Road Trip

…the highlight was the drive, the conversations and the quality time.

In November I took my sons to Mexico. It was my oldest son’s 16th birthday and we had a blast. After accepting the job in Qatar it only made sense to plan a trip to the third country on the continent of North America before we move off of it.

On Thursday my family and I took a road trip to Canada.  My husband took off from work and drove the whole way. We drove thru PA and New York and arrived in Niagara Falls in a little over 6 hours.  We had great conversation and stopped at the New York border to take this picture.

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We were disappointed that the border workers didn’t stamp our passports when we arrived to Canada. I was hoping my husband would get his first stamp and the boys and I would get our first stamp in our new books here.

We checked into the Doubletree, then walked around. We went to the Falls and took some pictures. It was off season so there were no boat or cruise tours available. That was a bit disappointing but seeing the falls was nice.

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Then we walked to Clifton Hills. It sort of reminds me of Atlantic City without the beach. We tried Poutine; it tasted good but we definately needed some Gas-x afterwards.

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On Friday, we tried Beaver Tails. They’re not actually tails from beavers but dessert shaped like beaver tails. We tried several Canadian specific foods during our vacation. Take a look.

 

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Maple dipped donut from Tim Hortons.

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Nasty crush cream soda.

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Smarties are like American M&Ms but not as good. Coffee Crisp are like Kit kats but better, and All dressed Chips are like every flavor in one chip, rather tasty actually.

We went to the outlets, where I purchased my new Pandora bead. I try to collect one specific to the destination whenever I travel someplace new.

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I hope they have Pandora shops in the MiddleEast.  After some brief shopping we drove to Niagara on the Lake, a quaint little town with antique shops and of course a lake.

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Since we’d heard Toronto was only about a 1.5 hour drive away, we took the drive. The buildings there look futuristic and I think next time we go to Canada, this is where we will stay.

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On Saturday we headed home along a long scenic route. We stopped in Buffalo NY for some buffalo wings at Duffs.  For it to be the buffalo wing capital, they were just ok.  Here’s me and my son dabbing outside of Duffs, being silly.

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We took in the beauties of our home state during the ride. Pennsylvania really is beautiful once you step outside of Philly. We had a nice time but the highlight was the drive, the conversations and the quality time.

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Person of the month

This post is a little different than the rest of my post.  I have decided to highlight someone that has been my lifeline since we met.  His name is Darryl and he is my husband.  390754_10150359914675666_433568261_n

This is us on our wedding day 11/11/11.  He has supported me through this process from Day 1.  He has held my hand every step of the way and been my biggest cheerleader.  I could not have asked for a better partner.  People ask me, how could you leave your husband and go so far away?  Because this is my dream and he has his.  He held me down thru two degrees and now it is his turn.  He is in college now and the financial freedom I will have in Qatar without the burden of bills will help me to now support him.  I know we are strong enough to withstand the distance.

I admire him because he’s strong and smart.  He’s a great father and step-father and a wonderful husband. I love you Darryl and thank you.

Ain’t we CUTE!!!!!!!!

Mind’s well get used to it

…the most frustrating thing is the lack of clear communication.

Last night my sister came over to see me.  We had great conversations.  She asked me how preparations were going.  And I had to sigh… It’s a lot.  I had to admit, and the most frustrating thing is the lack of clear communication.  Once I accepted my offer, I was emailed a list of documents I had to start organizing.  But I knew the list was incomplete from my experience with Abu Dhabi.  I knew there was more paperwork I had to obtain and send prior to obtaining a visa for my family.  About a week ago I scanned a copy of Darryl and my FBI clearances to my H.R. rep  in Qatar.  He told me that the FBI clearance that I obtained was not correct and that I had to redo it.  Originally I was just told to obtain both state and FBI clearances for he and I, no details were given about where I had to obtain them or how.  So after going back and forth with the H.R. rep, he finally sent me a link to how I should get them.  WHY DIDN’T YOU DO THAT FROM THE GET GO? I spent $25.75 for each of our clearances and waited for them to come back.  Now come to find out, the correct ones cost $18.00.  (Just in case, you are going through the same thing, this is the link to where and how to obtain your FBI clearances.  By the way, I’m going straight through the FBI, not a ‘channeler’ because I only want to have to do this one more time. fbi clearance  Pray that this time it’s right)

