Tag Archives: UAE

Final Glimpses Through the Emirati Window

I was lucky enough to be invited to an Emirati wedding in the “town” of Gayathi, really more of a spattering of apartments, schools and mom-and-pop shops to support us migrant workers.  It was held at the large community hall, where all weddings, exhibitions and events take place.  We arrived by two taxis, at about 8pm, and were the only foreigners, save the Malaysian and Filipino waitresses.

Below is the only photo I was able to take without any local women’s faces in the background (they aren’t allowed to be photographed for public viewing):

Hummus, tabouleh, camel, rice, fruits and sweets were served until the bride arrived at 11pm.

All guests at the party were women, as is the tradition in Emirati culture, and the men were partying at another venue nearby.  It may be of no surprise that the men are allowed to have female guests, but only those hired as dancers. Go figure.

Servants snaked through round tables offering perfume and burning oud, a hardcore incense cone that permeates the air with no mercy for the lungs.  On top of that, it was Day 2 of my cleanse so I had to turn down just about all the food, especially the cultural gem of camel’s meat.  Add these two factors with the ban on booze, and this made for the toughest wedding I’d ever been to!

By the time the bride made her grand entrance (and mama, was it grand!), we’d been dancing on the red carpet and raised stage with children, aunties, neighbors and friends for hours.

I felt honored to have been a part of the festivities and thought this would probably be the last time I really got to see the “real Emirati” life.  Thankfully, I was wrong!

The birthday girl of honor and some very pretty camels.

A Bedouin Birthday

Just a few weeks later, to celebrate my friend Nelressa’s birthday, we planned a surprise BBQ.  The big surprise was meeting an Emirati dude at the pool of the Danat that day, and getting invited to take our party to his tent and camel farm out in the desert.

Can I get a “hells yeeeeeah!”?

So we piled in four cars, packed in our BBQ accoutrement and booked it out to Gayathi (or somewhere beyond the city) yet again.  We were met in the middle of nowhere by a man with a big white SUV of some kind.  On the side of the one road in and out of . . . somewhere . . . we squeezed 10 people in one car, and one crazy mo’ fo’ hanging off the outside!

It was a sweet moonlit night of curious kiddies and fireside chattin’.  We dabbled in camel’s milk, and most guests (except for this rude little vegetarian) dug into fresh roasted goat and homemade bread before we returned to our hotel oasis, across warm sandy dunes in the back of a camel transport truck (with ALL lady guests on board, despite proposals from our already-married host!).

I’ll let the photos tell the rest of the story …

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

Advertisements

Dubai: Revisited

So my last big trip to Dubai involved a long fabulous week of yoga, ladies nights, and touring the must-see sites. Jumeira Beach, Sattwa, the Burj Al Arab, a Dhow Cruise on Dubai Creek, the Dubai Museum and Sheikh Saeed Al Maktoum’s House – a venue which boasts the lamest collection of sun-damaged photographs this side of the Tropic of Cancer. I left the city feeling like I’d done quite a bit, but hardly scratched the surface of what real Dubaians experience as life there.

Life on Jumeirah Beach . . . fake as the picutre?

Seeing as the last several weeks have been full of company-sponsored trips out to Dubai, I decided to make an effort to see more of the world’s latest addition to the ‘Cities You’ve Gotsta See’ list, even if it did mean a four-hour commitment on a less-than luxurious bus. And besides, after all the hard work for Japan Aishteru, I was ready to get out and enjoy some creature comforts again!

The Epicenter of City Life in the UAE: The Mall

But not just any mall. Dubai Mall. The fourth biggest shopping center in the known world. “Come find everything” reads the mall’s fairy-tale promise. As though you’d just rubbed the right bottle, and out pops a mustachioed genie, dancing behind eye watering oud smoke, cloaked in a musky cologne. Everything, you say?

Just 50 dirham for an all-day pass out of the desert heat!

Well, if it takes three visits before you even feel right writing a blog on the subject, then yes, the mall has just about “everything.” An Olympic-sized ice rink, twelve banks, a travel agent, a gold souk, an aquarium, a dancing fountain, and the tallest building in the world. Yes, that’ll do.

Coming from America, and having lived in Thailand and Japan, I thought I’d seen most of what the shopping world has to offer. Huge malls are common in Asia, and the boutiques and markets in Paris or London are unparalleled as far as I’ve seen. But Dubai Mall is hardly a mall at all – it’s more like a ‘consumer life center,’ an ode to indoor leisure.

