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A note from Dubai...

Here is an email I sent to folks. I've updated my email list once or twice in September about my time in Dubai, my current placement. Because of the sensitivity of the location of the community, and nature of the community staying under the radar, I've not posted much. More details in the coming weeks, but know it's an incredible and beautiful community.

Oh hey,

Remember me? Remember back in the day where I updated you all almost every week, moved and moved countries all the time, and thought I was busy? Remember when I thought I’d have tons of extra time here in Dubai? Well I’m nearly a week away from ending my time in Dubai, and here I am finally updating you. I have had a lot going on! I have been learning, doing, experiencing a lot, and reflecting but apparently not writing a lot. But boy do I have stories.

Last night after a late evening meeting, and deciding to bake cookies, I hit a moment where I realized that I might have done the thing I’ve tried to avoid most of the year. Taken on too much and limit my ability to enjoy the time. So, I stopped, and instead of doing all the projects I’m desperately trying to wrap up, I’m writing this. And it’s okay.

Part of what I have enjoyed about this year is being so aware of these moments when I learn and recognize this growth and learning about myself, finding ways to find balance in a crazy all-encompassing experience. It’s not really a reality, but right now it’s my reality and I’m making the most of it. Sometimes balance comes in doing the thing that you want to do and feels most right in the moment and letting go of a few things. Right now, I wanted to connect.

Where do I start?

The last six weeks have been a blur, packed with people, holidays, learning, exploring, work, and more. When I check in with people, I have this challenge of figuring out where to start because this place is fast moving in a different kind of way.

A brief overview. I had a meaningful Yom Kippur, an interesting and hot Sukkot, I ran a kids Simchat Torah program, I stayed at a lovely resort in the desert, I participated in design meetings about the Abrahamic house that is soon to be built in Abu Dhabi, I have begun to help organize different elements of the Jewish community, I kayaked around the Louvre in Abu Dhabi, and visited the Grand Mosque, I’ve started to write and put together research I’ve worked on this whole year, I’ve started to prepare for the upcoming trip I’m staffing, I’ve made lots of challah, I launched a women’s group, I’ve advised on a number of things here in the community, oh and I flew to Oman and back in an evening to renew my visa. Totally normal.

Basically, I’ve been doing a lot. I keep saying it, but Dubai is a weird and interesting place. It’s grown on me in some ways, in other ways it’s still super different. I’m having a moment right now where I find it hard to share all my thoughts and feelings. I don’t know if it’s because it’s nearing the end, because I’ve experienced a lot this year and it’s really all packed in my brain, or because I need to find the right way to share. Don’t worry I’ll figure out how to share it all, I’m working on that, and each day more and more recognizing a lot of how I’ve changed, developed, or evolved over this year, in a personal and professional way.

I won’t go on forever, because there will be a lot more to come as I debrief from Dubai, share thoughts and stories, and continue my journey.

What’s next?

I’m here in Dubai another week in a half. I’m then headed to Israel for about 2.5 weeks, to staff an Insider trip for the Well – young adults from Detroit! It’s exciting to in a way see this year directly come full circle and be able to connect with Detroiters. I’ll then be in NYC for most of December, JDC board meetings, writing final reports, and really starting to think about what’s next. Then the final flight home to Detroit (don’t worry siblings, there will also be some travel to Chicago at some point to see the nieces and nephews).

It is crazy to think it’s almost over, but right now I’m focused on the here and now like I have tried to do all year. I’m not going to lie, that piece becomes harder and harder, but I really am trying to squeeze every moment from this year. Therefore, I’m committing to give myself January to debrief, to catch up, to think, write, speak, share. To be in a “known space” as I explore my next opportunity (I’m always open to suggestions). I have a few ideas floating in my brain of what I want to do but also recognizing that I need some space, some true time to really process my 2019.

I have a lot on my mind, and this wasn’t the most informative email. If I’m honest there are times I’m scared that when any of you ask me questions about the experience I won’t have anything to say. Because I’ll never know where to start. That said I am excited to share stories, to teach and educate, because of the many things I learned this year, one of them is how much we can learn from one another, how much we need to recognize and admit and overcome how much we don’t know about one another. We grow from learning about others. This is true for people within our own local community and country and even bigger the global scale I’ve been so privileged to experience this year.

Anyway, thanks for reading and bearing with me as I share literally the current thoughts on my mind. It’s not a post full of “life in Dubai” info. But here are some pictures of different places and things I’ve seen. Again, much more to come.

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