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Beauty

Glamglow Gravitymud Mask – I Tried It For You

Did You Know?  In Mauritania, Africa – Obesity has long been the ideal of beauty, signaling a family’s wealth in a land repeatedly wracked by drought. Nomadic people struggling to survive the harsh desert came to prize fatness as a sign of health.

v i a )


I’ve been reading beauty blogs & watching beauty YouTubers for a few years now.  They suck me in & before you know it I’m 10 videos deep with a long list of new products I NEED.  Then, I get to the store & notice the first item on my long list is .5oz of face cream that’s $90… and I have no money left for anything else.  Story of my life.

 GlamGlow-Face-Mask(2)

I’ve gotten better at prioritizing.  What’s worth the money & what isn’t.  There are bloggers/YouTubers that I’ve learned not to trust & others that I have to rush out & buy their product suggestions immediately!

Face Masks are always a big deal for me.  1 – they’re all super expensive, so experimenting isn’t very easy.   2 – They’re ideal because taking good care of my skin helps with my no makeup routine.

I noticed this silver Glamglow face mask all over the place & finally thought, fuck it.  I’ll spend the money, try it for a month, then tell you what I think.  Are the expensive face products that everyone flaunts worth it??  I’m determined to find out & this mask was the first one off the picking block.

 GlamGlow-GravityMud-Mask(1)

I went to Sephora & bought the Glamglow Gravitymud Firming Treatment Mask.  It comes in a large package but a very small jar.   Already kind of annoying considering it’s $70, but I’m committed.

The box says: “Firm, Lift, Tighten, Tone, Sexy Contours” and it’s supposed to be a solution for fine lines & wrinkles, uneven skin tone, and loss of firmness & elasticity.

I brought it home & immediately tried it.  There’s a small brush inside the box that’s super helpful with the application process, which I loved.  Once it was on my face I let it sit for 30 minutes, then proceeded to “peel” it off.

This is the part that annoys me about the mask.  Everyone is so pumped up about the mask peeling off, but it doesn’t.  I mean sure it kind of peels off if you use a super thick layer of product & carefully spend your time trying to successfully peel off as much as you can, followed by rinsing off the rest.  I’d just as well wash the whole damn thing off.  Weird for me, the “peeling” part.  Maybe the same people that enjoy popping zits would enjoy attempting to peel off a mask? Doesn’t get me going.  So, that part of the mask for me is a major fail & a dumb reason to spend money.

GlamGlow-Face-Mask

I continued to use the mask 3x a week for an entire month. Sometimes before bed, other times before applying makeup, and also in the mornings on days where I wouldn’t wear makeup. I should mention, the little jar of product does last awhile & it’s a more comfortable mask to wear with a yummy sent.

Once I took the mask off, my skin felt fresh & a little gummy.  In a good way, almost like a dewy primer.  That part I liked.

Overall, I think this mask is good when you have somewhere to go.  Keep in your drawer for the days you have an event to go to or you’re traveling & need a wake up for your face.  After a month, I didn’t notice any super noticeable differences in fine lines or firmness.  Unless I used the mask that day or night before, my face doesn’t look or feel any different than before I bought the little jar.  You know what I mean?  It was nice to have for the day, but it’s not a miracle worker long term.

Would I buy it again? Maybe.  I can see where it’s nice to have in the rotation of your face products but I don’t see what the rage is about the mask.  I wish I could rage about it.  I’m going to try a few other Glamglow masks that also have positive reviews & see if there’s one that really makes me a believer.  I’d be happy to report back.

GlamGlow-GravityMud-Mask(1)

For now, you’re not alone if you don’t buy the magic, silver peel off mask. The mask is ok.  But it’s not the fountain of youth.

Does anyone have mask recommendations? I have a few that I actually do love, but am always looking for more!

Have a great day today & be thoughtful,

Xx

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Life, Places: Middle East, Thoughts

Dating a Muslim Immigrant… during the “Muslim Ban”

Did You Know? As of 2010, there were an estimated 1.6 billion Muslims around the world, making Islam the world’s second-largest religious tradition after Christianity.

( v i a )


Heads up – Muslims come in all shapes/ forms/ colors/ backgrounds/ beliefs/ families/ countries/ parents/ lifestyles.

