Tuesday, August 11, 2009

US Reflections

Last week I was in a hurry and very excited that I was going to the computer store to purchase my long researched and awaited Mac. I was able to meander through the construction and find the computer store hidden behind the upcoming Dubai metro stop that had the Mac and the expertise I had been searching for. But shoot, no easy parking and one of those pay for parking lots.

Now I heard there was a way to pay for parking through your mobile phone by just dialing a number - cool, so I wanted to try that and I also did not have any change at all to drop into the box to get a ticket. I tried to dial what looked like some code number on the meter - nothing. Shoot..what to do, what to do. It was only 30 minutes before the meter would be free and I would only be about 5 - 10 minutes because I knew what I wanted, they were expecting me, so it was a clean deal.

Ah-ha! I had a parking card that my very organized husband bought for me some time ago. So I put that in the machine, it still had credit - thankfully. Oh, but wait, the machine still was not giving me a ticket. Why? After a few more tries, a local man arrives w/ who I assume are his sons. "Do you need change?", he asks. I am so embarrassed...um, er...well no, but my parking card is not working. He walks back to his car and gets a dirham for me and puts it in and gives me the ticket. I am grateful and still embarrassed.

Me, walking to the computer store in my mini sun-dress in a sharia lawed country, can't help but wonder...if the situation was reversed and he was dressed as himself, an Arab man in a Dishtash in the US, how quick would someone be to offer him change for the parking meter?


Today I had a doctor appointment. Since I am in the healthcare field, we started chatting a bit. He was pleased to learn I grew up in Houston, TX b/c he spent a few years working there at a hospital in the Medical Center. He really liked it and enjoyed his time there and would like to go back and work there. Wow...he is half Iraqi and speaking the praises of the US. I told him I was not sure I could go back as I am not sure how safe it is and I fear for my personal safety and that of my son as well. We have a lot of problems.

His side of the story was, yes, but no place is perfect. The people are nice, cosmopolitan and it is a nice place to work. There is a lot of opportunity and in the area of medical research there is a lot of potential. Hmmm...I had to agree. It is very easy to criticize where you are from, and I think as Americans, we often take certain things for granted - whether we live there or not. When you grow up with these opportunities and always have them, you think anything is possible. If you know what it is like to not have access to these things and dream about them, it is a big deal. Don't take it for granted.