Dubai 2012: Thanksgiving

(This is the tenth post in a series detailing my work trip to Dubai, United Arab Emirates.)

Happy Thanksgiving from Dubai to all of my friends and family who read this. I wish I could thank each and every one of you for the love support in which you have given me. Words cannot explain how thankful and grateful I am this year. But alas I will try.

It goes without saying that I am grateful for a large number of things. First and foremost, the health and well-being of myself, my family and my friends.

Secondly, I am thankful for the ability to write this to you from Dubai. It really is something I can’t quite put into words even though I have previously tried with nine posts.

I’ve been over here in the U.A.E. for just about 10 days, I haven’t even hit the half-way point of my trip, and I still can’t believe I am a half a world away. Granted, it hits me when I realize I can only access the Internet at certain times of the day and that I spoke to my parents via Skype last night for the first time since I’ve been in Dubai. But sometimes I wonder if this is all a dream … a dream I don’t want to end.

Not only have I had the opportunity to travel the world and experience new places, but I have had the honor of meeting some amazing people from across the world as well, and that begins with the people I have had the opportunity to train with.

From the original crew in Houston for my first opening to those who are with me in Dubai, I have been blessed with the chance to work with some fun and intelligent people. We know when to joke around but also when to get down to business. Simply put, we work hard, but we play harder.

Since this is the first Thanksgiving holiday I am not able to be with my biological family, I am thankful I have some fellow Americans to share this holiday with as stand-ins for my family. Actually, I take that back. They are part of my family.

In place of a traditional Thanksgiving dinner (since we have no way of preparing such a feast), we improvised in a very American way: (my meal) spicy chicken Big Mac from McDonald’s (better than it seems), mashed potatoes and gravy from KFC, and boiled corn from a local market. We were as American as possible. AND, our two friends from Cyprus — Alin and Reka — celebrated with us after we filled them in on the historical background for the holiday.

Needless to say, I couldn’t avoid being away from my family for Thanksgiving this year, but I was able to celebrate the occasion and be with my surrogate family instead. And, I was perfectly content having it that way. As we’ve been doing all week long as a team, we improvised to get the job done. Putting our heads together to celebrate Thanksgiving abroad was a challenge we accepted with open arms.

Now, as much as I LOVE the city of Dubai and the work I’m doing here, I have only 11 days until I am Stateside with my friends and family; only 11 days until I’m home.

Happy Thanksgiving, everyone!

Until next time …


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