They do not all wear a hijab or thobe or a long beard.  They are not all brown.  They are not all from the Middle East.  They ALL have long, black, thick, curly, beautiful eyelashes.

Muslim-Immigrant-

As much as I would love to say I’m a scientist and am knowledgeable on this subject because of my time living in the U.A.E., I’m not.  This is basic common knowledge.

You probably have Muslim friends.  And you might not even know it.  Hello, my Muslim brother.

Some Muslims pray at every call to prayer.  Some don’t pray at all.  Some believe all words of the Quran. Some have never read the Quran.

I feel like the word Muslim is connected to an image of what that looks like to a lot of Americans & I wanted to paint a realistic picture, because even I wasn’t as aware as I am now.

Muslims are white skin, Muslims are from a small town in Poland, Muslims are your suburban neighbors, Muslims donated to your charity, Muslims work at Starbucks, Muslims drive toyota’s, Muslims are Canadian, Muslims have blogs where they talk about fashion & dessert, Muslims wear gold chains & Adidas, Muslims wear short sequin dresses & fake nails, Muslims listen to Eminem, Muslims listen to Beyonce, Muslims are blonde, Muslims go running at 5:00pm after they leave work.

Muslims are from Iraq, Iran, Saudi Arabia, and Yemen.  They’re also from Jamaica,  South Africa, Honduras, France, Canada, and The United States.

Muslim Ban

Yes. I made him pose like this.

Lucky me, I have my own little Muslim immigrant.  With everything going on last week having this immigrant has kept my anxiety at a steady level 5.  And, in order to keep the playing field fair, I’ve asked him a thousand terrifying questions, staring directly into his eyes, waiting for him to feel the same anxiety that I have.

The truth is, he doesn’t.

Visa’s and being allowed entry to the United States is not something new for him.  We’ve been struggling the past two years with ways to get into the immigration system.  I think we had enough moments to make the current situation feel  like a breeze?  That’s the reality of immigration, IF you’re trying to do it legally.   Wondering if we’ll get through customs (I say we’ll cuz I’m considering us same-same), is our normal.  Countless times I’d be waiting at the customs exit doors crossing all my fingers & toes that my precious Muslim immigrant would come through doors without being denied & sent back home. Two years ago, after a grueling customs process, we were told by an immigration lawyer that Visa’s get denied in the airport all the time and they don’t need to give a reason, so hello reality, American’s are finally meeting you.

Immigration is tough.  No matter what side you’re on.

So what I want people to know is that no matter what side you’re on, it’s ok.  You can still be compassionate.  You’re still a human being.  Some people/families are hurting, some are not.  It’s ok to push your opinions aside (trust me, we all know them) and be a human being to another human being. That’s it, simps.

For example, if you live next door to a Mexican family that’s being deported & the immigration officers come knock on the door & are stripping the parents from the house as the kids cry with screams for their parents – and you agree that illegal immigrants should be deported. There are two ways to act:  1. You sympathize, feel compassionate & act like a human being.  2. You scream out the door “GOOD! LEAVE YOU MEXICANS! GET OUT OF HERE!” Possibly with a huge sign.

Don’t be #2.

There’s opinions & loud noise flooding every outlet of social media, television & papers.  But you don’t have to do that. You can, but you don’t have to.  Why not have a conversation with your friends, ask the Muslims you know (because you know one, trust me) how they’re doing. What they think about everything.  Having that compassion, completely disregarding loud opinions, is so completely refreshing. Genuinely see what the fuck is up, salam aleikum my brother.  (I just like using the minimal Arabic that I know, forgive me.)

With everything so elevated, it’s wonderful to have a conversation.   And you DO NOT have to push anyone into feeling bad, scared, or anxious – like I did.

At this point my precious immigrant is milking it:

“Katie, please hand me the remotes, I need to watch TV all night to distract me from the problems” “Katie, please make me dinner, my stomach is hurting, it must be the stress”.  “Katie, if you go buy me a large Toblerone I’ll feel much better as it’ll remind me of home.” “Katie, Maybe playing video games all day will put me at ease”

(WTF have I done)

 Muslim-Immigrant-(3)

My point is, maybe you’ll talk to someone with a visa & they won’t be super bothered.  Figure out why.  Maybe they have a spin on things that you didn’t understand before.  Now is the time to be a human being, be kind, be thoughtful, and ask questions.  Keep an open mind & listen.