I told my sister this story and then said, “Well, I mind’s well get used to it.”  They do things differently over there.  Communication is not always clear.  We, Americans are spoiled.  When we are offered a job, we are often given a list of things to organize and where to get them or the job does it for us.  But Qatar is not America.  She said, but that was a waste of money.  I know, it was, but I have wasted more on less important things, like eating out, or that outfit, I wore only once.  I could go on and on… It’s been a lot, but no point of stressing over it.  This is what I want to do and I have to keep an open mind. Things will not go as planned all the time.  There will be bumps in the road.  But if this were easy, more people would do it, right?

There have been other hiccups with the paperwork but for now I digress…It will all be worth it in the end and I hope my blog is helping someone avoid the bumps I’m hitting. When this is all over, I will post a completed list of all things I had to obtain and where I got them.

Added note: My husband has corrected me and said the actual saying is “might as well” not “minds well”. Well he is from St. Louis and I am from Philly and we pronounce it “minds well”. So there you have it. Anyway it’s fitting because my “mind better get used to change”.

My Journey

Sometimes it’s hard to see the blessings in ‘no’ but if you know your worth, I encourage you to ‘GO OUT AND TAKE THAT’.

It was about 6 years ago when I earned my B.S. degree from Temple University.  Fresh out of college I was offered a teaching job with the School District of Philadelphia.  I signed on, then went to visit what would be my class.  It was mid school year and I was to take over a first grade class whose teacher left.  It only took one visit and for one student to come up to me and say, “You are not our teacher”, for me to decide this was not part of my journey.  I called the hiring representative for SDP and said I changed my  mind.  The lady who seemed rather bitter and upset told me, I would never be able to work for the school district.

At the time I was a Center Director for an Early Learning Center.  I had worked at this center for 3 years and had a great staff. It was within walking distance of my home and day care was free for my kids. I loved this job but there was no future there.  When the CEO heard I was leaving he matched the salary with SDP and convinced me to stay.  A year later I was interviewing at places again. I figured, why have a teaching degree if you’re not going to use it and take advantage of the benefits.

I decided to interview for a teaching job with Mastery Charter. During the interview, I told the interviewer I wanted to work at the school in the Northeast and teach second grade.  She asked me which was more important to me, location or grade.  I told her location.  A few days later she called to offer me a position at her school, teaching Kindergarten. It wasn’t the location or grade I requested but I accepted anyway.  During my 4 years at Mastery, I taught Kindergarten for 2 years, first grade for 1.5 years and finally 5th grade for .5 year. I also applied for a promotion twice and was turned down.  I believe this was because, I have a big mouth. I speak my mind and say what everyone is thinking but is too afraid to say.  During my last 2 years there, I went back to school and obtained my M.Ed.  I got tired of being told no and finally decided, the only way for this little birdie to spread her wings would be to leave.  I gave my resignation in early spring.  I had no job lined up.

I knew I wanted to start my own early learning center so I began to go to meetings and PD’s and gather all my paperwork to get things rolling.  I purchased day care furniture from a previous owner who closed her center.  I started my business plan.  The only thing I had left to do was find a building.  In the meantime, I started teaching ECE classes at Harcum Junior College and coaching teachers in Literacy through an agency called CLI.  I enjoyed both of these jobs because I wanted to do both.  I wanted to coach and tried to become a coach at Mastery but they turned me down.  I wanted to work with Adults in Literacy and tried to work in the Curriculum Department at Mastery but was also turned down.  So taking a chance and leaving my very well paying, secure job was one of the best choices I could have made because doing so gave me the opportunity to grow and experience leadership positions.  Mastery couldn’t see my potential but I know my potential.  I am a Leo and I am a Warrior.  Thank you Mastery for telling me “NO”. Sometimes it’s hard to see the blessings in ‘no’ but if you know your worth, I encourage you to ‘GO OUT AND TAKE THAT’.

