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Month: May, 2013

26/05/2013 – Day 113

I went to the docter today. I’m not sick, but I pretty much went just to scout out the place and see if I’d wanna go there if I was sick someday. I walked in and found myself in a lift going up, I hoped that this was right. I got out and stared around me for some arrow pointing me in the right direction. I found a counter and was assisted very nicely by a young Philipeno guy. Since this was my first time there I had to fill in some forms. They told me the nurse would come to show me to the doctor. The nurse came, I expected to be shown to the doctor’s, but no, this was still part of the “first time” check up. They sat me down in a chair took my blood presure (very low btw) and asked a ton of medical questions they weighted and mesured me. I put on my shoes again and they stuck a thermometor into my ear. The nurse who did all the questioning jotted down everything on a piece of paper and then vanished. Again I was told to wait for the nurse to show me to the doctor. I sat down, the nurse came by and said “This way, please” she then pointed at a door, but I had looked down. She carried on with her job and I was left stairing blankly at 3 doors. I had no idea what the name of my doctor was. I knocked on one door and seemed to strike some luck, since this was the right door. Along with some other things I told the doctor that my feet sometimes hurt. This lead to me being asked to lie down and him pressing every part of my foot going “Does this hurt?” The doctor was reluctant to give me any medication, he gave me “boereraat” (farmer’s advice) everytime and checked my exercise and eating habits to make sure that I needed any medication. He sugested counceling instead of pills for stress. After I explained that I live a healthy lifestyle, exercised daily and ate healthy he gave me a prescription for a very short while. Since I wasn’t there for medication, but for checking out the place I didn’t really mind. The doctor was an indian man, but I could understand his accent very easily. It’s sometimes hard to understand everybody. I guess if I’m ill someday I’ll go back to him. It was actually and ammusing experience.

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05/24/2013 – Day 111

My birthday was 3months ago and still nothing “official” has been done to celebrate it. But what would I do differently? The blessing of plenty leaves me saying “I want for nothing”. I don’t “need”  a birthday present. I’m happy. Though I wouldn’t mind a souvenir from one of my journeys.

A week back I was filled with questions about being in Dubai. Was it right, ect. In the past week I spent my time doing just bible study, nothing else. The questions vanished and peace came into my life. I’m sure about my being here. If you take the time to look up and just pray you can find it.

I lost my keys once, I checked everywhere and everybody I ran into asked me if I’d looked in my bag. I felt like Richard Gilmore (Gilmore girl’s) “no, along with losing [my keys] I also lost all my common sense…” Whenever I speak to somebody about universities I get this same feeling, everybody says the same thing! So guys I’m gonna say this once: I’m an intelligent person who WILL find a university, unless you have a revelation of where I am to study please stop the interrogation questioning. 😛

The girl who left Bloemfontein 4months ago and the young woman writing this blog is not the same person. I am sitll ME, but I’ve seen so much. I’ve had my mind-set entirely changed. I’ve had my mind changed about things I didn’t even know I had an opinion or idea about! In SA I was living in an unknown bubble, moving here the bubble popped and I got to experience “a whole new world”.

Would I recommend moving here to anybody? No, it’s the most personal choice in the world. The only person who could help you is Jesus, He gave me guidance. Would I go back to SA right now if I could? No, not yet. I will definitely go back, but not yet. I’m still in the season of breaking free from SA, going back now wouldn’t work.

I use to think that “tea” meant black tea or “rooibos tee”. Only now I’m realising that “tea” can be pretty much any leaves soaked in boiling water. I’m really enjoying all the types of tea! It’s a little fun thing for me. I’m discovering which teas are good and which I’ll never buy again.

Tastic rice was the only rice I knew growing up. In the east rice is the main food, so here is an amazing variety of rice. I like it, eating clean rice is sometimes yummier than eating rice with sauce. In SA I wouldn’t have thought this posible, but the rice has a different texture to it. It’s really good.

