June 2015 Issue # 63

Iman Ben Chaibah (@ImanBenChaibah)

Iman Ben Chaibah (@ImanBenChaibah)

Iman Ben Chaibah, founder of Sail Publishing, a digital publishing house for online magazines and ebooks, and editor in chief of the Emirati Sail Magazine, an online magazine about community and culture written in English by Emirati columnists. Iman is a multi award winner in digital publishing, entrepreneurship, and literature. Iman has also completed the Leadership Strategies in Magazine Media Course in Yale University. Besides her work in publishing, she also lectures in Canadian University in Dubai.
Iman Ben Chaibah (@ImanBenChaibah)
Artwork by Dana AlAttar (@DanaAlAttar)

Artwork by Dana AlAttar (@DanaAlAttar)

As you may have noticed by now, we’ve changed the way we run Sail Magazine. We now publish more regularly and have spread out the articles of the monthly issue across the month as many readers requested. We hope you like the new approach and enjoy reading Sail Magazine better with it.

As we approach now mid of the holy month of Ramadan, I hope you are adjusting well to it and have made the best out of it. This month is always a chance to cleanse our souls and bodies from all the negativity and toxics of life. I wish you all a great productive Ramadan.

And now to our 63rd issue for the month of June 2015:

Hats off to our great editorial team: Aida Al Busaidy, and Deena Rashid. Enjoy our reads, and don’t forget to check out the inspired artworks by our talented creative team: Aalaa AlBastaki, Farah AlBalooshi, Hayat AlHassan, Marwa Fuad, led by Dana Al Attar.

To keep up with our monthly-published issues and to know about any of our coming events, make sure you register with us by clicking here

Help us spread the word about the magazine and share the articles with your friends!

Warm regards,
Iman Ben Chaibah

Editor in Chief

Book Review: Eat. Nourish. Glow.

Maitha Almuhairi (@Maithani)

Maitha Almuhairi (@Maithani)

Column: Pocket Full of Books
An avid reader, Maitha has always dreamt of being a recognized novelist and poet. For the last decade she focused on HR as a career, which has taken her away from her dream, but it’s never too late. Her column Pocket full of Books focuses on book reviews and doesn’t necessarily focus on a specific genre.
Maitha Almuhairi (@Maithani)

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Article in brief: the author shares with us her book review on “Eat. Nourish. Glow”, about healthy eating lifestyle.

Front cover of "Eat. Nourish. Glow." by Amelia Freer - Published by  Harper Thorsons on 2015

Front cover of “Eat. Nourish. Glow.” by Amelia Freer – Published by Harper Thorsons on 2015

“When it comes to deciding what to give up, your gut is one of the best indicators. It’s a great communicator known as the second brain. It can really guide us as to what we thrive on and what makes us under par.”  -Amelia Freer

I have decided to change things around a little bit and review a non-fictional piece this month. Everyone who’s familiar with Sam Smith has probably noticed his massive weight loss in a very short period of time. According to him, he had been helped by Amelia Freer, the author of Eat. Nourish. Glow.

The book cover was intriguing, and of course I was interested in what was written in it.

I was expecting to read about a new dietary plan that might go viral. I was wrong, but that doesn’t mean the book wasn’t fun to read. Amelia Freer discusses ten points that could help the readers to shift those stubborn extra pounds and kiss weight gain goodbye. The information she discusses isn’t some kind of breakthrough discovery about weight loss. However, the book is written in a very friendly manner that would leave the readers with the eagerness to try out those tips.

