaxing.



Day 10
Today was one of my favorite days on this whole trip. Started the morning out being able to sleep in until 8:00 am, then we where off to Ulster American Folk Park. I have to saw this was one of my favorite places. The park is set up to show how families back then would live. So there where tone of house and villages. The park started by taking you through the museum to show you how the history progressed, after that I headed into the park. It started with a one room house, that families up to sixteen would live in. It then show the different kind house that people would live in. It also had a school, church and a small town. The park then took you into what the ship was like when they sailed a crossed to America, then brought you out into the New World. I was also lucky on the trip and found a four-leaf-clover, and no it was not fake. I took a picture of it. I was quiet excited, hopefully it means good luck for me to come.

After getting into Dublin we head out for out final dinner as a group at the Merry Ploughboy Pub. It was great food and an amazing show. There were real Irish dancers and Folk singers. It was a great way to end the finally dinner. Tomorrow is a relaxed day in Dublin.

Day 11Today was a relaxed day. It started with a tour of Dublin, then to Kilmainham Gaol. It was really interesting to see how the jail was set up back then. It reminds me of some of the small older jails from back in the States, after that we where off to Guinness where the group broke into the area of the city they wanted to see. I explore the museum to see the steps it takes to make beer. I then met up with a few other people and was taught how to pour the prefect pint. I ended the day with walking the streets of Dublin and having dinner in a pub with a few of my friends from the tour.

Scotland


Day 1
Well I arrived and was able to get here the time I planned. I have to say it was a close call when I got to Dublin. I did not plan well since I didn’t really realize what I had to get done, but in the two hour window I left myself I was able to get my one bag to the baggage hold, get to my tour desk and pick up everything there and still get back to check into my flight with about an hour to spare. The whole time I was thinking to myself I am so glad that this airport isn’t as big as O’Hare, got to Scotland at about 11:00 am and to the Hotel at about half hour later. I spent most the day sleeping since I had been up most the night before in the airport. I have to say I am glad I decided to come in a day early just to be able to regroup and catch up on my sleep. Didn’t do anything else really exciting had dinner in the hotel. I did come to find out that my phone does not work over here, which stinks, but oh well. I also am trying to find internet connection that I don’t have to pay for. I will see if that happens, I can hope.

Day 2
Well I was up at 4:30am wide awake, I looked at my clock from back home and realized why back in AD it would have been 7:30 just is sleeping in for me. Anyways tour starts today at 1:00 pm then I will be on the go for the next 11 days. I was going to go and walk the city this morning, but I woke up sore and tired so I am just going to hang out until the tour is ready to leave. It will give me a chance to get a little more sleep since I am excepting it to be a late night since there is a welcome party tonight.

Just getting back from the first tour in Glasgow, it took us around to see the main hot spots of the town and then to the Glasgow Museum of Art. It was really a neat thing to see, the town reminds me a lot of Chicago the way its streets are set up. I have made a group of friends already, which I figured I would. Funny thing is that I am the youngest person on the tour by 20 years. Oh well means more time to explore and to relax on the bus. Off to welcome drinks and dinner.

Welcome drinks were great there is about 24 of us on the tour, which makes it a small group, but still enough to meet and chat. After drinks we all headed into the dining room. It was a great dinner, tomorrow we are off to Loch Ness, I can’t wait.

Day 3So today I left Glasgow and headed for Loch Ness, it was a long drive but I had a great time on the way. The first stop was to stretch and take a photo op. I choose not to get out since it was raining and foggy. Once back on the road the weather started to get better. It started to clear up and improve with just a little cloud cover and then finally some sun. The next top was at the waterfall and then Three Sisters Mountains. They were amazing to see, I don’t think my picture did justice for the sight of them. After that we headed on we passed through a small town where Harry Potter was filmed. I was lucky enough to see the Hogwarts Express and see some of the place the movie was filmed. Finally arrived at Loch Ness where I took a tour of the Loch.  I took some great pictures, some with Nessy, but sadly not the real one. Now I am at my hotel and heading to the traditional dinner and then get to enjoy some Scottish music and dancing.










