Saturday, June 9, 2012

Emirati Wedding Experience

It has been a while since I have updated and written.. and I know I say this every time I blog..

Many things have happened (good, bad, and fun....) and life has gotten a bit busy to blog all of the goings on! More blogs should follow soon!

Three weeks ago all of the English teachers moved out of the villas and into brand new beautiful apartments... we are waiting for our curtains to be put up (we don't have a drill) so pictures will be posted when that happens.. Insh'allah.

Here is the LATEST story:

Last night one of my roommates, Heidi, and I had the pleasure of attending an Emirati wedding. )Last weekend we spent 8 hours in the mall in Abu Dhabi dress shopping... we had to look amazing!)
 The secretary at Heidi's school was getting married!

Friday 8 June 2012:
  Heidi and I decided we needed to get better color for the wedding so we went to the beach. We planned on staying for a few hours, but 6-7 hours later we were peeling ourselves off the chairs. When we got home we realized that all of our sunscreen applications were in vain because we were burnt! We started to get ready around 6pm..(thanks to the Coronas) and we needed to be at the wedding at 8 and it was over an hour away... little did we realize that it would take so long to do the hair and make-up an event like this requires!!! How soon we forget what it is like to get ready for a black-tie function! We ended up leaving around 8.... and got there around 9:30...
The Emirati Wedding:
The men and women celebrate separately. The celebration is held at a wedding hall which has 2 sides... We were driving up to the building and I told Heidi to pull in to the entrance and then we saw the sea of white- men in kandooras!  NOT the ladies side!! We saw black (women in abayas) and ran to the other side before getting ourselves into trouble!! Cell phones had to be left at the entrance and we had to be patted down to make sure we were not hiding any cameras or phones... Absolutely NO photography!
We did not know what to expect, but we knew it would be over the top because we are used to the Emirati style... The hall was huge and there were tables piled with food.. their was silver fabric draped along the ceiling.. the first bride was sitting on the stage (we were late so we missed her walking in...) there were enormous crystal frames with silver Arabic designs in the middle and crystal lamps and balls lit up around the stage.... (so very "My Sweet Sixteen") The bride was in an amazing dress ..... There were women in dresses that the Real Housewives of New Jersey would KILL for!!! The hair and make-up was Jersey Shore meets Toddlers and Tiaras...
Heidi and I stuck out like sore thumbs- we were wearing abayas over our dresses, but we were not veiled, we did not have sheilas covering our hair, and we are white and blonde...
The bride Heidi knew came and she was stunning, but she had an extremely hard time walking! Her dress was mermaid style and very formfitting! We went on stage (without abayas) to say hello and Mabrook (Congrats in Arabic)... of course I tripped walking up the stairs while alllllll eyes were on us.... the poor girl could barely breathe.. her dress was so tight and her make-up was so heavy and her hair weighed probably 42lbs... She was so happy to see Heidi and meet me .... even though it was hard for her to say it!!

We sat back down(eyes still on us) and as we were watching the 3rd bride walk in and all the ladies continue to dance, each table received an enormous plate with one or two lamb shoulders and legs on a bed of rice... normal... the ladies at the table behind us had aluminum foil and took the whole lamb, wrapped it up, and put it in their giant purse!! They then proceeded to take the fruit from their table (and 3 other tables) and put it in a shopping bag ... Heidi and I were speechless! .. normal again...!!
As the ceremony was winding down, ladies came around with finger desserts, then dates, Arabic coffee, unappetizing pancakes, and perfume in a large crystal decanter (Heidi and I had to watch the other ladies to know what to do with the perfume- spread it all over their abayas and sheilas on their heads...)
We were one of the last groups of ladies to leave...! ..

At the car we had audience of the Pakistani truck drivers eating and drinking tea sitting on the sidewalk.. across from the smelly dumpster.. and the car was so foggy because it was extremely humid out... it took us 15 kilometers and driving with the windows down then up then down and the defrost blasting to get 85% visibility..
3/4 of the way home the gas light went on, but we were close to home ... and then missed the exit and ended up in the next town over on the most undesirable road in the Emirate... we were hoping and praying and then barely breathing scared we were going to run out of gas... we made it to the gas station on fumes and both of us let out the breath we were holding.....

So now we know things needed for our next weeding experience: Pink or Red Lipstick, Henna on our arms, hands, and feet, a "Bump- It" or 2 for our hair, and plenty of gas!

We made it home after a night of new experiences, laughs, and embarrassing and scary moments!!


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