My 14-hour flight diatribe . July 26th, 2013

Posted: August 9, 2013 in Past Trips
Burj Khalifa from Sheikh Rayed Road (I think)

Burj Khalifa from Sheikh Rayed Road (I think)

Goodbye Dubai!  I’m en route home and I’m not quite certain how I feel about it.  What a week!

I’ve lived through a few shockers and various emotions while in the UAE, in one short week.  People surprise me.  Just when I think I’ve got ‘it’ (whatever ‘it’ is) all figured out, the curve balls start flying… and I still don’t have the reflexes to duck quickly enough!  🙂

Travel.  Perspective.  Friends.  Realism.  Love.  Acceptance.  Maturity.  Generosity.  Risk.

If I weren’t an actionary person, I don’t believe any of the above words would apply to what makes me Liz.  It might have been a few rough months – and took AJ and the ex-boyfriend to bolster my spirits and psychoanalyze me a bit, but I don’t seem to wander too far off the course these days.  I’m never quite sure who to thank properly and how to express myself well.  It’s just this wild and exciting journey, of which I am always open to, that keeps me going.  I’ll never forget ‘keep on keeping on’ from Will’s funeral.

I was reminded today (and for some reason it makes me tear up to write) about humanity in its most vulnerable form… here in Dubai amidst so much fake.  Bezu, the lifeguard at Vida Downtown really did bless me.  I had a crazily-insightful village of people help me through an intense week on several levels.  I definitely used the late mornings to my advantage while NY still slept.  And I swam a lot.  Practically every day.  It is Ramadan… no one is at the hotel pools.  And, it’s 109 degrees outside.  I don’t know… this Pisces fish needed to be in the water, and reflect.  Anyway, Bezu was so genuinely kind.  Like a kindness I hadn’t seen or felt in a really, really long time.  He’s in Dubai, on a ‘work plan’ from Ethiopia.  He sends most of his earnings to his mum and sisters back home.  He asked about my religion and I told him that I don’t believe.  I’ll admit that his infectious smile as he said “really!?” and “I’m going to pray for you” without even an ounce of judgment, question or further persecution why… it struck me.  He knew I was leaving the next night late, and said he’d be back to work (from his work-related bus from apartment or dorm-like suburb) at noon the next day.  Today I swam on and off for hours, but was thankfully still there when Bezu came back to work.  He had that lit up smile instantly when he saw me- the only blonde out at the pool in a bikini during Ramadan, but it wasn’t like that.  He had a gift for me!  He gave me a wristband, with the original flag of Ethiopia, which, apparently is controversial.  But it’s where his family’s loyalty stands.  For once, I have no words to describe how having that connection felt.  x

Much like the gang from ‘It’s Always Sunny’ would, I had a ‘plan’ for this trip.  And boy oh boy, it did not go as expected.  But that’s the bit I love about my life most.  It’s certainly not the easiest path, and to quote my heart and soul: “It takes a village”.  And to quote myself earlier tonight during my second unexpected call with the VP: “I am who I am [literal and exacting], you can either accept it, or just stop calling me.”  Sounds harsh maybe, but I don’t think he ‘gets’ me so easily.  And obviously I am sometimes not so easy.  😀  That’s why I need people who ‘get me’.  In our defense: constant time zone craziness x2 doesn’t help.

What an amazing feeling.  It took a village, but I finally got myself back.  And sure, maybe people cringe when they see my call come through during these times.  But if we don’t take risks, don’t love our friends and value their perspectives, isn’t that just a bit robotic?

Clearly, I’m emotional on-a-plane Liz right now.  And no I’m not drunk!  I had one vodka in the lounge and then was asleep on the tarmac.  I slept seven hours straight on a plane.  It was a long and enlightening week!  In so many ways.  I completely respect the differences in people, and what works for me may not be the right recipe for anyone else… but if I’ve learned anything at all these past few years, it’s the following:

1. Those who never make mistakes, typically don’t achieve much.  Taking risks is imperative.

2. The best way out is always through.

3. Karma and the bigger picture are ever-present.

4. I genuinely love my friends.

5. Life is too short to be too hard on oneself.

My week in Dubai and Abu Dhabi closed in a way I would have never imagined.  But it is so fabulous.  I’m so proud of myself and so grateful for everything the incredible people in my life have contributed to my goal.  I’ve been pushing the date out, but on Monday, I launch the new kick-ass rebrand of my company!!!  I am not perfect.  I am not as organized as I’d like to be.  But I am definitely driven.  Trust that the book dedications will likely be longer than the book itself.  x… wait a minute: ooo.  I am still always confused the x is a kiss and the o- a hug?  I had it the other way around for about 31 years, as F Tom pointed out.

On my way to the airport, something magical-like happened, after my spiritual emotionally-charged days.  Clarity at last!

Traveling these distances can be trying, as I have to manage meetings locally and then run the business at night, not to mention my clients are all over the globe anyway.  One called me at 4:00am Dubai time last night, he was en route from Seattle to Delhi and had some stupid United issues.  All I really did was take the call and empathize.  Then tonight at dinner (about 11:00am NYC time), I got a random call from someone that client was sitting next to on the plane today, he was told that I am the absolute best in the biz (in several ways) and he’d like for me to consider taking on his boutique firm’s travel!

As for me and the VP… I think I’ve just collected another ‘friend-for-life’.  Who saw that coming!!?  He sealed the deal on Wednesday, when he texted me “xxxx”.  I texted him back: “the number four, or anything in fours means death in China”.  To which he replied: “xxx”.  Acceptance, there you have it.  I think he we ‘get’ each other finally!  Happy girl.

So… here’s to my village: you guys are freaking amazing and I couldn’t succeed or survive without your truly awesome perspectives and support.

Next stop: Virtuoso in Vegas, which is far more exciting now that I’ve decided to (hopefully) pass some of this experience and exposure on to Ashlee.  No one deserves it more, having to put up with my chaotic style.  The girl has a mind of her own though and takes smart risks.  Watch out Vegas… here comes Envizage!

Love to all.

Oh yeah and the picture is of Burj Khalifa, the ‘world’s tallest building’, just outside the ‘world’s biggest mall’ and ‘world’s largest fountain’.  Whatever.

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