Day 4 Another long day of traveling, luckily it is really our last for traveling. We headed out of the Highlands and back to the city of Edinburgh. The first stop on the way down from the Highlands was the Blair Castle. I was taken on a guided tour through the castle. I wish I would have been able to take pictures inside the castle it was so interesting to see the different types of architecture that was in the one building. After leaving the class the bus headed to a small town called Pitlochry where it stopped for lunch. I decided to save money and just got a bag of chips and a pop. Then headed to the Blair Athol Distillery, where they took us on a complete tour of how they made their whiskey (I however did not try any).

Just got back from the Night walk in Edinburgh, it was so neat to learn the history of the place and some of the haunts. The tour guide told so many stories about the town that it is hard to believe. He told us the story about the man who invited the gallows and showed us where he live, he also informed us that he was the first person to use his invention and that from his real life story Doctor Jekyll and Mister Hyde was created. I wish I could remember all of the stories that he told us there were so many and it was just so interesting to hear. I also got to see the coffee shop where JK Rowling sat and wrote her first Harry Potter Book.

Day 5

Well today was an actually quite day, it started with a tour of Edinburgh, just the basic stories of how the town came to be and where famous people came from. After that there was a tour of the Edinburgh Castle. I was amazed at how big the place was. It was like being in a town onto itself. After the tour of the castle it was free time in Edinburgh. I ended up just walking around with a few others that are on the tour with me. It was great fun; I also was able to get me a Celtic Puzzle Ring.



Thursday, July 21, 2011

Last Few Weeks In the UAE

Well it has come down to the last few weeks here. It is hard to believe that a year is finally over, it seemed to take so long to get here, but now that it is here it seemed to fly. Well so my last few weeks I have been relaxing and it has been kind of boring. Let see once the kids left it was packing and cleaning for a week, which didn’t take that long, but we at school took our time. We then started our own schedule which was easy we would get to school by 8:00 reading until about 10:00, then watch a movie, and then read until time to go home. It made passing the time worthwhile. The last week of school the Principal and the CfBT group through a little party in recognition of the year. Teachers that were leaving received a gift; the rest of us received a certificate stating that we had been there for the year of teaching.

Let see, outside of school well that was a little more fun. The group of teachers that I hang out decided to hang out and get in as much time. The Friday of July 8th I was invited to have a Ladies party at another’s house. It was a combination of English and Arabic teachers. It was a great time that time to get to meet and hang out with the Arabic staff from another school. We then hung out in Abu Dhabi for the last time on that Saturday. We headed to the Maria Mall, mainly to get out of the house, it was great fun.
This last week at in the apartments were kind of sad and a downer, since we were all packing to head out and some not to return. I spent the week going to school then coming home and packing myself. This was my week up until school was out, than I was able to get out of the house a little more. I hung out with my neighbor and her son for a few days, playing with the kittens and going to Morune Dune. On Saturday I headed to Liwa to pick up another teacher and we all stopped at the Date Festival. It was interesting walking into the Date Festival; it reminded me of being at home at a county fair. There was a section of shops, a section for business, and section for heritage. It felt like I was walking through my local fair back home. Finally I headed out.

Saturday, May 14, 2011

RANDOM UPDATE

Well I just thought I would write a quick update since we are on the count down until the end of the year. It is hard to believe that there is only seven weeks of school really left. This last week was a stressful week. This last week I completed my final interview with my principal. It was so set up that we headed into this meeting with our principal and Head of Faculty (HoF). This was set up to set goals for next year in the school; we looked at what I had done this year and then rated how I thought I did. I took me two and a half hours to get through it. When I was done I was spent and tired. Then on Wednesday we end up having some people in our school from ADEC and University of Florida, they had come to talk to us about school and what we thought our CPDs should be for next year. It was great to get to explain to them how we felt about everything going on throughout the school year. They seem to take a lot of information about what we want to learn next year and what would help us.

This weekend started with us heading to a street fair here in town. It was great fun to go and see all of the people from the town. With the four of us who went we all end up seeing co-workers, parents, and students from our schools. It was so interesting to see how people react to us outside of the school. It was also fun to see the life of the other teachers. We all bought more items then we thought we would. I was lucky enough to find three beautiful prints that I can hang on my walls, to make my home even a little more inviting. Well I guess that is it for now.

