I am no stranger to big cities…Istanbul, Paris, and Rome…but New York is sensory overload. As my husband and I walked from our hotel to Times Square, the first thing I noticed was that the streets were not as noisy as I expected. Crowded, yes…but not as much horn honking and yelling as is depicted on TV and in the movies.
Parking lots were most creative. Many, as shown in the photo, used lifts to stack the cars three and four high. We saw these throughout the city and they seem like a cheaper alternative to a parking garage and effective use of space.
Once we reached the iconic Times Square, I looked up and there it was! The Waterford crystal ball that millions watch each New Year’s Eve. I was surprised to see it perched atop a building, as I thought it was removed after all the festivities each year. But there is was. I couldn’t help but get a bit giddy inside as yet another item was checked off my bucket list. Well….the real bucket list item had me in Times Square on midnight of New Year’s Eve, but this will do and is far less crowded.
After gazing at the neon lights, flashing ads for the latest trends in fashion, it was time to head to Broadway. While I have seen several traveling productions of Broadway shows, I had never seen a shown on Broadway. We had orchestra seats for Mamma Mia! Another bucket list item checked off the list.
The production was wonderful, filled with song, dance, and everything I expected. The encore, three songs sung by the entire cast, had people out of their seats and dancing in the aisles. What fun!
As with any new job, there comes paperwork, but then you accept a job overseas, the paperwork can be measured by the pound (or kilo). First, after accepting my new position in Abu Dhabi in March, I was informed not to resign my current position until my security background check was approved. That involved naming parents, professional references, passport number, and ALL countries visited. After about three weeks, I was approved. Then came the process for gaining entry into the country. That has involved (to date) having my marriage license and University of Kansas transcript attested. This process required notarization and attachment by state agencies, the US State Department, and the UAE Embassy in the US. The result of this process is a stack of very official documents containing official seals and stamps.
I have been told these documents are necessary to gain my residency visa. In the meantime, I have been granted a work visa.
All very official. The paperwork does not end there….I have also had to copy three months of bank statements in order to open an account in the UAE and have made over 20 passport photos which I have been told will be needed for all the IDs and official forms that must be completed once I arrive in two weeks. Once I arrive, I will undergo a health screening and more paperwork before receiving my residence visa. Did I mention that I cannot open a bank account, sign a contract for an apartment or for cell phone service until I have my residence visa and a letter from my employer stating my salary?
Now some of you may say given all the bureaucracy (and who knows what lies ahead) why didn’t I look for a position in the US? Well…I couldn’t pass up the opportunity to work in an extremely diverse environment and work with faculty from around the world.
The adventure is just beginning and I will keep you posted as this adventure unfolds.
Disclaimer: Individual experiences may vary.