August 24, 2014
Today I’m starting on a different kind of journey, one that includes creative ways in which to improve upon my writing. One of the blogs that I read regularly, Flickr, has been creating writing challenges for the blogging community to participate. This challenge (from A to Z) is right up my alley. Here is my interpretation of the letter “A”:
Not many of my friends and family had even heard of, much less knew where Al Ruwais, Abu Dhabi was located on a map. I had limited knowledge of the place, myself. However, my time spent in the United Arab Emirates had a profound effect on me, even if I haven’t quite been able to put into words exactly how that effect manifests itself in my life. I suppose that is why I continually write about my time in Al Ruwais, Abu Dhabi. What images do those words conjure up in your mind? Any of these look familiar?
This is where my friends think I lived. Just saying those two words, “Middle East,” produces a plethora of desert images. Then, add a camel, real or pictures, and you have the image of where my friends thought I lived. Well, not exactly. But, I did take this picture just a few miles outside of where I did reside.
This is where foreigners think I lived because this is where foreigners stayed while in Al Ruwais. And truth be told, this was where I stayed upon arriving in Al Ruwais. The beautiful Danat Jebel Dhanna Resort is located on the Persian Gulf, also known as the Arabian Gulf. I arrived late at night and left the hotel early the next morning. It wasn’t until I arrived back at the hotel from my first day of teaching that I saw this fantastic view. I immediately took this picture. Unfortunately, my stay here only lasted one week.
This is where my family thinks I lived. This is closer to the truth. Women were required to wear the veil, also known as a shayla. And although women were required to wear clothing covering the entirety of their bodies, most chose to wear their own clothes, as did the women in this picture. I chose to wear an abaya (pictures forthcoming).
This is where society thinks I lived. Although I did not live here exactly, this was the mosque located closest to my home in Al Ruwais. I took this picture one evening as I was across the street shopping. For those not familiar with Middle Eastern society, mosques are located throughout the cities, and at night, the mosques emit a green light (somewhat discernible in this picture). Muslims are called to prayer five times daily. I was not aware of the call when I lived in the city. However, Al Ruwais is a small town located in and surrounded by desert. The call to prayer took on a different meaning in this small town. Five times daily, the call to prayer was broadcast through what I can only describe as loudspeakers within the mosques. What I thought would be an annoyance, came to be a rather beautiful mantra that eased my mind and comforted my soul while 7,000 miles from home.
This is where I actually lived. This is the inside of my apartment in Al Ruwais, Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates. And for your viewing pleasure, the following pictures are also where I actually lived. Just click a picture to find out more about my life abroad. Enjoy! Wait, I have more words that begin with the letter “A”…Arabic, Al Ain, aasif, alkhamis, alinjliiziyya, anaa amriikiyya, assalaama, arba’a, and Allah. aywa. Peace, ~v.