This year, my friends and I chose a Peruvian restaurant for our Birthday Iftar celebration. My friend’s husband’s birthday is on the 16th of July. My birthday falls on the 15th of the same month. So we’ve been doing a one day celebration with our groups of friends for the past two years.
Tesoro is a fine dining Peruvian concept located at the new Taj Hotel Dubai. The place has a very eclectic and modern feel to it. It’s also very spacious with a huge terrace overlooking the Burj Khalifah.
Thankfully, everyone had a great time and loved the tasty creations by the Chefs at Tesoro.
So, another year has passed. I’m 35, single and still looking for a suitable job or paid internship in Dubai.
I’m grateful for the good friends that I have in this magical city, and those who shared my special day with me.
I’m also blessed for being able to constantly learn new things and new ways to develop and grow – both professionally and personally.
I’m thankful for the experiences that I had and that I continue to have. Like doing random activities, meeting people from different backgrounds and cultures, and discovering something new along the way.
What’s my plan for future days?
Honestly, I think it’s time for me to be more self-involved and self-centered. Nothing can be more disappointing to a diva than investing time and energy into projects or people and not getting similar vibes in return.
Some people like to put their self-interests first, set their own rules, and then expect others to entertain them. Well, I can publicly declare that I’m not Mother Teresa and that I never will be!
When I give someone my time, it’s because I genuinely want to. But I also have realistic expectations to be treated in the same way!
Basically, it’s now time for me to focus more on my career and personal life. I need to eventually land a full-time role that I enjoy doing. I also need to find a loving and supportive partner.
As for this blog – a project that has been so exciting to work on, and very close to my heart. It was an honest representation of my life, my struggles, my dreams and aspirations.
The time for this website to end is getting near. But I have plans to start another blog with a different niche. You can stay updated with my news and new blog news by following me on social media:
Kabul-born Hamida Aman Organises a non-profit peace concert at Dubai’s Zabeel Park, under the Patronage of Sheikh Mohammed Bin Rashid Centre for Cultural Understanding
Featuring seven talented alternative music artists from the Middle East, North Africa and South Africa, “Salam Aleikum” concert was held at Dubai’s Zabeel park for the first time.
The non-profit music festival aims to promote peace and cultural tolerance amongst the youth and to present a more positive image of Muslims to the rest of the world.
The concert is organised under the patronage of Sheikh Mohammed Bin Rashid Centre for Cultural Understanding, by Hamida Aman, the General Manager of Guru Production, a Dubai Media City production company.
The centre supports community events, but this was the centre’s first community music project.
Nasif Kayed, Managing Director of Sheikh Mohammed Centre for Cultural Understanding said: “We are all for any good cause that promotes peace between mankind, we are a non-profit organisation ourselves and always count on the support of our friends out there.”
Hamida Aman, Owner of a production company and radio station in Kabul, Afghanistan has organised a similar peace concert in Afghanistan two years ago.
“In 2013, I had a concert in Kabul for peace, where artists from neighboring countries performed in Kabul. It was very successful without any security problems.”
Since 2010, Aman has been based in Dubai as the General Manager of Guru Production, but she still visits Afghanistan regularly.
Hamida thought that it was the right time to bring the project to Dubai after a recent trip to Europe. She noticed the mainly negative perception that the West had of Muslims.
“I was very shocked that they had such a bad image of the Muslims,” she said.
The festival brings together artists from different cultures and backgrounds to communicate a positive message about Muslims and encourage peace and cultural tolerance.
Hamida adds: “We are not all terrorists. We are not all aggressive. We know how to be happy as well.”
“For me Dubai is one of the best places to celebrate togetherness. Here, all communities are living together in peace and harmony.”
Aman’s personal experience as a refugee in Switzerland for half of her life strongly inspires her peace-focused projects and initiatives.
“Because I know what war is, what is destruction and what it means to be a refugee and to go in exile, it’s important that we keep fighting to avoid this for future generations,” she said.
“My generation always lived in war and exile, and I don’t want this to continue happening in other places.”
The alternative artist line-up featured musicians whose songs carry powerful messages.
Hamida plans to organise future peace concerts in other Middle-Eastern cities.
“This is the first one in Dubai, and I hope that I will manage to bring it to Jordan, Lebanon and to Cairo eventually – to make a caravan,” she said.