My word, dahling, is that an aquarium in the mall, or did I lose my shit somewhere?

My first experience here was brief – and I was thankful for it. The crowds descend upon the AC-megalith at 7pm sharp, making a leisurely stroll about as enjoyable as an obstacle course in a military training yard. Groups of abaya-ed women float down the aisleways in wide rows, like slow motion Rocketts. German tourists sip espresso at the mid-aisle Italian-style standing café. Indian families, eight people strong, crowd onto escalators, mouths agape at the circus we’re all a part of.

I refrained from random mall shots of people to respect the Muslim rules against photographing women’s faces that some, though not all, women follow

I put on my game face and booked it from the front of the mall where my taxi dropped me off all the way to the opposite end of the monster. I wanted to catch the dancing fountain in full effect, even if it did sound an awful lot like the Belaggio fountain in Vegas.

The dancing fountain, pumping out moves to pop, marching tunes and arabic music all day long.

The second trip was much less hectic. We arrived at the civilized time of 2pm and had a nice little shop before indulging in some Japanese soba noodles – served cold with a simple sesame green onion garnish – and a few plates of kaitenzushi. Oh, how I missed eating off a conveyor belt!

OISHII!

Perusing the shops, I saw many of the same shops I would back home: H&M, Forever 21, New Look, Top Shop, as well as a quite a few Middle Eastern and luxury names in fashion . .

Alexander McQueen
Center of Fashion Walk, Versace in the background

I found myself particularly enamoured by the candy stores. Not simply because of my infamous sweet tooth – what’s left of it – but the artistry of the wrappings and the clever interior design of the spaces. Is this a chocolate store or a jewelry boutique?!

Just a few of the many fancy candy stores dotted throughout the mall.

My third and probably last visit to the mall was more of a functional endeavor. Preparing for a two-week detox, I wanted to hit up the organic supermarket to stock up.  A big group of us also took the opportunity to head over the Burj Khalifa and make our way to the top(ish) of the tallest building in the world.

The view was pretty damn mint.

An impromptu urban mass, built on the blood of oil . . . in the middle of just about nowhere.

So that’s it, all that bloggin’ dedicated to a big fat mall. There’s a part of me that feels a little shamed by my mall-lovin’ leanings – what can I say, I spent a lot of time at Pearl Ridge, Ala Moana and Kahala as a kid!

Checking out the view at the center of the madness.

Don’t get me wrong, I do prefer supporting up and coming artists and designers at markets, and love a touch of boutique shopping. But these trips were about a lot more than shopping.  These hyper massive centers are fast becoming the dish of the day in countries with a growing middle class – the day trip of choice for most families and friend, especially when the weather is just about as friendly as a desert viper caught between a rock and a cactus tree.

If I had my way, I’d be spending my free time hiking up green mountains, teaching and experiencing fabulous yoga classes, buying local/organic, and sippin’ soy lattes al fresco in the sunshine.  But that’ll have to wait for the next adventure . . .

Beyond Mall Life

More than anything, I wanted to see some art in Dubai. Unfortunately, company trips are always on a Friday, the one day galleries are shut. So, instead of going to a fancy shmancy art gallery, we went to … a rugby game!

 

Japan vs. UAE

Can you guess who I was rooting for?

I’ll give you a hint: I’m nearly half Japanese, I was born and raised in Hawaii, I lived in Japan for 18 months, I speak Japanese, my favorite food is sushi and I recently raised over $2500 for the victims of the Japan earthquake and tsunamis. And did I mention living in the UAE has hardly been a walk in the park?

Three more reasons to support Japan ;o)

Well, the score quite accurately reflects my wishes for the night … 111 to 0. Yup, that’s a zero.

Nihon wa, ichiban desuyo!

Between the three of us, I’m pretty sure we drank the stadium dry, and as if that weren’t enough, we decided to hitch a ride home with a busload of equally tipsied ruggers boys from England. It made for a rather entertaining ride!

Dirty rugby songs, anyone?

Spicin’ it Up

With a few lovely ladies to adventure with, the Spice Souk was another must-see on the final rounds of Dubai-town.  The market is a handful of labyrinth walkways, covered by a wooden roof, lined with tiny shops teeming with tastes from around the world.

Ze Spice Souky Souky Now

Each shop is manned by a pair of salesmen, more than happy to meet your every need, and provide you with an armful of new ‘needs,’ should you give them the time of day.

