One is a lonely number

My efforts to do something interesting tonight with friends hadn’t turned out as planned. My highly successful illustrator friend who I met while interning at a multinational ad agency, was as usual overloaded with work and had to stay late at the office to complete a number of story boards that were assigned to her. I was hoping to go to the movies with her or maybe have dinner.  I wasn’t surprised though when I called her only to hear her tired voice on the other end of the line, explaining to me the amount of work that she had to finish.  Another plan to explore the top of the burj Khalifa was also doomed when my friend had bought one ticket online for himself and informed me later that all the tickets were sold out till the end of the week! Hence, his prompt action in purchasing a ticket online since he is in town for a week only.

But that’s OK, plans are subject to failure sometimes.  So in practicing my neighbor’s (and book that she gave me) advise in getting out of my comfort zone, I have decided to go for a walk in my area and have dinner somewhere and maybe read some pages from my book. Another reason I had to get out from my place was to take a break from the noisy neighbors (I can explain this further in another post).

As the weather has cooled down a bit these days, especially in the evenings, you could see the walk way get lively again with people exercising. It seemed as if they were hiding in their apartments throughout the summer and are so excited to finally be able to go out for walks even with a mild heat in the air. You might be wondering how I know that they were hiding in the summer…well, I did find myself the only person walking those pavements on a few nights in the middle of the summer and Ramadan.  You can say that I am immune to the heat and humidity as I grew up in the region and am therefore used to the scorching heat.

What I am not used to however is seeing couples spending quality time together and doing all sorts of activities together. Where I come from, the norm is to see groups of ladies or men together, or families….seeing couples would be a rare exception.

When I was in London, I was exposed to PDA’s of all kind…and it wasn’t unusual because it was Europe and that’s how things always were in that part of the world. But I didn’t expect to see as many PDA’s when I moved to Dubai. Simply because it’s the Middle East and we have strict rules regarding that subject.

Tonight,as I took a brisk walk in my area, I saw couples walking, jogging, cycling, sitting on benches, maybe sharing a meal and conversing.

I felt as if I’m the only person walking alone in that setting of happy people in love, spending quality time together, while staying healthy and fit both physically and mentally.

I started to pay more attention to my surroundings, in the hopes of fining a solo walker like me. From a distance, I could see a man doing stretches over the lake rails….I thought to myself: “Here’s a guy exercising alone, so I’m not the only one after all.” Then, as I got closer to where he was, I saw him walk towards the grass where a lady was sitting on the ground doing stretches as well!  He went up to her and that confirmed to me that they were together.

Now you would think that the drama ends here, but it does not! I went to try an area cafe that’s been open for ages, but I never thought of going in because I would always pass by it at the end of my workout and would be heading to eat my healthy sandwich or something. But tonight, I wanted to have a warm drink and a piece of cake to uplift my mood that has just been downsized by a bunch of happy, upbeat, and fit couples.

It was as if the theme for tonight read: Couples only.  Even my order of carrot cake came in two pieces! The pieces were arranged so close to one another in the plate with a swirl of caramel sauce that spelled out the letter for the cafe.

I ate one piece and took the other one home….why? the page I was reading from my book clearly stated the following:

“To change this cycle, you must focus instead on thinking, talking, and writing about the reality you want to create. You must flood your unconscious with thoughts and images of this new reality.”

You can’t expect me to meet anyone special soon by eating both pieces of that cake, do you? I had to act as if there was someone sharing that cake with me and having the second piece.

Yeah right! I was just too full and will definitely have the other piece tomorrow when I’m craving something sweet to eat….
To all the people in or out of love, I hope you will enjoy this track as much as I do:

Good night and sweet dreams!

When sprituality isn’t enough

When I attempted to write tonight’s post, I flipped through my A5 hot pink notebook for ideas that I had jotted down earlier. However, most of the topics were too deep and some of them required a drive down memory lane, which was not something I was in the mood for tonight. I had enough sadness and uncomfortable feelings within me (for no obvious reasons) that I didn’t want to add to, by writing a melancholy post.

That’s why, I decided to pick the lightest topic in my notebook, which after some thought of what it could cover, turned out to be an even more sensitive and deep topic than the ones I had listed in my book!

Basically, I wanted to explain the purpose of writing this blog…and what it’s about. You can call it an online journal. Since all I’m doing is putting my own thoughts onto it, and discussing my personal struggles, triumphs, feelings, and experiences.

You can also consider it as a form of therapy. A way for me to express myself and views while releasing any negative thoughts or emotions and hopefully feeling better in the process.

Since writing the above would make this post too short, I thought of discussing other ways of therapy and meditation. While reading self-help spirituality books and practicing what they said has certainly helped me a lot in the past, I can’t deny that there are times when I feel down and depressed for no apparent reason. It’s not a fleeting kind of sadness, but one that will stick to you like glue and inflict itself on you like a personality trait.

One of the solutions to this problem comes in the form of prayer for Muslims. We are required to pray five times a day on time. Prayer brings with it peace, serenity and fulfillment. Emotional states that are the basis for any healthy well-being.

Unfortunately, I didn’t have a religious upbringing. My parents didn’t put enough effort into that area or give it the significance it holds. I didn’t even realize that significance until later in my life. When I felt that there was something missing…something that I didn’t share with others from my society or religion…Despite that, I am thankful for friends who have always been there to remind me of the importance of praying in leading a happy and contented life. More recently, I’ve had a new friend emphasize that importance even more and push me towards completing my prayers on time and on a continuous basis.

I must admit that it hasn’t been easy…I’m still working on praying on a regular basis, without missing any days, prayers, or timings.

I can’t help but look back and blame my parents sometimes…although I know that it’s wrong to blame anyone for your own actions. But maybe if they had played a better role in many areas, then I would be a better person today? I believe that if they did, I would be struggling less in my life, and I would definitely not be the person I am today….in a positive way I guess….someone who had to learn a lot by themselves and work hard to develop and grow as an individual.
Now that I must go back to praying after a gap of not praying for a few days (I had nail polish on that I didn’t have time to remove!)…I know, not a good excuse….I will end my post here and go to bed with the alarm set for fajr prayer…..

Please wish me luck and pray that I conform to the main pillar of Islam, with an easier transition….

Good Night…

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.