Tuesday, April 15, 2014

Abu Dhabi Mangroves

Instead of traveling this spring break, we opted for a much needed holiday closer to home in Abu Dhabi.

While many people think there is nothing but desert here, there are also amazing forests of mangroves just a few minutes from the city.  Tomorrow morning we will venture out on a kayak tour. I have always wanted to do this, but then….

Tonight after I took this picture, I saw something swimming across the water.  Home to a lot of wildlife such as foxes, birds and fish, I didn't think of snakes until I was alone in the dark.  This thing was probably a turtle, but it was there I recalled my childhood days of seeing snakes swim across water.  

I immediately did some research about the mangroves, and all seems much safer than the water snakes I know from Texas.  Regardless, praying for some really cute turtles tomorrow.

Abu Dhabi's Eastern Mangroves at night

Thursday, April 10, 2014

School Buses - You really do need to stop for them

Cars are the latest Social "gadgets" on the market.  Some makers have already started, and I am sure it is not long before we can access Facebook in all cars.  Maybe I am old-fashioned, but do we really need this?

I have a device in my car that can access Facebook.  It is called a phone.  I don't catch up on social media while I am driving, nor do I need to.  If I have to sit at a red-light too long, I may start looking. I put the device down when I start driving again.

I can't help but wonder if this is how people felt when radio was put in cars… assuming there was a time when cars were without radio.

One safety challenge here I will never understand is the failure of people - so far every driver I have seen here - to stop behind a school bus when a child is obviously getting off.   This is a big yellow bus with flashing lights and a stop sign.

Children are exiting the bus, and it is usually curb-side, but it is still drives me mad that people fly past in their cars.

I stop.  People behind me honk.  They proceed to go around me and the bus.  I shake my head.

From his car seat, my six year old asks why this is not safe.  I explain to him that a child could get hit by a car.  I feel incredibly sad that anyone would be in such a hurry to jeopardize a child getting off a school bus.  I hate when the cold reality of carelessness chips away at his innocence as he comes to realize these things.

I wonder how he perceives it.  Why would an adult not stop for a child? He is at the age where he still believes most adults are kind and good.  Does it sadden him a bit to know people do not care.

As a young diabetic, he does not ride the bus yet.  Someday he might.  This issue will only add to my hesitation to let him ride the bus too soon.

Articles I have read state it is punishable with a fine.  I'm not sure how many are fined.   I just really hope more people will stop.

Please stop for buses.. and pedestrians too while we're at it.

Rant over.

Sunday, March 30, 2014

More from the Dubai Light Festival

Here are a few more images from the Dubai Light Festival last week.  

We had a good rain the day before I went out.  While the desert can be dusty, we seem to have the clearest puddles.  Although they would be a nuisance, I wish they would stay around a little longer than one day.

Dubai Festival of Lights

Dubai Festival of Lights

Palace Hotel, Dubai Festival of Lights

Friday, March 28, 2014

The Dubai Festival of Lights

Dubai Festival of Lights

Dubai Festival of Lights
Today concludes the Dubai Festival of Lights.  Downtown Dubai, which is pretty well lit already, had an exhibit of various light installations for nine days.

If you missed it, and you are not going to the World Cup Tomorrow, or the Cavalia show, or Lord of the Dance, or one of the many other activities crammed into the good weather months here, you can enjoy Earth Hour festivities in the same area tomorrow evening at 8:30pm.

Dubai Festival of Lights

Monday, March 24, 2014

Children… We just might be the problem

A few weeks ago I went to a learning day in the park with my son's school.  All parents were invited and encouraged to participate - we would be leading the activities, not the teachers.

It is tricky to entertain children that are not yours and keep them engaged in an activity - especially since none of us are teachers.  The kids rotated through five stations.  Most involved a book and some activity related to the story.

The group I was in required us to read a book followed by an art activity of coloring leaf impressions onto a paper.  None of the parents in my group wanted lead it, so I went first as the first group of kids were approaching quickly.  We read the book, went on our leaf hunt, then I walked them through the activity.

After seeing I survived the first round, the other parents became more interested. I was happy to hand over the teaching duties and watch the learning in action.  I already have immense respect for teachers, but after that day even more so.

I realized that as parents, we are not always easy for our kids, and probably not for the teachers either. Without even realizing it, with the best intentions, we send our kids mixed messages and we probably confuse them.

One parent really enjoyed the art piece of it, so wanted to lead that part.  She enjoyed it so much, she told all the children, "Look, mine is much better than yours".

Some children did not immediately figure out the correct amount of pressure needed for the activity and tore their paper.  Another parent with the best intentions was very direct with those children in her explanation of how to do it "correctly".

When my son came through our station, one parent who had no idea that he was my son, very loudly pointed out "Wow, his is so much better than everyone else's!" in front of the whole class!

Horrified, I wonder what faux pas I was guilty of in my attempt to be engaged in my child's education.

Lessons learned: Teaching for non-teachers is intimidating.

Sometimes, as parents we probably need to be more teacher-like and let our children find their own way.  Through this I saw that many of us are very quick to tell a child what is "right or wrong" rather than let them do the learning and find their own way when appropriate.  Sharing our opinions in our non-creative, black and white worlds may send the wrong message sometimes… or maybe not. Maybe the children didn't even notice and I am a parent that walks on egg shells.

Now, on to the concerned parent whose child's drawing proclaimed she wants to marry my son…..