The non-profit initiative will continue to spread the message of peace, and will always be for the community.
“The concert is for a cause and I want to keep it like that,” Hamida says.
“I would like to keep it like that – always for free.”
YouTube Video link:
A short video recorded at the venue while Indian Reggae band, Delhi Sultanate were performing on stage at the “Salam Aleikum” music festival at Zabeel Park on Friday:
Under the patronage of HH Sheikha Al Jalila Bint Mohammed Bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Etisalat sponsors the first ever Dubai Kids’ Run
In an effort to educate the UAE’s youth on the importance of healthy eating, regular exercise and an active lifestyle, the first ever Dubai kids’ run was launched.
The two-day event – which took place over the weekend – was organised by CPI Media group, and the UAE Athletics Federation. The UAE’s telecommunications company, Etisalat sponsored the race that was held at Dubai Media City’s outdoor Amphitheatre.
The race brought together the kids of Dubai in a social and fun activity that embodies a strong community spirit.
The 2 kilometer-long race catered to two groups of children. The first race started at 9:30 am and was for kids between the ages of nine to twelve. Children from ages four to eight years old ran straight after that, accompanied by their parents.
Liesa Euton, Race Director says: “We wanted to have a smooth course for the children – not too long and not too short – because we want to give them just a little bit of a challenge.”
Collectible medals were given to all the participants at the end of the adrenaline-filled race.
The first-place winner from each race category received an IPad Mini and a hamper including a variety of gadgets, gift certificates and a three-month gym membership.
The top five winners from each category have also received goody bags worth over 3,500 AED.
The event attracted more than 5,000 people, amongst cheering parents and active children.
With more than 2,000 kids participating in the race, the Etisalat Dubai Kids’ Run will be an annual event in the Dubai calendar.
Ahmed Kamali, President of the UAE Athletics Federation says: “We put this run in the calendar, so that it’s going to be like any of the future races; like Dubai Marathon for 17 years, and Dubai Women’s Run for the last 6 years. So hopefully, we are planning to have this forever.”
11 year-old Raedan Chettiar came in second place in the boys 9 to 12 years old 2KM Solo category.
“He plays football with his coach, who trained him for two weeks only.” Raedan’s mother says.
“He’s a very active boy; he plays football and cricket.”
Raedan’s coach trains a group of kids at Dubai’s Zabeel park as a part-time hobby. The kids run around the spacious park and play football two or three times a week.
The Etisalat Dubai Kids’ Run proved to be a successful initiative to promote healthy living and fitness amongst the tech-savvy and modern Dubai kids.
An even bigger step forward can be taken by eliminating the unhealthy snacks and sugar treats that were served at the fun fair after the race.
Hopefully, future events will include a variety of healthy snacks, treats and smoothie stands.
My previous Top 10 List was about being raised by parents from the Gulf region. I come from a moderately conservative family. We are not liberal, but we’re also not extremely conservative or religious. Here’s a link for that post if you missed it.
Today’s list includes the top 10 things that I like about being a blogger. I started this blog in September 2012 to showcase my writing to potential employers. Now, it’s more of a hobby and sometimes feels like a full-time role!
I present to you the top reasons that keep me hooked to writing blog posts:
I can work from almost any location that I feel like working from. Writing blog posts can be done from the comfort of my bed, a cafe across the road, or even from the beach if I had the time and luxury of carrying around a laptop, and a beach bag full of beach essentials.
I can write posts at any time of the day. On most days, I have a couple of things to get done. So, blogging is something that might not come at the top of my priority list. That’s when I can write in the evenings – when most people are watching TV, reading, socializing, or out having dinner or drinks. This point can be a disadvantage to blogging too. But that will be discussed in another post 🙂
I get to do creative work, that I choose myself, without any supervision or editing from another party. Unlike working for a publishing house and adhering to certain rules and regulations, blogging gives the writer the freedom of expression and writing within their personal set of rules and limitations.
I get invited to review restaurant meals, spa treatments and other cool stuff. When I first started the blog, I was reviewing these things anyway, because I enjoyed it. After some time of hard work, the blog gained more followers and I started to get invites to review meals, and other stuff. The only issue these days is that, with my University course work, I don’t have the same free time I used to have when I first started the blog. That’s why, I don’t write as many reviews as I used to in the past.