Somewhere along this road, the idea of teaching overseas came to me again. If you’ve read my older posts, you know I tried before and was told what, ‘no’.  And as you can see, I don’t take well to no. So I reapplied, again. I said to myself, if I get the job, I would go, if I didn’t I would start my Early Learning Center as originally intended.  Well the rest is history since I will be leaving in 5 months. Today I got a letter in the mail that the college that I earned my M.Ed degree through will be starting their first Ed.D program and they were inviting me to apply.  Anyone who knows me, knows I love school and I love to learn.  If I wasn’t leaving for Qatar soon, I would definately go back to school and get my Doctorates.  Maybe one day I will, why not.  This is my journey!

 

 

 

 

 

 

I guess 3 times is a Charm

Finally, I got my offer letter from ADEC yesterday. I know I already accepted a position with Qatar so why am I so happy to get this…

Dear Kennesha,

Teach Away would like to congratulate you on receiving a letter of offer from the Abu Dhabi Education Council (ADEC). Please be advised that signing a letter of offer secures your position for an August Term 2016start, provided you meet all visa requirements….”
Finally, I got my offer letter from ADEC yesterday.  I know I already accepted a position with Qatar so why am I so happy to get this… Well if you’ve been reading my blog, you know I’ve applied to teach in Abu Dhabi three times.  I was turned down twice and low and behold, they said YES, on the third try.

The other teachers that I speak to on occasion through text also received their offers.  Congratulations Nancy.

The wait was so long….But I am sincerely happy for them! I can always visit my new friends in Abu Dhabi.

In the meantime, the paperwork continues for Qatar.  One of the most daunting task has been schooling for the boys.  I have applied for admissions for them at Qatar Academy Doha and at GEMS for my youngest son, since GEMS only goes up to 10th grade at this time. I’ve also received an email from Qatar Academy Sidra with the necessary paperwork to complete for enrollment.  I’ve looked at other schools too: American Community School of Qatar, American School of Doha.  But their tuition is above what Qatar Foundations will reimburse for tuition and that somewhat defeats the purpose of choosing Qatar so I will stick to where they will pay the tuition.

 

It is also difficult to process all the paperwork when you have to wait on businesses, postal service and other people.  Fortunately, my ex-husband and I are in an ok place.  I picked him up so that he and I could take care of the paperwork that needed his signature.  Without hesitation he handed over his passport so I could make a copy (yes they requested a copy of my ex-husband’s passport to confirm signature matches); he signed the applications for new passports for the boys; he signed the letter saying he gives permission for me to sponsor my boys in QATAR.  Now that the letter is signed and I located our divorce degree, I have to send them off to be translated into Arabic.  Once they come back, I can send them off with the other documents to be authenticated.

My new passport arrived yesterday with 24 pages, more room for stamps.  I am hoping the boys passports arrive within the next few days.  I need their birth certificates to go in the stack of papers needing to be authenticated.  They had to be sent away with the passport applications. The boys have both gotten their physicals and blood work back.  Mine is complete; I just have to go back to the doctors to have him complete the paperwork, since the lab forgot to check for my blood type, and since it had been more than 72 hours, I had to go back and get poked again. !OUCH!  My husband still has to get his blood work done. My FBI and criminal history report has arrived.  Still waiting for Darryl’s Criminal history report to arrive. The boy’s current schools sent over their transcripts and grade reports.  I am still waiting for the charter school that they attended 2 years ago to respond to my email for their grade reports.  That is the difference in Private and Public schools, Professionalism and ease of receiving responses.  The boys need 3 years of grades.  I will probably just wind up locating their report cards from 2 years ago.

I’ve told my jobs that I won’t be returning for Fall.  Thank goodness I don’t burn bridges when it comes to money, because they told me I can always come back.  I’ve also told the teachers I coach and the principal at the school.  Needless to say they were all happy and excited for me.

In the meantime, I am trying to get my house in order, cleaning, buying bins, organizing. My basement is full of early learning and elementary supplies.  This is giving me an excuse to CLEANU UP.  I’m also shopping for 100% cotton, rayon and linen clothing.  This is giving me an excuse to SHOP.  Like I need an excuse for that.  lol. Till next time…