Sweet February featuring “Miss Sharifa”

002
Miss Sharifa is a student at United Arab Emirates University majoring in Primary Education. U.A.E. University is one of the largest educational institutions in the Middle East.

Since starting my blog over a year ago, I’ve been fortunate to have visited and experience places around the world I’ve only read about in magazines and history books as a child. I also manage to take the time to speak to the local residents, who are quite friendly, to learn more about their culture and experiences.  A great meeting could start with a short tour around the villages, to studying different art pieces and clothing and ending with an opportunity to sample great food items happily prepared by a member of a family. In my short time here in the United Arab Emirates, I’ve met many interesting people and learned more the history of Dubai from listening to their stories than from visiting the museum.  Being the cultural junkie I am, I enjoy sharing my addiction and decided that outside of sharing the amazing photos of different places, it’s now time to share their stories.  Just off the brink of winning the Expo 2020, the city of Dubai, as well as other neighboring emirates, celebrated with a spectacular fireworks show and displays that let up the skies to let the world, WE HAVE ARRIVED!!  I was very excited for the city and hope to be around to enjoy the experience, but I know the feeling of the local residents were much more exuberant. I love chatting with many of my local friends here in Dubai when I’m out for coffee or strolling along the creek. To began my conversation series with these “Special Gems”on the rise, I decided to have a quick chat with my colleague Miss Sharifa, a future educator born and raised here in Dubai:

What brought you to the field of Education?

I enjoy teaching and like to help people. I want to become a part of a team of looking to help the education systems in the U.A.E. I am also working to build a strong career for myself by focusing on gaining knowledge and climbing high on the academic ladder to achieve a Phd.

Give me 2 words that describe you.

Friendly and Tenacious

What was your most memorable moment in Dubai.

I remember when my organization won the reward as the best medical institute in the Middle East, it was a great accomplishment for my city and we were all very proud.

What is you favorite place to visit in the U.A.E.? Why?

The Al Ain Zoo. You have to visit this place to understand that it’s not just a zoo but a wild life resort.

If you were to give advice to someone visiting the U.A.E. for the first 1st time, what would it be?

My advice would be to explore the Old Town part of the city before enjoying the nightlife and malls.  If you are here for a short time, visit some of the cafes to have tea and dates and chat the people in the community.

How do you plan to prepare for the Dubai 2020 Expo?

I am thinking of starting my own business, so it could grow internally and I could promote it internationally at the expo.

Good luck to you Miss Sharifa, we at Sandy Treasures are wishing you all the best!!

Celebrating Diwali!!

Had I been in the Chicago during this time, I would get excited about Thanksgiving being just a week away.  This is the time where I would find myself fantasizing about my mother’s cooking, having a long weekend to rest, watching American Football, taking up free city festivals and finally watching my city transform from a pumpkin patch pilgrimage to  a scene out of a Hollywood Christmas theme movie.  I have to admit some neighborhoods in Chicago really embrace their spirit for the holidays through outstanding front yard theme displays, an outrageous stream of blinking lights, blow ups characters and beautiful window decals.  Don’t get me wrong, I still get excited about celebrating American holidays that part of my life and teaching will never leave me no matter where I am in the world.  However, I have found a new appreciation for learning about other cultures and their holiday celebrations, such as one I learned more about a few weeks ago called Diwali!088

051
A perfect ending for a great celebration!!

While driving home from the gym one night, I noticed large building from a distance decorated in array of lights from top to bottom.  I took a quick detoured through a neighbor in the Asian community, Bur Dubai, and noticed nearly every building had some sort of display of blinking lights and colorful cloth designs hanging from their balconies.  The community had just begun to celebrate Diwali, a celebration for the Hindu New Year!  087 072 075During this period, many events take place in the homes of family and friends such as the baking of Indian sweets and the lighting of small candles.  Ten days before the actual holiday, Hindus perform a special dance called, “Garba” and they burn small candles “Dewa” for each night, while decorating their homes with bright lights.  On the 10th day, the main day of Diwali, friends and relatives invite each other over to their houses to perform “Euja”, a prayer perform on the last day.  During this time, fireworks displays blanket the desert night skies for days and fresh bakes sweets could be smelled for miles. It was something to see, hear and taste and my friends made sure I was well-educated on their cultural traditions as they enjoy learning about ours.  With Thanksgiving just around the corner, I must admit I am very thankful for my educational journey, the more I know the further I go!080