It is now May 2, 2022 at 1400. May is my birthday month, I shall turn 79 – although I am math challenged, do believe that I shall be 80 next year. No one can deny that 80 is not old. I am in bed, writing, always write from bed with my computer on my knee. For some obscure reason this gave me tennis elbow – diagnosed by a UAE neurologist but if I wear a brace there is no pain. Written millions of words during these past five years. Beginning in London, then Vancouver, then San Francisco, then Marin, then Dubai and now Abu Dhabi. Different beds of course. Different apartments, different hotels, different beds. Went to Apple Music, found an intriguing title to download: A Day in San Francisco. It began with Creedence Clearwater Revival’s Have You Have Seen the Rain. I listen to it with rapt attention.
The year was 1967 – I left Edmonton, Alberta, Canada for San Francisco and never looked back, but now I am going back to Canada, with an overwhelming sense of gratitude. Going back to something old and something new. For example, emails from from my alma mater and the local mosque. Old in that my first job after graduating from the U of A was at the Edmonton YWCA . The Internet tells me that the YWCA is now housed now housed in a new building with an incredible outreach program for abused women and their children. With my experience working as a lawyer for Marin County social worker I could perhaps volunteer, do something useful to assist the women and children. My alma mater is seeking volunteers for a program for refuges attending the U of A – I could do that. During May the Internet announces the campus shall host two fascinating speakers and a play about the Bronte sisters. It seems like I am going home – how can that be home? Not lived there in fifty-five years – not going to be with anyone from my days in Edmonton. I do know some people, not planning to connect, If I see them it is OK but I have changed so much and become a Muslim – that shall be difficult for them to understand and connect with. They will want the old Alexis back, not the new Fatimah. I shall make an appointment early in my stay to tour the Al Rashid Mosque, I can do that online. What in the world would we do without the Internet? Now the song being played is
Rolling Stones singing: You Can’t Always Get What You Want – how appropriate that song to my life. I seem always able to get what I need these days.
After morning prayers and writing my blog went for breakfast at Costa Coffee. It is 93 degrees Fahrenheit but air conditioning makes it livable. While breakfasting met two charming men, who asked me to join them. An Emeriti man and his teacher of old, whose nickname became ,, TOO, (Teacher of Old). TOO has three passports – UK, Canada and France. TOO 77 is now teaching in Oman. He was accompanied by a man he taught years ago who was born, and resides in AbuDhabi. At this moment got a text from E.G.G. (Emerita Great Guy) confirming that the three of us will meet for coffee tomorrow before their flight to Oman. EGG speaks fluent English – having attended university in London. Suddenly wish I were staying so that I could go with them – have met people from Oman and it sounds like a fascinating country – very different from the UAE. But it is time for me to move on.
Almost six months in the UAE – too long a time. But do admit the original thought was to reside here for the rest of my natal born life. Nope. But one meets the most interesting people at this rather humble hotel as it is most connected to the Abu Dhabi airport. I began my stay here because I missed a flight to Qatar in December 2021. At times unplanned, seemingly rather tragic events\, lead to great times. Do not know how I would have survived here without this hotel – inexpensive rates, wonderful caring staff and, of course, air conditioning.
People speak of this turn of events, my return to Canada.
They: But it is cold in Canada.
Me: Well, as a matter of fact, it is. But they have central heating there you know, and winterized homes.
They: Oh, I guess so.
Me: I do much better in the cold, not the heat. San Francisco is rather cold. Mark Twain once said that the coldest winter he ever spent was summer in San Francisco. I hate the heat. But, of course, they have air conditioning here. I thank Allah daily for that.
But what makes it SO extraordinary is the Apple Music, playing One Day in San Francisco, MY city for many years while simultaneously texting people in Malaysia, EGG from Abu Dhabi, TOO from Oman and corresponding with tens on Instagram. I now have 719 followers – and goodness knows how many readers of this Blog.
Great news just received from the Internet. When I land in Canada I will not need a pcr test taken 72 hours before I leave Abu Dhabi. WOW!! Just looked it up. Neither stop – Abu Dhabi to Toronto and then to Vancouver for a few days. PHEW – perhaps normalcy has returned to my life. I doubt it but one can hope. That is, of course, because I am fully vaccinated with one booster. When I get back to Canada will get another booster – I cannot get a booster in this (un) fair land but EGG is checking into it for me. Emirati men can make things happen, I have heard. The UAE doctor and hospital tried everything about two weeks ago, but we shall see. This nightmare may be over. The nightmare began on March 15,2020 in San Francisco when I was forced into lock down – put on solitary confinement for a crime I did not commit. But I kept myself safe, vaccinated and a booster and when staying in Ab Dhabi, at this hotel, I am at the safest place on earth. My robust immunity system would chase anything away – my good humor and laughter enhances my immune system AND my Islamic Faith is instrumental as well. I keep myself safe but do know I am protected by Allah – how else does one account for me being at the safest place on earth during these last few months? At one point, in the not too distant past, one even had to have a pct to travel from Dubai to Abu Dhabi. Dubai relaxed its standards because of Expo 2020 (and I guess greed)
I not only survived but I thrived. It was a Kaiser Permanent advertisement but I always had the Cadillac of medical care paid by the County of Marin. Yeah me! I was lucky BUT
Roman philosopher Seneca once said, “Luck is what happens when preparation meets opportunity. And while many people agree that luck does create some level of opportunity – a chance meeting that leads to a job interview or a boss quitting unexpectedly, opening a path to a fast-tracked promotion.”
During my long life I have had many opportunities but I always was prepared and now, armed with my faith in Allah, I am even better prepared and have so many more opportunities. .As long as I got out of Marin County – a county I served so well and a county and its inhabitants that turned its back on me in my hour of need. I lived and worked in Marin during its golden years – my goodness, the Christo running fence, the I.M. Pei designed Buck Center, my office , my esteemed boss Doug Maloney (now deceased) winning the Buck case, keeping millions of charitable dollars in Marin rather than spreading it out to California. But now it is impossibly expensive to live there, and the prices of homes escalate even now I read on the Internet. Wives and mothers must work to supplement the husband’s income (or exceed it in many cases) in order to live there so children are ‘cared’ for by non English speaking Hispanic women, who are unable to instill discipline in the fear that they will be fired. The price of gas has made the situation worse – desperation reins.
But there is a problem. When I hurriedly left Marin in November of 2021 it was with the belief that I would be living in this climate forever. All of my winter clothes are in storage in Marin – oops but I am sure I can find a solution. If I could leave in two weeks, suffering from a wrongful eviction and many woes – I certainly can liberate my winter clothes from Kentfield. Maybe buy new ones in Edmonton. I can wear anything under my abayas – just long underwear even. Will need gloves and a warm jacket. Problem solved already. Phew.
The photograph is a painting that graces the wall of my Abu Dhabi Premier Inn hotel room. I shall miss its cheerfulness. It is simple, but none the less quite beautiful.