We’re choosing to be patient through this process, like we have been.  I don’t believe the end of big change is near, so taking it day by day while eating Toblerone’s & watching American Crime Story, is how we’re handling current events for now.  It’s good to be alive.

 

Xx

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Travel

Why It’s OK To Be A Tourist

I’m in a few travel groups on Facebook & Instagram + I follow a couple blogs that travel often. They’re all veteran travelers, or it appears that way. Maybe the most outspoken members are?

Being-a-Tourist-

One common theme I’ve seen a lot of since joining travel groups or following travel blogs is this idea to avoid extremely tourist travel locations or activities, with the idea to experience the destination as a local would.

Although I completely understand where that mentality is coming from and have been known to preach the same way, the more I see posts & conversations like this the more I start feeling like I need to defend tourist hot spots.

Being-a-Tourist_Times-Square

Times Square, New York

First, traveling isn’t easy for everyone. For someone who hasn’t previously had the opportunity to travel OR for someone who has never been courageous enough to explore – traveling can be very intimidating. The money, language, navigation, and companionship can be scary. Even for me, after traveling with zero percent idea what the hell I was doing and somehow surviving, traveling still gives me anxiety. Tourist locations can offer a little relief. You’re in a group of people who also, don’t know what the hell they’re doing. People are confused, taking pictures, lost, excited, eating terrible food, and probably dressed 180 degrees opposite of the local style.

Second, is this a competition of the most adventurous? Where’s the smallest crack in the ass restaurant I can go to in order to show I’m “one” with the culture, or sky dive down an erupting volcano in an undiscovered mountain range in order to show how much of the planet earth I’ve been to? Sometimes a girl just wants to see the Statue of Liberty, buy a $40 foam crown visor, and eat corn out of a cup!

Being-a-Tourist-New-York

Statue of Liberty, New York

I sway back and forth with the tourist vs local way to see a destination.

While living in Dubai, my very favorite thing to do was the desert Safari – and there is literally nothing more touristy to do in Dubai than that damn desert Safari. But I loved it. And participated whenever I had the chance. At the same time, I avoided the tourist restaurants like the plague. You couldn’t pay me to eat that shit.

Being-a-Tourist-Dominican-Republic

Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic

When I lived in the Dominican Republic, I LOVED eating the food at my host house because damnnnnnnn could my host mom cook a meal! (I’ll work on repeating some of those recipes for you guys.) And why would I eat at any popular restaurant over her meals?! HOWEVER, I spent several weekends at the resorts where you couldn’t find a single local. I laid out on the beach, drank dranks, chatted with Europeans & danced with other tourists to Dominican music… w/no Dominicans.

50/50

Being-a-Tourist-Henna

Desert Safari, Dubai

But what I want get across – if you want to do the desert safari in a car full of tourists or you want to take a ferry to the statue of liberty or you want to dance to Dominican music with no Dominicans IN the Dominican Republic: go ahead!

I would challenge someone that is going on a very touristy vacation to spend one night looking a little further for a restaurant that isn’t advertised, but the hotel check-in person recommends as their personal fav.

Or spend one afternoon shopping where a local buys their clothes.

Explore the local grocery store the hotel bartender goes to.

Finding something very simple to dig a little into the local culture will only make any travel experience more heartwarming, that’s what I’ve learned. HOWEVER, by all means stick to the tourist activities if you want to. Take pictures, look silly, talk to other tourists, because why not?

Being-A-Tourist-Amsterdam

Amsterdam

One thing I most definitely do not discriminate against – being a tourist.

I use my own judgement to decide between what’s a tourist trap and what’s simply a (sometimes) fun touristy activity. There’s a fine line for sure, but exploring both locally and w/in the tourist boarders is A-okay!

I’ve been wanting to get that off my chest for a really long time… I never want to talk about visiting a country, traveling or moving abroad in a way that’s intimidating or sets the bar high, or to be cool – because it shouldn’t be.

Thoughts?!

 

 

Happy exploring!!

Xx

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Life, Personal Updates, Thoughts

Manifesting Better Phone Skills…

After meetings x meetings x meetings x meetings we think Wafiq will receive his work permit by the end of the month.  We went to San Antonio a week or two ago for a meeting with immigration peeps & we think it went well.  Who knows, this entire journey has really opened my eyes to immigration in the U.S..  I’m actually very opinionated now, unlike before when I barely paid attention to it.  There’s some major issues going on, I’ll say that much.

