Girls Just Wanna Have Fun

Many things in Abu Dhabi are more expensive than at home so you have to be ready to grab a deal whenever possible. When the girls were here over break I found a Groupon for a mani, pedi, and 1-hour massage for 140dhs ($38US). I haven’t called my kids “The Expensives” without reason; it’s not that they ask for much, but buying everything x3 can add up quickly. So I jumped on this deal and we were able to enjoy a very affordable spa afternoon. Never mind that the place was called ‘Colors Nails’ because almost everything is misspelled here (another place I frequent is called ‘Nails Arts’). Instead of letting it aggravate me I’m learning to laugh it off while enjoying the low prices.

The women of Colors Nails were nicer than nice. Many people in Abu Dhabi move here alone on a work permit and send money home to their families. The woman who did my nails told me she has a husband and young daughter in the Philippines that she supports on her meager salary. In fact, the majority of the staff was Filipino, including my massage therapist, who was a physical therapist back in her home country. She was phenomenal. My only issue is that I had a naked massage while the girls didn’t. If she thought they were too young for that, she should’ve known I was too old; out of the three of us I’m the last one you’d want to see unclothed.

(no photo out of the kindness of my heart)

I also got an awesome manicure that lasted over three weeks and still haven’t redone the pedicure I got from this place six weeks ago, though it needs help now. My students compliment me on my nails all the time. They have a slight obsession with nail polish because most of them aren’t allowed to use it. Instead, the girls often go to salons to have their hands, and sometimes feet and legs, decorated with henna. Some only get henna on special occasions like holidays and weddings, but for most girls it’s not out of the norm. Some get traditional designs, like this:


while others go for the more modern, swirly versions:


Henna can also be done using a little squeeze bottle and template at home (I’ll bring some back with me and have a henna party this summer) but of course the girls prefer to have it done professionally. Kate, Jenna, and I got henna while on our safari:


We didn’t let the henna dry long enough before washing it off. A girl who was watching us get our designs said we could scrub it off under water after 15-30 minutes- that’s the absolute LAST time I listen to an 8 year-old! Our guide later informed us we should’ve left it on as long as possible so the henna would stain our skin better. I spent the next few days scrubbing my hands to remove all traces of henna so I could have it redone at the New Year’s Eve safari. Nice person that I sometimes try to be, I didn’t run over to the henna woman right away, letting other people who were more anxious go first. After dinner, I stopped by her tent to find her sleeping (locals sure do seem to doze off frequently) so I lost my chance that night.

(I took a photo of her, too, but didn’t feel right posting it)

Aside from my nails, the students are obsessed with other things about me that blow my mind. Several of them have told me they “want my eyes.”
“Why?” I ask.
“Because they’re beautiful. And brown.”
“Your eyes are brown, too.”
“No, teacher, our eyes are black.”
Umm, I don’t think so, but I’m not going to argue.

Almost all of the local girls have beautiful darker skin, long, jet-black hair and dark eyes. I’m not allowed to post pictures of them, but generally speaking (you know, there are always one or two who don’t fit the mold…) they’re a good-looking bunch. They’re so used to seeing others with similar traits that they love anything out of “their ordinary,” which is understandable except when they’re referring to things about me that I can’t stand! For example, they’re obsessed with my hair. I try to tell them that it’s limp, lifeless, flyaway, boring brown hair but they won’t have it. They pet my head on the rare occasions I’m sitting down and they can reach it. On days where they’re able to touch my hair, I’m usually planted in a chair blocking the classroom door, preventing my kids from leaving or others from entering, which does not put me in the mood to have them run their fingers through my treasured locks. They also twirl my hair and try to comb it (please get your comb away from me). Hard to believe, I know, but they compliment me multiple times daily.

Another thing the girls can’t understand is why I don’t wear makeup to school. For them it’s forbidden, so they try to sneak application throughout the day. If they get caught (duh, we can all see it!) they have to remove it on the spot. My short answer to why I don’t bother with makeup is that it’s too expensive here so I don’t want to waste it for work. I actually bribed them and said if they all finished their in-class assignment today I’d wear mascara tomorrow. But of course they didn’t finish, so I don’t have to make good on that. I had a pretty good feeling I’d win when I made the bet in the first place.

The moral of the story is “everyone finds someone attractive.” Even if you have to move more than 7300 miles away from home to find those who envy you. Who cares if they’re only teenage girls. Who don’t get out much. Whatever. Here, at this moment, I have great hair.

Don't be jealous of the one on the right!

Don’t be jealous of the one on the right!


5 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. Deb Mech
    Feb 09, 2015 @ 05:00:57

    That traditional henna design looks like she dipped her fingers in blood-not a fan! But Haley loves henna, so she will want to join the henna party and she is a pretty good artist, so she can draw cool patterns on the rest of us 🙂

    Liked by 1 person


  2. bettinabennett2014
    Feb 09, 2015 @ 12:00:16

    love it, and yep sounds like we have the same students. Now, I think I’ll go order some shrimps and try to enjoy what’s left of this day.



  3. Barb
    Feb 09, 2015 @ 12:37:21

    Of course I’m jealous of the one on the right!!

    Liked by 1 person


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