3.11.2013

Making My Place

     ♥ 

by cat

Sheikh Zayed Grand Mosque in Abu Dhabi, UAE
Sheikh Zayed Grand Mosque in Abu Dhabi, UAE 

Men from Pakistan

the best hummus ever made

I wish I were a writer.

If I were a writer, I would express how I feel like a visitor in my own life right now.



I realize that by creating messages via words I am writing, but this doesn't come easily to me. I want it to though. I want to spout off paragraphs that engage the mind and resonate within the heart. I want to connect with people in genuine ways through the things I communicate.

Although I am much more comfortable engaging in a sketch or a doodle, I am excited to try my hand at writing for you, dear reader, and also for me.

I hope this venture will stretch me as I am trying to accept who I am in this place, and at this time.

Did I mention that I miss Abu Dhabi?

I do. Just terribly at the moment.

I lived in the United Arab Emirates for four years and immersing myself in their culture was warm, exotic. The locals, known as Emiratis, were once nomadic people of the desert known as Bedouins. For decades of the 20th century, the UAE was a very poor Commonwealth of England, depending principally on date farming and pearl diving (and Britain) for subsistence. It was only in the early 60's that oil was discovered and this dramatically altered the future for all Emirati families. Seemingly overnight, camel herders and date farmers traded in their Arabian horses for Bentleys and Rolls Royces.

The fascinating irony of knowing the Emirati people was experiencing the coexistence of extreme Arab oil wealth with the extreme Subcontinent poverty of the labor force. Men from Pakistan,  Bangladesh, and Nepal swarmed to UAE for a better living than their home countries, many of them earning a couple hundred dollars a month to labor all day in the hot Arabian sun.

I met new sides of myself while living there. It was a pleasure getting to know people from the full spectrum. One of my dearest friends is a local women named Amna, and another is a Pakistani man named Naseem, each are like family to me now. I loved people more deeply and saw the world and its beautiful variety.

I enjoyed cuisine with spices I had never tasted before, and now I have a constant craving for chicken biryani, dal makhani, and fresh naan with hummus by the gallon. Yum. 

I met people so different from me, and fell in love with them. People who are my dearest friends. I treasure what I learned from them, because I love them, and also because they changed me.

Now my life has changed again, and I am in pursuit of my place in this new... everything. I have an inkling I won't be satisfied finding my place here, so I will make my place instead. It will be my attitude and my actions that determine if this chapter of my life will be a success.

So here I am writing, and hoping you'll take a chance on me, and read on.

And thank you, new friends, for doing just that.

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18 comments:

  1. I think you are a fantastic writer, Cat! And one of your other talents is making a lovely home for your family wherever you are in the world.

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    1. Thanks for that Barb, how kind of you. xx

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  2. You conveyed your heart and struggle here and I connected with that. So that is good writing. Thanks for your courage! Keep it up!

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    1. I'm so happy to hear you felt a connection. Thank you, so much, for your encouragement and for reading. xx

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  3. The photo and your craving for the hummus brought me there the best I think. I am still sorry I never got to go see it all... Someday.

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    1. Yes, some day, inch'allah. We will go there together and fill our bellies with that goodness. yummers.

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  4. Hey Cat!! You have such a good attitude. I know how much you guys loved it over there. Hopefully you will make great friends in no time where you are now, and feel a little more at home. Although, I bet the food over there is much better and that will be hard to replace! ;)

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    1. Thanks for your sweet comment. You are so right, making great friends where ever you are is the key to making it home. This shall be what I work towards. :)

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  5. You are a great writer. So many people can relate to loving a place and missing it greatly. I love that you are going to make yourself instead of trying to find yourself. All that you gained in UAE will help you do that.

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    1. I hope to do just as you say and let my learning and growth from living there aid in who I choose to be in my new home. I really appreciate your comment, thank you!

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  6. I love the Arab world (I lived in Malaysia for 10 months, which isn't really native Arab land, but still a Muslim run country), thanks for giving me a glimpse of your time in it. If you ever find a good chicken briyani recipe please share!

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    1. How wonderful that you spent time in Malaysia! I'm sure it was unforgettable. Actually, I have an amazing chicken biryani recipe I'd be happy to share. I'll do a blog post about it I think. Thanks for reading!

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  7. Love the words, love the pics, love you!

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  8. Loved this post Cat, it looks like such a beautiful place! Change has a way of being both beautiful and heartbreaking at the same time, I think we have all felt how you feel in some way! And I think you're a fabulous writer...write on!

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    1. I love how you put that, beautiful and heartbreaking at the same time. So true. It also sounds like a hit song that I want to hear more of. Well said!

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  9. I loved visiting you and seeing this part of the world and the wonderful people that live there - and of course, the food! When I lived in Quito, Ecuador, I felt like such an outsider for the first few months. After three years I loved the country, the people, and felt a real sadness when I said goodbye. But for me there was always the deep calling of "home" that brought me back to Salt Lake.

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    1. Having you visit us was honestly such a highlight for us. Being able to share what we had come to love was so meaningful. Loved it. Deep calling for home bringing you back to Salt Lake, huh? Sounds like a ploy to get us to settle close to home. :) Just joking, you are right on! Their is that comfort and belonging when it comes to the place we are from.

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