Self Love Exercises – Part 8

From the Feel Good Tribe
8. Don’t be afraid to change direction if you realize something isn’t working out for you anymore.

Wow… this is a hard one for many of us. Often times we stay where we are because it’s just easier, or we feel committed, or we have kids, or or or.

I had to do this last year when I was MISERABLE in Al Ain working for a crazy person. I SO, SO, SO wanted to stay in the UAE and Abu Dhabi and I hung in there as long as I possibly could and I ate away my misery and put on 25 pounds in 6 months on my already obese frame. It was awful… comfort eating KFC chicken AND McD’s french fries EVERY.SINGLE.NIGHT. Food I actually rarely ate in the first place!

But sometimes you need to bite the bullet and make a change for the positive. There were a few midwives that I worked with in Abu Dhabi who were so miserable that no one wanted to be around them… they complained about work and their home life constantly (this was at my first job there, the one that I really loved). I said to one of them one day, “if you are so miserable, why do you stay?”… she is still there… going on 8 miserable years, away from her family and home country… odd.

I am making a HUGE change… going home after living abroad for 4 years AND changing vocations… from midwife to health and fitness focus. It’s a big step. A scary step, but I’m doing it unafraid, because I know I can accomplish anything I set my mind to!


A quote from a post a couple of years ago (warning, grab the tissues if you read the post!). The quote is from my dad, who came to me in a dream my first night walking the Camino de Santiago in 2010:
“Sandi, sometimes going right isn´t always the right way to go”. ~ Thomas Sandelier, II

Here’s a pic from that day:

Camino, Camino de Santiago, The Way

I would love to see how much easier it would be to do this walk without that extra 100 pounds!!! 🙂

Letting Go

More wise words from Marc and Angel.

The past can steal your present if you let it. – You can spend hours, days, weeks, months, or even years sitting alone in a dark room, over-analyzing a situation from the past, trying to put the pieces together, justifying what could’ve or should’ve happened.  Or you can just leave the pieces on the floor and walk out the front door into the sunlight to get some fresh air.

Wise words, but OH SO HARD to do. There are many, many things that I have easily let go of… toxic friends, toxic work relationships, toxic people in general, but the one thing I am still having a hard time letting go of is the resentment I have from leaving Abu Dhabi last year due to working with a sociopath. Beating myself up for quitting a perfectly good job at a wonderful hospital (and turning down a promotion!) to try something different, start a maternity unit that was going to offer water birth for the first time in the Middle East. I ended up working with someone who was truly sociopathic in her behavior. Scary at times, to be honest. Many of the upper level management, like myself, have left the job because of her.

So why can’t I get past it… almost a year later? I did some work with my friend Julia Murchison, the most amazing massage therapist in the world. She was doing myofascial massage and we were chatting away. While we were chatting away she began working on an area of my abdomen. I suddenly burst into tears. I was quite confused about all of the emotions that I was having at the moment, for no apparent reason (at least to me). She asked me what I was thinking about right at that moment and I was thinking about how much I missed working in Abu Dhabi… the place she was working on represents resentment and that is exactly how I was feeling at the time.

I don’t know how long I’ll hold on to this anger about leaving. I really loved it there. I loved the culture, the people, the life style and my friends. I learned SO much from the midwives that I worked with at the Corniche Hospital… I was the only American… my mates were from England, Scotland, Ireland, Wales, South Africa, Australia, New Zealand, India, the Philippines, Pakistan and more. It was rich with culture, religion and birthing differently than I was use to. I miss it and I miss my friends that became like family.

I am going home, to Florida, in September. I am excited about it. I can’t wait to be back with my family and friends, but I will always have this little side of me that says, “What if”, about Abu Dhabi… my home away from home. I guess Julia has a LOT of work to do on me! 😀

I’m off to put on my “big girl panties” and get on with my day. I don’t regret leaving the pieces on the floor and walking away from the job I switched to. I am working towards being appreciative of the time that I did have there and the 1 year opportunity I’ve had working and living in China.

What do you have a hard time letting go of? If you’ve been successful at letting go, what is your secret?

Off to finish my work day!


What do you mean there are no addresses?

Argh! I’m on a war path this morning. Having a difficult morning at work and ordered food to be delivered from Chili’s at the Al Jimi Mall (yes, the same Chili’s that is in malls all over the U.S…. the orderly country I’m really missing this morning!). Anyway, we have NO ADDRESSES in this country. Yup… I know, I know… you’re saying, “What do you mean there are no addresses in your country”… but they really don’t have them.

All of your mail goes through a PO Box number that is assigned to your EMPLOYER.