In order to get out of my apartment more I’ve started eating lunch at MacDonald’s or KFC sometimes. I order the smallest something and just nibble at it while I do some people watching. The people here look so different form anybody in SA. I knew I should do this, but strangely enough I needed a friend to remind me of it! (Dankie Carina)

The ups and downs seem to be getting less. The vallies aren’t that low anymore and getting back up isn’t that hard or far off. I’m still very grateful for Skype. To have the ability to contact my friends in SA helps a lot.

Homesickness is a strange thing. It makes you miss people who you haven’t spoken to in years. They suddenly seem like part of “home” and you miss them almost forgetting that the friendship had been discarted years before. Homesickness makes SA look fantastic and Dubai seem craze. I’m glad I know I should be here, I’m thankful for my faith…

16/05/2013 – Day 103

Slow down, just slow down. I guess that’s all I really know to do. The more I try the hastier I feel myself getting. I know that things have a way of working themselves out, but I don’t know what other than my university I should focus on and so I allow myself to go into circles and get tangled up in courses and studies. It’s time to just slow down, take a breath and pray!

Just when the wondering circles seem to come to an end I get tangled up again. I know that years from now I’m going to look back and see how easy the answer actually was, but right here, right now? It’s hard. I can’t seem to find a university. I find places, but the courses don’t match, I find courses, but they’re not online or they’re part of a university scam. I take “time off” and think that if I sit back down 2days later I might discover that perfect something new that’s meant almost just for me. But when I get back I step into the same tangles again. It’s like a maze and I can’t seem to remember which paths I’ve walked and which ones I’ve previosly discarted or for what reason. I get to my laptop and I’m all tangled up again.

This week I realised how much I love music. I don’t love music the way other people seem to. I don’t know what’s new or hot or in, but that doesn’t mean I don’t care about music. I allowed myself to believe that, because I didn’t care for music the way my friend did, I didn’t care for it at all. This is totally untrue; we both care for music in different ways. I own coasters that look like vinyl discs.

I allowed myself to be influenced by how my friends listen to music. Be careful of who you look up to, whose opinion you take. Make sure that when you ask for an opinion and you do the opposite that you are doing the right thing, but also that you don’t feel guilty. You should determine your own identity in Jesus. Other people’s opinions may matter, but don’t let them make you believe that you are less than you are. Don’t let them tell you, without words, that you don’t care for music…

I’m realising that I need to learn to slow down. I’m seeing the “benefits” of slowing down. I’m seeing how fortunate people are who do not talk so quickly, as I do, who don’t get angry quickly… They have more speed and less haste.

I wish everything would fall into place right away, but it won’t. I need to go with the flow and see where the river takes me. I just really wish I could find a university, enrol and then chill out till August/ September. I try to relax, but I keep thinking that I need to find a university and that chilling before I do is “wrong” and this thought “steals my peace”.

Hmmm, I always thought that bloggers wore their hearts on their sleeves, that posting your life for public view was craze and here I am, writing weekly posts and publishing them for unknown people to read. But I was wrong about wearing your heart on your sleeve. You can be open and write down your experiences without opening up your heart.

For the past few days the sun has been looking like a moon to my eye. At sunset it’s not a burning yellow ball hanging over the ocean, but rather a vague, but perfect, white circle that you can stare at without blinking. I’ve never known the sun to look like this.

On the metro I find men staring at me! Not subtly looking at me, but plainly staring at me without blinking. They remind me of gold fish. I really don’t like it. I seem to get more attention than other girls because of my blond hair. Now it’s always a comforting fact to me that God knew I would someday live in Dubai and He still chose to give me blond hair. I just don’t like being stared at, so I usually go for the women’s cabin, there I’m not a monkey in a zoo cage.

11/05/2013 – Day 98 – Doodles –

Here’s a bunch of odd ideas that keep running through my mind. They keep asking to be written down, so here goes:

“What if it doesn’t work out?” “WHAT IF IT DOES?” One Tree Hill

“Though you may never know all the steps you must learn to join the dance” Joseph King of Dreams

We spend so much time finding reasons not to do something. We spend our time being scared of taking risks. Sometimes you have to think like “Dr. Yes”, who says “I find more reasons to do things than not to.” Richard Branson. Find reasons to do something. Don’t always think about what if it doesn’t work out; rather think of where you would be if it does… If you start dancing, you’ll learn the steps, it will work out. You might bruise your toes in the beginning, but you will never learn the steps unless you start the dance.

