Life Getting in the Way of Living

Let me tell you what my life looks like nowadays.

Take yesterday, for example. I got to work, which has been increasingly stressful for the last 6 months, with a lot of crap going on that I don’t think I should talk about here. Suffice to say I spent 10 mins crying in the loo, it was that bad. (I never cry at work. It’s happened ONCE before, and even then I was much younger, a rookie).

I left office early, at 5:30pm… only because I had a flight to catch to Qatar (for work of course! No one goes to Qatar if they can help it!) at 10pm. I got home. I was hungry, cos I’d only eaten half a sandwich (stress makes me lose my appetite) at noon for lunch, but I’d no time to eat cos the cab would come to pick me up soon. My day had started at 5:30am, and I’d not really been able to sleep well for a week or so, so I was exhausted and decided to take a 5 min nap. I woke up when the cabbie called telling me he’s waiting downstairs.

I jumped out of bed, packed everything in 5 mins and ran out the door. I got to the airport and got to the gate at 9pm, ten mins before boarding was to officially start. I saw that they were boarding people early, but I figured I had time for a quick bite to eat, so went to the nearby cafe and ordered a quiche. I sat down to eat it, and just as I’d put a forkful of food into my mouth, I heard the *final boarding call* for my flight. I was confused… cos my boarding pass said they would start … oh why bother! I discarded the quiche *sob* and ran (literally ran!) to the gate. That’s when I realized I didn’t have my laptop bag on me. I must have left it at the cafe. So I hauled ass back to the cafe, but the woman at the counter said she hadn’t seen any laptop bag.

There was a moment of wild-eyed panic cos I wasn’t sure where the hell else I could have possibly left it. I ran back to the gate and explained my predicament to the officer there. By now, people were starting to notice the crazy woman running to and fro between Gate 10 and Paul’s Patisserie. The guy who works those golf-cart type cars was parked there looking at me going back and forth like a ping-pong ball with a look of pity on his face that made me want to start crying all over again. The officer at the gate gave me 10 mins to retrace my steps and find my bag before he closed the gate.

I turned away from the gate wondering where to start when suddenly, the golf-cart driver beeped his horn, and when I turned around, I saw him driving to me with my laptop bag sitting beside him. Apparently the chef at the cafe found it and gave it to him. I thanked him profusely. But words like “thank you” seems strangely insufficient at times like this. I got to the plane, ate the crummy little egg sandwich and a sorry little cupcake they served and fell asleep watching The Big Bang Theory.

I woke up in Qatar, arriving at the same time I’d left cos of the 1 hour time difference, with only my body clock complaining confusedly. The line at immigration looked like it was inspired by Lucifer himself, serpentine and long enough to make me wonder if I should just kill myself then and be done with it. I finally got to my hotel much after midnight. But no, the night was not over, cos you see.. I still had work left to do before I went to sleep. I managed to send a couple of mails before I finally succumbed to sleep. I’ve been up since 6:30am, working. And I just realized I’ve forgotten my laptop charger.

Help!

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Days Like These…

NYE was pretty standard. Party, fireworks, getting home at 5am etc.

It used to be that I was very superstitious about how I spent my NYE. I’m not anymore. But I do like spending the first day of the year in a way that makes me happy. This, for me, is a way to kinda make sure that I don’t forget what’s important for me.

I went to the spa for a massage in the morning. I wasn’t the only one with this brilliant idea though. Seemed like everyone wanted to knead off the stress of partying the night before (I know I know! Then why do it? Good question!) I didn’t get an appointment at my regular branch at the time I wanted cos they were too busy. So I went to the other one they recommended. It was fantastic in all respects except for ONE really weird thing. The loo in in the changing room had a buddha-like statue facing  the toilet! So if you sat down in the loo, you’d be staring straight at this dude! Very disconcerting! I had to take pictures of course! :D Here you go!

See what I mean!

See what I mean!

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no one really wants an audience while they’re in the loo you know!

