Simple Joys


I’m so glad that I decided to join the Dubai Writers’ meetup group. It was my first time to join any online meetup group. I’ve had some friends suggest that I join the meetup web site to make new friends in town. But I’m not someone who goes looking for new friends. I like things to happen naturally. If I meet someone who is interesting and friendly enough in any setting and at any time, then I will welcome the friendship with open arms. But the idea of registering on a web site that helps bring people together for different activities, interests, and purposes, did not appeal to me that much.

Then, one day while I was on a quest to find a mall magazine to contact, only to find out that it has long been discontinued, I came across a piece in a lifestyle magazine that mentioned the Dubai Writers’ group on meetup. I felt that this was my sign for the day and that I had an obligation to follow it and take the step to join the group! I had an intuition that this was my clue and it was a replacement for the discontinued magazine I was trying to contact. It was the new window that opened up to me at that very specific moment.
My first meetup with the group was thrilling as I got the opportunity to meet new people who share the same interests as I do. It was exciting to connect with other individuals who clearly have a lot in common with you. We had common personality traits, ways of thinking, ways of talking and behaving.  It was as if you could see a reflection of yourself in other people from multiple cultures and backgrounds. The positive energy was so immense that I went on to start my first blog the next day! I guess all I needed was to meet other like-minded individuals in a cafe to give me the motivation I needed to kick-start my own blog and practice my writing.

Our second meeting was held at the cafe in the huge Japanese bookstore in Dubai Mall; a book-lover’s paradise. That cafe has always been a favorite hidden gem for me. It made for a great escape from the hustle and bustle of Dubai life and the Dubai Mall where it’s located. I didn’t need to be reading any book to go there. I simply found peace in sitting in a quiet spot away from the endless crowds and tremendous speed of life.

Although the music coming from the ever-popular Dubai Mall fountain proved to be distracting at times, the view of the dancing fountain accompanied by the water movement and changing lights made for a great backdrop to our little meeting.  It gave me a sense of pure joy and serenity. It was a celebration of life, with its ever-changing nature. A reminder that everything is transient, and that we should always try our best to move with the flow of life and its constantly changing dynamics.

Another moment of high spirits overpowered me while I was walking through the packed book shelves in the store. It feels great to know that you have access to so many books on almost any topic in the world! ranging from self-help books to manga to fashion and arts titles. With today’s busy, fast-paced lifestyle, I’m sure most of us don’t have the time to read as much as we would want to. But the simple privilege of being surrounded by a huge amount of new-releases and best-sellers, in a peacefully-quiet(weekend evenings excluded) Japanese cafe with a panoramic view of a dancing-fountain, brought joy and bliss to my heart.  I was grateful for having the opportunity to be in a city where I can practice my own personal interests in a friendly and safe environment with positive, like-minded people.

The city known for its high speed of life does offer a time for peace and reflection after all.

As I and a meetup buddy were making our way past the book shelves towards the exit, he asked: “Did you read any books at the store before the session started?”   Having arrived thirty minutes late for the meeting, of course I hadn’t…but I smoothly answered with: “I was here two days ago with a friend, and they didn’t allow us to take unpaid books into the cafe.”  He said that we would have to read them outside the cafe then.

So hopefully the day will come, when some of us don’t need to rush into life like we do nowadays….and we might just have some free time to spare sitting at a book store bench, or even a step, reading our pick for that day, just like the old-days, when people had less thoughts and responsibilities on their minds, and more free time on their hands.

Doing it all in Reverse

I am currently reading a self-help book that my neighbor gave me and thought that it could benefit me. The title of the book is: How to Get from Where you are to Where you Want to be. By Jack Canfield.

I would like to share with you an excerpt from the book:

“There are people who will try to talk you out of your vision. They will tell you that you are crazy and that it can’t be done. There will be those who will laugh at you and try to bring you down to their level. My friend Monty Roberts, the author of The Man Who Listens to Horses, calls these people dream-stealers. Don’t listen to them.”

I can strongly relate to those words, as I constantly find myself confronted with those people everywhere I go. Sadly enough, my own parents fall into that category and they don’t believe in my dreams or support them.

I am not even half-way through the book yet, so I am unsure whether my personal strategy that I am following is mentioned in one way or another. But I would like to share it with you. I like to call it: Doing it all in Reverse.

