Monday, June 30, 2014

Don't look now, it's a vicious Christmas Tree!

I always thought people in places here in America overdid it on the Christmas decorations. Some houses and buildings rival Clark Griswold's epic Christmas light masterpiece in the old National Lampoon Christmas movie. But that was until I saw how Dubai does Christmas, and I wasn't even there for Christmas!  I arrived on New Years Eve and went out in search of food that's when I saw this epic masterpiece of a tree that would surely make Clark Griswold proud.

I will admit I was taken by surprise that this mall, which is called Festival City, had such a huge Christmas tree still standing on new years eve. Here in America the trees and decorations come down the very next day after Christmas is celebrated. I wondered why it wasn't the same in Dubai and then I realized that these decorations don't really represent the Christmas holiday at all in the sense that they would here in America but are more of a representation of how much Dubai is a global community with many diverse backgrounds. The tree stands as a symbol of welcome from Dubai to the people of the book. Even after New Years I heard Christmas Music playing over the loud speakers in Dubai Mall, I've never heard Christmas Music played in public places here in America after the holiday is over.

First I must say that I loved this girl's grey striped abaya mashallah. Now that I've gotten that out of the way, it was interesting to watch how all nationalities and all religions that were present walked around the tree and admired it. After all, it is a beautiful tree even if you don't celebrate the Christian holidays.

These poinsettias were real, and really beautiful. Dubai's choices for flower decorations far surpass the fake plastic flowers I see placed in malls here.

But I adore how malls have these huge bukhoor burners in the hallways, perfect for standing near and fanning the bukhoor around yourself after you have been walking and exploring all day and fear that you may not be smelling as nice as you should!

Ramadan 2013 Reflections

Ramadan is here once again. I'm excited and worried about it all at the same time. Excited because it is such a beautiful time, but worried about the days and nights that I will be celebrating it alone. Celebrating Ramadan alone, and just practicing Islam alone in general can get the best of you sometimes and the isolation and fears really set in. 

Last year was my 3rd Ramadan since I reverted, but the first that I actually got to celebrate it in with other people. I was so lucky to get to spend the first few days of Ramadan in Dubai, it was such a beautiful time with beautiful people and I learned so much. The day I had to leave to come back to Kentucky was so sad and bittersweet. I was happy to get to see my parents again but I missed hearing the athan and seeing the mosques and my friends before I had even left. 

My flight left a little after midnight that night so I spent the day walking around Wafi mall so I could get a final adventure in before I had to leave. The mall was almost totally empty since everyone was at home celebrating Ramadan which gave me time to gather my thoughts and prepare myself to go back home to Kentucky. The last day of every trip when I am in Dubai is always the hardest and I just wanna stay curled up in my room and cry. This day was especially sad for me because I was finally feeling a connection to Ramadan and didn't want it to end. I wanted to feel Ramadan around me every minute I was awake, because I knew that once I went back home it would just be me trying to fast and observe Ramadan the correct way by myself. 

These are photos I took at Wafi during Ramadan last year, you can see how empty the mall was during the day.