Time capsule NYE 2016, part 2: Abu Dhabi doooooo!

FB again upchucked this long gem, so here it is for awhile, until my ISP shuts down. The last posting I updated for NYE 2021, but I’m just gonna take a pass on this one this time, folks.

In my last 2015 post, I reflected about the year, and believe me I left out a LOT of detail. It’s very hard to write about separation from family, and the time I was in Chicago, which really was a great time…but the city is just not for me. I explored it a great detail and appreciated how great a city it is, and I’m very glad my wife and daughter are there and enjoying their lives around my brother and sisters and their friends and acquaintances. I miss the entire extended family there. Hugs and love to you all.

So, ok, now on to 2016.

2016. Another year of potential.

As I settle into life in Abu Dhabi, I have a lot to look forward to. My work at Higher Colleges of Technology (HCT) has been ramping up slowly. This year, I’ll be getting an internationally recognized certification to be a teacher trainer across the curriculum. This is an important feather in my cap, as I move very slowly toward consulting in education. I would assume I’ll have the cert in hand by mid-year. Meanwhile, working diligently to make sure the Professional Development (PD) program we have in place gets tied to the accrediting agency (Higher Education Academy, HEA – located in the UK). Our PD program is really quite good, but getting it out and working with the 1600 faculty spread across 17 campuses in the UAE will take some time and some re-thinking on the part of management…which always seems to be the case wherever I go. That, in short, is my current work situation. In three years’ time, I have a potential leadership spot in the premiere PD program in the GCC countries, lead by HCT / HEA, where we’ll have a huge impact on raising the teaching standards at all universities and colleges of higher ed, public and private. Seriously, how amazeballs is that?

Last year, I managed to visit the US, Sweden, Norway, Denmark, India, and Oman (I swear I must have left something out). This year, on tap, if all goes well, I’ll be back in the US in July for a short spin (California and Florida folks, I can keep you in mind and try to do a few days in each place), another trip to India, a visit to Japan for a very special event (details to come), and if I can pull it off, a visit to Rwanda, but not just because. I can send out vibes to hit Vietnam and revisit Malaysia, but those are lower priorities at the moment. EDIT: Almost forgot possible hits to Italy and the UK to visit certain academic nephews I know.

Honestly, especially to my American friends and acquaintances, travel is it. If you’ve never left the country, do it. If you’ve only been to Europe, there are non-Western places to visit that are priceless. It’s worth the money and time, and you’ll have lots of great stories to tell.

So do it, and tell them.

Finally, there’s health. I hinted at my crappy habits, mainly bad food habits, that are very hard to break. I’ve ventured into semi-veganism, which has been quite hard here in the UAE. Nevertheless, even with some current backtracking, I am doing my best to locate plant-based foods, and reduce food consumption. This will fight all the current things that are ravaging my body (diabetes type 2, high blood pressure, high cholesterol) and will have a negative impact within 10 years time, so there’s an urgency to right the boat, as it were. I don’t have a resolution to lose weight, only to reduce caloric intake and fat intake…and that should work to reduce weight. I’ve done a lot of research and investigations, and I’m getting there. Not eating 100% healthy yet (Indian veg food here is great, but full of cream and ghee, if nothing else), but the habit has started, and I allow myself to “fall off the wagon” without killing myself for it.

Ah yeah, there’s one other thing. Ayaka Davies hits age 21, and thus full adulthood in two weeks’ time. Though I can’t be there, she knows how I feel about her reaching that awesome milestone, and she knows how much I miss my two girls. She’s grown into a hard working, charismatic adult already, and I applaud her successes and her ambition to become a social worker after getting her Masters (she can crowdfund the tuition, because my financial obligations end at her receiving her Bachelors).

Facebook remains my top “broadcast” network, and I love the banter and inside jokes I can exchange with people I’ve known from various times and places in the past. Keep it up, people. We are all on a similar adventure, even if the contents are different, and sharing what’s going on with you, and seeing your faces and your families is always inspirational.
Again, here’s to a great, inspirational, prosperous, and as-stress-free-as-possible 2016 for everyone I know.