Sometimes I look at Disney and the other animation studios and I think “I wish I could thank them!” The stories that they told, the music they wrote, the characters they portrayed… These things carried me through life, I grew up with them. I find so much truth in the stories and songs, even now when I need something I run to Disney’s songs and movies. I find life lessons that I don’t need to learn, only to apply, because they were told to me by Disney when I was 4years old. I’m a strong independent girl, but I’ve always loved princess stories, I’m very sorry that Disney has declared to stop making them. I never thought myself inferior to a “Prince” because of watching Cinderella of Beauty and the Beast. Belle also took risks on her own and so did Ariel.

Palm trees aren’t green! I use to think palm trees are lush green. They aren’t. Palm trees are brown-ish with some green leaves sometimes. They usually appear to be dusty to my eyes; even the well watered ones that are “green” are dusty. And who, except for the Red Queens workers in Alice in Wonderland, had ever thought of dusting a palm tree?

Growing up in Bloemfontein nothing was ever “far”. You could get to the mall within 15-20 min and be back home within 30min. You could walk to where you needed to be. If somebody told me I’d have to spend an hour of travelling to get to Bible study I’d have scoffed and thought it absurd. I now spend an hour every week going to Bible study or Life Group. It’s important to me. I had the ability to go to the mall in an hour, travelling included. Here just going to the mall getting there and walking around takes me up to 3hours and then I have to get a bus/ train/ taxi home. I’m dead tired when I get back home and all I can think of is a cold shower and passing out on my bed. I guess when I know places better the tiredness will decrease, but the time spent to achieve something seems to be fixed at long.

You find out what your full of” Pastor Jack Frost. I use to consider myself a positive, adventurous person. J. Frost says that sometimes God puts people or situations in your life to help you realise what you’re full of. I thought I was mellow passed. I had to come to Dubai to realise that I can be a very negative person. I realised that I could even hate the idea of an adventure, I realised that I am not mellow paced. I try to rush through life, I’ll create a ton of stress for myself, but I have to do things quickly… In Bloem I thought I was doing just fine, in Dubai I’m realising what I’m full of and I’m working to become the person I know I am.

Last night I called South Africa. I didn’t care about the cost; I needed to hear something that sounded like home. I spoke to one of my best buddies there. We yelled, I almost cried, we talked, he told me to breathe, we carried on talking and suddenly I giggled. Then I realised that I hadn’t laughed, truly laughed in quite some time. It’s been so hard moving here that I’ve just been in survival mode. I realised that the people who’ve met me here have met a very down in the dumps girl. You can’t ask them to love me for something I am not, they can’t love me if they don’t know me, it’s time to bring back the bouncy me! (Dankie Boetie)

I removed the pressure from myself and I felt so relieved. On arriving in Dubai I wanted to immediately start with a TESOL course and art classes and build a home and figure out everything in the first week. I’m very glad that I didn’t enrol for anything, I’m glad I could pray about it. I love not being under any obligation at the moment. I’m so use to deadlines and structure and expectations that to just live, live without having to do something, with the ability to disregard what I wrote down on my To Do List for the day is very liberating. I’m extremely grateful to God for giving me this time off. I hope I will end up spending it in the right manner. I worry about universities to much. I need to remember that my Daddy has always taken care of me and it’s OK to not do anything.

Lastly: BECAREFULL WHAT YOU PRAY FOR. I prayed for adventure. I prayed to see the world. I sang along with Belle in Beauty and the BeastI want much more than this provincial life!
I want adventure in the great wide somewhere, I want it more than I can tell”.
Now I have it, it’s there when open my curtain before my morning coffee. It’s there when I walk out my front door. It’s hidden around every corner and suddenly I find myself being scared. I never thought I was scared. I thought I was daring and brave and willing to take risks. I was independent. Suddenly I’m a little overwhelmed by the immensity of adventure, of seeing the world.