 Time-To-Pick-Up-My-Slack

SO. We have a very happy house & are looking forward to the days we don’t have to hear the words immigration + meeting + money + Wafiq in the same sentences.

As for other issues – I want to put this out to the world so maybe I can manifest a better version of myself.   I noticed the past year I have been AWFUL at responding to friends phone calls, emails or texts.  I saw this quote going through my Instagram: “I’m sorry I didn’t respond to your text, I answered it in my head”.  And thought that’s me!! But on an extreme level & I’ve been feeling like shit about it.

Time-To-Pick-Up-My-Slack

I think because the last year was so0o0o0 up and down I got in a terrible habit of not talking to people. Making plans was pretty hard w/no money or schedule, and answering questions was also challenging w/no money or schedule.. or plans.   I would get a text and not respond because I was trying to think of an answer & then I would end up ignoring it completely.  The problem – that turned into a habit and throughout the year I’ve let a lot of friends & family slide through the cracks. Ew.  I’m embarrassed.   

I’ve never been really good at using my phone.  I’m totally not the type to have my phone with me at ALL TIMES.  In Dubai, I preferred when my phone would run out of credit so I had an excuse not to use it.

I don’t have that excuse in the States.

Anyone else w/me on this!?  I feel like a lone alien on the planet Pluto because we are living in a time where your phone is your lifeline + your business, so we need it all the time!  And I’m noticing, people are good at having their phones ALL THE TIME – to capture every moment and respond to every email and answer every text.  I guess I should’ve been born a generation back, I feel that was my time to shine, HA!

 Time-To-Pick-Up-My-Slack

Another problem, I’m sad now that the bachelorette is over.  Whenever a season ends I feel like it’s the end of a relationship with meeee!!  Although, I wasn’t totally engaged in this season, a little too fakey fairytale to me?!? Hello 25 Ken Dolls, which one shall I chose?

What have you guys been up to?!  Watching the crazy politics happening in the U.S. right now? Snap chatting your way through the days?!  Vacationing in Cuba?! Team Kanye?!

So much going on it’s overwhelming (HA!)

Happy Wednesday, have a fantastic day & be thoughtful.

 

Xx

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Life, Personal Updates, Thoughts

Choosing My Mood: HAPPY

I’ve been in a fantastic mood all week!  Don’t you love when that happens?  And I’m extra excited to write when I’m in a great mood – spread that energy around.

 Choosing Happy

Last week was a damper.  The whole last month had me feeling emotional.  Too much happening in America that weighs heavy on you after hearing & seeing so much of it.  Once something bad happens it kind of spirals. You know?  (Anyone watch The Secret?)

I stayed away from writing because BLAH.

 Choosing Happy

The good news – this week I’ve been feeling stell!  Such a mental decision to be happy.

When I wasn’t feeling that chipper I couldn’t figure out why everything felt soo off.  My mood wasn’t extraordinary & everything else seemed to be dragging too.

I told myself I was going to ignore the news & social media & hot conversations.  I wanted to be happy.

I had to make an effort, but thought it was worth a try.  And it worked!  Every time I do this it reminds me how welcoming other people are to such happiness & kindness.  Or I should say, how quickly you attract the same kindness you project.  People need it too.

And people that aren’t kind shouldn’t bring us down with them.  A negative person shouldn’t change a positive person.  Even though negativity is incredibly toxic, it’s worth the effort to avoid.

 Choosing Happy

If you couldn’t tell –> Kindness is basically my favorite thing on planet earth & beyond.

So, last weekend Wafiq & I spent some time at the pool + cooking some new {delicious} recipes. I went to the grocery store & as a result – I vowed not to go outside for the rest of the summer between the hours of 11:00pm – 4:00pm.  It’s the sun! KILLS. ME.

People in Texas (or Dubai), always tell me they could NEVER live in the cold when they find out I’m from Minnesota (the Arctic North).

BUT WHY?!

Winter in Minnesota is the same as Summer in Texas or Dubai. You stay inside. What’s the difference!?  At least in the winter you can layer up the clothes and manage the outdoors.  Am I wrong here?!

I suppose it all comes down to preference.