“Every single supermarket layout decision, from the lighting to where food is displayed, is geared towards getting you to spend more money usually on processed food.” -Amelia Freer

According to Amelia Freer, in order to lose weight and be eternally healthy the readers should do the following:

  1. Ease yourself into healthier eating habits by giving up the one thing that seems to be the weakest spot. Whether it’s sugar, gluten, dairy or caffeine. Once you master giving up that one thing you’ll feel more motivated to give up other unhealthy eating habits and in order to succeed, you need to keep a two-week food diary to identify where you are going wrong
  2. Detox your kitchen by throwing away all junk food, cereals, processed food, sweets, salad dressings, gluten grains, etc.
  3. Figure out what kind of eater you are by identifying your relationship with food and what your eating behaviour looks like.
  4. Stop snacking.
  5. Nobody’s perfect and don’t feel guilty if you have that piece of chocolate every now and then.
  6. Fats are good and we actually need fatty food to keep our cells healthy. By fatty, Amelia means things like avocados, nuts, oily fish, red meat and poultry.
  7. Healthy food makes you happy.
  8. You might probably feel thirsty and not actually hungry at times.
  9. Be careful with supplements.

Yes, nothing she had written in her book is news to us. We are aware of all that, but the tone she adapts in her book has actually made me more aware of the things I eat. I would recommend this book for reading, not because of the information it contains, but for the way she actually made things sound more convincing. However, I should add a declaimer that says it is not as easy as it actually sounds.

Everything You Post, the Internet Remembers

Ayesha AlJanahi (@_AyeshaAlJanahi)

Ayesha AlJanahi (@_AyeshaAlJanahi)

Column: The First Years Last Forever
A loving mother of a son who has changed her life and put it into perspective. Ayesha is a senior social media specialist, a Global Leader for young children in the Arab region, and a writer in few Arabic publications. Her column is written in collaboration with the Arabian Child organization, and offers inspiration and an in-depth exploration of early childhood development.
Ayesha AlJanahi (@_AyeshaAlJanahi)

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Article in brief: Children and adolescents who share personal content online can get exposed to predatory risks and can destroy their image for a lifetime.

Artwork by Dana AlAttar (@DanaAlAttar)

Artwork by Dana AlAttar (@DanaAlAttar)

Engaging in Social Media (SM) platforms has become a common activity among children and adolescents since it provides a portal for entertainment and communication through various programs and social sites. Although, these sites give children and adolescents the opportunity to enhance their learning, there are major concerns and threats that we need to be aware of. Lack of awareness about these networks, applications, and programs can lead to situations that damage children’s reputation, which can cause emotional distress for a lifetime.

It’s very important to teach children how to be smart about their presence on social network platforms. They need to be totally alert that photos, videos and comments that are posted online cannot be taken back even if they are deleted because it will remain permanently on those platforms’ databases.

Schools and families should always play a complementary part in protecting children when it comes to the cyberspace world. Children and young adults’ experiences and activities online that are not monitored are more likely to be exploited by peers and strangers. Therefore, taking an active role in your children and teens’ activities will help them benefit from the wealth of valuable information online without being exposed to any risks.

Threats like bullying have moved from school grounds to online social sites where cyber bullies use mediums like “emails, text messaging, chat rooms, cellular phones, camera phones, web sites and blogs to spread derogatory and ostracizing comments” (Brown et al. 2006, p.2) which then become public and social issues.

According to ‘Smart learning program’ in the UAE, it has been applied in many public and private schools that aims to enable children and adolescents to be connected to the Internet by using tablet computers which showed success in allowing most of the students to use the Internet in the class room. This success in having a smart learning tool is a huge achievement, but it might cause a negative impact on their self-esteem and well-being. If schools don’t spread awareness by having ‘Cyber Protection Policy’ in their curriculum and campaigns, children risk having their minds corrupted by unhealthy content.

Based on the scholars Ringrose’s et al. (2012) investigation of teenagers experiences on Facebook in London, creating cyber protection policy in schools that can make children and adolescents aware about Internet threats and how can they defend themselves effectively against online strangers is extremely important.

They investigated that 10,000 children were upset from their online friends, 22% of children talked about pornographic content, and 18% of children talked about receiving violent content. Other areas were related to the encountered risks on internet platforms like YouTube, and 32% stressed on video sharing. The research shows that the large number of children’s distress was from their interaction with their online friends.

Such experiences could happen for some children or teenagers online in any country, but instead of throwing up our hands, saying “Oh, children these days!”, parents should remember that every generation thinks that they are normal and the younger generation are getting crazier. Parents need to ensure that their children are well-aware that Internet exploration opens a world of possibilities where they might be exposed to dangers by hitting the road to find the information highway.