Being a blogger means that I’m considered as a media person. This grants me access to events as press. It also allows me to network with other media professionals, and others from the media industry.
One thing that I really like about blogging is meeting other bloggers. Whether they are based in the same city, or on another continent, it’s always great to meet like-minded people. Most bloggers share many traits in common; they are interesting, determined and curious individuals. We love to learn new things, and we are pretty good in taking action.
Blogging allows me to share my thoughts, experiences, views and ideas with my readers. It makes me so ecstatic to hear that a reader found my post insightful, or that they learned so many things from it. It equally brightens my day when someone tells me that what I wrote resonates with their own experience very strongly.
I love that blogging has helped me practice – and hopefully – improve my writing skills. I think most of all, it gave me the confidence that I needed to keep writing. It helped me stay focused on my goal of becoming a better writer and journalist.
It helped me build on my social and networking skills. I started to attend all kinds of events when I started this blog. This was mainly to meet new people and to generate blog content. It was very exciting to meet people from different backgrounds and industries. At that time, I was mixing with people from the fashion, arts, food or media industries. That fitted well with the blog concept, as I was writing a lifestyle blog that covered all these topics. Nowadays, I still enjoy attending random events. But due to my time constraints, I have to be more selective with the events that I choose to attend. Of course once I’m done with my course, I should be able to attend more events and network with people from various communities.
Being a blogger who doesn’t outsource anything to another party means that you need a set of multiple skills. I truly enjoy being the following:
The editor who comes up with the idea for the post.
The photographer who takes the pictures for the post.
The writer and editor who writes and then edits the words and images.
The marketing and PR person who promotes the blog.
The social media person who promotes the blog and the posts on social media.
The communications person who attends events and tells people about the blog.
The entrepreneurial spirit who constantly goes through ups and downs, but never gives up.
As you can see, blogging is a very fun and engaging way to communicate with others and express your feelings and thoughts through words. I love hearing positive feedback as much as I love hearing critical remarks. So feel free to leave a comment or not 🙂
The next post will be a list of the things that I don’t like about being a blogger. So stay tuned for that!
Till then, Have a wonderful weekend ahead. No matter how you choose to spend it!
If you’re looking for a new option for a healthy and fresh lunch in Dubai Silicon Oasis, then I have found just the right spot for you. Java Jolt is a newly opened cafe at Le Solarium building in Dubai Silicon Oasis. Their concept is to create simple, tasty food with a refined edge. At the same time, they try to source organic ingredients as much as possible.
When I asked co-founder and co-owner Lora about the origin of the concept, she explains: “Since everything in Dubai Silicon Oasis was take-away and fast food joints, we wanted to bring fresh, healthy food to the area.”
Lora describes the home-grown concept by saying: “We serve food that resembles something that you would make yourself at home. We use as much organic ingredients as we can. Basically, all the elements that go into the food we make are home-grown, local produce from the region.”
Executive Chef Khomotso from South Africa prepares all the sauces and salad dressings from scratch. He also makes the bread himself in the cafe’s open kitchen with the help of a kitchen aid. Java Jolt uses organic flour to make fully organic bread, muffins and wholesome bagels.
“I actually like to make my own things – completely.” Said Chef Khomotso.
When asked about his favorite dish to make, the Chef immediately tells me: “My favorite thing to make must be quiche.”
If you visit Java Jolt, you must try their home-made iced teas. The chef constantly makes new variations of freshly made iced tea. The first time I was there, I tried a pomegranate iced tea. This time though, I got to sample the Rooibos iced tea – made with a hint of lemon and orange. Known for its great health benefits, Rooibos tea originates from South Africa and makes for a wonderful refreshing drink when infused with orange and lemon!
“I was looking for something from home that I like to drink.” Explains Chef Khomotso. He calls his creation; Rooibos Citrus.
Co-founder and co-owner Jenny describes the new cafe concept: “We are trying to go as clean as possible in the UAE.”
Jenny explains: “In Dubai, most cafes are part of big chains or big companies. We wanted to start a more family-oriented style cafe with a homely feel.”