Most of the shops were closed for our little jaunt, and crowds were non-existent. Translation: hyper-desperate sales approach from the shopkeepers. We meandered our way in and out of most shops until we finally found a spot where we didn’t feel quite so harassed. I got a good deal on some teas for my detox and even found a Cadbury’s to keep me standing til dinner.

Rose petals, anise, and chamomile, oh my!

Next up . . . a 2-dirham (65 cent) boat ride across Dubai’s traditional money-maker, before the oil boon . . . The Dubai Creek

Dubai's trading lifeline.

Pakistani Souk

Though it ain’t no Portabello Market, the Pakistani Souk does have a few interesting shards of shopper’s delight, just behind the crap souvenirs, to the left of the pile of dresses you wouldn’t be caught dead in. Quilt-style hippie skirts, hoochie tops for beach bar flirtations, scarves of every color and quality, baby clothes galore, and just enough people to keep things lively, this long covered walkway of a market is more eye-candy than the average visitor may be prepared for.

See anything you like?

I noticed quite a few Western tourists in unabashed awe of all the hustle and bustle, but relative to markets in India or Nepal, or even Thailand for that matter, this souk is a piece of (date) cake.

Sunset rolls in . . .

Both attempts to visit the Gold Souk were shot down for various reasons, and a trip to the indoor ski slope ended up being another FAIL on my tentative agenda. But you can’t see all of the city, not even in handful of visits.

Man chillin' in a boat.

Boasting 400+ skyscrapers (there was only 1 as of 1991!), 1600 square miles, a sprinkling of man made islands, and only 1.7 million people, Dubai is an enigma you’ll need quite a few days to explore in depth.  It’s a brand spankin’ new city, and its residents are in the process of defining what it means to live here.  No matter how long your visit, I have a sneaky suspicion you’ll be left with the feeling that …  something … intangible …  is … missing …

Life Update

STAMP ME UP AND MAIL ME HOME!

Hello out there!  Not sure that anyone is reading this anymore – and why should you?  I haven’t written anything in ages.  So much for the ‘weekliness’ of The Weekly Jo!

After the Project Surya fundraiser for Japan, I was utterly pooped.  There was still a lot to do, wrapping things up, thank you emails, sorting though pictures, donation paperwork, and after all that, I kinda just checked out of all creative side projects.  I’ve been keeping up with teaching yoga twice a week, now that we have a dedicated crew and official schedule.  But aside from that, no writing, no studies, no sewing or collages.  Just … downtime.

And it’s been necessary.  With the 130 degree temperatures, and the occasional jaunt to the city, I’ve needed all the energy I can get.  On top of that, the social scene here at the hotel has taken a few new twists and I’ve really had to focus to keep myself from being effected by it all.  Thank jah for yoga!

We have 39 days to go, not that we’re all *watching* the calendar or anything!  Most of the kids have gone home.  It’s finally time to prepare for the next chapter.  Awwww yeeeeah.

In this next month, I’ll be working intensely on a Yoga Philosophy course with Georg Feuerstein, the West’s foremost academic on yoga.  I’m also repositioning this website from a UAE blog/yoga life magazine … to … “ international yogi of mystery takes over the world!”  :oD

I have over 16 stops planned over the course of the next year, where I’ll be visiting friends and family, teaching yoga, learning yoga, and writing my heart out to gain entry into a Masters program next year.  More to come … promise!

In the Eye of the Storm

Shamma picks out the nuts from the "Lamb Humping Rice" dish.

Though I may consider this year in the UAE more of a social experiment than a pleasurable experience, the coming of the Arab Spring has put things into a whole new perspective over the last month.  And just at its peak, incidentally, we celebrated Heritage Day at my tiny little school called Al Areej, just 15 minutes from the Saudi border.

In a way, we’re blessed to be here at such a transitional moment in the country’s long and relatively stable history.  Forty years after the discovery of oil in what was formerly no more than a fishing and pearling spot, the leaders of the UAE have built the tallest building, the fastest rollercoaster, and lay claim to a few rather ambitious visions for both education and sustainability.  This sudden influx of expendable income, coupled with the overwhelming number of non-native residents – roughly 80% of the population – makes for quite an interesting challenge to cultural preservation.

Interactive fishing display at Al Areej Heritage Day.