Our young ones need to think twice before hitting the enter button to share their personal content online because what they post online can be used against them in the future. Taking an active role in showing interest in children’s online activities can help to protect them from sharing their personal information to strangers in the cyberspace that might destroy their image in the long-term future. They need to understand that what happens to any family stays within the family, but what happens online stays on Google forever.

Written in collaboration with Arabian Child organization. Visit www.arabianchild.org for more information about early childhood education in the United Arab Emirates.

References:

  • Brown, Jackson, Cassidy. (2006). Cyber-Bullying: Developing Policy to Direct Responses that are Equitable and Effective in Addressing this Special Form of Bullying. Canadian Journal of Educational Administration and Policy. 57 (1), p1-36.
  • Ringrose, Gill, Livingstone, Harvey. (2012). A qualitative study of children, young people and ‘sexting’. Available: http://www.nspcc.org.uk/globalassets/documents/research-reports/qualitative-study-children-young-people-sexting-report.pdf. Last accessed 4th Dec 2014.

The F Word (Failure)

Alia Al Hazami (@AliaAlHazami)

Alia Al Hazami (@AliaAlHazami)

Column: Hidden Promises
Alia is an AUS student double majoring in International Studies and English literature. She is also the author of Alatash fictional novel. Her main goal is to make a change and empower the youth. Her column is meant to help the younger generations deal with tough situations. It was given that title as hidden promises is what us teenagers often believe; false promises.
Alia Al Hazami (@AliaAlHazami)

Article in brief: The author discusses her take on what failure truly is.

Artwork by Hayat AlHassan (@HayatAlH)

Artwork by Hayat AlHassan (@HayatAlH)

Ever since I was a little girl, I had a fear of failing. In the back of my mind, I had the idea that once I’ve fallen down, there was no recovery from failure. Because of that, I worked extra hard in order to avoid failure and luckily, my mission was going smoothly until I turned sixteen.

I experienced my first failure when I failed my SATs. I suffered from the most distressing feeling. It was as if I had become a loser who would never receive a proper education. My future plans of achieving academic success and obtaining a PhD were crumbling before my eyes, which made me panic greatly. As such, I decided to work harder than I already did in order to avoid failure once and for all.

Even though I performed my SATs again and passed, I was still worried. I knew that failure could come any second and take away what I have been working very hard for. The thing is, my fear of failure haunted me to the extent where I started to consider my accomplishments to be disappointments. Don’t get me wrong, I was content with everything I experience and had, but I always felt like I could do better.

I was in a dark place, constantly dreading what the future held for me. This negativity swarming over me was ruining my productivity and inner peace. This way of thinking of mine cost me my happiness. It made me give up my dreams at some point because I was worried I’d let people down, including myself.

To this day, my definition of failure is still unclear to me. I sadly feel like I will not amount to anything because my full potential isn’t being utilized properly. I have given up on myself countless times, because I misunderstood the difference between hard work to build my name, and completely missing my chances of being who I truly wanted to be.

I was at war with myself, knowing that I can be more than I was told I could ever be, but fearing that I would only make a fool out of myself.

But then I had an epiphany disguised as my father. He said,

“Feeling like a failure only means you’re on the path of success. There’s a difference between feeling like you haven’t achieved enough and collapsing.”

I then realized what I should’ve known the entire time. It’s not failure unless you think it is. Everything is a learning experience from which we can grow and learn how to do things differently and more effectively. Good things take time, and it’s unhealthy to think that successes can take place immediately.

I now understand that I have been a failure all my life because I was afraid of it. But now, I have the power to face it without feeling ashamed of myself or like I’m a walking piece of disappointment.

So now, I can proudly say that I faced failure once again when I turned eighteen. I am no longer ashamed to admit that I have failed my driving test four times so far. I am merely confessing because now I understand that one can never grow until they admit and accept their failures as part of them and then move on to overcome them.

