Reflecting on Things
in Dubai...
November 21, 2007

***This is more of a journal entry for myself. Not really a 'travel journal entry'.

So many more thoughts are going through my head today than I would have ever thought.

I just knew I was coming back to Dubai – I was excited and didn’t think anything more of it.

But then it started when I was being driven to Alex’s. We passed the Hyatt from the airport. Since we were more or less Hyatt
kids (meaning our parents were pretty loyal to Hyatt
hotels) my mom instantly popped into my mind. I thought ‘Wow, what
she would have thought of this place!’ And then that is when it dawned on me. I don’t know why I
didn’t expect to think about
this – but it really never crossed my mind. It was when I was in Dubai 3+ years ago when my mom passed away (unknowingly
to me). I was hit with a wave of sadness – no tears, just sadness.

But now as I am sitting here on the beach staring at the Burj-al-Arab, so many thoughts are filling my head. The last time I
ever saw my mom was right before I left for Dubai. The last time I spoke with her was when I was with Lea at the LAX airport
bar and I called her from our table to give her one more ‘good-bye’ and ‘I love you’. I remember Michelle getting on the phone.
I remember my mom not making much sense any more and my sister assuring me that she was okay, despite her being a bit
delusional. I remember Michelle telling me how cute it was when they were watching the CAL game that day and how mom –
barely with enough energy to speak – said ‘Go bears’ in a weak and faint voice and how it made Michelle laugh.

Now I am thinking
that even though it sounds bad, how I don't regret the decision I made to come out here back then. I am
thankful I told my sister not to call me here. Of course, I would have never thought m
y mom would have passed away. Hospice
gave me a firm go-ahead.
But I feel a bit guilty all over again thinking of what Michelle had to take care of while I was out here
having the time of my life with one of my best friends in the world. I remember how necessary that vacation was for me. It
was planned 8 months earlier – well before my mom even got really sick. But once the time came around, I needed it more
than I realized. I am now remembering how I could not get through a day without crying multiple times – when I would leave
home to go to work. When I was at work and would have to make my way to a bathroom stall. When I would come home from
work and sit and look at my mom (to which she would tell me not to cry and to which I would say ‘okay’ while still crying
uncontrollably). I cried at Kevin’s wedding when he asked something about mom. I cried at the Batt’s break-the-fast dinner
when people would come up to me and bring up my mom. I remember even losing it at the Big Foot Lodge in SF one night
when I decided to go out versus stay at home. My friends needed no explanation – Jenna and Annie immediately walked me
out and took me to my car. I can’t imagine what a wreck I must have looked like to strangers at the bar that night. Each of
those times I knew I would rather have been at home next to my mom.

Yet the week that I was on this vacation out here gave my mind a rest from all of that. Being removed from the situation felt
good. It felt good to be able to laugh and have a good time. It felt good not having to live through watching (or thinking about)
my mom go through everything every minute of the day. There was only one night when Lea and I even had a conversation
that was based around the topic of my mom. She remembered it far more clearly than I did. The ironic part was that I
mentioned it in my journal – and th
at sole conversation took place the day my mom died. At almost the exact time, once we
figured out the time change, my mom passed away.

I remember my mom’s reaction to when I said I was going to be going to Dubai. She looked at me like I was just plain crazy. It
was before most of the hype and a lot of people still didn’t realize how this city was taking off. Just sitting here right now is
making me think of how much she would have loved it. She would have loved staying at one of these places on the beach and
coming out to listen to the water.

Oh my gosh. Something weird just clicked in my brain. Today is November 21st. It was 21 years ago to the day that my dad
passed away. I don’t know why I didn’t think of this earlier. God, so now I am sitting here thinking about my mom
and dad. As
depressing at is sounds, I am actually enjoying this time on my own to lay here and think about them. I felt guilty in October
when October 12th (the day my mom died) came and went and I never even thought anything of it. Of course, when traveling
I am hardly aware of dates especially when in some of the out-of-the-way places. I don’t know if Michelle feels this way but I
think much more of the day that my parents died than the date of their birthdays. I wonder if this is normal? I don’t know why
they trigger so much more emotion. Probably because it’s a good time to reflect. Like I’m doing now. I just wish I
was able to
reflect more about my dad
- but I can't since we were pretty young and it is hard to really many of the memories.

But there will be no ‘what ifs’. Things in my life are the way they are because of all of these situations. Doing this long-term
traveling would have never popped into my head if my mom was still alive. I know that. And it has nothing to do with the
financial aspect of it – though this whole trip did at first revolve around money that was put aside for a wedding for me. Money
that my mom would have NEVER given me to just go and travel with.

People always say how ‘lucky’ I am that I can do this trip. It has absolutely nothing to do with luck. It was a choice I made. A
I sure wouldn't call my situation 'lucky' that I didn't have any parents to stand in my way of making this choice
. Where I am
lucky, though, is when I think about the things I have experienced and the people I have met. Those are the things that make
the choice to travel so worthwhile. And now, as I am sitting here, I am looking at (what I feel is) one of the most amazing
buildings in the world. I feel lucky as I have the chance to see it while most other people will never make it to this part of the
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