I would also like to add that it is of my own creation, and has not proven to be successful up to the time of writing this post! my strategy stems from my own experiences and my witty personality. Now that I’ve warned you guys about my personal strategy, let us explore how it goes…
Basically, I’ve been doing all the steps that lead towards my goal in a reverse order. For example, while most people would try to secure a job before they move to another country, I would move to another country and then try to find employment!

If that didn’t work, no problem. Keep on taking the necessary steps that will lead to the job, in addition to the other elements that lead to a stable lifestyle. Don’t get it?
Let me explain…you will need to rent a place, build a social network, attend social and community events, take up fitness and other activities, issue a resident ID card….the list goes on.  All you have to do, is to simply pretend that it has worked out and that everything is perfect.  Once you start living your dream, it will eventually become a reality.

So that’s the strategy that I’ve been following and continue to follow and believe in. Honestly, I’m not sure how much more I need to wait to find out its accuracy, or if it will produce the desired results or not. All I can do is wait and see.  But if it does work, I might have to start working on my own self-help book! The title will be, yes you guessed it…the same title as this post.

The Eternal Question

Whenever I tell anyone where I come from, the following question that comes to their mind has to be: “How come you are not wearing Abaya?”

That’s when my newly-automated reply comes…I have explained the reason so many times to various people from all walks of  life that I now don’t even think about what I’m saying and the words flow naturally from my mouth.
I’ve had friends tell me that my nationality could be a negative point on my CV. Simply because employers will imagine a completely covered lady when they read the line that specifies my nationality. This doesn’t score points in a city where physical appearance and good looks are prerequisites for any interview call.  Even the guy working at the copy center where I went to print my CV wasn’t impressed by it! Everyone knows that a personal photo is a must for any CV to be considered in this town.

As a follow-up to my friends’ comments regarding my nationality, and after wondering how many times my resume has been discarded because of where I came from, I decided to add a profile picture of myself that proves to potential employers and anyone who views my CV, that I look normal…just like other applicants…and that I don’t cover my hair or face or any other part of my profile!
Unsurprisingly though, that step did not help in attracting more calls or interviews my way. Therefore, I later on decided to remove the line that states my nationality. To leave it open for speculation…I could be from any country, and this way, I will guarantee that I won’t be judged based on my roots. Or unselected because I don’t belong to the nationality group that was set for the role.

I now have a simple, one-page CV that I forward to employers. My nationality is not specified. My photo is not attached. And I don’t care…Why? because I want to be selected and contacted for my qualifications and skills. Not for my looks or origins.

That’s my opinion and I’m holding on to it….at least for now.

Why I was against starting my own blog!

For the past two years or more, I’ve had many of my friends suggest to me that I should start a blog. Since I liked to write and have been struggling to make a living out of it. But I stood my ground and resisted the idea for several reasons, which now surprisingly seem insignificant. Those reasons included:

  1. I felt that a blog was equivalent to raising a flag that says: I surrender. I always looked at it as a sign of giving up. A clear statement of failure. To me, most bloggers have turned into blogging as a last resort. When they have tried everything else, but with no success. And decided that they have got nothing to loose by trying in the online world. In the hopes of maybe becoming famous and making a lot of money eventually!
  2. I didn’t want to expose my thoughts and views to the rest of the world. Coming from a Middle-Eastern background, I have my own definition of reservations and personal boundaries and limits. I wasn’t sure if I would be comfortable in letting everyone know what I was thinking or how I felt about a specific topic. Or what my views are on the daily life encounters. I guess I highly valued my naturally mysterious nature and personal space!
  3. Blogger means anti-social. I’m sure many readers would hugely disagree on this one. As being a well-known blogger could mean that you would get invited to many interesting events and get to socialize and meet new people all the time. It’s just that to me, spending extra time in front of the computer screen was not a goal on my wish list, and definitely not an added lifestyle luxury.
  4. Writing for free was not my goal. In my endless quest for a full-time paid role, I focused my energy, time and efforts on trying to get that job offer. I didn’t want to spend my time writing some blog that no one will know about, or even bother reading. I always believed in utilizing your resources in the most efficient way to produce the results you are seeking. But again, I was wrong. Why? simply because writing on a regular basis will help improve my skills and give me an opportunity to practice my writing, and explore new ways and styles to express myself. Also, the link to my blog will be a bonus to my CV, and will give employers an idea of my writing topics and style.

I must say to anyone who has previously recommended that I start a blog: You were right, I should’ve taken this step a long time ago.

But hey, everything happens for a reason, and this must be the right timing for my first blog.