Ramadan Kareem

Iman Ben Chaibah (@ImanBenChaibah)

Iman Ben Chaibah (@ImanBenChaibah)

Iman Ben Chaibah, founder of Sail Publishing, a digital publishing house for online magazines and ebooks, and editor in chief of the Emirati Sail Magazine, an online magazine about community and culture written in English by Emirati columnists. Iman is a multi award winner in digital publishing, entrepreneurship, and literature. Iman has also completed the Leadership Strategies in Magazine Media Course in Yale University. Besides her work in publishing, she also lectures in Canadian University in Dubai.
Iman Ben Chaibah (@ImanBenChaibah)
Artwork by Dana AlAttar (@DanaAlAttar)

Artwork by Dana AlAttar (@DanaAlAttar)

The Benefits of Exams During Ramadan

Omar Al Owais (@OMSAlowais)

Omar Al Owais (@OMSAlowais)

Omar is an International Relations Student at the American University of Sharjah, with a passion towards politics and a devotion towards the rhythmic arts of poetry and prose.
https://omaralowais.wordpress.com
Omar Al Owais (@OMSAlowais)

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Article in brief: the author discusses the benefits of attending school during Ramadan.

Artwork by Farah Al Balooshi (Instagram: @SenoritaFarah, Twitter: @FarahAlBalooshi)

Artwork by Farah Al Balooshi (Instagram: @SenoritaFarah, Twitter: @FarahAlBalooshi)

As a high school senior, I can’t wait to get my final test scores at the closest opportunity. This is in order to finalize my university applications and arrangements, so I was struck with dismay to learn that the dates of our final exams were postponed by an additional two weeks, which means, we will be performing our exams during the holly month of Ramadan. Though I am frustrated by the confusion caused, I decided to take a moment to reflect on the positive aspects of this change:

  • Sleeping pattern:

I always fell into the habit of sleeping during the day while remaining awake till dawn (at least). In doing so, I was wasting valuable time, which was supposed to be allocated for reading the holly Quran, praying ON time and reflecting on the past year. Personally, I believe that those acts should be done during the daytime, since I usually visit friends and families during the evenings.

With school taking up the first two weeks of Ramadan, I will hopefully have better control of my time. While being awake during the daytime, I will pay more attention to my religious rituals.

Tip for students: to laze around post-futoor guilt-free, finish your studying before Maghreb athan!

  • Majlis gatherings:

Personally, I spend most of my time in the evenings at Majlis gatherings with friends and families. Though connecting with our families is one of the pillars of this month, I believe I have overdone it in the past years, since I spent more time visiting family and friends till the early hours than focusing on the religious self-education that Ramadan promotes.

I believe with the new timings for our finals, I will be able to limit my time outside the house, since I will be obliged to focus on my finals. At the same time, it will also allow me to plan my day more effectively with regards to my religious rituals.

Tip for students: yes, staying at home studying does drown your spirits. To enjoy guilt-free and stress-free gatherings, plan them on days that aren’t followed by finals!

  • Helping my mother:

Ramadan strongly emphasizes lending a helping a hand; I hadn’t given this teaching its justice, because I am usually asleep during the day, with most of the day’s chores falling on my mother and the household helps. With the exams taking place during Ramadan, I can now assist in the cleaning around the house and distributing of iftar to the neighborhood’s Ramadan tents. Not only will I lighten the burden on my mother, but I will also develop my own skills of compassion and sacrifice in the process.

Tip for students: spend your finals-free days helping your mother out. Although housework is particularly arduous in Ramadan, when done with family it helps in boosting ties and works as a recreational opportunity too!

It is important to keep in mind that our forefathers used to fast in worse conditions, back when air conditioning, international cuisine and diverse entertainment options were non-existent. Let’s approach Ramadan with a positive spirit, and not allow finals to ruin it for us. If our parents have survived Ramadan in their conditions, we can definitely adapt to two weeks of finals!