Being residents of the Dubai Silicon Oasis area, the sisters who founded and manage the cafe together with their mother felt the need to fill a gap in the market. With the majority of the available options being chain and processed food cafes and restaurants, they wanted to introduce a home-grown, wholesome concept with a friendly, welcoming and family-oriented atmosphere.
Another element that was lacking in the Dubai Silicon Oasis community was the option of an outdoor area, where friends and families could meet and catch up over coffee and fresh fare.
The New Zealand style cafe with a South African twist offers guests the option to sit outside – at the spacious and inviting terrace. “There’s no where to hang out in the area and sit outside. We created a space where parents could meet and bring their kids to play” – explains Lora, co-founder and co-owner of the fresh, wholesome and healthy concept.
Java Jolt will be open on Saturdays from 8 am to 5 pm starting next week. They also have plans to open on Friday mornings for breakfast, and on Saturday evenings for an evening roast dinner.
To find out more about the cafe and their opening times, check out their Facebook Page.
This post might resonate with a good deal of people who grew up with Arab or Asian parents. Since both cultures have a lot of similarities – especially when it comes to the family and social issues.
If you need some introduction to the way things are in the Gulf Region, have a look at my previous post about the topic here.
Now that you have a general idea about our lifestyle from my previous posts about this highly complicated and rich subject, let me present to you the top 10 signs that you were raised by GCC parents:
1. Your curfew time is at around 9 or 10 pm the latest if you’re a girl.
Whether you’re a University student, an employed adult, or a teenager, staying outside the house for a late hour is a big no-no. You can try to beg or ask for permission politely to stay late at your best friend’s graduation or wedding party, but rest assured that all your pleas will be faced with a clear rejection. Note: This rule does not change no matter how old you are or serious the situation may be. So even if you’re in your fifties or sixties or spending the night at ICU, you still must be home by the earliest time possible!
2. You’re not allowed to have male friends.
If you happen to mention the name of a male work colleague, brother of a friend, or any other person from the opposite sex, then this must mean that you have feelings for him. Therefore, the two of you must get married ASAP. The simple and basic fact that you mentioned him in your conversations must mean something. You can’t talk about a man for no reason, right? this must mean that you like him, and this gesture must immediately translate to a marriage contract 🙂
3. Attending concerts, visiting another city/country on your own are all considered indecent acts for a single young woman.
Growing up in the Eastern Province of Saudi as a teenager, with neighboring Bahrain, only meant that we had access to famous artist concerts and shows. But I had to argue my way to each and every one of those concerts that I managed to attend! Yes, I’ve always been a rebellious one 😉
Now this rule doesn’t only apply to concerts, it goes for any type of outing that involves a bit of freedom. Examples include visiting neighboring Bahrain for shopping and movie trips, or just meeting up with friends. You can’t go alone, even if you’re in your twenties. A parent must tag along to ensure that the reputation of the family stays intact :p
4. Traveling abroad for leisure on your own or with girlfriends is another no-no.
Of course, for some liberal families, this rule can be broken. When I was in school, many of my friends were able to travel together in groups without their parents’ company. If not at school age, then maybe later in life – when they’re in their twenties. But for me, this scenario was out of the question. I actually went on my first solo trip for leisure purposes in late 2012. You can read about it here. This is not to say that I wasn’t lucky enough to travel abroad to live and study when I was only 18. But – as you might have guessed by now – I fought really hard for that privilege. My mother used to genuinely think that going away on a beach holiday in the summer is a silly and superficial thing to do! She actually thinks that my desire to do something that the rest of the Universe does – take a beach holiday – is a complete waste of time and resources. And obviously, is not acceptable by all means.
5. The house maid or house keeper transforms into a body guard to accompany you at the local mall.
I think this headline requires little or no explanation. For those of you expats who currently live in the Gulf region, you might have already noticed this phenomenon at the malls. Every so often, I see young GCC ladies walking around the mall with their house maids, and I’m taken back in time to the days when I had to be accompanied by my own house keeper. Luckily, she was a very warm and lovely lady. God bless her, but she did get on my nerves at times. You can’t blame her though, she was only following my mother’s strict instructions!
