Image Model Agency presents FASHION AT THE WESTIN Thursday February 5th @ 7:00PM
You will not want to miss this event! Canapés, cocktails, shopping and fashion…everything a fashionista or a PTA mom loves wrapped up into one spectacular event. So grab your girlfriends because this year promises to be bigger and better than last year with a 10,000AED prize to the best dressed! Continue reading “Fashion at the Westin”→
I just received my first hate mail and it absolutely blew me away. Who hates the PTA? LeeAnn Rimes. Sure. Gwyneth Paltrow. Overachiever. Madonna. Of course. But the PTA? Give me a break. We are the moms organizing the Harvest Festival, popping popcorn, and selling school sweaters after school. Lady, do you really want to hate on us?
Collectively, we resolved that she probably isn’t very happy. She’s an American living in Saudi, and understandably, life can be difficult for an expat woman. First we are lured with the promise of big money and adventure. The world is at your fingertips. Six hour flight to Rome, to Greece, three hours to the Maldives, five to Germany — for an adventurous person this is a dream come true but for some it is not. They miss home. They miss their old life. Their old friends. They miss everything.
For others, we thrive. We find new friends. We make new memories. We move on. But still there are those moments when it is a little difficult and nobody at home seems to understand because we always look so happy in our Facebook pictures. And we are. But there’s a bookshelf somewhere full of studies that prove when people are thrown together in an unfamiliar environment that survival instincts kick in and people do what they need to do. Okay, so the PTA does what we need to do and more, but there’s always those days when we miss our sister, our parents, or our friends.
Some women are starving for friendship so they sign up for every ladies luncheon, girl’s night out and volunteer for every school function. Whatever it takes to keep them busy. Just hoping they will discover their overseas BFF and life will be full of Cosmos, reruns of Bridesmaids, and incredible shopping adventures. And sometimes that is exactly what happens and sometimes it is not.
Sometimes husband’s careers are sidetracked, kids are yanked out of school, and families are uprooted because it is all too much. It is a culture outside your own and it isn’t always easy to adapt. It may be a country in development that does not follow the same familiar patterns. And many times it can be too much constantly asking Why? Learning to go with the flow isn’t always easy for some. So they try to create work-arounds or a new system for doing something but it is exhausting. The reality is not everyone is suited for this type of lifestyle. You really need to know who you are as a person before you commit yourself to something so challenging.
So back to my hater. I am so very sorry you’re having a bad day. A bad life. Or you made a bad decision. Possibly the expat life isn’t for you or you simply miss your family. But before you pack your bags and go you should join a ladies luncheon, a girl’s night out or even better; maybe you should join the PTA.
Tomorrow is the day! I signed the entire family up for the Dubai Color Run. This is supposed to be happiness in a can of paint/stain/dye — whatever it is.
“What charity does this benefit?” asks my husband.
“Not sure. $1 of the $38 we spent on the ticket goes to some charity.” I explained.
“That’s not a very high percentage of giving. And this is supposed to make me happy? Do I not look happy? I am a little concerned about my tennis shoes and the leather in my car seat. Will the can of happiness rub off on these things?” my sly clever husband inquires with a tad of sarcasm mixed with humor.
My husband asked the questions only left brain people think about. They think about all of the details that are about as much fun as a fly in a punch bowl. After three months of anticipation my husband is putting the kabosh on my enthusiasm and seriously killing my buzz.
Dang it! I paid over $100 to run unbridled down a street while strangers shower us with dye/paint/stain. And fortunately, since I am able to partake in this opportunity for the Color Run to shower me with sticky/messy happiness they will then pass on a buck to some sick/impoverished/uneducated/homeless/dog/child/adult — this makes me very freaking happy. Then, and only then, when the fun is over and I’ve received my $100 of happiness and some poor shmoe receives their donation, I will think about the consequences of my enthusiasm — but not until then. I have been waiting for my happiness in a can for three months and I want to enjoy every dollar I paid.
“Is it toxic?” Hubby inquires further.
Oh, crap! “Seriously, you did not just ask me this, did you?”
“Mom that looks like a total mess to me!” Pipes in mini left brainer.
“Well apparently there is a problem with the two bobs” Laura explained in her thick Italian accent. Elize and I stared at her at a complete loss. “What does she mean Gina?” Elize asked in her very precise South African accent which sounds more German and less British than many of the other South Africans — total mystery to me — don’t ask. Sometimes it becomes quite confusing when we are all together trying to decipher exactly what the other person is talking about when we get stuck in our home country’s sayings, folk-lore and cultures. “The bobs!” Laura says waving her hand across her chest. Ahhh! Elize and I say in unison. Boobs! Laura they are called boobs not bobs. “Yes, of course — whatever. I once took a house slipper to the electrician because he asked for a ciabatta.” I thought ciabatta was bread? “Yes, ciabatta is bread but it also an extension cord and a house slipper. How was I to know?” Laura explained to us with several hand gestures, a roll of the eyes and shrug of the shoulders; all in a way that only Italians can do.
Because many expat women in the UAE are somewhat confused as to what we can and cannot wear it, and where we can wear it; we sometimes cross the line of appropriateness. We are asked to cover our shoulders and knees while at the local mall, yet there are a number of women’s lingerie stores with very risky advertisements prominently displayed at the front entrance. For many women, it is extremely confusing. I remember when I first arrived staring with dropped jaw at the naughty nurse uniform and the stick on pasties in the front window of the Fredrick’s of Hollywood store. Fredrick’s is definitely a little risqué even for the United States.
“I hate it when this (circling her hand over her entire upper torso) doesn’t seem to work.” Maha explains with a natural, yet unintentionally sultry Middle Eastern accent. As I understand it, some of the women from some of the Middle Eastern countries rely heavily upon their assests, either directly or indirectly, to get stuff done — not that this is much different from other countries, but it just seems to be amplified when you add sky-high jewel embossed stilettos, tight flashy shirts, fake eye lashes and an entire pot of MAC eye shadow. The combination is a killer presentation intended to lure unsuspecting man flies into a sticky web. It was just the other day that I caught myself saying at the mall, God, she looks sexy in that abaya! Definitely words I never thought I would say but then IT WAS an incredibly sexy, feathery, lacy abaya! (I promise the entire topic of abayas is a future blog post). See why it is confusing? This is definitely a culture that appreciates the finer things and there isn’t a shortage of expensive lingerie stores. Then again, there isn’t a shortage of cheesy lingerie stores either. I found the below items near the children’s pajamas at local store.
See why we are confused? As expats I think we feel that simply providing these clothing options gives us a license to wear them, but in this culture we can wear them but we have to put a housecoat on top of it. Most cultures dress for the outside world, but the Middle Eastern culture dresses for their inside world. Their best is viewed by their private inner circle and our best is on display for everyone. It’s a little tricky to get into the swing of it.