Choosing Happy

How’s everyone else doing this summer?

I’m having fun w/some new blog post ideas this month.  I’m really starting to love blogging.  It’s kind of a trick to figure out but it’s worth it – brainstorming new ideas & constantly working the creative side of my brain.

I’m loving the process.

Wafiq is surprisingly busy considering he doesn’t have a job at the moment.

And Bernice is on board with the No Outdoors between 12:00pm – 4:00pm house rule I’ve established.

As long as I stay positive & avoid outdoors between the hours of 12:00pm – 4:00pm +++ keep the cold drinks flowing –> I’m destined to have a great rest of the summer!

 

Talk later!

 

Xx

 

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Life, Personal Updates, Places: Middle East

Finally back in Austin, Texas!

Whoa. Time can slow down any day now  – I’d appreciate it.

Because I have 100 things I feel like blogging about every day & don’t end up writing any of them, I’ll use the wide focus lens & highlight my trip to Austin.

IMG_6292

I went to Austin, TX last weekend for a close friend’s wedding. I’ve been looking for an excuse to spend money to go back since landing in the United States so I was more than excited to finally go.

Austin is DEFINITELY the place I feel the most comfortable and myself. I thought I knew this before but only confirmed it after visiting. I really grew up there, during and after college. I went through a lot of phases but feel like that’s my home & where I’m the most myself and confident. This is a huge relief considering I’ve been struggling to feel comfortable for a couple of years now.

Anyways, I think I said this in one of my first posts blogging – As crazy or “weird” as I am, it’s not even close to the level of crazy that Austin offers. Which, in  my opinion, is what makes Austin so wonderful. You can truly be who ever you want to be, dress however you want to dress, and act however you want to act.. And people are going to be down. And understand.

^^This is the most beautiful thing about America. Holy shit you can go around as a homeless man wearing a bright, neon, thong & a leopard cowboy hat and be praised as one of Austin’s must see people! Or you can be a cut throat, sexist, business man and still get away with making high-profile deals.  Whoever you are, you’re accepted. Maybe not as accepted as you want to be, and sure there’s room to grow in that department, but coming from the middle east where there’s little room for movement in the life style department, this is f****** awesome.

IMG_6301

The only problem I ran into while in Austin – (ding ding ding) Culture Shock: Round 2.

Seeing people I haven’t seen since I came back from Dubai threw me back into weirdness (is this even possible)?  Having those first conversations with people I knew so well was difficult. And made me lost, confused, and frustrated. Then, with certain people made me so happy, comfortable, and excited.  Depending who I was talking to & the conversation topic.

I found one of the most frustrating conversations to have was talking to people from the middle east who were studying in Austin. Hearing them describe their home was like nails on a chalkboard. It was the same, exaggerated version I heard before I left for Dubai. I found myself getting RED and upset that it wasn’t accurate. It was the vision they want people to believe, but it wasn’t real. It was image driven. I would get defensive and angry that they fabricate the reality and then found myself arguing with them. (Whoops). Looking back I wish I just shut up and let them go on describing a dream land, but I feel like if someone doesn’t say the reality of the area then no one will know.

Example time: Someone brought up a story about a “prince”. With the intention to highlight the vision of glorified prince’s and princesses in the middle east.. Ok. Sure. They have a king. And a princess. But that doesn’t affect the lifestyle very much. There’s not like a king being carried around on a bed, being fed grapes, parading down main street. He’s up in his palace with his children and wife(s) doing the same business any other country leader would be doing.

Instead of using a fabricated story like this “Prince” lifestyle to glorify the middle east I wish they would tell a story about the super passionate & kind religious believers. That’s the most incredible thing I’ve seen. And it’s true. No need to exaggerate or make things up. Maybe the story doesn’t include gold, servants, or castles.. But it’s reality. And it’s the most inspiring thing.

Also, again I got asked about women in the middle east and how I was treated there. Please please please read this post if you’re one of those people.  And in case you don’t read it, short version: I was treated better in Dubai as a woman than I am in AMERICA. Period.

SO leaving Austin was a bit odd. I got sick the first day and it lasted the whole weekend which was incredibly disappointing and miserable! Time went so fast I didn’t even slow down enough to take a picture 🙁

I was upset I had to go through a second round of culture shock. The first time was awkward enough.

