I can’t believe another week has gone by so quickly. I didn’t think it would really. I imagined it would drag by and be hugely painful. I’m lucky I guess that isn’t the case. I think my medication helps that but also because this week I decided to be more productive.
Firstly, I took (and passed at 100%) a course set by World Health Organisation (“WHO”) re operational planning guides for country preparedness and response. Although nothing to do with the job I was doing, I am hoping that by adding things like this, I will be able to change my path slightly when I start job searching again after Ramadan.
The second course I took (and only got a 90% because I didn’t realise a couple of questions you had to pick more than one answer) was by United Nations Department of Safety and Security and was part of their BSAFE programme. This is usually only taken by UN employees and family members, but can be taken by anyone with friends in the organsation. It is, as you would imagine, about personal safety in a number of situations. Again, nothing to do with my last role but hopefully will add value to my next.
On top of that, I have registered for a course from Yale called The Science of Wellbeing. It’s a bit more fluffy than the rest, but that is totally an area I need to work on both personally and professionally. It turns out that it is quite interesting though so that’s a huge bonus!
I also signed up for a course from Harvard. Only, its not quite the “free” course they were advertising. You can audit the course for free, but to get access to the course materials, tests and to get a certificate if you pass, it’s $100. Cheeky. It was a course about writing so I want to take it, but I don’t want to spend nearly AED 400 on a certificate, much as I love them.
Not content at feeling clever for work things, I wanted to add to my personal life. I have been studying Crystal Healing for a while so decided that I needed to finish the course. I have to wait for 2 weeks minimum to see if I have passed, but I am feeling positive about it. I’ve long believed in the healing power of crystals so it’s good to learn more. I have also enrolled for the advanced course so I can learn more.
The other course I had enrolled in (ok, there are a few but I’m going through them slowly!) is to qualify as a Hopi Ear Candle practitioner. I am not doing this to make money, but rather just to help my friends. I’ve found this particular treatment hugely beneficial to both my mental health and my physical health before, and want to be able to offer that feeling of wellness to others. Same as with the eyelash courses I did. I’m never going to be great at Russian Lashes as I don’t do enough at them, but my girls enjoy the LVL and Classic lashes when they come over. I think it’s such a rewarding thing to do and gives you a unique bonding session with some of your favourite people.
After all this learning, and watching the 25th Anniversary performance of Phantom of the Opera a number of times due to a momentous vocal crush on Ramin Karimloo, I also had a good chunk of time left to dedicate to Spanish practice (I’m still terrible but have more words to massacre now) and Netflix. I am wading my way through Jane the Virgin happily, but took a little break to watch The Good Place for a change of pace too.
Towards the end of the week, a rumour started to circulate that the restrictions of lockdown would be relaxed a little with the start of Ramadan. It all sounded too good to be true so I went about planning my weekend of learning to make myself feel more clever again. It was therefore a very pleasant and welcome beep on my phone (well, a number of beeps) with news of the relaxed restrictions!
The government have put together guidelines for a soft opening of malls and some restaurants. On top of this, they removed the need for a permit to leave your house. Masks are still mandatory but gloves when you are outside is optional.
Naturally there are a lot of people, embarrassingly mostly the British, that then went straight ahead and took full advantage of this. They were out running and exercising without a mask. Whilst they are horrible, it is still possible to exist and go about your business with them. They were also gathering in groups to walk about – mostly the Marina and JLT, forgetting all social distancing rules. Not only that, there were certain bars that decided to reopen. Stupidly. There are videos and photos doing the rounds of people queuing to get into them. They are all there, again ignoring the 2 metre rule, and instead of wearing their masks, they are carrying them. HashtagCovidiots
I absolutely did get out of my apartment this weekend and loved every minute. While people flocked to urban areas in large groups, I didn’t. I went in the opposite direction.
Friday night I went into the desert to watch the sunset. It was incredible. The sky was so clear that you could see Orion in it’s fullest, but also, faintly, the Southern Cross too. I didn’t think that was possible but I was laid on my back looking at them and can say it really is. Incredible. Also, the sand is so soft in the dunes. It was just the best feeling in the world to stand there and reconnect with the earth. I could feel the healing powers coming up through my body.
As the sun set it got super dark but preparedness is something that was hammered into my brain back in Hurricane Season in Bermuda. Instead of relying on night vision or cell phone torches, a fire was lit. I have to say I stacked it very well indeed and it took quickly and burned beautifully. It’s a little warm now for a fire but there is no better feeling than sitting in the dark watching it burn.
I woke the next morning feeling better than I had in weeks. So much so that I put on my trainers and did my first 5k since the beginning of the restrictions! I mean, it hurt like a bitch and I struggled to breathe in the mask sometimes, but I did it!
The problem with being up and energetic so early is that you then feel compelled to do more. I can usually ignore that feeling but after feeling so revitatlised after the desert sunset, there was only one place I wanted to be. At the beach. That can’t happen in Dubai, but the rules are different in each Emirate. Don’t get me wrong. I didn’t go for a beach party. The beach was off the beaten path and also is only accessible with a 4×4. It was completely deserted.
I had a lovely swim, and watched the sun set again. There really is something primal about watching the sun go down. It gives you such a sense of peace that so few other things do. I am starting to sound like a hippy, I know. It’s true though. One thing that this lockdown has taught me is that I really am not a city girl. I like to be outside and I like to see nature. I had thought that it was enough that I can see some trees out of my window, but then i never realised quite how often that I am out of my apartment and away from the city before. I know that this is one thing I am going to take away from this experience and try to honour in myself going forward.
It turns out that Virgo is an earth sign. I love other people’s random knowledge. I have never understood the zodiac signs so love it when other people do. Apparently I am most compatible with a Taurus. Who knew. Also, I now need to google what one of those is!
The weekend was nearly over, but there was one last thing to do… watch Love Never Dies. It is the follow on to Phantom of the Opera. I was lucky to have seen it in the West End twice with Ramin Karimloo. He is the best Phantom since Michael Crawford without a doubt. I am also very fortunate to have been able to see Phantom so many times (it’s my favourite) that I can say that he is the best with confidence! Sadly, this was not his performance. It was the Australian version. It wasn’t great. Also, it was the first time I had seen the newly configured show and I wasn’t a fan. A lot of the magic and mystery of the first was lost by making it “more accessible”. So much so that I actually fell soundly asleep before the end of the first half. Shame because it could have been so good.
So that has been my week. It was much more interesting than the previous ones! I honestly cannot tell you the difference it makes to be in the fresh air and sunshine. I am never again living in an apartment without a balcony, and honestly want to start focusing on moving into a villa if I am able to stay in Dubai. But whichever country I end up in next, I am going to do it in a place with an outdoor area of some description.
Take care, and stay safe x