Saturday, April 30, 2011

April, Easter, & My Birthday

Well so the month of April is almost over, it is hard to believe that it has been a month since I went to Greece. The month of April has been a hectic month. It started with just the students being normal after a week off of school, but after the first week they settled down. Then we found out that we were having our final evaluations with-in the next few weeks and lucky me mine was first. My evaluation was for a science lesson, which I was lucky to have a great lesson planned. We did a wind exploration lesson, which included the students predicting which way the wind was blowing and then using bubbles to see if they were right. Well push come to shove and I got a great review. I was happy to walk out of my evaluation with the principal excited about how much I have improved and how much the students are learning from me.
Sadly I wasn’t able to take a break just yet. The next Sunday and Monday we had Tribal coming. Tribal is a company that is hired to come in and make sure that the PPP is doing what they are supposed to. However we still have to sell ourselves to them since they do report back to ADEC. They came in on Sunday for about an hour over all in my classroom, watching my class, checking my binders, and making sure I had lesson plans. We are not sure how it went, but as far as I can tell I didn’t have any issues.
It being the month of April means tomorrow things Easter and my birthday. Well truth be told it didn’t feel much like Easter, since we still work on Sunday. I thought that the normal group of us were getting together to celebrate Easter, however I was completely surprised to find out that it was a surprise party for me. Gayle had me completely going I even fried chicken to bring thinking I need to bring something. Well I showed up and I was amazed to see all my friends there. It was a great time and I am so happy to have made the friends I have.  Well it looks like I will be home for my birthday. I am amazed since I have been sicker this year than ever with teaching, but I guess that comes with moving to a new environment and trying to get used to it. I am hoping that this time the meds correct it and I am good for the rest of the year.

Saturday, April 2, 2011

Greece 2011

Day 1, Athens
Well after twelve hours at the airport I was finally able to meet up with Leah for the rest of the flight. The flight was smooth and had a great lunch, which include Lamb Biryani and Apricot Crumble. Once we arrived in Athens we caught a cab and headed to my hotel. I got settled in and then we headed out to wander. We were on the lookout for an internet café since the hotel didn’t have any. I also found some great shops to revisit at a later date. We ended our walk at a little café and sat for a while enjoying the weather and a nice drink. Once back at the hotel I was able to realize my amazing view of the Acropolis. Leah ended up being picked up by her friends and I settled in for the night.
Day 2, Athens
So started the day with a small breakfast and a walk around the area, which was so quiet and peaceful. I than caught the bus for my day trip around Athens. We started the tour at the Olympic Center where the first modern Olympics took place. We head then to the New Greek Museum. It was so amazing to see all the items that were found and uncovered at the Acropolis.  After that we walked to the Acropolis, were I met my first new friends two where from Australia and on there honeymoon, the other was from Sri Lanka. The Acropolis was amazing to see so amazing, you can see the history there and how people could have lived when this thrived. After the visit to the Acropolis we walked down to the Old Plaka. We stopped for lunch at a small side café and then I decide to walk back to my hotel. After I wondered around for about an hour I finally broke down and hailed a cab. I was very glad I did, since I seemed to have been walking in the wrong direction. I then decided to head out and start my shopping in town and then back to the hotel for a nap.  
video
After my nap I went out for another walk, this time I broke down and bought a sweatshirt, since I was cold in Greece. On my walk this time I realized that on almost every street there is either an orange tree or olive tree. I walked and wondered if people can just pick these or if there was a government had some picked them. I ended up in the square to connect to the internet for a while and just sit and watch people and the way they are. Things seem so relaxed and slowed down while I was sitting there, as if people just didn’t have a care in the world. As I sat there I was just thinking about how I could live there and it was a great feeling to just not really be in a rush or worried about things. I then headed back to the hotel for the night and to get ready to head for the boat.                                    

Day 3, Mykonos
Well first day on the cruise, I had decided that I was going to write everything down by day so that I didn’t forget anything. So far no sea sickness, so hopefully I won’t get any, and I didn’t. So what has happened today so far is the all aboard tour. We saw our cabins, check in our cards, and then had the safety drill. I did end up running into another travel that had been on the tour with me the day before. We decided that we would set dinner together for Wednesday night the Gala night. We left port at 11:00 am on time with smooth, beautiful waters to Mykonos.
I decided that I was going to treat myself a little more, so I got a massage and a facial (well needed). I met a lot of people so far on the cruise, most of them interested in the henna I had done before I left. People seem to be drawn to it and wonder where I got it. It actually helped me meet a teacher from Canada, who was there with 40 of her students. I then met three retired teacher at the fashion show, she seemed to be really interested in my story about where I am living and came from. We arrive at Mykonos early and where able to dock. I decided to not get off the boat and take the time to relax and just get used to everything.

