Monday, November 14, 2011

Staycations and other adventures

As most people know, October is Breast Cancer Awareness month, and happily, this appears to be recognized worldwide.  Belle and I participated in one of the several walks/runs being hosted throughout Al Ain, and even signed a poster - in memory of Rob's gram, Joanne, who went through two bouts with breast cancer.  She taught me how to crochet during her second battle, and I was able to really spend some quality time with a woman whose time ended much too soon to ever meet Belle.  Personally, I think they would have gotten along like a house on fire.  (Weird idiom)
After taking our long walk for breast cancer through the desert heat, we cooled down by taking Belle ice skating at the mall.  Yeah, life is like that...
In Abu Dhabi, we started school on September 11th, well, technically September 4th for me, and our first break was for the holiday, Eid Al Adha.  This is one of two Eid holidays (the first one followed Ramadan - Eid al Fitr).  This Eid recognizes the story of Abraham and Isaac, when God asks Abraham to sacrifice his beloved son, and at the last moment, Abraham is able to exchange this sacrifice for a lamb caught in the bushes.  Whereas the first Eid is a celebration of completing the difficulties of Ramadan, this Eid is more about having faith in God and then being redeemed by this trust in God- but also a reminder that God may ask us to sacrifice and we need to be prepared when called upon (although rarely in Biblical texts does he require the sacrifice of our children, after all, He made that sacrifice for us).  Living in a Muslim country makes me think more about my own faith, especially as I learned more about this holiday, and the Hajj (religious pilgrimage to Mecca) which is supposed to take place prior to the Eid.  It is really interesting, and I encourage y'all to look into it if you want.  Okay, religion lesson over...

During our school holiday, we took a day trip to Dubai and did some skiing.  It was wonderful! Yeah, I know you are all wondering about us, ice skating and skiing in the desert. You can take us out of New Hampshire, but...  Ski Dubai was a lot of fun - we spent two hours on the trails - mostly sticking to one side because of our intrepid straight line skier, Belle.  It is located in the Mall of the Emirates and right inside the ski area are two ATMS that dispense gold bars - of course you have to have enough money to withdraw them, and I'm not quite sure what you'd do with one - but the idea itself is really cool.

On Friday, Mallory and I went to see Britney Spears in concert, and it was hilarious. I think her pop star days are waning. It didn't seem to bother too many people in the crowd that she only lip synched part of the time, and the rest of the time looked bored, or that she sat more than she "danced." I think it might have been her scantily clad costumes that kept the audience entranced, and the amount of skin and tight clothes that were being shown by the on-lookers was quite shocking after spending three months in a conservative country.

Now, we are back at school, in the final stretch before our big vacation in December... almost three weeks off.  Rob has all his paperwork done and is an officially licensed driver and resident of the UAE now.  It only took almost two months, and two trips to Abu Dhabi for translation services. This Friday, we are off to Dubai again for a dhow dinner cruise, and I hope some quality beach time.  The girls at school are starting to show up in sweaters and coats and I'm looking forward to the beach, but honestly, this November is the warmest one I've ever been through. 

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