|Sheikh Zayed Grand Mosque in Abu Dhabi, UAE|
|Men from Pakistan|
|the best hummus ever made|
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.