video

Day 4, Kusadasi (Ephesus) & Patmos
So it was an early start to the day, I was up at 6:00 am to make it to breakfast and then started for the mainland at 7:15 am. Ephesus was such a great and breath taking place to see, the old homes and streets and the history that is found in them. I met another teacher from Abu Dhabi that was on the cruise with me, it just shows how small of a world is really is. It was great to get to walk through the street of a town that Cleopatra once walked down. After the visit to Ephesus the tour returned to the city of Kusadasi, where we were all able to walk in the market for a while. I decided to skip watching the Turkish rug being made, since most people just wanted the free drinks. So I walked around the market for a while and then headed to back to the ship. After lunch I went and watch a group of middle school students from Jacksonville, FL perform. It was such a great opportunity for them, and they did an amazing job.
We ported in at Patmos early and where able to dock, so I decided to get off the boat. Glad that I did, I found a lot of great things for people back home. The little village that was right off the boat had tons of neat little shops that I was able to get some great bargains. The trick is that here you have to haggle, which I have been getting better at. I shopped and walked around for about three hours in Patmos.  On my way back to the boat I decide to stop and get some gelato, so I just sat and watched the water. On the boat for the night was Greek Night, so everything had to do with Greece: Greek food, colors, cloths, and a Greek dance show.
video
Day 5, Rhodes
Again we arrived early, so were able to board the tour bus early. The tour started by heading to the city of Philerimos and the  restore Byzantine church of our Lady of Philerimos, a chapel with 15th century frescoes. It was amazing to see the Byzantine church, there were tons of peacocks all around the church and the sights were just amazing, after the tour headed to the walled city or the Old City. The tour took us into the ruined Castle of the Knights, which was full of mosaic floors and beautiful artworks. After the tour I walked around the city some on my own and did some more shopping. I headed back to the ship after that to relax before Captain’s Dinner.
I have become addicted to the non-alcoholic strawberry daiquiris and reading in my free time. I have been able to finish two books in my free time on the boat. Captain’s dinner was so much fun, it started with a cocktail hour and then to dinner. I didn’t need to dress up as much as I did, but it was still fun too. While we were at dinner, we finally hit some rough sea. So for the first time the boat was rocking back and forth. Lucky for my cabin is lower so I won’t get it as much as the people higher up.

video
Day 6, Heraklion & Santorini
Today is my free day; we arrived at Crete at 7:00 am again. It was nice since I was able to just get off and walk around. It was a nice little city; I walked with a family that I met the night before. We took a self-walking tour, seeing the chapels and the open air market of the city. We ended the tour at the Museums of Archaeology. It was a small museum, but it was interesting to see how they had rebuilt some of the items that they had found. After that we headed back to the boat and I was able to just relax for a while.
Finally we arrive in the town we had all been waiting for, unfortunately it was cloudy so the view coming into the town wasn’t as good as it could have been. However it was still great to see it all. I went out with two people I met. We tendered over to the island and then took the cable car up to the town. We were not about to take the donkeys up. We walked around the town for a while; it was so interesting to see how this town was just built into the mountain. After returning to the boat, we ate dinner and settled down to watch the talent show. Then it was time to head back to my cabin to pack and be ready to disembark for the morning.
video

Friday, February 25, 2011

Random Update

Well I was told that it has been long enough and that I needed to update my blog, so here goes. Things here have been just normal everyday life stuff going to school, coming home and doing school work. I did end up having to get rid of the bird; I ended up having a chronic sinus infection that lead to me getting walking pneumonia. I did find him a good home, he moved into another LT’s apartment.
We have had two great get together since I last wrote. The first party was on the sixteen of the month, which was held at Carmela’s. It was great fun we had an Italian valentine day party. We didn’t really think about it good enough, because we all brought some kind pasta and no one brought any bread. It was still a lot of fun, we had dancing and games. It was a great turn out; we are talking about our next one that will happen on the 17th of March. The second party for the month was last night. It was a surprise birthday party for Ryan down in Liwa. It was a great time we had singing and dancing and just great company.
Well I know it is short but there is my update for what is going on with everything around here. The next one will come after mine time in Greece, yes the countdown has begun T-4 weeks and counting. I am looking forward to the time getting away again and see some more of the world. Until then….