Friday, August 13, 2010

So this is what a food binge in UAE looks like. During Ramadan. Fasting month. These are my freinds today. Notice the Choco Pies and the Nutella. Also, some cheeto like things only peanut butter flavored. (something for you to look forward to Melissa. I also found our Indian wheat puffs) These are my friends for today. Very good freinds.

I started my morning out with much better intentions. Actually I had awoken at 4:30 AM with the morning call to prayer and reminded myself that this was my Sunday and i would try to get to church, which would involve me driving for the first time. I had drifted back to sleep and was having a most amusing dream about ice skating and in the middle of doing a triple axle jump into a dizzying spin when Skype started chirping to bring me back into this world that is not about ice skating at all. But I had the most delicious conversation with Anne which really made my day start off wonderfully (but the reason, Anne, that my hair was so messy was because of that triple axle spin I was just in the middle of).

I really needed that call because I was feeling a little sorry for myself last night and had said a special prayer as I fell to sleep about needing my friends, and there she was and so I decided to follow through and go to church as well. After studying my route quite carefully, I set off. Friday morning is a good time to learn to drive in Abu Dhabi. Very few cars out. I made it to the church about ten minutes before the service started but suddenly felt very shy and uncomfortable about going in alone. I almost turned around and headed back. I could see lots of people standing around visitn on the plaza in front. I waited until the service was underway until entering. I sat toward the back in middle of an empty row. But then things filled in around me and as the seats got fuller and fuller I was soon seated next to two men (I found out later) one from India and one from Lebanon. The music was all songs I like and that helped me feel a little more at home. The church was filled with an international array of people from all over the world. I think the only country I didn't see represented was the country we were in: no Abayas or Dishdashes at all.

When the service was over I got cornered by the man from India who was sitting by my side. He kept asking me if my bones hurt at all, pointing to my knees, touching my shoulders. He told me he did massages in India. He works here for a government agency. "Your feet feel sore? I can take care of them." He said he just got here. First time to church. He has no friends. Where was I going? Where did I live? I felt not very Christian as I dismissed him. He has no friends. But I did not want a massage and I left feeling a bad person. This is the only Evangelical Church in Abu Dhabi. My only other choice that I am aware of is a Catholic Church. I will try again. I need fellowship but I am going to have to be braver to find it.

So, I turned my car down the road to Carefores, the large grocery store down the road from the church. At this time I am thinking I will spend the rest of the day in my pajamas eating bad food and slipping in and out of sleep. Which explains the picture above. I did, by the way, also get an assortment of vegetables and fruits, including trying some new fruit, called jack fruit which looks a bit like a magnolia blossom and tastes a bit like bland, under ripe pineapple.

The driving went fine, but when I got back to our place I had to deal with the usual parking hunt. Parking here is very hard to find. People get very creative. My return timing was less than ideal. The noon call to prayer had just gone out and there were men everywhere heading to the mosque. Friday noon is the biggest service of the week. So I got to attempt to parallel park into a center of road parking space surrounded by men on the way to Mosque. Then, walking to the apartment, my arms full of shopping bags I realized that these men were setting up for prayer on every available piece of walkway as well, including right in front of my apartment. They were all facing Meccah and I felt so invasive when I had to walk inches in front of them, in my Sunday dress (read, knee length, instead of my typical slacks or long skirt).

So I am off to bed with my bag of peanutbutter curleys, a jar of Nutella on the stand by, to blog, and read and perhaps snooze a bit. Maybe I will finish that triple axle jump. But I would be happy to be awakened by a Skype call from any of you any time. It's kind of quite here.

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