Thursday, January 3, 2013

...and we're BACK.

"We are all seeking that special person who is right for us. But if you have been through enough relationships, you begin to suspect there is no right person, just different flavours of wrong. Why is this? Because you yourself are wrong in some way, and you seek out partners who are wrong in some complementary way. But it takes a lot of living to grow fully into your own wrongness. It isn't until you finally run up against your deepest demons, your unsolvable problems, the ones that make you who you truly are, that you are ready to find a lifelong mate. Only then do you finally know what you are looking for. You are looking for the wrong person. But not just any wrong person: the "right" wrong person, someone you lovingly gaze upon and think 'This is the problem I want to have'."

And this ladies and gentlemen, is where I think I'll begin MY 2013. Righting some wrongs, leaving the other wrongs wrong and letting go (smile), LOVING my life as is, and setting a plan for growth. In the year+ that I've been away from writing, so much has happened, so much has happened! So I'm back! Back to my original purpose for starting this blog; sharing with friends and family, my travels, experiences, and life's lessons as they come.

Wednesday, September 1, 2010

Al-salam alaykum…

… And you, my friend, shall say "wa alaykum al-salam". This week has been nothing less than insightful and riveting!
I've grown ridiculously spoiled here at the Beach Rotana, and am due to write a letter to hotel chains across the Americas in regards to their 'relaxed' customer service! My schedule has picked up quite a bit, making it even more necessary for me to put myself on a decent sleep schedule! After occasionally swimming in the Arabic sea, stealing wifi by the pool, ordering room service at odd hours, walking the mall frequently, and enjoying housekeeping services TWICE a day—I'm BEAT! No seriously, as many of you may know, I've entered the United Arab Emirates during their Holy month of Ramadan. During this month they focus very heavily on the 5 Pillars of Islam, but one especially: Siyam, or fasting. Because of this – restaurants are closed throughout the day until sundown. Leaving us Americans access to the coveted – bottle of water, stolen breakfast banana, or leftover bag of Doritos. I might have even lost a Kilo(gram) since my arrival! J
Sheikh Zayed Mosque
My experience/relationship with Abu Dhabi this week has been absolutely saturated with cultural learning! A wise man (aka Tuesday morning's key Speaker), Mr. Ali Saloom spoke a good word on "cultural understanding". The point of the matter? That cultural understanding means absolutely NOTHING. It is respect and appreciation that truly matter when taking others and the way they live into consideration…. DEEP. In fact, I let that marinade and applied it to other areas in my life! I agreed with the Muslim man… I don't need your shallow 'understanding', as much as I require your respect and appreciation of who I am and what I look like as a person! *church* Soooo, how does that apply to me as a teacher of young Arabic/Islamic girls? It means that I now know, Arabic doesn't mean Emirate. It could mean Moroccan, Syrian, Jordanian, or Egyptian! It means that I am in a country where purity is perpetuated, so public drunkenness is shameful before Allah. It means that practically EVERYTHING I assumed about Emirate men and women is NOT true… However, at the end of the day – the symbolism behind those things are far GREATER and awesome than I could of imagined! If you'd like to know what they stand for… just ask!
Lastly, yesterday morning – as it is now around 6am here – we visited the WORLD renowned Sheikh Zayed Mosque, known to the locals as the Grand Mosque. It was breathtaking. I learned so much about the religion of Islam, and the people as a whole, and I'm blown away. The Emirate are very receptive, open, and exquisite. Among those things they are proud of who they are and what they stand for as a nation… The mosque you see was conceived by the late Sheikh Zayed bin Sultan Al Nahyan in the late 1980's. He wanted a place where his people could worship, and visitors around the World can come in peace and share in Allah's glory. Entrance is completely free… Building of this landmark took ten years to after conception to even begin, and is still being completed till this very day. A better description and many more photos can be found on my Facebook if you'd like.

Sunday, August 22, 2010

Mugg and Bean…

…was my first stop. The Westernized coffee shop found right inside of the Abu Dhabi mall, shortly after my arrival at the Beach Rotana hotel. So quickly after receiving my luggage from the bellhop did I run to the nearest internet cafĂ© that it wasn't until after I had settled in for the night that I realized: a) there are two toilets, b) the accommodations are luxurious, and c) the people, the places, and the city… are not my own.

Abu Dhabi has its own swagger. One that says "it's perfectly OK for everyone to be covered here from head to toe in light, fine linens – because here in the UAE we frequent Tiffany, Cartier, Bulgari, Gucci, and Burberry." There are no Samanthas or Carrie Bradshaws here discussing their loves and lives over dessert, as the majority of the mall restaurants are filled with groups of men and young boys, smoking and speaking in a rough whisper. I haven't gone far just yet, but judging by the clothes on the mannequins in the Abu Dhabi mall – this should be interesting.

I haven't done much. It's just after on Sunday (I think) and my Friday/Saturday was filled with last minute packing, flying, in-flight movies, free red wine, getting mini food poisonings TWICE, making quick friends, having my retina scanned by AD's security, work visas, passports, scanning carry-on luggage, wondering what customs had taken while I wasn't looking, and LOTS and lots of Tylenol.

Orientation begins in a few hours and I have slated to wear jeans, sandals, and a shirt that comes down past my thighs with shoulders covered. Check. I want nothing more than to hop on Facebook/Twitter to chat and reply to blessings and messages from loved ones… or to jump on my video phone/Skype with close friends…. I wonder what the children are like, and if I brought enough school supplies.

I'm positive that I'll survive (I mean, have you met my mother) – but ultimately, I hope that my stay is pleasant. I hope my family and friends take advantage of my new home which lies across the World and make plans to visit. I hope the novelty of my being gone doesn't wear off too quickly, and I can always come home to a voice and/or email.

For those of you who are reading this and on your way soon: we'll be fine – I saw a Steve Madden and a Nine West in the mall. J