So this is how the conversation went with Chili’s….
Me: Hi, I’d like to order food for delivery.
Them: OK, Mum (this is what the Filipinos call women), what would you like?
Me: A grilled chicken salad, dressing on side, no cheese.
Them: Great, Mum… what is your address.
Me: LAUGHING MY ASS OFF, SNORT, SNORT… breathe…. we don’t have addresses.
Them: Yeah, I know, Mum, I meant what is your location?
Me: Ah yes, my location… Cromwell Hospital, I am behind the Adnoc (gas station here), next to the Iranian mosque (there are hundreds, literally), just behind your  mall, about 3 blocks behind you.
Them: OK, Mum, I got it. Phone number? … I give it to them.

45 minutes later they call me, where you at? I tell them again, hold on, let me get someone who understands you, mum. OK… next guy, same thing, 3rd guy, what is your address? I LMAO once again… I say, somewhat sarcastically, how long have you lived here, you know we don’t have addresses! I give him explicit instructions, once again. Then… then… he says… WHAT IS YOUR PHONE NUMBER? What is my phone number??!?!?!?!? You CALLED ME! Argh !(*&$#(#(#&!!!

Anyway, food just came while writing this and of course, the Chicken Salad minus dairy products is wrong, so now I await the delivery and dream of a day that this 3rd world country with more money than they know what to do with, comes up with street addresses, so people could actually find you.



Travel – Local Wedding

I was invited by my Emirati friend, Rana, to a family wedding here in Abu Dhabi. I’ve heard so much about local weddings and I was very excited to be invited to one.

I’ve just come off 3 night shifts, so I woke up a little behind schedule today (apparently the snooze button only works a certain number of times on my iPhone!). So I didn’t get to have my make up and hair done professionally. But that’s OK… I’m lovely just the way I am 🙂

It took me about 30 minutes to decide which dress I was going to wear and ended up with a black & gray dress with my black leather boots and a black pashmina. I threw on a bit of mascara and lipstick and called for the local car service to come and pick me up. The parking situation here doesn’t allow you the luxury of taking your own car out when you are going to be back past 10 pm.

I arrived at Rana’s and the photo shoot was already in full swing. I was invited to have pictures done with Rana and with my baby Abdul Aziz… aka Azooza!

Around 8 pm we left for the Intercontinental Hotel for the “wedding”. Now, a wedding ceremony as we know it doesn’t occur. It has already happened. So, even though they call it a wedding, it’s really equivalent to our reception. The ballroom was GORGEOUS! Beautiful centerpieces with orchids and roses and really cool little take home gifts at each place setting. Once the ladies where in the ballroom, the abayas and sheilas come off and it’s time to dance and eat and visit and listen to LOUD music!

The dresses the women were wearing were unbelievable. Every color of the rainbow with tons of Swarovski crystals and other adornments. The hair was as big as the ladies in Hairspray and the makeup was beautiful, very vibrant and alive. There was loud Arabic music and the younger women and kids got up on the catwalk and danced to the music. It was a joy to see these women let loose and enjoy themselves. The kids really liked it. The food servers were constantly bringing out more finger food: stuffed grape leaves, kibbeh, hummous, arabic bread, chocolates.

At around 1130 pm it was time for the bride to make her appearance. She was gorgeous. Her white dress over the top! While she slowly walked the cat walk up to her throne, dinner was being served. Biriani rice (my favorite!), lamp chops (I’ve eaten more lamb in the 17 months I’ve been here than in the whole rest of my life!), pasta, shrimp curry and other yummy food. Poor bride didn’t eat, she was busy getting pictures taken with everyone.

Around 1230 there was a big rush to put on the abayas and sheilas because the men were coming! All the women covered their gorgeous dresses with their black abayas (adorned of course with bling) and covered their beautiful hairdos with their sheilas.

Then the men came in accompanying the groom. The bride covered in a white sheila and abaya, even covering her face while the grooms male family members were there. Again, lots of music and pictures and after about 1/2 hour the men left and only the groom stayed. Some of the women took off their abayas because the groom is a relative. Throughout this time various family members would throw money out to the crowd… the kids loved it!

We had yummy cake and arabic coffee and then the night was over. I had a great time. It was so wonderful to be invited into this family event and have the honor of experiencing a local wedding.

Here’s the one pic I got… it’s of Rana and me. Her husband Mohammad took the picture… Rana’s the one that got up early enough for hair and makeup! LOL

Dentistry and other stuff

Well, I had my 2nd visit at the dentist today. I can’t get my crown done until the ROOT CANAL that was supposedly done in Florida is redone. After having another xray done today, the dentist here found that there was “something” in my tooth canal, but it wasn’t what it was suppose to be.

So, she prodded and found COTTON PACKING! And a pocket of decay due to an infection that I’ve had at some point since the unfinished root canal, presumably from the cotton packing.

