Sunday, 23 October 2016

Week 42 - One Daily Positive and Project 366. Dubai to Newport.

It's been a super busy week. very little sleep with the demands of work, governors inspection, online learning journeys, baselines and upcoming visit from the Ministry of Education, I can't help but think, Harry Potter, Ministry of Magic and Monty Python, Ministry of Silly Walks.

Sunday #nature
In Zabeel Park

Monday #you
Blog hits and comments are slowing down, there used to be a time where 'publish' was good enough for starting a conversation, but nowadays it's just too much hard work to keep promoting and for what? Another offer to review baby products.

Tuesday - Orange
Changing room doors at the school pool. 

Wednesday -Treat
I'd been up since 4am, dropped Peter at the airport for a day in Saudi, in work at 5.30am and got 
home at 6pm, dinner on the go, packed suitcase, tidied up, took cat to vets, planned next weeks lessons, bed midnight.

Thursday - Family
peter wouldn't play ball with this photo, but it's just me, him and the cat and dog in Dubai. Work at 6.30am, observation by the school governors, staff meeting, classroom prep for when I'm away, home, out for dinner, shower, airport and flew to Qatar.

Friday - What I'm doing now
Transfered in Qatar and fell asleep on plane before take off at 1.30am local time. Woke at 5am over the English channel. Arrived in Birmingham, messed up the rental car booking, got to daughters house at 11am, drank tea, lunch at friends, arrived in Monmouth mid afternoon, signed papers at solitors for the apartment I've bought, transferred money and met up briefly with eldest son. Said Hello to my niece, went to parents at 7pm, spent 2 hours in the attic looking at family photo's, bathed and collapsed into bed.

Saturday - Eat
Stopped at garage to buy coffee and picked up Heinz chicken soup to take back to Dubai and a pumpkin to carve with niece, collected the teen, drove to Bristol to see MIL, called in to see Aunt and Cousin in Newport and back to Monmouth. Struggled with 3G and internet to send work email, blogged and off to bed very soon.

Thursday, 20 October 2016

Grow your food at Zabeel Park and Social Enterprise

I visited Zabeel Park in Dubai on Friday evening, it costs £1 for entry and parking was plenty and free.

My purpose was to find out more about the Grow your own Campaign. There weren't many stalls, but I registered, picked up some organic seeds, cuddled a chicken, listened to a vision of the future with the focus on school gardening.

The Ripe Market starts this week and I'm very much looking forward to being a frequent visitor there.

The park is huge, I was only there for an hour and took a quick walk around as it was very humid.

There is plenty to do there, free public toilets that were lovely and clean, BBQ areas, cafeterias, Mega bowl, an exhibition centre currently featuring 'Reading is Positive Energy' a children's play area and a handy train at a small fee to help you get around.

As always when you're in Dubai, you can see the Burj Khalifa from everywhere. The grass was green, trees numerous and birds on almost every branch.

One of the stalls at the Grow your Own event were a Social Enterprise group called Enable. The aim of the project is to create entrepreneurial skills for people with special abilities, starting with product concept, manufacturing, merchandising and selling, to enable individuals to start their own retail units and achieve financial independence.
100% of Enable products are ploughed back into development with the individual receiving 15% of the sale.

I purchased a succulent in a beautiful wooden pot and on Saturday saw a wider variety of items for sale at the local garden centre.

Last week I blogged about Forcing Cut Roses to drink and went out to buy some to try it out.
Wow, it really worked. You can see from the pictures the difference after 5 days, between putting a spot of bleach in the water, just putting them in normal tap water and having plunged them in hot water first.

Day 1 v Day 5
Forced to drink (plunged in boiling water)

 Normal tap water

Bleach in water

I couldn't find any Hydrangeas to Hydrate, but today one of my students brought me this beautiful bouquet as I'd been off sick all week, so I've hydrated the one on the left and we'll see how it goes next week.

The school gardening club, nearly fell at the first hurdle. last week we made newspaper pots and planted tomato seeds, no one watered them all week, so we were really surprised to see how they had grown, this week we 'pricked' them out and then planted some peas in plastic bags with cotton wool, so we can see how the roots grow.