I never realised that I had a comfort zone until I was pulled out of it, by my own choice, mind you. I chose Dubai and I chose not to stay in Bloemfontein. I prayed about it and if it wasn’t for my faith in God I don’t think I’d have made it. How people can come here having nothing but their own gut feeling to hold onto is beyond my understanding. Having scriptures to hold on to that remind me that God told me to come and that’s what keeps me here. It helps me when I’m sad to know it’s not a mistake that I’m here. I didn’t make this choice alone, I made it with my Daddy, God.

10/05/2013 – Day 97 – Spontaneity needs boundaries –

A new country is always established with boundaries. Inside these boundaries the king of the land may do what he wants. He establishes his laws and within them you can live spontaneously.

Your life is a book, then the lines on the pages are already drawn, but you get to fill in the words. Some pages are blank and you can draw or paint or write sideways or paste pictures on then instead of write, this is what spontaneity means to me.

I use to think that boundaries killed the flames of spontaneity. Trying to be spontaneous on every page of the book of my life left me feeling very stressed. I was disregarding the lines of the book. I never knew what would happen next. The moment I brought boundaries into my life I could relax.

Boundaries help me to know where to start and where to stop. Boundaries can bend! I can decide to be spontaneous on one page, and to obey the lines on the next… I can edit my boundaries, but living without boundaries isn’t possible.

Spontaneity doesn’t mean you always do just what you want whenever you want. It can only work when you know your side lines. Your life is a page and spontaneity is the little notes in the side lines.

A boundary is the oxygen that gives life to the flames of spontaneity. Live within your boundaries and have time for spontaneity.

PS. My blog doesn’t consist of perfect grammar or amazing writing. It consists of my memories, experiences and things that I thought fit to write down. Every post can be edited, but I didn’t start this blog for literary perfection, I started it for memories. Memories are not made, they craft themselves at the most unlikely times and if you don’t at least jot them down they have the ability to fade and in the end to be lost forever.

Neverland vs. Wonderland

This week I finished the audio books of both Peter Pan and Alice’s Adventures in wonderland. I couldn’t understand something: I could go to Neverland very easy, but Wonderland I couldn’t enter. Both are fictional worlds in which you need a great deal of imagination to enter.

Peter Pan knocked at my window and I briskly opened it. I took Peter’s hand, flew away to Neverland and had a splendid time. I gave Peter a “thimble” and fought with Captain Jas Hook. I could believe in fairies and mermaids and pirates and a ticking crocodile and flying children as easily as if it where something that occurs daily.
Much pleased with meeting Peter and ready for a new adventure I then ventured to meet Alice. I chased her and the white rabbit down the rabbit hole only to find myself very confused. I couldn’t understand any of it. I don’t mind talking creatures and I can imagine a grinning cat. I hated being in Wonderland and wished I could escape to Neverland.

This I don’t understand. I don’t have a problem with fiction or fantasy. I have an imagination. One reason I love working with children is because they can believe that they are in a forest hiding from an arch enemy while really you’re just sitting under a kitchen table.

Why is Alice in Wonderland popular? I loved the Tim Burton movie, but Alice in Wonderland is one of those books that they make a new movie of every 10years. What do script writers and other readers see that I don’t? Why could the movie take me to Wonderland, but not the book?

Well, I’m off to Narnia. Lucy and I are going to walk through the cupboard door, Mr. Tumnuss is waiting…

09/05/2013 – Day 96

 “It’s time to take up your place in the circle of life” Mufasa, Lion King

 As a Christian I believe that my Daddy is the King, so that means I have authority… I’m starting to learn to take up my authority; as a friend, family member, godmother, daughter and captain of the ship of my life. It’s fun!

I sometimes wonder why life is so hard and then I think, God thinks I’m strong enough to cope with moving to Dubai. He thinks I’m strong enough to go to university. He thinks I’m strong enough to be a godmother. I can’t do this by myself I need my Daddy-God. He thinks I can handle the authority that He has given me. Knowing that He thinks I’m strong enough gives me courage.