Foreigners run most of the everyday comings and goings of this country – from taxis to kindergarten classrooms – so events like National Day and Heritage Day take on quite a weighty importance.  The UAE’s leaders are well aware of the potential threat of cultural invasion, especially from the West, and have gone to great lengths to ensure children here are raised on an Emirati diet, culturally speaking.  Every week, in every class, for every subject, teachers are required to include UAE-specific references; displays in auditoriums and classrooms should also make reference to some aspect of Emirati culture, like the family structure, camels, or dates (How many DATES are there?  Let’s count!)

Some of my students pose with henna hands near the cartoon display (yes, that is a metal hijab on its face).

On March 22ND and 23rd, Al Areej Kindergarten hosted two separate Heritage Days for administrators and mothers, respectively.  Most of the children, Egyptian, Jordanian, Sudanese, and Emirati alike arrived at school decked out in kondouras, gold jewelry, and beautiful headscarves.

It was a week of cultural exploration for me, having had an invitation from my Egyptian co-teacher to stay at her house for dinner and a sleepover.  She made traditional food, including a baked rice dish with butter and milk, my personal fave of lunch!  We went to the local park, chatted with her mother in law and relatives in Egypt (you gotta love Skype!), and played for a bit with her three beautiful sons.  I felt truly honored to have been invited so close to her living space, a rare experience in this part of the world.

I live in a tiny country nestled snugly in the eye of the Arab Spring storm.  This place seems to be the exception to so many regional rules.  Our sheikhs are loved to the bone, and at the request of 160 petitioners for national elections, have presently (and rather peacefully) organized the country’s first elections in its history.

Traditional Bedouin tent at Al Areej Heritage Day.

In the local 5-star hotel bar, a group of us teachers found ourselves in conversation with two American military representatives, here to train the UAE servicemen in air battle techniques.  We touched on this whirlwind of a topic with such passion I found it hard to get a word in edgewise.  Social networking, Arab youth, the promise of a new system, modernized rather than Westernized.  It’s all happening, and we’re smack dab in the middle of it.

As I write this today, the Syrian president has handed in his resignation after 11 years of rule.  Syria has always seemed to me one of the most stable and socially liberal of the Middle East nations, scoring highest in surveys done about support for women’s rights (from both men and women).  Lebanon scores just below Syria in these same surveys, followed by Jordan – and though the former is one of just a few countries not engaged in some violent revolution, the latter is no exception.

In my local paper the headlines are beginning to blur:

Bahrain opposition leader warns Iran over interference.

Demonstrations by loyalists banned in Amman.

Al Assad blames conspirators for Syria unrest.

Student reading the Koran at Heritage Day auditorium.

And it can’t be too sensationalist here – if anything, the papers would want to play down any violence or possibility of unrest leaking into the border.

To date, Tunisia, Egypt and Libya have seen revolutions of historical consequence, Algeria, Bahrain, Djibouti, Iran, Iraq, Jordan, Oman and Yemen have all seen major protests, and minor incidents have occurred in Kuwait, Lebanon, Mauritania, Morocco, Saudi Arabia, Sudan, Syria and Western Sahara – every single country in my region has somethin’ goin’ on!  I can’t help but post this map from Wikipedia below to demonstrate just how far reaching this movement has been …

And as I sit on the beach, in the middle of the western deserts of the UAE, just miles from all the political madness and violence of the Arab Spring, my thoughts are actually with the thousands who are struggling for their lives in Japan, where I still have family members unaccounted for.  My grandparents come from Fukushima – home to what is potentially the worst nuclear disaster since Chernobyl – and we’ve still been unable to get in touch with them.  It’s been nearly three weeks.

I almost feel as though being LESS aware of the reality surrounding me would be a service to my mental health!

But we’re all in it together, this global community, so we dedicated our yoga classes to our brothers and sisters in Japan, and find the shining light in the middle of the sandstorm, this glimmer of hope for Arab youth, who’ve utilized the technology available to them to rock a boat that’s been sitting in stagnant waters for far too long.  More power to ’em – here’s to hoping the next step in this dance sees a smooth transition.

Colleagues chowing down for lunch.
Princesses looking rather blase.
More Heritage Day displays.
Traditional dance.

Lust! Anger! Pride!

Warning: the following contents are full of vulgarities, curses, and unabashed abandon of all sense of humility.

At 6:30pm on Monday, February 28th, I found myself in a face to face stare down with a kondoura-clad degenerate, moments from bopping him square in the face.

