December 30, 2012

I've Fallen In Love

With Classical Music.

Hahha, you were all set for a tale of passion centered around a beautiful middle easterner with eyes the color of not yet my loves. Not in this story.

So back to my new love...
My inner nerd rose to glory this weekend when my Internet went down. Having no tv to lavish my attention on, I found comfort in the arms of my kindle.
I read Madame Bovary for the first time...geesh what a sad and hopeless tale.
Then I read a Christian mystery romance novel. Hahaha bet you didn't know those existed right. Check it out, it's called Love Me If You Must by Nicole Young. I needed something light after Bovary.

Around 2 in the morning when I was done I couldn't sleep so I started on Running Barefoot by Amy Harmon. This is where I fell in love.
The story is about the ununbreakable  bond that forms between two unlikely people. Classical Music is the element that bring them together.
Harmon does such an excellent job of using music as a metaphor for their love and for their lives that I found myself caught up too.
The romantic fool( who I am usually able to successfully keep silent) made her appearance about a quarter of the way in.
This morning I was compelled to put some Chopin and Mozart on as I concluded the story.
Oh and I was bawling too... Sentimental fool!
I can't stop listening now.
Mock me if you must, I know I am a few decades late but better late than never right?
Now I know why I love reading so matter how old you are or how many books you'very read there is always a new experience, thought or some knowledge that miraculous sprouts like a a cactus in the desert.
If you have a kindle, this book is free on Amazon. Trust me it will have you falling in love too.

Not Looking Back

I can't help but reflect on what an amazing year 2012 was.
God was definitely at the helm of my life and despite the many and varied (and I mean many, many) times I disappointed him not once did he turn his back on me.
All the things I asked for that he saw necessary for the edification of my person, he gave to me.
He answered prayers spoke silently and in desperation.

December 24, 2012

Merry Christmas

It's already Christmas on my side of the world. It's December 25 at 4:29 am.
I'm a little sad because I'm away from my mom and friends for the first time in what feels like forever.
The good thing is that God has blessed me with some great friends and later I will be spending the day with them eating and being merry.
So I have a reason to find joy.

Have a Merry Christmas my friends.
Remember to focus on the real meaning of the season and be thankful for God's blessings in your life. 

Farewell Oman! The Final Hours

Our final day in Oman was quite uneventful for the most part.
We chilled in the hotel lounge reading, watching the tele and chatting with an Irish mother and daughter duo.
Later we gathered up our stuff, did a final look through of our room, checked out and were on our way to the airport.
Saeed of course was our driver. He happened to bring his four year old daughter along for the ride. Cute. As. A. Button that kid. Smart too, she was showing off her English skills by counting. The teacher in me was impressed.
We shared some more laughs and an awkward hug between him and Khadijah when we finally got to the airport.
Lol, you should have been there folks. Muslim men don't hug women to whom they are neither wedded nor related, much less in public.Oh but he wanted to hug her so badly. It was cute

After our goodbyes, we were all set for our flight.  Except , we weren't. Turns out we had missed it. Oops... We thought it was at 5:30 pm but it was actually in the a.m. 
What a colossal failure that was. Lesson for next time...check your itinerary multiple times. 

We ended up having to pay almost the price of the round trip ticket and spent 9 hours in the airport. The airlines wanted to charge 650 dirhams each for the ticket, no bueno.
 I had to turn on my feminine charms and got a man from a different airlines to hook us up with his employee discount. We paid 400 which is still a lot but there was no other option. It was time to go home.

The wait wasn't so bad except for those dreadful five minutes when Khadijah was a tad bit mad at me for not checking with her before buying tickets for the flight that was leaving at midnight. She got over it though. I'm just too cute and awesome, she couldn't stay mad at me. Well, that is what I tell myself anyway. It has nothing to do with the fact that she really is a nice person.

We found lots of things to entertain us. Let me tell you, the airport is a circus. Loads of funny moments. Just hang out for a few hours one day and you will be thoroughly entertained.

We finally made it back to Abu Dhabi with a little sadness in our hearts. 

December 20, 2012

The Grand Ending

Today is our last full day in Muscat. Sad times.
Had such an amazing time.
Truth be told, it wasn't so much Muscat but more the company.
Don't get me wrong, it is a beautiful city. It is surrounded by mountains and the beaches are amazing but having fun people to share the experience with has made it so much greater.

Open Mind, Open Possibilities

Yesterday we embarked on our 200 km trip to Wadi Shab with our taxi driver/self appointed friend and tour guide.
Wadi means valley in Arabic and is nestled between enormous mountains on either side. The view is breath-taking and you can't help but be in awe of nature.

In order to get to the Wadi we had to drive through a remote Bedouin community with roads precariously cut in the mountain sides.
Since our driver is nuts, it was a wild ride.

