Wednesday, October 24, 2012

Eid Mubarak!

Sheikh Zayed Mosque, Abu Dhabi
Last week there was a coffee morning at the school for parents.  I am not really a coffee morning kind of mom as I typically only have time to enjoy my weekday coffee engaged in work rather than over good friendly conversation.  Erin's blood sugar was a bit off, so I thought this might be something to do while I stuck around until his next check.

I am glad I stayed.  Not only for Erin, but I also got a chance to meet the very nice parents of his classmates.  Staying really confirmed we chose the right school.  While it is an American curriculum, most children are not American, or have one parent that is not American.  Even better, they embrace Dubai and are excited to be here.

The benefit of going to this school is that Erin will be exposed to many cultures.  He has children in his class from China, Korea, Egypt, Ireland, America, Pakistan, Morocco, Spain and more.  The statistic on the number of languages spoken across the school are too many to count.

Not only will he get a good education, but equally important, he will grow up learning about different cultures and traditions.  As today is Eid al Adha, they even learned a little bit about this in school which is great.  For anyone that might be skeptical, this is not in a religious context.  Plain and simple, it is about cultural awareness and understanding others.

This week, the letter of the week was "E".  For Erin, this meant that he was the class "Star of the Week".  The Star gets to help the teacher with different tasks and is featured in the newsletter that goes out to parents.  They also include an interview with the child.  I was so surprised at some of his answers.  Favorite color - Green.  Really?  He is so boy it usually Ferrari red.

I cannot tell you how pleased I was to see his answer to the question, Where are you from?  His answer was America and Turkey.

I had one of those small moments when you think that just maybe you have done something successful as a parent.  While it is a small thing, it is a huge deal for us that Erin understand both his American and Turkish background.  It only enhances it more that he is in a place that appreciates it too.

For those of you celebrating today... Eid Mubarak and Bayram Kutlu Olsun!!

Monday, October 15, 2012

Say Cheese

This is called the O14 building, commonly referred to as the "Swiss Cheese Building".  Located in Business Bay, this opened just a couple of years ago.  It is an office tower, and that Swiss cheese outside is actually concrete.

With so many new buildings coming up, this one is for sure eye catching.

Wednesday, October 3, 2012

The Namesake

Today as I entered the elevator to dart back to work after dropping my son at home after school, I heard a child heading toward the elevator.  It was a small, local boy under the age of two with his father.

I said hello, but the child did not answer.  His father commented that he should learn to say hello to people.  Observation: We do not really encourage children to interact with strangers in the US.

I learn the boy's name is Hamdan.  "Hamdan. That is a very nice name", I reply.  Just as I was thinking it, the man proudly told me that this is the same name as the Crown Prince of Dubai, Sheikh Hamdan.

As I walked to my car, I couldn't help but feel how proud this father was of his son's name and how proud he was to have named him after the Crown Prince.  I tried to think of other countries where this might happen.

I think we might be hard pressed to find an American who would name their child after George Bush, Burak Obama, or Mitt Romney.  There are some great historical leaders that people may consider or admire, but living leaders, I'm not sure.  I started to scan Europe - Tony Blair, Nicolas Sarkozy?  Not likely I assume.

The national pride here feels very genuine.  It is not arrogant or aggressive.  It was a nice reminder of many things...