Shopping trip to Dubai during Ramadan

A couple of weeks ago my hubby and I spent a long weekend in Dubai. I was required to leave the country while my residence visa was prepared so it seemed like the perfect opportunity to explore an exciting new place and shop!! 

I spent the week before we left looking up the stores I wanted to go to online, and I discovered that an Australian brand I love had a shop there! I was stoked! Unfortunately I didn’t manage to stay that way for most of the trip.

Dubai is a really cool place, the buildings, the sunshine, the sand, the beaches, the malls, it’s quite the experience. It’s a booming and bustling place and with that comes a lot of construction. A lot of roads that no longer exist or new roads that aren’t updated on the map. This leads me to our first mistake of renting a vehicle to drive ourselves around. Normally Alex drives and I navigate when we travel and it works well. We both have accepted that we’ll likely get lost but some of the coolest places we’ve seen have been because we’ve gotten turned around! Dubai wasn’t the same when we got lost. It was busy, difficult to navigate, full of reckless drivers and accidents. By the last day we decided to utilize a car service and taxis. However I wouldn’t suggest taking a taxi in the hour before sunset during Ramadan. You will likely have a death grip on the holy $h*t handle and have your heart stop once or twice.
The Muslim countries are currently fasting for Ramadan. This didn’t seem like a big issue to us as we were told most hotels and a select few restaurants would be open during the day.  In fact a few articles I read suggested it was a great time to visit because it was quieter and less busy. This was true however it leads me to our second mistake which was to mistakenly fast for the majority of the day. 

Our first shopping excursion ended up being to The Dubai Mall and I think it was my favourite one. There’s this really neat gold souk area in it and a pretty aquarium. Lots of shops and it’s fairly easy to get to. We spent the day shopping and wandering around, and around 3pm Alex and I start getting really cranky, thirsty and hungry and realize we had inadvertently fasted for most of the day. You see most of the restaurants were actually closed for Ramadan.  We decide to check the food court before leaving the mall in search of food and drink. So we walk through the quiet mall and arrive at the food court, they had put up temporary walls and had a security guard in front of the entrance. We walk through and it’s just bustling and full of people! We got our food and drinks and they packaged it up tight in a bag that had a label on it notifying you that if you ate or drank any of the food in public you will be fined. Thankfully we just ate it right there and carried on with our shopping in much better spirits.

Shopping in Dubai should be an Olympic sport. The malls a massive and there’s so many cool shops and stores to check out! You will have absolutely no trouble meeting your Fitbit’s 10000 steps a day! Wear comfy shoes and make sure to find updated store information before travelling across the city to check one out, mistake number three. Remember that Austrialian shop I was so excited about, well it closed down. I guess just one more reason to head back to Melbourne someday. 

Regardless of our rookie mistakes I’m really excited for another Dubai adventure! There’s just so much more to see and I think it’s so neat that it has become a weekend getaway destination for us. Here’s to weekend getaways! 

Taking my space

Last night I went to a ladies evening to meet and mingle with the local ladies in the expat community. It was a lovely evening, lots of laughs and good conversations.  At the end of the night when I had returned home I looked at some pictures that were taken and I stood out, being so much bigger and taller than the rest of the women there.  I had a bit of a moment looking at the pictures and my old insecurities started to arise.  That word ‘big’ it’s like a knife to my heart every time someone says it to me. I creates an immediate response of shame, like I have to apologize to the rest of the world for taking up more space than them.

I didn’t  like the response I had to this word so I took some time for reflection. Some time to figure out what the word ‘big’ truly means to me.

Recently my father was speaking of the gorgeous plus sized model Ashley Graham and he said “oh that big girl!” I cringed and my response to him was that you should never, ever call a woman big! He didn’t seem to understand why big was so bad. After all he married my Mom and she is a gorgeous tall woman herself and he just adores her. So why then, can my father look at my mother and say “you’re a big, beautiful, brilliant woman” and mean every word with love and all my Mom and I hear is BIG?

I suppose I could start blaming the media, the fashion industry, movies and television but blame doesn’t solve anything. What I need, is to change my inner narrative. I want to hear the word big being used to describe a woman and think, that woman is powerful, she owns her space, she is BIG and she is exactly the way she is supposed to be.

I want to feel that way and I know with some hard work it’s possible. There is great power to be had from affirmations and positive reinforcement. So although now it’s a struggle; I know that someday in the near future I will look at a picture of myself standing tall and owning my space and think, Catherine you’re a BIG woman, and I will smile.