After the massage (which was excellent and almost made me forget about the weird statue staring at me in the loo), I had to rush home cos I was having friends over for dinner. I made this delicious pasta and a version of Jamie Oilver’s garlic bread.

Dinner and drinks

Dinner and drinks

Thankfully, it turned out well and we spent a lovely evening stuffing ourselves silly and drinking eggnog strong enough to down an elephant! The evening only ended at 1am, which of course meant that I was late to work on my first day back! I’m okay with that though! ;)

Here’s to more days like this!

Cheers and a Happy New Year to all! *clink*

Rocky Road

road ahead

The road ahead

 

This picture was taking on my cellphone when I was hiking up Preikestolen. It is a very good representation of what my life is like at the moment –  the road ahead is rocky and dangerous, I’m struggling to climb it, and I’m exhausted (that part’s not in the picture, but it’s implied).

 

Hope you’re all having a better time than I am.

The Grand Mosque

I made a promise to myself to publish a post every single weekday until the end of the month, and I’ve already defaulted on it cos I didn’t post anything yesterday!

It’s a tough week at work, loads of organizational changes, loads of all-day meetings that finish with team-dinners that run into the night… so I’ve not exactly been able to take the time out to blog. (Look at me, giving myself excuses for not posting. Pathetic!). Without further ado… let me get started on today’s post. We are exploring places in the UAE again today.

I’d been meaning to go to the Grand Mosque in Abu Dhabi ever since I first caught sight of it on one of my numerous drives to Abu Dhabi for work. It is a beautiful structure and the intricate work on the building is reminiscent of the kind of work done on the Taj Mahal.

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If you have the chance to, I’d definitely recommend a visit. It’s open to tourists and they give women abayas to wear at the entrance. The abayas come with a hood (to avoid having to give them burkhas separately I suppose) and I felt like a total ninja in it! Just hand me a nunchuck  already! :D

I’m not very religious, and rarely go to places of worship for religious reasons. I do meditate though, and prefer places of worship to be quiet and peaceful and hate crowded places where you’re being poked  in the ribs by rude people and pushed along in a crowd. This mosque is not only beautiful, but also very peaceful and so big that the crowds don’t seem to affect it’s serenity.

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A Tourist at Home

It’s been a ridiculously long time since I last blogged. I could give a lot of excuses, sure… but the real reason is that I’m just plain lazy. I need to just get down to it and start writing again.

SO…. okay… I have decided that I will blog every single weekday, until the end of this month!

I’m not sure how I’m going to go about it… what will I blog about every single day? But it’s out there now and I’ll just have to do it.

I’ll start with Dubai, cos I blog very little about the city I was brought up and continue to live in. They say a picture is worth a thousand words, and to ease the burden of thinking up stuff to write…  I’ll put up a picture or two as well (all cellphone pics, so excuse the poor quality).

a rare cloudy day in Dxb

This was taken a couple of weeks ago. It hardly ever rains in Dubai. So when it does, we’re all thrilled to bits about it! Except, this particular weekend, my friend was visiting from the U.S. and I didn’t want it to be ruined cos of the rain. Though it did rain quite heavily, it was scattered, and we managed to stay out of the rain for the most part.

I showed them around, took them to the usual places… souq madinat jumeirah, Dubai Mall, Barasti etc.

Looking up at the skyline from Barasti

View from Barasti

They were happy tourists, raring to go and pleased with everything they saw.  A lot of it reminded them of the U.S. apparently, but more Arabic of course. So while the outdoor lebanese restaurant I took them to was very similar to the one they frequented in San Francisco, the hummous was wildly different (and better) than the one they had there. It was all, at once familiar yet exotic, which is quite a heady mix! 

The Burj Al Arab

The Burj Al Arab

I took them to the Burj al Arab for afternoon tea. They didn’t realize the meal involved as many courses as it did.

Afternoon "tea"

Afternoon “tea”

It started with champagne, which is a bit different from your usual afternoon tea menu, but then this is Dubai of course! Then came tarts and sandwiches, sorbets, scones with clotted cream, macaroons and profiteroles,  and finally, the choices for tea (or coffee) were brought forward, followed by more cakes and pastries.

a day of excesses!

a day of excesses!

