Friday, February 11, 2011

Back From The UAE

We're back! The salty air as we walked out of Seatac was definitely a welcome scent! 

We barely made the drive back to Wenatchee we were so exhausted. It was worth it to push through though, there's nothing like a 14 hour sleep in your own bed. It was wonderful hugging my parents this morning! And we missed our cats, and dog. Weird how our pets come become like little buddies, a part of the family.

I'll be downloading photos later today, inshallah (which means God willing - which basically means I might and might not. It's the perfect saying that makes your life pretty flexible).

We're thoroughly pooped. The trip was mind blowing, literally. Jess and Dre and their friends are absolutely wonderful. They have an expat community that live like a family. The kindness and generosity was amazing. We had the opportunity to experience amazing things. I don't even know where to begin. I guess I'll start with listing things....

The Grand Mosque - Abu Dhabi
The palace - Abu Dhabi
The gorgeous beaches
The fort - Al Ain
The camel souk - Al Ain (a 1 day old baby camel suckled my finger...yep, that was amazing!)
The gorgeous red sand dunes
Downhill skiing indoors - Dubai
Skydiving indoors above a huge fan - Dubai
The Burj Khalifa the tallest building in the world - Dubai
The amazing architecture - literally everywhere
The insanely diverse food
The variety of ethnicities (only 20% of the population is Emirati)  

The abayas, the burqas, the dishdashes/thwabs, the insanely expensive cars, the juxtaposition between new money and old traditions.

Low lights:
The cast system
Lack of physical history
Desalinated water (even the bottled water) - yuck
50% of the population has diabetes
UAE has the largest carbon footprint per capita in the world

I wore my most conservative clothing, and I still felt, and witnessed eyes judging me. In a culture where an ankle is risque, western clothing is slutty. At times I wished I was wearing an abaya just to fit in. When I travel I want to blend in, and it is impossible to do so when there's such a difference in clothing. On multiple occasions I received looks of disdain. It was probably a combination of my clothing, and my short hair. Jess said that when she came back to the UAE after shaving her hair in the states with me, she was told by an Emerati that cutting her hair was a crime against Allah. He was literally angry at her. Short hair is definitely exceedingly unattractive in their culture. It's probably seen as a sign of liberalism which is definitely not appreciated.

Anyway, each point on both lists above has buckets of stories. The biggest highlight, though, was spending time with Jess. Since the time difference is 12 hours, we're usually awake at different times. It makes keeping in contact pretty difficult. It takes forever to explain things in an email. Friends are so important for mental health. The last time I saw Jess I was still only able to use one syllable words. She was helping wash my hair and feed me. It was wonderful to actually have long, in depth conversations. It was touching to share hair stories. She has been going through all the same odd hair phases, and shares the sadness and lack of confidence. We looked at some favorite photos from times past, back when we were carefree and ridiculous. We've gone through so much together. I still can't believe she cut her hair for me. She's selfless. I'm so lucky to have her!


  1. So glad you two are home safe and sound, and full of new experiences and reconnected with Jess and Dre. Nothing is as fast a teacher as stepping onto new ground, your eyes a motor-drive taking in instantly pictures that speak a thousand words with each blink. Anyway to put a map on where you went? xoxoxoxoxox

  2. Oh, wow. Jess, you continue to be an inspiration to me, both in your beautiful handling of your life experiences, and in your ability to communicate what is deepest and dearest, in so many of your writings. I'm so glad you have created this space to share so much with so many.

    Continued blessings to you and your loved ones everywhere,
    Dee Dee


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