Thursday, December 25, 2014

Seen in Abu Dhabi 31: Rescue Animals

Above: It was a rescued animal type of day: We saw the gas station attendants had rescued this bird from their parking lot and friends had found the kitten looking for food in the trash. The kitten was blinded from eye infection, had worms, fleas and a tail injury. It later died in the rescuer's arms.

There is a problem with an abundance of cats in Ruwais. Though it is supposedly illegal to feed or house them as pets, it still happens. Trash is removed twice a day by city maintenance, partly as a cautionary measure against feeding them or other pests, but they hunt through the trash cans at night and some leave food out for them. This leaves a lot of kittens wandering the streets throughout the year and the ones who make it to adulthood wandering everywhere and entering any house with the door left cracked open in search of food. 

There is no shelter or vet in Ruwais. The nearest is in Abu Dhabi a good 2.5-3 hour drive away. If anyone felt like starting an animal program out here, it would fulfill a desperate need.

Friday, December 19, 2014

Elias Turns 3

Elias was so excited about his birthday this year! I think it's the first one he's been old enough to anticipate and really understand. He (very nicely) asked if he could have a chocolate star cake this year with strawberries, his favorite. He also wanted "lots of balloons!"

I had two circle cake pans, but I figured I could find a tutorial online to turn two circles into a star, and sure enough, I did! Basically, you turn one into a pentagon and cut the other into 6 (one extra) even sliced triangles by removing the rounded part, and stick them together.

I used this devil's food cake recipe by Laura Vitale and the icing again is chocolate whipped cream (from this recipe) because it pairs so nicely with the fruit my kids always request. I did the writing with cream cheese icing for color contrast.

We recycled one of Ben's pretty blue flavored water bottles for a vase and put one of the gorgeous yellow marigold's from our garden in it. It has lasted all month.

Elias is a thoughtful, decisive little boy. He is always observing what's around him and figuring out how things work. We love him very much and look forward to many more birthdays with this special guy.

Saturday, December 13, 2014

Seen in Abu Dhabi 30: Knafeh

Knafeh, or, as wikipedia says:

"Kenafeh also spelled knafeh, Kunafeh, kunafeh, knafeh, or kunafah) is a Levantine cheese pastry soaked in sweet sugar-based syrup, typical of the regions belonging to the former Ottoman Empire.[1] It is a dessert specialty of the Levant, especially in Lebanon, Jordan, the Palestinian territories, Israel, Syria and northern Egypt. It is a first cousin of the Greek kadaifi and the Turkish tel kadayıf, künefe and ekmek kadayıfı. [2]"

Or, in other words, as we learned from our friendly Jordanian neighbors, DELICIOUS!!

Thursday, December 4, 2014

December's First Days: National Day and Murder

These first few days of December have been full of events:

 On December 2nd the U.A.E. celebrated their 43rd year as a nation. There were amazing airshows, fireworks and celebrations all over the U.A.E. Dubai's famous Burj Khalifa, the tallest tower in the world, had a huge firework display from its many different levels. The Corniche in Abu Dhabi had beautiful displays along its coastline. In Ruwais, the mall was decorated with National Day colors and the schools had special assemblies and are off this week, but I'm not sure if anything else happened. I'm just enjoying the time with the whole family together.

Also happening this week is Elias' 3rd birthday, which he has been counting down to ever since August. It's probably the first one he can really understand what it's all about and be talking enough to express that.

December 1st, however, is what made the news back home: A woman in a niqab and gloves waited  in the restroom until the woman, an American teacher she appears to have been waiting for, entered. People heard arguing. The American was found later stabbed. The ambulance didn't get there in time. The American teacher was the mother of 11 year old twins. Their father was contacted and coming for them last I heard. Police said today on Twitter via AbuDhabiPolice that the suspect was caught and it is being labeled an act of terrorism since after the stabbing she supposedly went to bomb an American doctor's house.

If your goal in life is "safety," then there is still nothing here to worry about compared to the States. (That's not our goal and I believe that "safety" is an illusion in the first place.) This is an unusual event and the only one of its kind that I've heard of the whole time we've been here.