I also had my eldest sister accompany me to University in Bahrain. Even when she didn’t have classes herself. But that’s just going to make this point longer than intended. So let’s end it here 🙂
6. Your mom reminds you that it’s time to go to bed at around 9 or 10 pm when you’re in your early or late twenties.
I think this one also requires no explanation. Arab mothers like to take full responsibility for their children – especially the daughters. And this includes making sure that you go to bed at an early time and don’t spend any extra time hanging around or doing pointless activities.
7. Your dad tags along as you shop for under garments at the department store’s lingerie/sleep wear section.
Not sure what is worse; shopping for underwear at Saudi shops and asking for assistance from the male sales people (which I don’t recall doing), or browsing the high-end department store’s lingerie and underwear section (in Bahrain or other location outside Saudi) with your dad at your back in every step you take. Hmm…both are difficult situations to find yourself in – I must admit.
8. Your mother constantly gets you clothes and tops that are one or two sizes bigger than your actual dress size.
I think anyone who comes from a conservative family will find this point familiar. Traditional Middle-Eastern mothers think that a woman shouldn’t expose her figure by wearing tight-fitting outfits. This applies to all body shapes and sizes. So no matter how slim or flat you are, you are not encouraged to wear skin tight clothes that flatter your body. Even if you had a gorgeous body that you don’t mind showing off 😀
Note: Most of the time, mothers also decide what type of outfits you should wear and what fashion style you should follow. As a teen and a young adult, I always felt more comfortable wearing jeans and a nice top. So this didn’t really affect me that much. In fact, until today, I prefer to wear loose and comfortable clothes on most days. And only dress up for occasions. I guess I’m a bit of a tom-boy 🙂
9. Your mother continuously compares you to others.
Be it your class mates, your close friends, your relatives, you name it, she’s got it covered. Arab mothers see this comparison as a form of motivation. They think that by comparing you to others who are in some way or another better than you, you will be influenced in a positive way to become a better version of yourself. Of course when done on a regular basis, this causes serious issues of low self-esteem and diminished self-worth. When I say ‘better’, I mean various things. So it can be in their social skills, their fashion style, their attitude, anything really.
10. Your father makes all sorts of decisions on your behalf.
If you read my previous post about the lifestyle in the Gulf Region, you would understand this point. Basically, since the parents (mostly father) support their children financially even when they are adults, they also have the right to ask you to follow their own rules and visions for your own life. This means that your father will feel that he has the full right to make choices for your education (University level), career path, personal, marriage, and ultimately all life aspects 🙂 This is valid for as long as you are single and is being supported by him financially. And as long as both you and him are alive and well. They also tend to always think that they know what’s best for you – even when that’s not the case. And they feel privileged to make decisions on your behalf – as if you don’t exist really.
So the financial support also means that you must play by their rules – and only their rules!
Now I would love to hear your views on this topic…do you agree? do you disagree? does any of the points that I mentioned resonate with you? did you grow up in a liberal type of GCC family with very liberal parents? do you think I’m just a spoiled brat for writing this post?
Whatever your opinion is, feel free to share it 🙂
And because I always like to see the bright side of every situation, I must admit that having grown up with somewhat controlling and over-protective parents has taught me many useful life skills. One of these important skills is the ability to practice self-discipline in my daily life. So, I am thankful to my parents for that. I can say that I have a considerable amount of self-discipline that comes in handy at times. That of course is coupled with a huge lack of self-esteem, self-confidence, and self-worth 🙂
I’m also thankful for being more privileged than many others who share my struggles. It’s true that I had to fight for what I have, but I’m still more lucky than many others who might not have the opportunity to get their voices heard or their side of the story listened to.
The photos in this post are by the highly talented Yasir Saeed. You can read my review of his photography session here.
I can’t believe it took me this long to visit Yas Waterworld waterpark in Abu Dhabi! I think the main reason was the fact that I don’t drive, and so the idea of venturing out of the city requires some sort of planning and transportation arrangement.
The best part was that I got to spend my Friday doing something completely new, fun and exciting! Plus, being an outdoorsy person and a cancerian, means that walking around barefoot on grounds made cool with water sprays and splashing in water for a full day is my ideal definition of the word leisure!
If you need an instant boost to your mood, an intense dose of adrenaline rush, or simply a unique and fun way to spend a weekend, then Yas Waterworld should be on the top of your list 🙂
The park is open from 10 am to 7 pm daily. And there are clear directions for how to get there on the waterpark’s web site.
