I can’t believe it. Three months ago, I arrived in Abu Dhabi and figured that I’d never ever get used to the sight of the city or its inhabitants. Truth is, I was prepared to hate this place.
Wrongy wrongy wrong wrong.
I am now very very very used to the sights and sounds of Abu Dhabi. In fact, I routinely forget that a glimpse of where I live might shock the heck out of my friends back in the USA. Yes, there are gleaming skyscrapers, but most of the buildings here resemble an upside down obelisk — tapered at the bottom. I no longer take notice of them unless I’m pretending to be my one of my American pals.
The call to prayer is the new normal, and brings me a sense of peace as does the beauty of the local mosques. The elegant Kandora (male) and Abaya (female) traditional dress — which flutter in the wind — are appropriate to the setting unlike my absurd tight-fitting western garb. I am often more surprised to see my passing reflection than the shimmering image of an Emerati en route.
The Emerati have great posture. NO ONE SLUMPS. They are proud and walk with their shoulders back and heads held high. I tend to slump out of insecurity over my height and odd Bercaw mermaidness. These days, I’m trying hard to rise up and walk tall.
Emerati smell incredible. Their oils and perfumes come from ancient recipes and seem to radiate out of their very being. Before coming here, I didn’t much care how I smelled. These days, I’m in search of my perfect scent. I think I’ve found it with Opeer 14, which is a very intoxicating perfume from Dubai. I want to eat it so I can emit it.
And much to my surprise, I actually like the slower Arab pace. The phrase, “Shway, Shway,” which means little by little, is turning this sprinter into a zen master.
My work has been enlightening, too. Turns out that half the engineering and science students at Khalifa University are women. That percentage is unprecedented in Western higher ed. And yet this is the Middle East. My first two stories as a writer for Khalifa are about two female academic superstars. Check out Dr. Habiba,who just won a major award!
So much here is righty right right.
NSB in the UAAE