Saturday, August 27, 2011

New Town, New Hobby

Alright, clearly I have fallen off the blogging bandwagon since I have become gainfully employed, but I will not let that detour me.  As I have mentioned I have been working to find a balance here in my new dubai life.  A big part of my focus has been directed to and focused on healthy living.  I tend to lack major will power when it comes to the food part.  I do a stand up job about going to the gym but when I get home at night often times my thoughts go to yummy, delicious forbidden foods!  I have to say since being in Dubai I have yet to really have a good hamburger and oh my goodness how I miss Chipotle, it was the last meal I had before I got on the plane courtesy of my thoughtful mother!  And needless to say In & Out has yet to expand to the far East.  So I have resorted to something I really did back in Phoenix, I cook!

It is so nice to have someone to share a meal with every night.  E and I go through different blogs collecting recipes each week, then we drag our feet to the grocery store, something neither of us like to do, but once the shopping is complete I feel so productive.  I have made beef and black bean tacos, gasztpacho,  varieties of stir fry, and countless different versions of quinoa.  And do you know what, I actually like to cook and I am not too bad at it either.  You can check with E and J, they are my references.

So my goal is to continue gymming it up, continue grocery shopping, and whipping up healthiness and hoping that I will see the results and feel better.  Do you have any healthy recipes to share?  I would love to hear all about them.

On a side note Ramadan is coming to a close, which means it is Eid, which means we get two days off (E gets the whole week, but who is comparing?!), which means we are going on a trip.  We are headed to Sri Lanka to enjoy the beach and hopefully see some elephants.  Sand and Elephants, perfect combination.  

Saturday, August 13, 2011

Just like home

It has taken me a few weeks to settle into the old routine.  You know what I mean, starting a new job, one must find the delicate balance of working out, grocery shopping, cooking, quality time with your loved one and over all when am I going to squeeze in the latest episode of the bachelor pad?  Lucky for me I have found a way to watch all my deliciously juicy reality TV and I do not have to suffer just because I live in Dubai, yes my friends I can even keep up with Teen Mom.

As I have mentioned before I am the only American in the office, the rest are from the UK.  We have constant battles on how to pronounces words like "oregano," "aluminum," and "Tunisia."  And mostly it is 8-1 but it is all in good fun.  I do miss the old days at ERAC with the inappropriate humor, the innuendoes, and the crazy customers that always brought on the laughs.  But the other day my office mate reminded me that most offices filled with 20 and 30 somethings all think alike, which ever side of the pond you come from.

In our office we only have one bathroom and it is reserved for the ladies of the group.  The men must use the public one in the tower, apparently where there is "wee" (their word not mine) all over the floor.  So I was getting ready to set out and wanted to make a quick pit stop before my meeting and out of the corner of my eye I saw my office mate moving towards the door.  So in the thought of not wanting to wait in line I simply asked, "Hey are you going to the bathroom?"  She tentatively answered, "yes....."  And the girl across from me shouted (in a precious English accent), "You just caught her trying to have a sneaky poo!"  I busted out in laughter, tears rolling down my eyes, and belly laughed until my stomach hurt.  It reminded me of the old ERAC days when we used to crack up hourly.  And in that moment I felt less homesick and more grounded.  The little things like that make this place start to feel more like home.  

Friday, August 5, 2011

Help Save a Heart

In the spirit of Ramadan Eric and I went on a little trip this morning down to Wafi to meet up with Kim and her husband before they went to church.  Earlier in the week on his commute in to Abu Dhabi Eric heard Kim's story:  Her mother is living in the Philippines and does not have any insurance or money to afford the necessary doctors and treatment.  She has severe heart problems and desperately in need to medical attention.  She has lost her left leg due to blood clots and they are working quickly to raise enough funds to save her right leg which is now in danger.  Kim is raising money to help her mother by selling cupcakes.

The meeting spot was arranged last night over the phone and while working out the details  Kim slipped in  that she had seen Eric's blog     and that she would even make gluten free cupcakes if he preferred it.  I thought that was so thoughtful, this is a girl who really has heart.  Meeting her today I was further impressed by her positivity that she exudes and her strength.  I cannot imagine watching any loved one be in such pain.   They have raised 8,000 AED so far for her mother's treatment.

Don't they look delicious?!  She even personalized them :)
On the way back home I was so excited that I had a dozen cupcakes on my lap and could not wait to dig in.  I had no idea what to expect when we cut the ribbon off and lifted the lid, but they were a perfect representation of Kim.  You could tell they were made with love.

If you want to help Kim she has a website you can visit to find out more information:

Monday, August 1, 2011

Ramadan Kareem!

Today is the day that all UAE residents hold near and dear to their heart.  The start of Ramadan.  Here is my very novice approach to the subject, glistened from those around me.  There is a moon committee that is some where down in the deserts of Saudi Arabia, in my mind it is a group of men who rotate shifts, taking turns, standing the in middle of the desert at all hours gazing into the sky, waiting for the new moon.  I am sure it is much more scientific (or maybe not?) than that but I think it makes it all the more magical.  Once they glimpse the new moon Ramadan is "called," which means fasting when from just after sunrise to sunset.  Then If-tar occurs every night which is breaking of the fast, and those who are participating eat an absolutely splendid spread, celebrate into the wee hours of the night, go to bed and do it all over again, for thirty days.  The fasting bans any and all food and drink substances, including water, or chewing gum.  If you are a non muslim and you are not participating you cannot be caught eating or drinking in public, you must partake of this behind a black curtain so not to be seen.  This is serious stuff too!  If you are caught sneaking even a drink of water or chewing gum in the public eye, you can be fined and possibly jailed.

Can you imagine the dedication this all takes?  It is so those who partake remember the poor and give more back.  I learned in my office the other day that if you give to the poor during Ramadan it is looked at giving 700 times greater than any other time of the year.  As I said this is my take on the whole subject, I did not do any research, but we are just on the first day and I am sure I have much to learn over the next 29 days.  

I know this is a bit more of a serious blog, but really I think it is interesting to learn about the culture over here.  This is way I have stepped out of my comfort zone to experience and see another view point, to take part to have a greater understanding.  One another note I am just about a week away from getting my official visa.  My medical records have gone through and that is yet another interesting experience that we will get into next time.  But the sun has gone down now and boy am I thirsty...