What’s unique about this waterpark?
Yas Waterworld is not your ordinary waterpark. It’s a waterpark with an Arabian theme and concept.
There are water sprinklers on most of the spaces in the park. So you don’t have to worry about walking barefoot in the UAE summer heat.
There are even members of staff spraying water on you at different locations – just to cool you off while you walk to your next ride.
The whole atmosphere in this waterpark is so lively, upbeat and full of a strong zest for life and happy times 🙂
There are professional photographers scattered around the park to take your picture in the water, in front of the slides, or even at the roller-coaster ride.
There is underground irrigation, which helps keep the ground cool at all times. This makes it easy to walk without flip flops throughout the park.
There are dance competitions for kids with passes as giveaways.
There was a pearl diving show for both adults and kids. Which is great for expats to learn about the pearl diving culture and heritage in the region.
There were performers all across the park on the day I visited. As it was the first day of the start of the 100 family days – an event which will go on until the end of the year.
The park has a wide range of food and drink options. The ice-cream is not to be missed! super delicious!
There are different levels of the rides. So whether you just want to slide down a river in a floater or go down a vertical drop slide, there’s definitely something for everyone.
There’s a good number of rides and activities for kids too.
There was music all over the waterpark. And my favorite radio station – Channel 4 FM – were at the park on that day 😀
Here are some of the photos from the rides that I went on (mind you, my friends and I went on all of the rides twice and three times on one of them!):
The Bandit Bomber is a super cool roller coaster ride – only more fun since you’re in your swim wear! This ride gives you a full tour of the waterpark with crazy detours and turns that will blow you out of your mind 😀 in a good way though….it’s also very breezy up that ride!
This ride had different speeds and you can choose the one that matches your fitness level 🙂
The “beach” or “waves” pool is great for chilling out in between rides. This is me doing poses in the “beach” pool 🙂
Being the coffee addict that I am, of course I had to look for a place that serves iced-coffee. And I’m glad to say that I wasn’t disappointed because Yas Berry Cafe serves up a variety of drinks from smoothies to coffees to all things refreshing and delightful…
The surf pool seemed cool, maybe I’ll try it next time 🙂
They even have body drying machines at the park! which come in handy when you forget to bring your swim suit wet bag like I did…
There’s no end to the leisure activities, top quality service and upscale facilities that Yas Waterworld has to offer! Read on to find out more:
Sun loungers scattered all around the park and at the area by the “beach” pool.
DJ playing cool tracks near the “beach” pool.
River with floaters that takes you from one side of the park to the other. We used the river to get to the next ride location 🙂
Waterfalls, water splashing at you from random places, and all sorts of water park fun.
Friendly and helpful staff. The general atmosphere at this waterpark is highly positive and refreshing. Everyone is happy to be there and to do their job at their best level.
Professional picture taking – you can choose to buy your photos at the end of the day. I had mine saved on a USB stick.
Good way to stay fit in a fun and cool environment.
Great options for food and drinks. I must try the coconut drink at my next visit. The quality of the food was excellent too.
A range of activities and things to do for kids. As well as exciting competitions.
Events for families. The “100 family days” event will go on till the end of the year. But there will also be other events throughout the coming months.
Upcoming events include: festival of lights, music events, and winter activities.
I honestly woke up with an unusual high the next morning after my Yas Waterworld adventure! I guess it was the adrenaline rush from going on all those fun and exciting rides. I think everyone should head out to this original and vibrant waterpark every once in a while. It’s a truly refreshing and invigorating way to spend a Friday. One that’s suitable for the whole family too. Everyone from the babies to the elderly and all ages in between were having a blast at this cool waterpark.
Here are the prices that I took a picture of at the ticket booth on my way out…
Note: If you’re visiting the park on a weekend, you might want to go for the premium admission passes. The premium admission tickets allow you to access the rides through the fast lane/track. This means that you will avoid waiting in the long queues for some of the popular rides on a Friday.
If you need some introduction about life in the Gulf region, and a general idea of the social structure there, you can check out my previous cultural post, titled: The “Bubble” Life.
Today’s topic is somewhat relevant. It can also be considered more of a personal topic since I’ll be talking about my specific story.