BUT after talking about how I’ve been + culture shock realness + people’s positive reactions to seeing me again was actually pretty therapeutic. They probably don’t realize how much it helped to be crabby at them, or emotional, or overly excited to see familiar faces. Whatever emotion I was putting out in the end really helped me. Whether anyone there knows it or not. It helped me work through my scattered thoughts. (I wish I was there a little longer so I could get through it all and say thank you, but I’ll be back soon and hopefully be able to do that).

CultureShock

Now, I’m back in Los Angeles, waking up with a new plan every single morning…  Which I’m not trying to do by the way, I’m trying to make a permanent plan people! Create something SOLID.

Let’s see what happens 🙂

Xx

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Living in Dubai: 6 Months Down.

Well well well, I did it. I survived 6 months in Dubai. Does time fly or what!?!  In light of the what I would like to call a celebration, I decided to interview myself for you… And share some photo’s throughout my journey.

American Expat Living in Dubai

Q: Tell us about your experience.

A: Short version – my experience in Dubai has been a stressful, exciting, and an educational trip.  Nothing has happened the way I thought it would, which is the beauty of being alive I suppose.

I came looking for a job and about 5 months later I finally landed one in Real Estate. The job search in Dubai is much different than that in the States, which was stupidly unexpected. I feel like being a visitor in Dubai was something I was and being a contributing resident working in Dubai is what I am now.  I’m looking forward to experiencing Dubai this way.

American Expat Living in Dubai

Q: What made you decide to go?

A: The decision started because I had coworkers, friends, family (and random people I ease dropped in on their conversations) around me that were unhappy in their jobs.

Because you spend at least 40 hours a week at your job, if you’re unhappy in it you’re probably unhappy in your life as well. This was torture for me to watch.  Even worse for me to feel myself falling into the same path. I had to get out. Do something wildly different. And I was at the right age to do it. Now or never.

I decided to flee to Dubai because I knew people from the region and heard positive differences. I think my first preference was Latin America pero no hablo espanol.

Not speaking Spanish and a not so bustling economy pushed me to look elsewhere. In Dubai, most people get away with speaking English, there’s a supposedly good economy, and I know a few familiar faces. Off I went!

American Expat Living in Dubai

Q: Did you encounter any resistance to your idea of going abroad alone? How did you respond to this?

A: Ummmmmmmm YES. haha! Worst part. And I’m stubborn – so those poor people who resisted the idea had no chance. I haven’t been one to pay much attention to resistance.  I go with my gut, and my gut was already in Dubai.

I responded to the resistance in different ways. For the a**holes that were trying to be mean and discouraging, I did nothing. They’re unhappy people I don’t want to deal with anyway & was happy to be rid of them. Toodles.

For friends that were going to miss our adventures together and wanting me to stay <– This was sad. I felt the most guilt leaving them.

Them as in about 2 people. Let’s not try faking popular.  I can probably count my friends on one hand. But that’s what makes them so special to me. Like family.  The best I could do was explain I’m going to a great vacation spot, come visit me. That worked.

And for my beautiful parents. I understood the resistance.

I was already sad and without their support made me more sad. But I knew I would regret not going abroad and explained that to them. The more they could see how much I wanted it, the more they had to accept and support the decision.  Plus, they got the blessing of looking after my child. What’s better than that gift 😉

For everyone, I just explained “IT’S NOT FOREVER!”

American Expat Living in Dubai

Q: What was the most rewarding part about your travel experience?

A: LEARNING! I knew I would learn and grow, but not this much. I met people from parts of the Earth that I barley knew existed. I would have never previously imagined this for myself.  I had the opportunity to travel to Amsterdam and Portugal, both showing me such unique variations of life.

Not to mention how much I learned about myself. WOW.  I don’t even know how to put this into words. Hmmmm, when you have these crazy big challenges in your face and you’re trying hard to stick to your honesty, values, and beliefs. This is/was tough. But also, pushes me out of my comfort zone. Challenges me.  Which then helps me grow and shine like a beautiful, big, bright, flower 🙂 I wish I could be a pretty flower.

Anyway, I can honestly say my brain absorbed more in this 6 months than I’ve learned the past 5 years combined.  I love it. I’m obsessed with that.

IMG_1282

Q: What was the most challenging part?