Of course, it is impossible for a normal human being to eat all of this in one sitting and we left with our tummies bursting and heads reeling from the excesses of the day.

Scones! My favourite part of tea!

Scones! My favourite part of tea!

I took them to Deira afterwards, to show them the other side of Dubai. We drove around Satwa and walked around the gold souk for a bit before I dropped them off to the airport.

I must say, I saw more of Dubai in those three days than I have all year! I love showing tourists around, cos if you’re not traveling, the next best thing is to be around people who are!

Everything seems a lot more interesting from a tourist’s curious eyes, doesn’t it?

 

Where Domesticity is Attempted

I know I know… you’re probably wondering why I even keep this blog alive when I have to use a defibrillator and kick-start it to life for a sorry few days with a new post and then let it go comatose again for weeks on end.

I’ve been busy TRYING to travel and when that didn’t work, I was too caught up in coming to terms with the fact that my aussie and brit colleagues had just had the time of their lives ( I could tell by their red-eyed, hungover faces) while I was whiling my life away in boring old Dubai! Don’t get me wrong, Dubai isn’t usually boring. It’s only boring now cos most of my world was away on holiday for the long weekend while I was stuck here.

What bugs me most is when people ask “did you try this?” and offer their suggestion of what I maybe should have done. I had, of course, tried every trick in the book to try and get a visa (short of buying a fake British passport) and was frustrated beyond words at the incompetence of the guys at VFS, who first wouldn’t get me the visa on time, and then, once I withdrew my application for the visa, refused to even give back my passport in time for me to make use of the long weekend we had by taking a short trip someplace, maybe Sri Lanka?

Anyway… as house-bound as I was… I figured I’d make the most of it by catching up on movies and maybe doing up the house, which still looks like I’m halfway through unpacking though I’ve lived here almost 2 years. I need an ottoman to complete my furniture-circle around the TV, and I have a bunch of stuff I bought/photographed from around the globe that needs to be framed and hung up. Of course, I’m not exactly domestic ( I cook quite well, but maintain house? meh!) so I did nothing at all and the house still looks like it always has- incomplete. :/

In order to compensate, I bought me this lil thing.

Meet Vera. Aloe Vera :P

Meet Vera. Aloe Vera :P

It’s an aloe vera plant. Isn’t it  pretty? :D I bought aloe vera cos I’ve handled it before (my parents used to have a massive version of this plant), and because it’s a cactus succulent, so it’s pretty low maintenance. If you know me at all, you’ll know that I made the right decision by not buying anything too delicate. I need hardy, I need tough! Something with an IP rating if possible!

And now, I hope and pray that I get to at least go on my vacation  next month without any problems! My trips this year have been jinxed twice already! It would be cruel if it were to happen again!

Bring me luck Vera!

The Wait

packed and ready

I’m in a weird situation at the moment.

I’m supposed to go to a very important work event next week, and I’ve got my tickets & hotel confirmed by the company and even booked a place to stay at for the weekend so I can stay on after the event and explore the place. But… I’m not sure if I’m going or not.

You see, I don’t have my visa yet. :/

*tick*

Usually, the Schengen visa takes all of 3 days to come through. But now, for whatever reason (tourist season, apparently), the embassy has decided that they will take 30 days to process ALL visa applications. I don’t have 30 days! I had 15! And now I have… till Thursday!

*tock*

I’m not sure if I should prepare myself to go or prepare myself to not go (if I don’t go, I face the wrath of my bosses). I’m not sure if next week this time, I’ll be fraternizing with colleagues over a glass of cava or… or… oh horror! I don’t even want to think of it!

I don’t know anyone at the embassy, and I don’t know if I can just walk up to them and coax them into giving me a visa (embassies don’t work that way do they?). I’ve got my fingers crossed, cos I don’t know what else to do. It’s a waiting game… and the tension is driving me up the wall!

 

*tick*…