Next week I'll be in the UK, so the students will be designing plant labels and on my return we'll be planting sunflowers, lettuce and cress seeds.

Wednesday, 19 October 2016

St Peter's Tower - Munich

Another post from my trip to Munich Summer 2016.

I spent 5 days visiting friends in Wolfratshausen, south of Munich. I spent 2 days wandering around and exploring the city. I do believe Munich has become my favourite city in the world and I'd love the opportunity to live there one day.

Munich City Centre isn't as big as I thought it would be and it was lovely to discover St Peter's tower from where I could get a view of the city from above.

Built in 1368 with the 91 meter spire added in the early 17th century, on the site of an old church, which was destroyed by a fire in 1327. 
Prior to that date there was a pre-Merovingian church on the site, who around it lived 8th century monks.
The tower is commonly known as Alter Peter and is the oldest recorded parish churches in Munich and it is said the whole city was built around the site and was established in 1158.

Tuesday, 18 October 2016

Hofbrauhaus in Munich or Oktoberfest in Dubai. Which is the best?

I visited friends in Munich over the summer, It was my first trip to Bavaria and I declare Munich my new favourite city. Oktoberfest ran from September 16th to October 3rd. Peter has been fortunate to visit the festival on many occasions, although he's always claimed it's a 'work trip'

We took part in the Dubai version this weekend at the Sheraton Hotel, Jumeriah Beach resort, it was a good evening and fun was had, but I think if I'm going to be drinking German beer, I'd rather be back in Germany, with friends at the Hofbrauhaus.

Monday, 17 October 2016

How to deal with family issues when you live as an expat

I've been feeling a bit low the last few weeks and have been, if I'm totally honest, desperate to get back to the UK.

You could say I'm suffering with FOMO (Fear of missing out) except what I'm missing out on back home isn't the fun stuff, it's the hard times.

Last week my 17 year old was a pall bearer for his friend who died in September of Cancer, he was 18. I've never met the young man, but him and my son have lived together at their school since 2013, he is part of my son's family.

My SIL is also undergoing chemotherapy for breast cancer and has surgery at the end of the year, followed by radiotherapy.

One Uncle aged 87 is in a hospice with cancer and isn't going to get any better, he is my mother's eldest brother. There are 8 in total and he will be the first of the siblings to die, which marks a big change in my Mothers life. I remember her saying back in 1994 when her Mother died 'well that's it, I'm the adult now'

Another Uncle who is 63 died last Tuesday morning, he was diagnosed 2 weeks earlier with lung cancer. He is my Father's youngest brother by 14 years, my Father's middle brother died a few years ago of cancer also.

My middle son announced last week he has been given his first 'dangerous' overseas posting with the army, the middle of next year.

I'm worrying about everyone back home, I'm run down and have a throat and chest infection.

To answer my own question 'How do I deal with family issues when I live as an expat?'

I remind myself NOT to feel guilty, we knew the consequences, we knew we'd be missing out on things, christenings, birthdays, family parties, weddings.

We knew to some extent we'd be living in isolation, that people back home would move on without us, they would be ill, they would die, that we couldn't be there at the drop of a hat.

We knew that people would understand we couldn't just pop over, be there in time, wouldn't resent our decision to live so far away. That they'd come and visit us, have holidays in locations they probably would never go to unless we lived there.

I don't feel guilty, no one makes me feel like I don't care, but I don't think anyone realises just how helpless and lonely we feel and that apart from one another, there's no one to support us through these difficult times, as much as we want to be there, for everyone, we also need to be there for ourselves, to have someone say 'sorry for your loss' whether it's the loss of the good or the bad times.

I've made the decision to fly back to the UK for the funeral a week today. There is actually NO reason not to go, despite living 3000 miles away. I collect car hire from Birmingham airport on Thursday and return the following Thursday. I will get to see the children and my parents as well as my sister and 5 year old niece. Although it will be a sad occasion, it's always nice to spend time with the family, as this week has shown me, that life is too short and you just don't know what is round the corner.