Most Arab parents tend to be over-protective with varied degrees of controlling behavior when dealing with their children. You’d think that these strict and firm ways of upbringing would gradually lessen as the kids grow older, but the truth of the matter is that they never do.
Most Arab parents like to plan their children’s future lives, and be in control of their education, career, love life, marriage and daily life decisions!
Unless a daughter is married to another man and moves out of her parents house, she continues to live by the rules of the parents. No matter how old she gets, or what her status is (employed, jobless, student, PHD graduate), she is forever subject to the rules of the parents. And they are eternally responsible for her every move, decision, and personal freedom in general.
Of course, there’s always a positive side to every bad situation. Parents in the Gulf Region and most Arab countries also continue to support their daughters financially for as long as they have to. But that financial support doesn’t come without a price tag. It is coupled with the obsessive controlling behavior from the parents side.
My post is not meant to portray a negative image about the Arab or GCC culture. It’s more of a realistic explanation of my personal story and background. Since moving to the UAE in 2010, I constantly get asked by people from various expat countries about the method or way by which I am able to support myself financially, and that is usually followed by a certain amount of surprise and words like: “You are lucky.”
That’s why I decided to write a series of cultural, social and personal posts to clarify some aspects of Arab and GCC culture. I don’t mean to generalize though. I can only speak about my own personal experience and that of the society that I grew up in.
I also get asked about how we spend our weekends in the Gulf. Well, most of us in Saudi would either hang out with girlfriends at the local mall, cafe, or restaurant. We tend to spend some time at home too. We can have gatherings, dinner parties or house parties too! But, these would be exclusive to girls only. Since in Saudi and in most Gulf countries, the society is mainly gender segregated. You might ask, but who are you to talk about this lifestyle? Well, I grew up in the Eastern Province of Saudi Arabia, and I didn’t attend an International school. I actually went to an all-girls elite private school, where an Arabic curriculum was being taught. So I can say that I lived a traditional Arab lifestyle for the most part of my life…
I can elaborate about my life in Saudi in another post, but let’s get straight into the topic of this post. It all goes back to a quote that my dad made at one of his short visits to Dubai…we were talking about some general stuff, when he utters the words: “The way it goes is that one should only be going to work, and then straight back home.”
To make things clear, my dad is not a sociable person whatsoever. He literally practices what he was preaching in the phrase that I just mentioned. But that’s his choice, his life, his decision. And I don’t judge him for it, or wish if he would change it. Honestly I don’t.
But what I thought was hilarious and if I dare to say a bit insane in those words that he directed to me was this: If I choose to listen to his advise and to follow it to the nines, then how on earth would I possibly meet a potential partner?! 😀
I have somewhat weird parents. They have unrealistic expectations of the world, their own children and the people surrounding them.
They live in a bubble of their own creation, and they expect people, events, and everything around them to follow the rules of that imaginary and non-existent bubble. They live with the illusion that everyone and everything must match their own distorted image of the world surrounding them. They are extremely opinionated and will stick to their unrealistic and distorted views no matter what happens or what anyone tells them. They are also not open to hearing other views that conflict with their own. They will just cut you off, will stop listening and will not engage in any form of discussion. (That’s mostly my mom, although my father doesn’t like to listen to varying opinions either!).
They impose highly unrealistic rules, standards, and expectations on every life aspect you can imagine. These rules only exist in their “1960’s generation” heads.
This was only a brief and short explanation of my parents and the way they are. I can talk more about this topic in another post.
Now the problem is that these days, my University course requirements and blogging don’t leave me with much free time to go out and meet new people. So, instead of spending my evenings going out to night spots or events, I find myself sitting at Starbucks or on my bed writing blog posts! But that’s OK, because once I’m done with this course in two semesters from now, I should have more time to go out and mingle 🙂
Basically, I will make it my life mission to meet as many new people as possible. Truth to be told, it will take a lifetime for me to reverse my previously closed and restricted GCC lifestyle! I’m so glad to have the privilege to do that…and if you think I’m a super-lucky girl, just be reminded that each one of us has an equal amount of suffering. And that financial freedom and stability are not the only elements that guarantee a happy and peaceful life.
