Thursday, September 18, 2014

Travel/Throwback Thursday: Abu Dhabi Pt. 2

Hi Y'all!

So for Travel Thursday, I thought I would continue with showing - recap - my time in Abu Dhabi.  This will include some NYU Abu Dhabi events as well as some time with my parents - they each came out separately to visit me during my time there (couldn't leave the dog alone back in the States).
My adorable roommate from Sri Lanka, who I definitely need to reach out to because I've been meaning to email her back - will be done today!

This was all an event organized by the staff at NYU Abu Dhabi to introduce us (the study abroad students - 5 girls) to Emirati culture and meet some of the Emirati students. It was fun "sand boarding" and "dune bashing" 

I became quite close with J during our time together at Abu Dhabi and she reminded me of how much I loved horseback riding.  In Virginia, it is quite common to do horseback riding - there is so much land that most people have their own horses even.  I loved it but I was always on the taller end so it wasn't a big deal when I moved on to other activities. But I always loved horses, though there was  a period I was a little scared of them after I had been thrown. But I will also say I was always a bigger fun of being lazy and riding western style rather than have to do all the work and ride classic/European.
J found out there was an equestrian club and she even competed for many years and her family owns horses and raises them at her home in NJ.  SO she was an excellent rider and I joined her a few times to go riding while we were in Abu Dhabi.

At NYU Abu Dhabi, the students are required to take a "sport" since it is one of their requirements.  There was a huge number of options, which astounded me but I chose to get my scuba license (for free might I add)! It was tiresome but fun.  
That last photo is of the instructor and he wasn't too bad to look at either ;) 

Additionally, each year there is a formula 1 race that comes to the city and to prepare for it, the government pulls out everything.  As a result, I got to attend a free concert that was made up of: Cee Lo Green, Missy Elliot and Akon.  It was so fun and crazy and because of the heat, it had to be late at night so it was just steamy but again incredible! 

Right before finals started, J invited me to join the group and go to the Sheikh's former private island (Sir Bani Yas Island) to ride horses and see the collection of animals the Sheikh (and his father/family) had been given from different heads of state/governments around the world.  It was quite an incredible experience that it was worth letting my econ grade suffer in order to enjoy this experience - which is the whole point of study abroad I thought.

Some remaining pictures:
In December was UAE national day and the country turned 41 years old. It was quite a remarkable occasion though I missed most of it because I took the long weekend to go with J and explore Istanbul.  But I got to see all the decorations.

This is not a joke.  In each of the malls was some sort of Christmas theme even though the UAE is a Muslim country. 

They delivered krispy kreme at no cost. It was the best thing ever and helped me get through exams.

I had to have this delicious hot chocolate at the airport before starting my long journey back to the US. I changed my flight the day of because my exam schedule changed so I had to pack in matter of a half hour (my entire life in two huge suitcases) or leave it and race to the airport.  But it was worth it to be home one more day earlier. I really missed my family.

Waiting around in Frankfurt, I had to have a German beer even though I don't drink. 

Upon my arrive at Dulles in Virginia, I had to get a Pumpkin Spice Latte because even though Starbucks was everywhere in the UAE, there was no PSL because they don't know what pumpkin is over there.  Isn't that crazy??? So I missed most of the "PSL" season. But I got one in the end and it was delicious.  Pumpkin is probably my favorite thing so I plan to bake/cook with it a lot throughout the next few months. And, I am sorry there hasn't been much real recipes on the blog lately.  i have been so busy unpacking and organizing everything (from storage and that I own) that I haven't had time to actually bake/cook.  But that should be over this week hopefully!

I will be in Austin this weekend and then I have one of my best friends coming into town for all of next week (yay - happy dance) and then another best friend, S will be coming in Friday night after work and we will hang out for the weekend! I haven't seen S in over 2 months and I haven't seen T in such a very long time.  I have been trying to figure out a time for me to get to DC but it doesn't look possible until end of October :/ and that is if I am willing to keep traveling every weekend - which are basically my plans for the next two + months.  So I should have lots to show you for "Travel Thursdays" in the future so yay... but again I probably will be exhausted because I am going to eventually need to relax and just be a couch potato and watching the cooking show all day one Saturday and it doesn't look possible until maybe November now... yet I recognize how blessed I am to have the opportunity to travel as much as I do - though it looks like for this year it will be all domestic, though J will be going to Abu Dhabi for Columbus Day weekend and I would love to go back with her and get some Patchi chocolate but I actually will be going to Utah so still very exciting!

Thanks for reading!

With joy,


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