Jordon and I have been truly enjoying our first few days in Dubai and have felt nothing but kindness and hospitality from both the hotel staff and the HR Department of the University. We are managing the time change fairly well but have felt jet lagged and tired at various times of the day. I have felt it a little more than Jordon, but nothing that shouldn’t be expected with an eight hour time difference.
On the first day (in the first meeting) I filled out my employment contract, benefits declaration form, and a slew of other paperwork. I also turned over my passport, stamped work visa, and the excess baggage receipt. In return we received our food allowance for the week in cash (3,500 drms) and a check for the furniture allowance (30,000 drms). Altogether this translates to a little more than $9,000 in U.S. currency (whoa).
We also received the keys to our 3-bedroom apartment and given a brief tour with the HR rep. The apartment is located directly across the highway from the University in an area called Silicon Oasis which is still being built. We are within walking distance of a (Spinnys) grocery store, (Costa) coffee shop, (Al Arrab) Mediterranean restaurant, bookstore, and a few other small stores. Our new home is located on the second floor of the building and has large windows, 4 bathrooms, and most kitchen appliances (except dishwasher and microwave).
The apartment has a pool and hot-tub on the roof, along with a (male and female) gym, sauna, and steam room. With these kinds of amenities we’re both really looking forward to getting on a healthier schedule and working out more regularly.
At the end of the day we were treated to a “Welcome Iftar” dinner hosted by the HR team in one of the ballrooms of the hotel. The dinner was actually more like a Mediterranean feast with all kinds of dips, salads, rice dishes, traditional cuisine, and desserts. The HR team led a game of get-to-know-you-bingo (which I won – yay!) and the prize was a starter kitchen set from Ikea (exactly what we needed!). Overall it was a fantastic first day and we both felt extremely appreciative of all the planning the University put into our first transitional experience into Dubai.
*Embarrassing side-note: we were late to absolutely EVERYTHING today. Late to the first welcome meeting. Late to the tour of the apartment. Late to the “Welcome Iftar” dinner. The clock in our room was set incorrectly (twice!) and we both felt terrible being called EVERY time to come down to “this meeting” or “that activity.” We were dead set on being “on time” the next day (and thankfully we were).