Thursday, October 31, 2013

Beneath the Surface

While I moved to snap away at something obvious, I looked down.  There I saw a beautiful flower.  The leaves on the water seemed interesting too, but when I looked even closer I found the most amazing world of little snails.

They became my obsession for the afternoon.


It wasn't until I got home that I saw that they were smiling back at me..

Friday, October 25, 2013

Opportunity is Always Around the Corner

This is an image from a fire show in Thailand.  It was one of those hotel shows that may not have been the best show ever, but it resulted in some of the most interesting images I have from that trip.

I almost missed this moment as I did not expect that when they said they were heading around the corner to the water for them to do much more than what they had already done.  As the fire hit the water and sparks flew everywhere, it made for the most amazing picture opportunity.  I felt lucky to get this as the fire was finishing when I arrived.  Almost a missed opportunity.

I often read that many famous photographers were obsessed about taking their cameras everywhere. I get that.  I experienced it again yesterday.  I went out to run an errand, and came upon a huge Harley motorcade in Dubai.  Of course I did not have my camera, and my iPhone did not do it any justice.

Every time I am out and do not have my camera, I see so much opportunity lost.  Never under estimate the value of the amazing thing that is just around the corner.

Thursday, October 24, 2013

My Third Culture Kid

I think one of the allures for expat living is all the travel potential.  So, when a long, three day holiday falls in the middle of the week, it is a great opportunity.

During this last holiday, we went to Thailand.  While we were checking into our hotel, I watched my son start a conversation with a young teenager and his parents in the lobby.  When I went to help him wrap up his conversation so we could get to our room, the man proceeded to tell me that my son was confused about where he was from.

He kind of gave me that look with it too.  You know, the one where you speak about a child, but the child is within ear distance so you raise your eyebrows so the child cannot hear what you are discussing.  Yes, THAT look.

"Really, how so?" I ask.  I admit, I knew what was coming next, but I had to ask anyway.  Maybe the inquisitive eyebrow made me do it, but it was probably my own curiosity.

"Well, he says he is from America. Turkey. And Dubai?"

My response?  I smiled and confirmed,  "It's True."

Just as Third Culture Kids, or TCKs as they are sometimes referred to, have a challenge to explain, or they feel it is too long to explain, I sometimes feel the same.  Not that I don't want to explain, but "Where are you from?" can be a loaded question.

The man understood, but no one could be as thrilled as I was about that conversation.  I love that my son loves America, Turkey, and Dubai. The first time I asked him where he was from when he was about 3 years old, his answer was Istanbul, Texas.

He loves them all equally, and perhaps Dubai just a little bit more because this is where his home is. He is like a spokes person for Emirates because he is always giddy with excitement whenever he sees that flag painted on the tail of the airplane as we head home.

So where are you from?  Where is home?  Maybe we are confused.

There is a nice film on the internet that interviews several TCKs called Where is Home?  During the discussion, one of the kids answers that question with "Home is where you want to be."  Dubai. Home Sweet Home...

Monday, October 21, 2013

Pink Day in Dubai

October is Breast Cancer Awareness month - including Dubai.

Today was Pink Day at my son's school to raise awareness for breast cancer.  Instead of their uniform, they can wear a pink shirt.  There is also a bake sale and donations can be made to a local breast cancer charity.  It is a very important cause.

Last year my son did not inquire about pink day, nor did he mind that he did not have a pink shirt. He did not mind again this year that he does not have a pink shirt, but he did ask more about it's meaning.

As we walked from our car to the entrance, we talked about it.

"Mommy, what is pink day?"
"It is to raise awareness for breast cancer."
"What is breast cancer?"
"It is a disease that women can get in their boobs and it is important to go for check-ups so if someone does have it, it is detected early."
"Well, then if you need you can get medicine, or have a small surgery and then get better."

I thought this was a pretty big explanation already, but being the inquisitive child that he is, he keeps going deeper into the subject.

"What if you don't go to the doctor?"
I never try to hide the truth in these discussions.  I do try to make it age appropriate, but yet this was a pretty serious subject.
"Well, you could die.  So this is why it is important to get regular check-ups.  I have had quite a few friends that have had breast cancer and they got better because they had check-ups, and saw a doctor that helped them."
"So does everyone wearing a pink shirt have breast cancer?"
"No sweetie, it only effects adults."
"Ya, because children are too young to die."


In addition to the need to ask the school if they had an age appropriate program to introduce this subject to the primary school children, it also got me thinking about all my friends that have survived breast cancer.  They are also young, and I am happy to say doing very well.

Make sure you do regular self-exams and get mammograms.  If you haven't done it yet this year, schedule it today.

And for that matter, not just breast check-ups - prostrate, wellness, whatever.  Get a regular check-up.

An Urban Yoga session in Safa Park in Dubai.  All proceeds that day went to
Breast Cancer Arabia 

Tuesday, October 8, 2013

The Faces of Turkey

I saw a great video posted on Facebook this morning from The Perennial Plate called "Faces of Turkey".  It really captures the essence of the Turkish people.  

When I watched it with my son he asked me "Are they happy with what they have?"  There is not really any strong indication in this video that these people might be poor or earn a low wage even though it does seem to focus on the working class of Turkey.

For me, the question was interesting because well, he is five, but also if I learned one thing from Turkey it is that life is beautiful and there is a lot to be happy about.  

The first year I lived there, inflation was around 70%, but yet life went on.  If such a thing were to happen in a develop country, I am sure the adjustment would be interesting.  Sure people were concerned about it, but that did not stop them from living.  Strangely, I have never seen Turkey on any happiest country in the world lists.

So my answer to him was "Yes". 

Even with the political controversy in Turkey right now, they are still some of the happiest, warmest people I have met.

Watch Faces of Turkey.