|His Highness Sheikh Zayed Bin Sultan Nayhan|
Never in my wildest dreams did I imagine I would be moving to a foreign country to live, let alone a country in the Middle East. Over the 2009 Christmas and New Year’s holidays, my husband Roger and I discussed what we wanted the next part of our life to be like. He thought that before retiring, he would like to do one more airport project but only if he could find something very interesting. I half-jokingly agreed that would be fine but could he try for an exotic location? As usual, Roger came through and soon we were headed to Dubai in the United Arab Emirates. This blog is a recap of our "leap-of- faith" wanderings around the Middle East and beyond. We joyfully share these expat experiences.
Wednesday, December 4, 2013
Countries around the world relish celebrating their founding days and in the United Arab Emirates (UAE) they take their National Day seriously.
Celebrated on December 2, National Day commemorates the day in 1971 that His Highness Sheikh Zayed bin Sultan Al Nahyan banded together the seven emirates of the Trucial States to form a new country - United Arab Emirates. National Day is an exuberant celebration of the greatness of this young country’s heritage.
One thing Emiratis love is their cars. Just stand on any street corner and watch the show. Glitzy, glamorous, bejeweled and audacious are words that describe the cars you can see. For National Day, all restraints are unleashed in the fervorous activity to decorate one’s car for the big celebration and show one’s love for their country . . . and proudly parading them all over town.
Wednesday, October 23, 2013
The Bride’s Love Seat
Following the bride are several bejeweled “bridesmaids” moving en mass like a swarm of bees following their queen. Rising above the pounding music, warbling female tongues emit the zaghareet, the high-pitched ululation made by Arab women to congratulate the bride. The level of noise is deafening but I am not going to miss a moment of this.
Thursday, October 10, 2013
Add to that moving to a foreign country, and the anxiety scale goes wild. One needs a lot of coping skills to survive and enjoy expat living.
I am delighted to pass to you a great article, Making the Most of Your Expat Experience, written by my good friend and fellow expat Holly Warah, a 12-year resident of Dubai, UAE.
Holly writes a blog, Arabic Zeal, that is packed with very useful information of interest to expat. Whether you are newly moved or considering the opportunity, Holly provides you with some great insight.
Wednesday, September 11, 2013
The dilemma of finding a meaningful gift for the one you love is perplexing. Early in our relationship I figured out that Roger really didn't need or want any “things.” So what am I going to do for him on his special days?
Got It! Experiences . . . exciting – new - unique life experiences.
|The "Silver Surfer" races on the Yas Forlua 1 track.|
I can say that after 10 years it is getting very tough to find new experiences. Roger, the builder of airports, has flown in a glider, a World War ll Texan T-6 warbird, a helicopter and a bi-plane. Roger, the car enthusiast has raced a 600 HP NASCAR race car at the Daytona International Speedway, raced his treasured silver Corvette on the Yas Formula 1 track and successfully mastered racing a Segway around Downtown Dubai. This list could go on but I bet you get the point.
So, what do I give Roger for our tenth wedding anniversary?
Wednesday, August 21, 2013
We are headed out to sea on the Prince of Sea sailing yacht when the deck hand Tamer motions for me to come to him. He's holding a woven rope basket that he's been vigorously rigging since we left the dock. I look around thinking he means someone else, but no, he really wants me. I hand my camera to Roger and walk gingerly towards him.
The contraption is indeed a basket to sit in. I notice it is attached to the boom of the sailboat but what that implies doesn't exactly register. He motions for me to sit. I glance over at Roger and see his look of trepidation.
|Katie in the rope swing.|
The minute I am in the basket Tamer lets go of the rope and I swing out over the water on the ship’s starboard side. The swiftness of the movement startles me. As the basket tilts at a dangerous angle, it takes a minute to comprehend that if I don’t hold on really tight I will plunge headlong into the briny deep. Is this a modern version of walking the plank?
I careen alongside the starboard hull of the speeding yacht inches from the water; I feel like one of the dolphins I have seen racing next to excursion boats. I am just about comfortable with this, when Tamer hoists me higher and I quickly fly over the boat to the port side only to be sharply brought back again getting a great seagull view of the surroundings.
Wait a minute – this is great!
Posted by Katie Foster at 8:48 AM
Tuesday, August 13, 2013
The stark compound is bathed in the fading sunlight. The cream colored containers blend with the sand into a monochromatic landscape. It is very still on the island with only the movement a mild gulf breeze breaking the searing heat of the day.
I see a few men dressed in shalwar kameezs (baggie trousers and long tunics) and lungis (sarong like skirts) waiting around the gate entrance with wary anticipation as we position our cars full of food and gifts just up the hill from the camp. My welcoming wave receives no like response. I admit that this makes me apprehensive. What if we don’t have enough for everyone? What if we've brought the wrong food? What if they don’t come for our gifts?
|Volunteer Farooque Rao assists the men to|
line up to receive their Iftar dinner and gifts.
It is the last Friday of Ramadan and the Al Reem Ramadan Charity Project is delivering its first Iftar dinner and gift package to the 250 men living in a labor camp on Al Reem Island in Abu Dhabi, UAE. Just three short weeks before, through emails and flyers, I began gathering generous souls to help. My goal was to fund one Iftar dinner (the celebratory evening meal during Ramadan) and give the men a gift bag of 5-6 essential personal items and food. (The team so over achieved this goal!)
Tuesday, July 16, 2013
How does a non-Muslim living in a Muslim country survive and thrive during Ramadan? . . . Thoughts from Abu Dhabi.
Ramadan is upon us. For a non-Muslim living in a Muslim country like the United Arab Emirates, this means making some lifestyle adjustments. To make this easier, the first thing a non-Muslim must do is understand the practices and rituals of Ramadan. The second thing is to find a way to thrive during Ramadan.