This weekend ended up being pretty good. On Thursday we did our usual grocery shopping and got some food from the deli to take home so I didn’t have to make dinner. Friday I went to the Marina Mall and met some new people. Lindsay (see: Duck Abroad) found my blog a few months ago and we’ve been comment-and-email chatting since then. She invited me to meet up with some girls she was going to meet as a knitting group. It was really a great experience.
Charmaine, an Australian, seemed really nice. She appeared to be the one who spear-headed the whole meeting, which she cleverly named "Stitch-and-Bitch" (like, get together and knit while dishing about whatever). I can’t remember one of their names, but she is an American from Los Angeles that works for the American Embassy here. I also got to spend part of Ramadan with two fasting Muslim American women. Pretty cool, right? Seems like I am never short of that-will-probably-never-happen-again experiences. Lindsay is married to a Lebanese man and A'isha, who is originally from Florida, is married to a Pakistani man. She was wearing the full abaya and scarf. It was pretty interesting hearing some of the things they do and why they do them, but from an American perspective. I would love to sit down and ask questions if for no other reason than to have someone who comes from a lifestyle similar to mine explain to me why and how they would want to become Muslim.
I am not a knitter, but it was interesting to see some of the things they’d created. I think my favorite was actually this tiny scarf on a keychain that A'isha made. It was adorable.
We decided to go get dinner at Chili’s, which was fun. Kaden got to color with crayons (and taking a bite out of one while I wasn’t looking) and made a very pretty picture in orange and fluorescent purple. And I took the little electronic survey thing at the end of dinner and mentioned that my dinner wasn’t good. I had ordered chicken strips, which seem pretty universal, but they tasted closer to fish strips, which I like too, but not made out of chicken. The manager came rushing over because apparently they have a little beeper thingy attached to the survey and he immediately removed my order from our check! Huh, cool. So we had a heavily discounted dinner… with bottomless pops… nearly impossible to find here. Happy campers all around! Needless to say, we'll be going back there again.
Saturday Stu and I took Kaden to an ice rink! Yep. It was as close to being home as I’ve felt here. It was practically dead, even though there were private lessons going on. It was even foggy in there as they attempted to keep out the hundred degree weather. We met a Canadian guy from Calgary and his two children. He said they have been here for 9 (!!!) years. His son was born here and he said his birth certificate is in Arabic. Heh. He said he likes to go to the ice rink so he can feel, even if only briefly, like he is back home in Canada. Kaden decided he looked like Uncle Doug (which he did) and kept going over with his arms out for him to pick him up... That giant man just melted and kept picking him up and telling him he wanted another one "but Mommy has a say, and she said 'No'."
That will definitely be a place we’ll frequent again. Kaden thought we were hilarious on the skates. We parked him in his stroller at the door to the rink and he would grin from ear to ear as we went by. Then I got him out and let him slip-walk on the ice for a bit. We didn’t stay too terribly long but it was still nice to get a runny nose from actually being cold for once! Haha.
After killing time at home (Kaden and I took a nap) waiting for the sun to go away we ended up going to the mall for Baskin Robbins, which we still had to “take away” because it was before the evening prayer call. Who, in their right mind, fights traffic, parks in a garage, and walks all the way into the mall, only to buy ice cream and turn right around and head home??? Only one answer for this madness: TITME.
We ate leftovers and watched Deadliest Catch on AFN, then called it a weekend! :)
That’s about it from me… a big thank you for the outpouring of support on the last blog. I got roughly ten emails and nearly as many comments, all with good things to say. I appreciate the love from friends and family, as always.
This reminds me of Lindsay’s email to me in which she reminded me that Anonymous had probably been cut off by 800 taxis… just on their way home. It brought to my mind that on nearly every drive we take we risk an accident because of some careless driver. This is the car we drive… a Nissan Tiida. Don’t let the woman on the hood fool you into thinking the car is bigger than it is… she is creating an illusion as she only stands at 3 feet 4 inches herself.
Then, here is the typical Emirati vehicle… You can see our distress. (Ok not really, but it sure FEELS like it when an Escalade with rims that tower over the roof of your car, comes whizzing by at a cool 200 kph)