My new habit after coming home from work is to go straight to the gym and get busy with a hardcore cardio-weights double whammy.  There’s a smiley bundle of joy working at our gym, Amen (can I get a hallelujia!?) who happens to be certified as a personal trainer on an international level.  Amen’s advice on running has actually turned me from a hater to a junky-to-be.  I left the gym a sweaty mess, pumped with endorphins, bundled in long yoga pants, a loose fitting hoodie and scarf.

The outfit is important for reasons you’ll soon discover!

On the way back to my hotel-home restaurant, I took a shortcut through the bar where noticed a friend sitting alone.  She’d recently lost both her father and her favorite student – both within a month of each other.  Kings of Leon singing morosely through the bar speakers, I made my way over to greet her.

I didn’t even notice our repulsive specimen sitting at a table before the bar, drinking alone.  Overweight, dull-eyed and desperate, he grabbed me by the arm with such force, I almost stumbled backward.

“Excuse, me,” I said with cautious civility, “Don’t touch me.  That’s very rude.”

Who knows who this guy could be.  I’m not a regular at the bar, and judging by his traditional Muslim outfit, he could have been a local or Saudi of some contrived importance.  No need to confront a rock, anyway, an argument at this point would be useless.

I made my way to my friend’s table and sat with her for five minutes, ignoring the Arabic clamor in the background.  Whether he was speaking to me or not, I paid no mind, I was only passing through.

As we got deeper into conversation I realized it’d be best to stay with my friend and lend a kind ear.  She’d really had a difficult time of things lately and needed someone to listen.  Selfishly, I missed her company, and loved the opportunity to shower her in hugs and reassuring words.

While we chatted, I could tell our ogre of an acquaintance was trying to convince the bartender to get us a few drinks.  Kushan, bartender hottie that he is, explained that we weren’t interested.

As if to prove otherwise, oozing with a blurred confidence only spirits can discharge, the dullard comes over to my side and rubs my upper arm, mumbling some incoherent nonsense, spewing bad breath and bullshit all over the joint.

My entire demeanor changed, and Kushan got on the phone immediately.

I turned around slowly with scary-mom pursed lips, flared nostrils and en evil eye only Hawaiians can perfect to such intensity.

“Just what do you think you’re doing? I asked you not to touch me.  I don’t want a drink.  Go back to your table, you’re being very rude now.  Go away.”

Turning my attention back to my friend, I actually surprised myself with my stern but tempered tone.  As angry as I was, it was controlled – and totally free of any wavering fear.  My communication was clear, as was my body language.  At least, it seemed clear to us sober folk!

Lo and behold, ten minutes later, the boorish fuck stumbled back over to us, this time smack dab between our intimate conversation space.   Here we go.  He literally started throwing money on our table, begging to buy us a whiskey, of all things.

“Look, mister, we don’t want a drink, we don’t want to talk.  We want you to leave us alone.  Good bye.  Halas!”

I thought perhaps all he needed was a touch of Arabic to sober him up.  Halas – finished!  As he turned around to “leave,” in one last pathetic attempt to get some piece of our action, he grabbed me just under the breast, around my ribcage –

And which point I quickly turned around and pushed that fat ass with all the might I had.

“You fucking touch me once more, just once more, and I will punch you in your face!”

Still, I hadn’t lost control, I wasn’t screaming – it was as though things were moving in slow motion.  The work-out chemicals in my brain were still firing and as far as flight or fight went there was really only one option, despite the hundred and fifty pound handicap – FIGHT.

I studied his face and concluded for all the extra blubber, my fists would be fine after a few punches.  Thinking of a counterattack, I wondered if he was so fat under his white muu-muu that maybe his thigh and tummy fat would have totally covered his crotchal region, giving him an irregular advantage in our sparring session.  I noted my allies in the venue, the three older European gentlemen sitting at the bar, the size of Kushan and his athletic build. I considered how happy I’d be to take one hit from this loser just to have the opportunity to teach him a lesson with my fists.

With deep even breath I awaited his next move.  I dared him to touch me with my eyes.  Fists clenched.  Mouth akin to Billy Idol.  Come on, you feeble-ass punk, give me one reason.

Seeing as he was too much of a coward to either touch me or sit down, I pulled the Allah card.

“Who the fuck do you think you are?  We are in the UAE, buddy.  You think it’s OK to touch a woman here?  You think it’s OK to grope a woman ANYWHERE?  What would Allah think about your being here?  Drunk! Groping women!  Sit the fuck down and get out of my face.”

