Year 1: Spring Term Week 10

Hey all,

Can't believe it's April. Time flies.

The "I Am" exhibition opened in the Arts Center this week. It's a display of artwork from the migrant workers in the Mohammed bin Zayed Labor Camp, along with the student volunteers from the ADvocacy student interest group. Basically each person made a "body map" poster with the outline of a person on it and things about herself: pictures of home and family, favorite items, inspirational quotes, future goals, etc. It has been such a cool experience to get to know these women and learn more about their lives from this project. Some of my classmates really put a lot of work into making this exhibition happen, and I'm really thankful for their leadership.

One of the highlights of this week was going to an open mic poetry slam at Art House Cafe in the city. One of my classmates was performing, so a group of us decided to come watch. It's especially great to hear the voices of people in this region, since most of us are immigrants/expats. Lots of poems deal with themes of immigration, oppression, love, faith/religion, and the complex relationship we have with home and identity. We're mostly a bunch of young adults making our home in a place that is not truly "Home" with a capital "H"- the Home from where we come originally. The cafe had a semi-covered outdoor patio area and the weather was just perfect. If I ever have time, maybe I'll come back and perform something. I love poetry and just the sheer power of spoken word.

Proof that engineering students can appreciate poetry too :)

Foundations of Science fam (the flash gave us glowing demon eyes but oh well)
There's an art gallery right next to the cafe, but it was closed. We still found this cool picture of Sheikh Zayed made out of wood though.

On the way back, we stopped at a bakery in the city. Fresh manakeesh with labneh and zaatar... so warm and savoury; it melts in your mouth. You know you've been living in the Middle East for a while when you start waking up craving zaatar manakeesh on a regular basis, haha.

I'm planning out courses for the fall semester, which is crazy. Scheduling is so complicated, especially with all the requirements for engineering. I'm pretty sure I've settled on an electrical engineering major (with the intent to do biomedical engineering in the long run), but now I'm looking at options for a minor, options for studying languages I'd love to learn, options for music... and there's no possible way to fit everything in that I want to do. Decisions, decisions.

This week/weekend has been pretty routine. In chemistry we're learning about different analytical techniques, and in physics we're learning about electromotive force and Faraday's law. In my Time writing class, we read a book called "The Slow Professor" which criticizes the "corporatization" of universities and the emphasis on faster and faster pacing in learning and in research. This week started off with a multivariable calculus midterm exam as well. And I'm still doing swim P.E., since I decided to take it again for the next 7 weeks. We have a new coach who is pushing us harder than before, but at least it means we'll improve our stamina. This week was actually relatively relaxed in terms of workload, since it was the start of the new semester after spring break.

The next two days are my church's worldwide General Conference, so check it out on if you get a chance! I plan to watch it next weekend since the days and time zones don't line up with the U.A.E's Friday-Saturday weekend. Looking forward to hearing the messages.

I've been listening to a lot of random Arabic music since I recently discovered Anghami, which is like the Arab version of Spotify. Also, congrats to NYU's Class of 2021 who got their regular decision acceptances today! So exciting!

Goodnight from Saadiyat Island,