This month I’m doing a Bible study course. Getting deeper into the Word and also apparently I’m going to learn to do bible study for myself. I read my bible, but I’ve never studied it… So I decided to bake cookies to the bible study group. One of the leaders were surprised that I had baked and not bought the cookies and another guy asked me how long it takes me to bake. I told him it takes about an hour from the time I walk into the kitchen until the dishes and the cookies are done. He was surprised to hear that I had actually mixed butter and flour; he thought I had bought the cookie dough. I don’t know who was more surprised, me at the idea that baking isn’t me mixing the ingredients or the guys realising that I had spend actual time in the kitchen and enjoyed it!

I finished Screw it, Let’s do it by Richard Branson in the train on my way to bible study. There is so much truth and wisdom in that book. He might not believe in God, but he obeys some spiritual laws and I think that is a part of why his company does so well! It’s a tiny little book, read it if you need some giggling and business laws.

As I’m writing this blog, I’m sitting on a genuine white leather chair! Yes, I got rid of the D70 little rickety thing that I had. My current chair was completely out of our price range, until the shop that sold it closed down, I bought it after the price was brought down by 75%. I’m pretty pleased with myself, my leather chair and my cheap butterfly stickers that I have stuck on my desk give me the same joy. Money doesn’t buy happiness.

I have discovered an immense love for audio books. There are a lot of times where my eyes and hands are busy, but my mind is free. In these moments I plug in my headphones and plunge into stories. I fly away with Peter Pan and move into the mansion at Green Gables. I love it, I still get the story, the wit of words the author used; I just do it without paper…

05/05/2013 – Day 92

“Now it is a strange thing, but things that are good to have and days that are good to spend are soon told about, and not much to listen to…” J.R.R. Tolkien, The Hobbit

 

I went on an Overnight Desert Safari on May 2. I had Phil Collins’s song “On My Way” playing in my mind constantly. We had a 10min stop at some touristy shops and an Indian woman invited me to join her and her family. There was a choice between doing the overnight safari or driving back at 9pm. The family I met weren’t spending the night, but I spent the evening with them. The bus ride was an hour long. I read Richard Branson’s book Screw it, let’s do it when I looked up the bus had stopped and 4×4’s were waiting to take us to the camp site by doing dune bashing. The dune bashing made me feel quite seasick, hitting all the ups and downs at quite a speed! At the camp site we rode on camels, a very short ride, maybe 20m at the most, but I was glad it wasn’t longer, it’s rather uncomfy on a camel, but I enjoyed it non-the-less.

The youngest daughter (10y) of the Indian family and I spent most of our time together. I wanted to see the sunset, so we climbed up a dune and I watched the sun set over the desert. I stood gazing at it and suddenly it was over, the sun had vanished behind the horizon and dusk came over the land.

I got a henna tattoo and the girl who did it asked me if the Indian girl was my daughter! I said no, she’s my friend. The Muslim girl looked surprised and I told her that I knew the girl’s family. The Muslim girl who was doing my henna tattoo told me that the girl’s family was my friends, not just the girl. It’s a family culture, not an individual one; you aren’t friends with one member of a family, my family is friends with your family…

I ate with the Indian family, and then we watched belly dancing and tamboor dancing. I danced on stage with the tamboor dancer. It was pretty cool, although all you really have to do is turn around in a circle, though that turns out to be a lot harder than expected. The robe that you put on to dance with is heavier than I expected so it takes a lot of very fast twirling to make it spin level. I was very dizzy when I got off the stage, but I knew which way to walk.

There were only 5 people staying over for the night. They threw out a Persian map and set up my own little tent for me to sleep in. There was a Muslim man who seemed pretty interested in me, an unmarried girl travelling alone, he kind of annoyed me! I wish I had told him to just leave me alone, but I didn’t want to be rude or mean, so I just ended up being shy and trying to avoid him. Not a good tactic.