I hope that I could make part of my story more clear to some of you who might be intrigued to know. And for anyone interested in learning more about the Gulf region, its culture, and lifestyle, stay tuned to this blog…
So the plan was to take a creative photo with my new Nikon for this post, but because I’m tight on time and honestly too tired, I decided to just use an online image.
Many of you might be back from vacations or are close to ending your holiday season…but I am just about to start my summer getaway! It’s more of a mini getaway really – nothing major. I just need to take a break from the fast-paced life for a while…a break from social media, checking e-mails, running errands, thinking about what to have for lunch or dinner, and all the other nuisances of our busy modern society.
All I want to do is to read my books and magazines by the ocean, get pampered at a spa, and explore some new and exotic locations.
I wouldn’t mind meeting some interesting folks along the way too 🙂
Truth is, my blog turns two in September. I can’t deny that the journey resembles a roller-coaster ride. On some days, you’re ecstatic and doing fun stuff and on others, you feel like giving it all up. I get asked all the time about how blogging works and if I’m making any profit out of it. In my case, the main reason I started this blog was to create a portfolio for my writing to present to potential employers. It also gives me an opportunity to practice and improve my writing skills. Whether I generate any income out of it is only a small part of the equation. Mostly because when I decided to change careers from IT to journalism, my goal wasn’t to become a successful blogger! It was – and still is – to make a living out of writing. Basically to become a journalist.
So to all of you looking into starting a blog or who are working towards monetizing one, just make sure that you’re willing to be in it for the long run. Because it’s a long and challenging journey, that requires a lot of determination and a plethora of skills. Nevertheless, it’s an exciting and thrilling ride.
I won’t be blogging, tweeting, checking Facebook or e-mail for the entire time of my vacation. But it won’t be too long until I’m back with more innovative, interesting and insightful posts.
I wish all of you a lovely summer, whether you are spending it at home or have gone/are going away to a new and exciting destination.
Looking forward to telling you all about my holiday once I’m back.
Reflective Thought: Do you sometimes get the feeling that you just want to disappear from the face of this planet called earth? and possibly never come back?
Please share your thoughts on this, if only to confirm my sanity level :p
If you’re not following my blog’s Facebook Page, then you might have missed our first fashion photo shoot. You can still browse the photos of my collaboration with Le Monde Des Petites from the album posted on my Facebook Page. While you are there, you might want to hit the “like” button to stay updated with the latest posts from this spontaneous and crazy lifestyle blog 🙂
Let’s have a look at the photos from our second style photo shoot, with details of the fashion brands worn by the model – the writer of this blog 🙂
My dad was in town, and for a belated birthday gift, I asked him to get me some charms for my brand new Pandora bracelet – which I recently got as a birthday gift too! Since I love a bit of a vintage style in almost everything, I chose a retro theme for my charms and made my selection from their uber cool oxidized charms collection.
The angel-wings ring is from O’ De Rose and it matches almost anything that I wear. It’s a very playful and everyday accessory that you can wear with almost any outfit – even with a casual T-shirt and jeans.
The metallic-studded sandals I am wearing are from a recent collection at River Island…
This exotic and multi-print day dress is from Warehouse. It’s a great summer essentials timeless piece to wear for a day at the beach club or a day out with the girls for lunch or coffee. So simple, elegant, and extremely comfy and light for the hot summer months.
This fabulous and original sequined clutch bag is a piece that I got a while back from the renowned Zara. It’s so versatile that you can wear it to a night out with friends, a day out on the beach, or even to accessorize a basic outfit at a media networking event! Now how’s that for multiple ways to wear a pastel-sequined Zara clutch bag? 🙂
Sadly, my friend Julie from the blog Le Monde Des Petites is leaving Dubai for good soon. So this photo shoot was only our second style shoot together, and also the farewell meeting for us. That’s the thing with this city, it’s so transient that you constantly find yourself meeting new interesting and genuine people, connecting with them on various levels, and then saying your good-byes when it’s time for them to move to another expat destination or back to their home towns! But, because we must always look at the bright side of every situation, the good thing about this is that I get to have friends at different cities across the globe, who I can visit when I travel 🙂
Thank you Julie for the lovely times we shared, despite them not being too many…I wish you all the best in everything and I look forward to seeing you again – hopefully soon! XXX