I will not apologize for my lack of blogging activity. I will apologize, however, to any of the individuals who tried to contact me last week and got a zombie-faced Chelci who lacked much or any enthusiasm and, depending on the hour, a pulse for that matter. Who needs a Halloween costume when you have a whole week of hellish midterms?
Having completed the hardest week of my academic career thus far, I feel so accomplished, relieved, and exhausted all wrapped up in the tinge of excitement that I’m trying so desperately to contain. I’m about halfway through with my stay here and this uphill battle is hopefully now on its descent. I can already taste breakfast on Christmas morning and practically feel the comfort of the long awaited family embraces (and my own bed).
These past few weeks have been filled with countless hours of studying mixed with spontaneous outings and just as random food choices. One of my favorite recent finds was some tiramisu gelato at a quaint little upstairs shop near the beach. It actually had full pieces of tiramisu on top of it! A few of the other flavors we tried were my final choice of pistachio and Italian coffee and cookies and cream. My roommate recently informed me of a place in the Dubai Mall that apparently has gelato that is supposed to be the best around. It might seem like such an untraditional food to be sampling while in the Middle East, but the thing about Dubai is just that. It's untraditional. Everything is imported, so everything is essentially derived and inspired from somewhere else. The upside to this is that Dubai strives to do everything bigger and better. So if this said gelato is supposed to be some of the best around, I just might have to seriously start considering a trip to Italy to compare for myself.
I also –finally- got to try some Shawarma and am making plans for a desert safari sometime during my stay. I have a few other trips planned here and there, but I’ll save the details for an actual blog post. I swear I do more than eat.
Another recent, interesting event that occurred just a few days ago was the death of ninty-two year old Sheikh Saqr bin Mohammed al-Qassimi, ruler of the Strait of Hormuz in the UAE – a major shipping location of the world’s oil. In mourning for al-Qassimi, all music has been banned. Radio stations are blocked, malls are silent, and the piano I tried to play in Virgin Megastore is apparently not open for composition. I am certain that I will never get used to these cultural differences and the firm grip that the UAE’s government has on its people.
In other news, I have a job! The University’s campus newspaper found this blog and apparently enjoyed my style of writing and photography. They’re employing me to write articles and take photographs for the Dubai travel section and I couldn’t be more ecstatic! Obviously, I’ll have to start making more time to go out more so that I actually have places to write about, but I needed to do this anyways. Now I’m just getting paid for it. ;) It is all featured online, so feel free to check it out:
I so appreciate all of the love and support from back home and God is active and working here even as I type. It’s been such a treat to be able to video chat and email with some of you and I encourage the rest of you to say hello sometime too! I’m busy, but a girl can only take so much schoolwork before needing some familiar social interaction. I miss you all more than you know and I’ll be on that plane home as soon as I can.