no collar bone

Working and Covering Appropriately

In America we have “to go” meals and “doggy bags”, but here in the UAE it’s called, “Take Away”.  I did some intense thinking about this term.  What will I, indeed, take away from my experience here.  I know this is getting deep, however, I recognize that I’m learning from expats from other countries, natives and cab drivers.

Sure, I have declined some new foods but I tried others.  I have experienced great joy, hospitality, frustration, rejection and other parts of culture shock.

Whether, Binod is taking my order or Oas is trying to clean up after me at my breakfast booth in the Grand Millennium Hotel, I am taking away more than Chicken Tikka and Biriyani.  I am learning and understanding more about myself and others.  So I humble myself and ask questions… daily.  I attempt to try again, continuously.  Most of all, I don’t give up.  Cashier, Melanie at Popeyes gave me a quick tutorial on Arabic counting for coins and conversion.

Some simple truths about Abu Dhabi:

  1. Almost everywhere delivers (That includes KFC… Food court spots like: Pizza Hut, Popeyes+)
    1. You won’t be able to write YELP reviews though, as there’s none of that here.
      1. Mini-Yelp, “quick tips”: Popeyes chicken tenders are okay but the popcorn shrimp is better.  It actually tastes like shrimp with a popcorn aftertaste.
  2. Most people are friendly and kind just like everywhere else.
  3. Most things can be found at LuLu (HyperMarket similar to our Target).
    1. Stores are organized differently.
    2. On my first trip I found a Universal Travel Adapter to charge my Macbook Pro. It was only 29 Dirhams and so far it works well.
    3. It took me a few trips to find nail polish remover.
    4. I still can’t find bobby pins.  Rajin tried to help me but directed me to the baby section.  I’m assuming my pronunciation of “bobby” sounds like “baby” to him.  Margie tried to help me but pointed to the “over there” spot… a section where I found paperclips.  I believe she thought I was asking for pens.
    5. We bought living in a hotel snacks and week 1 of work needs like: Evian, Roasted Cashews, my first abaya, Rawabi Juice, Snickers, Oreos, Skittles and Carmalized cashews w/ sesame seeds for a lil under 207 Dirhams.

What I know about myself through Abu Dhabi:

  • I’m loyal to Cajun fries and Mojitos (Classic, Blackberry, and Strawberry).  I am learning Arabic through shopping and counting change.  It’s still very difficult for me.
  • I’ve been using social media a lot more because currently with my phone service, I cannot text unless I’m using an app like Whatsapp.
  • I’ve been somewhat inconsiderate with the time difference and I’m hoping to be more conscious of that when reaching out to family back home.  They have not been bothered by my early morning messages in their time zone.

Check Out my YouTube Channel… I’m getting better at this.


I am experiencing culture shock.


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