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Apologies for being incommunicado this week and hope none of you out there are too distraught not to be receiving the usual almost-daily MotV missives. The reason for the silence is that I'm up to my neck, metaphorically-speaking, in research papers for my first grad course assessment. This experience has made me realise how rigorously un-academic I am in my thinking. It has also illuminated how reliant I am on red wine in order to get through endless evenings typing furiously on my laptop, not to mention the fueling of increasingly colorful curses that I feel obliged to aim at the University's online library system which consistently refuses to spit out any of the journals I'm desperate for (I refuse to believe this is 100% due to my technical incompetence...) Oh well, if this is the price one has to pay in order to realize a long-cherished dream then it's not all that bad... No one ever said a mid-life career change would be easy. Wish me luck!
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Being an expat, a favorite topic of conversation is 'where I/you want to go next?' or 'When do you plan to go home?' It's a good question. I'm not sure I want to stay in Dubai for ever, but I'm also not sure about how long I want to be here for or where else I would like to live. For almost the first time ever, I have no fixed plans apart from keeping my eyes and mind open to interesting opportunities. And as to going 'home', I have no idea where that is. Constantly moving around as a child left me with the feeling that 'home' is wherever I am right now, so in effect 'home' could be anywhere. The longest I've ever lived in one fixed place was 18 years in London, on and off, but that doesn't feel like 'home' either - I love going back to see family and friends, and it's a great place to shop, but that's about it. I have a great love for California, which is where my extended family is from (and where most of the

Recommended & the Mahiki dance-off

My GFs and I went to Mahiki last night, great fun as usual but made me feel a bit old; it seems that Thursday night is the playground of the just-past-pubescent. Oh well. Good tunes though, so whatever. In between taking over the dancefloor - the youngsters may have youth on their side but frankly that shrinks to insignificance in the face of two decades of clubbing experience - one of my GFs and I got into a conversation about why so many people are full of bull. It appears that many people we come across are content to live their lives in a superficial way, skimming the surface of what life has to offer and equating the ownership of stuff (cars, houses, boats, jewelry, designer clothes) with happiness. They converse in terms of status, strut their possessions as a measure of their own self-worth, take themselves far too seriously, are quick to judge others, easily annoyed, complain a lot about very little and their worries seem to far outweigh their joys. Personally, I think all tha

School trip!

I had a fantastic day yesterday, having managed to wrangle a place for myself on the Small(er) One's school trip - a full day of adventure out in the desert - in the guise of a responsible parent helper. The schedule included a load of educational stuff - learning how to filter water, looking for 'dinosaur tracks', nature walks etc - but, if I'm to be entirely honest, the big draw for me was the chance to fling myself down huge sand dunes as fast as possible... to try sand boarding, in other words. I've tried snow boarding before and I'm truly rubbish - the combination of freezing cold and permanently sliding down icy slopes on my backside (thank God for padded salopettes) didn't really do much for me. But sand? That seemed a lot more palatable. And it was. The most fun I've had for quite a while. Sand is soft, so the bum bruising is much more tolerable. Plus it was kiddy-pitched, so not too scarily high and with the option of sitting on the board. And a

Global Male Stereotypes: The Hopeless Romantic

He seems perfect. A total gentleman, he'll stand up when you enter the room, his eyes aglow with admiration at the sight of your captivating beauty. You'll be showered with compliments and sweet love-notes chockablock with sweet-nothings. The Hopeless Romantic calls when he says he will and texts just to say he's thinking about you - no gesture is too large or small and he will do anything to please. Not for him are the 'keep-em-keen' games employed by most of the male population; the HR wears his heart on his sleeve and he's happy to show it off to the world. In essence, the Hopeless Romantic will behave like the perfect boyfriend, as described in all the women's magazines. As in all things, if something seems too good to be true then it probably is. And in this case the Hopeless Romantic has one very fatal flaw: so desperate is the HR in his search for love, he falls head-over-heels at the drop of a hat... and out of it just as quickly. As soon as a jolt o

A thought

Perhaps sometimes a gift can be delivered in the guise of a tragedy. It's just a matter of perception, after all. I suspect that the talent lies in looking beyond the surface to what lies beneath and beyond. And, of course, being able to make sense of it all and going on to apply that knowledge to building a productive way forward. Here's hoping.