He started to back off.

Once he sat down, I could feel a tear in the back of my eye.  My throat closed a bit, and I knew if I kept talking, my voice would be unsteady.  I took a deep breath, sat down, and turned my attention to Kushan.

“He needs to go.”

I wasn’t about to get hysterical over some unsocialized animal, but I knew if he stayed he’d only get more drunk and more unreasonable.  I’d seen worse drunks before, but he was a proactive mother fucker!

In my entire adult life, I had never – ever – been groped like that before.  Especially not after telling someone not to.  Three times, no less!

So all the managers in the house come in, and after far too long, he concedes to leave.  No punches were pulled, no dragging out the door.  It was all rather civilized, and for that I’m relieved.

Truth be told, I was actually proud of myself.  I stood my ground with a cold temperance and said what was on my mind.  I have no delusions I’ll have made any difference in this guy’s approach to women – he’s probably grown up thinking all women at bars are hookers (even if they are wearing baggy hoodies and a scarf).  But when the shit hit the fan, I didn’t crack under pressure – no matter how intimidating he was.

Surprisingly, though physically tired, I was mentally stoked all the following day.  And it made me wonder, am I a bad person for feeling pride about that encounter?  On the one hand, I conquered a real and present danger with a frightening calm.  This is the positive side.

On the other hand, should I really be so happy about wanting to ‘teach that asshole a lesson?’

Well, I don’t know.  As a rule, I make a conscious effort to act, speak and even think with pure non-violence.  But this was a special case and I’m glad it happened the way it did.  Let’s just hope the groper stays home from now on!

Classroom Window

Go on, take a peek!

Ever wonder what a kindergarten classroom in the Western Region of the UAE looks like?  Well, if you have, you’re a part of a very niche group of people, I can assure you!

It’s always fun to have a window into the lives of people we know and love, or just some random stranger who happens to be doing something you’re interested in.

So, without further adieu, my KG1B children introducing themselves . . .

The kids are generally about four years old and they’ve gone from wetting their pants and crying for mommy, to answering simple questions in English, and testing twice a semester.  It’s not an easy curriculum for the wee ones – integrating all the English and Math vocabulary with hands-on activities has been a challenge, especially in the face of a rather ambitious pacing chart.  But we’re having fun and learning together.  Every day gets a little easier.

And a little more interesting . . .

The kindergarten classroom is setting the stage for these kids’ futures.  And some of the scenes are rather entertaining!

Take, for example, the little rascals who happen to be a bit bossy, always standing up, not necessarily paying attention to the lesson, they’re smart when they try, but usually they’re trying to tell some other kid what to do.

As teachers, we put these kids into leadership positions for two reasons: 1. It keeps them from getting into trouble.  Much better they’re passing out pencils than smacking their neighbors upside the head!  2. Ever heard the phrase, “Keep your friends close and your enemies closer?”  Definitely applicable here!

What’s funny, is these kids are likely going to run countries or big companies when they grow out of the drooling stage.  They’re power hungry, they get into things, they need to be in charge.  So what do we do?  We vote for them!

Then there’s the Nerd Alert of the classroom.  Don’t get me wrong, I love these girls – and yes, they are just about always girls – I may actually have been one of them at some point in my academic career.  They know all the answers, do more than they’re asked to, and even finish early.  But what do we give them in return, besides a “good job!” and a sticker?  Extra work!  I say with nothing but hope, that this kind of student will eventually find their way back into academia where they can continue to … do more work!

I’ve already mentioned the uncanny parallels between some of KG kids and boys I’ve dated in the past.  There’s the masochistic charmer and the starry-eyed dreamer to name a few . . .

And then we have the Shadow Teachers, that rare breed of super bebe that embodies all we’re looking for in a student: smart, sociable, confident, respectful, creative.  This kid’s got it goin’ on.  What’ll they grow up to be?  Anything they want!

We’ve lost a few kids on the roster these last few weeks because the UAE asks foreign residents to pay for their kids to come to public schools.  Some parents simply can’t afford it, especially if they’re supporting their other children through school, not to mention the fact that Kindergarten isn’t compulsory.  An interesting topic for debate there, perhaps at a later date when I’m not actually living under Big Brother’s watch.  😉

So goes another week in the desert.  I’m still writing lotsa yoga-related articles, and just got one accepted by Elephant Journal for online publication (yay!).  More on that to come . . .

Til next time x