Thursday, May 29, 2014

The Breasted One

Last weekend we had a long holiday weekend so we made a visit to Istanbul.  When in Turkey, I drink tea - and lots of it.  There is no need for coffee every morning. However, there was one afternoon I was out and really missing it.

I walked into the nearest Starbucks, and proceeded to order my beloved soy cappuccino. When I lived there, I quickly learned that they do not always understand Pam.  I often end up being Pem, or Pembe, which means "pink".  

I eventually resorted to Pamela.  After saying Pamela three times, the barista just gave up and passed me the cup and pen.  Turkish is a phonetic language, and I think Pamela is pretty phonetic.  Instead of writing my name, I said to him, "You know Pamela Anderson? The same name as hers". 

I knew it was not my Turkish because the guy in line behind me laughed and complimented my point of reference.  When I lived there I resorted to Pamela Anderson for the occasional pizza delivery, and it worked every time.

The barista nodded his head with that "Ah ok" nod and proceeded to write on the cup.  A few seconds later, I got my beloved coffee and checked the name.  It looks somewhat like Memeler, or Memele.  Meme in Turkish means breast. Put "le" on the end of a word and it means "with". I am not sure if he is going for "breasts" or "with breasts" here.  

I get a lot of random names on my Starbucks coffee in Dubai.  It is very rare that my name is understood, even in English. I think this is the funniest one yet.

Saturday, May 10, 2014

The Empty Nest

Lucy, our resident sunbird in Dubai

I am an empty nester.  Actually, I am a no nester.

About a month ago, I was sitting outside working.  Lucy came by with her mate, and another sunbird. I thought she was introducing me to her new friend through her chatter.

After that visit I didn't see her for a few days.  I began to worry.  With two larger birds constantly bullying the area, I wondered if they chased her off.  Despite all the singing and chirping in this garden and the occasional sounds of traffic racing past Dubai Mall, our home suddenly became so quiet.

I checked outside every morning, but no Lucy.  Sadly her nest started to drop.  Even though it seemed to be hanging by a thin strand, it hung on for a long time.  She was back about a week later, but by then the nest was so low and twisted it was uninhabitable.  She tried to build it back up over a few days, but her attempts were unsuccessful.  Not wanting to interfere with nature and ruin any chances of the birds returning, it was heartbreaking to watch.

I never saw Lucy again, but I could still hear sunbirds nearby for some time.  They have since stopped, and I assume have migrated to a cooler place for the summer.

The nest eventually fell to the ground  Before we cleaned it up, my son said "let's explore it".  So we did.  We opened it, and looked through it.  It was amazing how strong those little pieces were intertwined in Lucy's labor of love.  Fortunately, there were no abandoned eggs.  It was empty.

The fallen sunbird nest

Ironically, after the nest fell, the pomegranate tree from which it hung began to flower again.  A sign that there is some kind of give and take balance in nature.  We have also had several visitors since then - including a peacock!  As I write this, I see a dove poking around in the trees.

With all these visitors, we are hopeful that maybe someday we will again be graced with the likes of Lucy.

A breakfast visitor

Tuesday, May 6, 2014

Good Friends… They Really Are Timeless

Last weekend, a good friend I have not seen for years came to Dubai for a few days.  You know how they say that with a good friend, you can just pick up where you left off.  It's true.  We did exactly that.

We were only able to spend a few hours together on two different occasions, but we packed in as much as we could in that time.  We laughed, we cried, we laughed until we cried.  It was really nice, and so much fun that we even forgot to take a picture!

In this modern, social world that seems somewhat uncommon.  There were no selfies, nor did we check in.  We both use Facebook and enjoy photography, but we were just there, caught up in the moment.  Caught up on catching up.

The only proof I have is this book she bought me as a gift.  Proof that she does get me, and she is cheering for me to find financial freedom no matter how crazy the idea might be!

One of the best gifts ever!

Saturday, May 3, 2014

The Doctors

Today I was invited to present at an international Type 1 Diabetic Summit in Abu Dhabi.  I opened a panel discussion of patients (children) and their caregivers who shared their experiences.  Some of them were just learning to deal with things, others have been diabetic for some time and overcame amazing obstacles in the past.

While the patients' stories were amazing and sometimes heartbreaking, I also saw something else today.  I saw a room full of physicians and practitioners who cared deeply about their work and their patients.  

We often hear about the incompetent ones, or the bad experiences.  I  know I am often quick to share those because, after all, they are stranger than fiction.  

I am fortunate that I have some good doctors in my life supporting us that should not be taken for granite.  Today, within 15 minutes I saw a room full of doctors tear up as one mom shared her story, beam with pride as a young woman told about the prejudices she overcame, and then become passionately angry as another boy shared his experience of a faulty guarantee about stem cell transplants. 

It is a side of physicians that we do not often see.  I was reminded that like us, they are human.  I was also reminded that there are great doctors out there that care very deeply about their patients and their well being.