Saturday, September 20, 2014

My First Emirati Wedding: A Night To Remember

    There have been a few experiences since I have been living in the UAE that have blown my mind. You may remember when I went to a student's house last year, that was one of them. Last night was the other. I went to my first Emirati wedding and met me tell you my socks were blown off.

    I was invited by a coworker to her neice's wedding. The wedding took place last Wednesday night. I know that it seems strange to have a wedding on a Wednesday night since we still had work the next day, but hey when in Rome...

    I bought this dress at the mall and it was only 100$ Canadian. I love the color, it also had beads and crystals and I thought it looked super festive and very Emirati-esque.   The wedding took place at a wedding hall and when I walked it I had to pick my jaw up of the floor.  Picture a huge hall, decorated lavishly in white and silver. There were chandeliers and long tables elaborately decorated with beautiful china and romantic center pieces with beautiful pink and white roses. On the tables there were abundant fruit platters, tabouleh, hummus and pita bread. Woman walked around with huge trays of chocolates and dates. We were offered freshly squeezed juices made from mangoes and strawberries. Tea and coffee were also available, as well as water and soft drinks. 
   Before I continue, let me say a few things. You may notice the lack of pictures, that is because none are allowed. There are also no men. Many of the women in attendance were still fully covered, but many of them were dressed very beautifully in long gowns that hugged their curvaceous coca-cola shaped bodies. Now I see what they are wearing under those abayas, woooo too sexy.   The plunging necklines were laced with exquisite gold necklaces encrusted with precious jewels of all colors. I felt like I was at the Oscars. There was a stage with a catwalk in the middle of the room. A beautiful white grand piano on the stage. 

    The food was the served, rice with goat, kabobs made of lamb and beef. Curries, pasta and more warm bread. I was so stuffed and the food just kept coming.   
    The dj turned up the music and ladies began to dance on the catwalk. My coworker pulled me by the arm and said, 'you must dance!'. I am not one to decline a chance to show my moves, so I got up on the catwalk and just copied what everyone else was doing, they loved it! 
   I was told that they loved my dancing so much, that I will be invited to another wedding in the future. 
   Finally, the bride arrived. She was dressed like a North American bride with a beautiful, full white gown. The dress was right on the top with a full ball gown skirt. The sleeves were long and sheer.  Her veil was sheer and extremely long. Her make-up was flawless and she had a young lady fix her dress and her veil as she walked and took pictures.
    She carried a bouquet of roses as someone threw fresh rose petals as she walked toward the stage. Ululations (long, wavering,high pitched vocal sound resembling a howl with trilling qualities) could be heard from all the women in the room. This is very common at weddings in Arab countries.  The bride walked along the catwalk and was adored by all. By this time it was around 11 pm and time to go home. We had one more dance and then we were off.
    I had such an amazing time and I really hope I get invited to another one. 

Thursday, September 11, 2014

I'm Still Here!

     First I must apologise that I have been in abstencia for so long. Life has been so busy that I haven't had a chance to write.  My friend was here from home, so between showing her around, starting school and starting grad school. There has only been time to sleep. 
     My good friend A came to visit from Montreal for eight days. We had the time of our lives.
    First went went to the Burj Khalifa in Dubai. The Burj Khalifa is the tallest building in the world. The observer story deck is in the 124th floor. Here is the stunning view. 

Selfies from the top are always a must.

     We then went on a desert safari. Many of you may be familiar with Groupons, well they have them for Abu Dhabi and Dubai. There is also a similar site called Cobone. I bought my friend and I tickets to the desert safari throught this website. The safari was about 55$ for the both of us and we got picked up at a nearby metro station in Dubai. We drive about an hour into the desert and then we went dune bashing. This is when you take a 4x4 all terrain vehicle and drive all crazy on the sand dunes. Picture a car driving all crazy up and down the sand dunes in the desert. So much fun! 
   We then got to take a few pictures with a camel as we sat in him. 
   There was also a belly dance show and a buffet dinner. 

       They next day was my big UAE birthday brunch. I celebrated at the Saffron resaurant at the Atlantis hotel in Dubai.

Saturday we went to the Mall Of The Emirates. We did some shopping and then headed back to Al Ain.
     Sunday, was my first day at school. I now teacher the same girls I did last year but they are now in grade 7. The funny thing is I thought that they would change up the classes. Mix up the girls a bit. No, no, all the students  are in the EXACT SAME CLASSES as last year. So that means the behaviour problems I had with certain individuals or certain combinations of individuals are still there. One thing that has improved is my relationship with my co workers. Last year, no one talked to me in my department. I swear if I was lying dead on the ground they would have walked over my body. I guess there is a one year initiation because everyone is much nicer to me this year. They actually talk to me and ask me questions. Huge improvement from last year, huge.
   The first day was pandemonium. We had no schedules and most Arabic teachers did not know what they were teaching. 
     I have to give a shout out to Heidi, who just moved to Al Ain. I met her last night at a welcome event and she recognised me right away. She told me how much she loved the blog and she actually made me feel so bad that I haven't written in awhile so this post is thanks to her! Thank you for reading and good luck ok your adventure!