Once we made it to the Wadi, we had to climb into little boats that would take us over to the other side of the river so we could go searching for our waterfall.
Those boats were not very sturdy looking and Khadijah was not too pleased. After being berated by our taxi driver and reassured by the 13 year old boatswain, we got in.
We managed to get across the river safely and began our walk. The river bed we were walking in was pretty much dried up and all that remained were rocks (many of them) and little pools of water. Wrong time of the year to be looking for waterfalls apparently.
It would have been an amazing hike except we were ill prepared for the trip by wearing flip flops.
There was narry the sound of rushing water to be heard in the distance and were told by someone along the way that if we kept walking for 40 minutes we would see something beautiful. We never found out what it was. The prospect of walking for 40 minutes in flip flops over
rocks just didn't seem like much fun.
Khadijah was over it and so was I.
We hopped into the boat and made our way back to the car.

Our taxi driver decided we should go to the beach instead. Because of the remote location of the little village there are no tourists. We had the entire beach to ourselves. It was amazing.
Of course we had no swimsuits. We were simply going to get our feet wet. That was until Khadijah fell into the water.
Saeed , being the crazy nut he is thought it would be fun if we all just got in. Before I could consider the insanity of the situation, he was pulling his Kandoora over his head and running towards the ocean.
Khadijah was fully soaked and I was forced to just get in. I mean what other choice did I have?
We had so much fun out there and the water was the perfect temperature.

After that it was back to our hotel.
Once we got there Saeed decided we should go to the disco later that night for shisha and dancing. We were given directives to be dressed and ready to go by 8:30 that night.

We get to the disco and it is unlike anything I have ever experienced.
We were ushered into a private backroom with a big glass window by the owner.
After being seated, we were fussed over by the manager to ensure that we had a good view of the stage.
What for?
Well unbeknownst to us we were about to be privy to what is the Muslin version of an exotic dance club.
A girl in very immodest attire was shaking what her momma gave her on stage to the saddest piano player I've ever heard while men in Kandooras sat around drinking, smoking shisha and cheering her on.
Pure Haram (sin).
Our taxi driver/ self appointed friend and tour guide was having a blast. While we sat dumbfounded.
Never in a million years would I have thought that I would be in this situation. Needless to say it was interesting. It's just not something you think about when you travel to a predominantly Muslim country.

Four shots of a mysterious coffee flavored liquore, a heinekin, a pot of black coffee, Arabian tea and shisha later, we were ready to head home.
It was a really great day and would have never happened if we hadn't been open to the idea of being escorted around town by the caziest taxi driver ever.

Of course photos of the trip are included for your viewing pleasure. 

December 18, 2012

Oh Man Oman.

Today is our 3rd day in Muscat, Oman.
If someone had told me 4 months ago that I would end up here for vacation I definitely wouldn't have believed them. Never heard of the place before my move to the Middle East and certainly had never imagined visiting Oman. What for?

December 9, 2012

Catching Up

Hi folks, I am a little behind on my posts. Just plain ol' laziness and nothing more.

So what have I been up to?
My last two weekends have been very busy.

I spent part of the long National Day weekend in Dubai celebrating the birthday of an acquaintance. She rented a yatch and we spent a glorious afternoon soaking up the sun and living it up. Boy did I have a grand time.
Later that night we feasted on Japanese food at Nobu and partied at N'dulge nightclub in the Atlantis Hotel, where we happened to be spending the night.
Loved every minute of my time there. Dubai is an awesome place to chill on the weekend.

This past weekend, I hosted my first  dinner party.
I wish someone had told me how stressful a job it was going to be. I was in panic mode up until the day fretting about the menu. Pinterest came to my rescue thankfully.
I made Rice and Peas with Pineapple Chicken for the entree.
For appetizers I had two different types of bruschetta, fruit and cheese platter, veggies and dip.
My friends also contributed to the menu and in the end there was just so much food. I was stuffed from  looking at it all.
Seriously though I heart Pinterest. What an amazing resource.

The best part of it all is that my friends came and had a wonderful time so I was very happy to have put in all the effort because they appreciated it so much.

So folks there you have it. Just a brief synopsis of the last couple of weekends. My goal was to write in a  more timely manner and make this post a lot more eloquent and exciting but kinda didn't go as planned.
I promise to continue to find exciting things to do and keep you properly entertained. Lol.

Check out random pictures of my Dubai weekend.

December 3, 2012

Images of the UAE

Last week my school began preparations for the UAE's 41st anniversary. Things get interesting around here for National Day, nothing remotely related to teaching takes place all week.
The kids practiced everyday for a show that would be put on for the mothers. I had no clue what was going on most of the times as the Arabic teachers were in charge and thus everything was done in Arabic. I just went along with whatever I was told to do and made sure my kids were not running wild as the chaos unfolded around us.

It was a fun experience overall when the actual day for the performances arrived and I had an awesome opportunity to take out my camera and attempt to get my photog skills sharpened. I have been seriously neglecting my hobby. This was the perfect day as everyone was beautifully dressed and made up including the 5 and 6 year olds.

Here are some of my favorite shots. Some of my kiddies and some of the other kids decked out in their fabulous UAE garb. Also if you are curious to see what some of my kiddies look like check out my photo blog here.