She has now referred me to the endodontist for completion of the root canal that wasn’t done properly in Port Salerno, then I’ll go back to her for my crown. I am not, needless to say, a happy camper. Thank GOD I have dental insurance here in the 3rd world, middle eastern country that I live in, that will pay 80% of the tab.

On a happier note… my 1300 calorie a day diet is going well. Health Factory is delivering 3 meals and 2 snacks each evening at around 7 pm. The food is gluten free (per my request) and organic! A bit pricey, but I don’t have to think, and that works well for me! Today’s menu:

Gluten free Bagel w/ Cream cheese, raw veggies and jasmine green tea.

Morning Snack:
Strawberries and Pineapple chunks

Coleslaw Salad and Seafood Pasta (gluten free)… it had shrimp, calamari and fish in it… YUM

Afternoon Snack:
Fresh Fruit Melody

Soba noodle salad dinner w/ peanut sauce

I am satisfied and not hungry. I also went on a 6.5 km walk this morning and did some weight training.

Countdown to Camino de Santiago… 10 weeks and 1 day!

I hope everyone is having a FABULOUS week!

Interesting placenta and update

This morning, just before the end of my shift I had a lady come up from urgent care, really cracking on. Regular contractions started at 6 a.m.,  SROM at 630 a.m., arrived on delivery unit at 700 a.m., delivery at 720 a.m. Things generally happen that fast for a reason, and this is why I think this one did:

A velamentous insertion of the umbilical cord into the membranes, instead of the placenta. Sent chills up my spine. I asked and got permission from the mom to take these pictures and explained the significance. I love how birth always keeps me on my toes!

Update on the diet and exercise plan… I am down 21 pounds. I am still either bike riding 13 km or walking 6.5 km 3x a week and loving it. Walking and biking on the Corniche (the waterfront) is wonderful right now, the weather is decent and not so hot and the view is beautiful. Here’s a pic of my friend Karen and I biking a couple of weeks ago:

On hot days or days when the sand is a blowin’ I walk the mall. Gets a little boring after a while though. I also started a new diet program. Although Atkins was working for me, I was getting bored to tears with it. There are a few companies here that prepare and deliver food to order daily. I chose one that not only is providing me with a low calorie, low fat option, but is also providing me gluten free food AND it’s organic! They deliver all 3 meals and 2 snacks each evening… that’s the food for the next day.. There is LOTS of food and the variety is excellent. I had Lebanese for breakfast and Indian for lunch today, for example. Dinner is a chicken Cesar salad with gluten free croutons… yum!

Well, off I go… need to walk the dog, feed the cats and get over to the mall for a nice long walk. I hope everyone is having an amazing February!

Hello friends and family!

Me, Jenni & Tiffany

Me & the new baby

Well… where do I begin? I’ve started this blog to share with family and friends my journey of living overseas, dieting and travel.

I started the Atkins Diet 2 days ago. My plan is to upload recent pics and to upload pics monthly, on the 22nd of each month, to show my progress.

As many of you know, I lost 45 pounds last year, with the help of James and Kim in Miami. I cut out bread, pasta, potatoes and rice and started seeing James 2x per week for personal training.

I moved to Abu Dhabi in Nov of 2008 and kept it off until this past summer, when I started adding that bad food back into my diet and wasn’t exercising as much, because it was hot here…. like 122 degrees Fahrenheit hot! So in 5 short months, I gained 18 of those pounds back… now they are coming off and MORE!

I have bought myself a wii and have committed to working out at least 3 times a week on it. My friend Lucy and I have used it for bowling and tennis and boxing (recommend one be in better shape than me to do the boxing… LOL).

Lucy and I will be walking the Camino di Santiago from April 23 to May 27 (or so). This is a 750+ km walk crossing the Pyrenees mountains from France into Spain and then the entire… yes, that’s ENTIRE length of the upper part of Spain. I must, MUST be in better shape by the time we leave in order to be successful. You can see where I am going to walk by going to this site:

And to finish off this, my first blog, I’ll tell you that after 13 months of interesting work on a ward at this busy hospital I work at, I moved to the delivery unit this week and had my first delivery yesterday afternoon. A little girl, weighing 3365 grams, who came out not only in the caul (the bag of waters), but with a nuchal hand up by her left cheek, held there by her nuchal cord (for those not in the know, that means her hand was against her face and held there by her umbilical cord, this is unusual, to say the least). She was also in a bag of meconium (baby poop) and had a true knot in her cord… oh for the love of midwifery. She did great, mom did great, midwife is happy 😀 Life in Abu Dhabi!

So off I go… need to make a grocery store run… Happy Holidays everyone!