A: A job. Holy smokes, it took me forever to find a place to work that I felt suited me. I’m still not 100% sure I’m comfortable.  I suppose a job search is hard anywhere, even when you’re looking in the States, but the struggle of finding a job + adjusting to a new country created a difficult mix.

Then the being half way across the planet from my family and friends is challenging, among so many other things. Womp womp.

American Expat Living in Dubai

Q: Did the experience of going abroad by yourself meet your expectations? Did it surprise you? In what way?

A: I’m going to go one specific route for this one. I think I could go a lot of different directions with the question but to keep things interesting, I’ll go for the honest, first thing that comes to mind. The people.

I think I expected more from people.

I don’t know why, maybe the “Minnesota nice” in me, but I think I expected to come to Dubai with all these other expat’s and work together to create a friendly community where we share and love and work as one.

Unfortunately, this expectation was not met.

I can’t say other people are assholes and want to be mean to everyone they meet. Grrrrrrrrr! But I think their version of kind and friendly is different than the version I’m used to and was hoping for.

This is one thing I miss about the States.  Especially Minnesota, they rock at it.  Here, a lot of people’s version of friendly and kindness requires me to have thick skin.  {Thank God I’m such a solider 😉 }

[I’ll say this… Ain’t nothin wrong with being kind to EVERYONE. So keep doing that if you are, paahlease.]

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Q: Anything you wish you’d have done differently before the trip to prepare?

A: Save more money!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Holy crap is Dubai expensive. Seriously expensive. You think you’re rich in The States? Come to Dubai for a week. Period.

Q: Did you experience loneliness? How did you cope with it?

A: Yep, everyday all day. Ha! Not really. But I didn’t think I would literally feel as far away as I feel. Like, I AM across the planet.

I can’t talk to my family all day anymore or call them whenever I want. The time change is about half a day. The best way I cope with this is staying busy!  Time is flying by so I don’t have too much time to sit around being sad.

Talking to anyone that likes to talk about the States is another thing that somehow makes me feel better.  I think because the conversations remind me The United States still exists. It’s still over there working it’s booty off.

American Expat Living in Dubai, UAE

Q: Do you think you’re a different person now? In what way did this experience change you?

Yep. Like I said earlier, all the things I’ve learned has changed the way I think.

I just had a conversation with a co-worker that was from Turkey but lived in California for 26 years. She said, “You don’t really appreciate the States until you’re gone right? Sometimes, I just want to walk outside and go for a hike in the woods. In the States you don’t even think twice about those little things.”

She nailed it.

I now appreciate the States and what it offered me.

Such as: calling my mom at 12:00pm, 1:15pm, 2:00pm, 6:35pm, 6:45pm or whenever I want. I appreciate crazy, wild, out of control people and that America accepts them for who they are. I appreciate minimum wage requirements, even if it’s not as high as some American’s would like. I appreciate drive thru coffee. I appreciate gas stations in The States for more reasons than one.

I could go on forever.

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Q: Did you feel truly unsafe at any point? Do you think a man would have felt unsafe in the same situation, or was it gender-based? How did you manage your own personal safety during your trip?

A: I think anyone is really safe here. Dubai is killing it at safety.  No pun intended. I truly am never scared. I think the only people scared in Dubai are the criminals, because if they get caught God help them.

American Expat Living in Dubai

Q: Any advice you’d like to share with other women who are considering a trip?

A: I had one friend that recently went abroad tell me right before I left: “Katie. It’s gonna be really hard. Like SO hard. I still think you should go, but be ready cuz it’s not easy. You’ll want to come home. Be prepared. It’s no walk in the park.”

I remember thinking yeah, yeah, yeah, ok whatever. Hard for you maybe, but I’m a champion, hear me roar!

Now I find myself wanting to answer this question the exact same way. Be prepared, it will be hard.

But do it.

Then save money. Be confident. Make plans but know they won’t follow through that way. Be mentally and emotionally prepared. Go with the flow.  It’s going to be hard. But it’s going to be worth it.  And it’s okay. It’s all going to be okay.

Everything happens exactly how it’s supposed to happen. Believe that.

American Expat Living in Dubai

Amsterdam

 

Xx

 

+ 1 Year Later: Here

+ Surviving as an Expat: Here

+ Dubai Must-Do’s: Here & Here

+ Dubai What to Wear: Here

 

What to wear for Dubai Vacay:

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