“To sleep under the stars, who could ask for more, with the moon keeping watch over me” Phil Collins – I couldn’t fall asleep, they kept playing very loud music, the same music the belly dancer had danced to. The lights also remained on for almost an hour after the tents had been set-up, the workers where cleaning up… I desperately wanted to see the stars, but that wasn’t possible. I decided to try and fall asleep.  I woke up just after 4am, unzipped my tent door and stared up at the moon. I got a glimpse of the stars, but the sunrise was only an hour away. By 5:15 I was lying on a dune watching the dawn coming over the world and then I saw the sunrise, a vague yellow circle behind the dust growing ever brighter. It was beautiful.

The desert life style wasn’t based on comfort! Camel riding is quite uncomfortable and sleeping on the ground with a mat instead of a mattress is also something. I’ve read my Bible several times and never thought how it must have been for the Israelites to live in the desert. A lifestyle covered in sand. Walking is hard, your feet sink into the soft sand and you need all the strength in your legs for the next step to get up a dune. I tried walking with sneakers, but I saw the workers who spend every day in the sand were bare foot, as I saw that I started untying my laces and soon my shoes where lying next to me and walking without them was much easier.

There was one dune, maybe 10 – 15m high, from which you could sand-board – if you knew how! I tried it 3 times and fell over, running down ended up being more fun. There was a Hindu family who had also spent the night, the little girl wanted to go up the dune and I helped her by just holding her hand. At the top I left her and ran down to get the sand-board thinking I might try it again. She got very scared, because the dune was very steep. I left my sand-board and climbed back up. This time I started feeling nauseous, climbing up a sand dune takes a lot of energy if you’re not use to it, I finally got up. Sitting down next to the girl I put her on my lap and slowly started to slide down, she was very scared. The steep dune and the arms of a strange girl were almost too much for her, but finally we reached the bottom.

Everything I own was full of sand. Desert sand has a way of creeping into every little corner. I packed way to much stuff, not knowing what would be needed. If I had just packed a change of clothes in my back-pack I’d have been fine, but I packed my pink shoulder bag so full that I ended up bruising my shoulder!

Overall, it was wonderful! I wish I could see more of the stars though.

04/05/2013 – Day 91

It’s officially 3months since I got off the plane. The weeks are short, but the days are long. Being here is like biking through the mountains. You spend a lot of energy getting yourself up, just to enjoy the ride down and then you have to peddle as hard as you can again to move from down in the dumps. It feels like I’m on more level ground, but there are still major ups and downs.

I made a new friend this week, Josef (Pronounced the same as in Afrikaans). He’s from Lebanon and works at a shop in the mall selling sand art. They take a pear shaped glass bottle, the smallest one I’ve seen is about 10cm high, and probably around 5cm broad at the widest. Then he starts throwing sand into the bottle, first directly and then he uses some tools to throw and shape the sand, within a few seconds the sand turns from shapeless grains into pictures of dunes with camels and a sun, before you realise that he’s made it, he hands you the tiny little bottle and starts working on a new one. You can ask that he writes something in the bottle, this is done by writing upside down and wrong way round with glue inside the bottle, then throwing black sand over the glue and then building the picture.

I asked him to teach me and he said “Why not?” So I found myself sitting on my knees watching him work and then I tried. Apparently it’s a trade that you can learn within two weeks, but my first bottle wasn’t very good and my “lesson” kept being interrupted by tourists. I never finished my lesson, but I’ll go back in a week.

Josef speaks good English and so I get to learn a lot from him, since he knows the Arabic culture. At first he didn’t want to tell me the stories, traditional Arabic stories, cultural and religious, but after I went back a second time he was more eager to open up. I enjoy asking the people around me to tell me the stories of the things in the country. I know I can find it on Google with less fuss, but that’s just it, it’s a lot more interesting to hear the symbolism from the lips of an Egyptian Muslim woman then reading them on Google…

I’m extremely grateful for my Life Group, they keep me pretty sane. Once a week I walk into a room full of people who at least seem to be happy to see me. Some people find their friends in bars or clubs, I found mine at church. I’m a constant presence every week with a quite outspoken opinion. I’m still working to call them true friends, at the moment they’re more acquaintances, but I’ll turn them into friends soon.