Limitations are Breakable

Alia Al Shamsi (@aliaalshamsi)

Emarati Author and Photographer from Dubai. After receiving a BA in Photography from Griffith University she worked as a photojournalist for local newspapers covering regional and international news. In 2008 she gained a MA in Photo-Image from Durham University and has lectured photography as an adjunct at the American University of Sharjah. Her photography has been exhibited internationally and holds awards including: EDAAD Scholarship 2007, British Council Cultural Leadership International 2010 and 2011 Emirates Woman Artist of the Year.
Al Shamsi’s recently published book Alayah by Sail Publishinghas been awarded the support from Dubai Culture part of their printing and publishing movement “Reading in Arabic Challenge”.

Latest posts by Alia Al Shamsi (@aliaalshamsi) (see all)

Article in brief: the author talks about how her experience with boxing helped her reconnect with herself, and focus on what matters again.

Round 10 Boxing (@Round10Boxing) - Picture taken by Alia Al Shamsi

Round 10 Boxing (@Round10Boxing) – Picture taken by Alia Al Shamsi

Not sure exactly how I ended up finding myself breathless, dripping in sweat with the entire stellar galaxy swirling in my vision and surrounded by four corners of a boxing ring.

Three months ago had you told me I’d learn to jab or let alone run like a decent human being I would have cried laughing. No, never would I have believed it possible to ever be sitting here writing about boxing with bruised knuckles. But that’s precisely what this article is about.

Let’s face it, boxing is a violent sport, and for someone who has managed to dance throughout her life as a method of exercise, this sport is quite the drastic change.

The past year and a half, I have had quite a challenging time where I pushed my mind into overload, with an overflow of worries, a blurred vision of the future and hardly any sense of a direction. If asked, the hardest part was letting go and making decisions with fingers crossed, hoping that they were the right ones. The responsibility was enormous and only I could make those decisions.

With all that, I found my preoccupied mind drifting me away from the present. What was the impact of all this on my body? It was not just about neglecting my body, but the fact that I was disconnecting my mind from my body. I found it hard looking at myself in the mirror, I couldn’t relate to it. I tried to coordinate my movements with my mind but I was equally off balance mentally and physically. That’s when I knew I was broken.

Years ago, on an afternoon I spent photographing at the Heritage Village, an old man struck up a conversation with me. He told me he was a poet and proudly gave me copies of some poems. We spoke of many things, until he came to a halt and decided to share his secret on how one could fight sadness. He told me how today we go to psychiatrists to mend broken hearts and solve our problems with pills. In his simpler days, there was none of that and even less cases of depression. He told me the story of a young man whose heart ached. An old wise woman from the village was consulted on his matter and she recommended that he collects a pile of wood and spend a few hours chopping them every night before bed. Night after night until he was cured of his depression. The old man then turned to me and asked, did I know how he was cured? I shook my head. He said: “The body needs to tire itself in order to let the heart rest.”

I only learnt the meaning of this story three months ago. Boxing brought me back into the moment to focus. I had no room to think and my mind was silenced. Through boxing I reconnected my mind and body to coordinate together. I pushed my body beyond what I thought I could do. I gained confidence that I had somehow lost, and through it, I gained the courage to know that every time I think I can’t, I tell myself otherwise.

I learnt to run like a decent runner, skip rope and jump, as my coach likes to say, “jump like a man”. I know these may seem like small milestones, but for someone who thought it would be impossible, I actually did manage to make it possible.

This article is not about anger and taking out all the pain on the punching bag. It’s about knowing that every limit you set for yourself you are capable of break it. That every time you fall, lose hope or lose yourself, you can get right back up and fight for yourself. No one can fight your battles and don’t let your mind control you. Be present in mind, body and soul. KO.

Finding the Good in a Commercialised Ramadan

Sidiqa Sohail (@sid_90)

Sidiqa Sohail (@sid_90)

Column: Musings of An Entrepreneur

Sidiqa is 25 years old and is half-Emirati and half-Pakistani. She has a Bachelor’s degree in International Relations from the American University of Sharjah and a Master’s degree in Conflict Prevention, Sustainable Peace, and Security from the University of Durham in the UK. Sidiqa owns and manages the boutique-café concept store “Spontiphoria” in Wasl Square, Jumeirah.
Sidiqa Sohail (@sid_90)

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Article in brief: the author faces a dilemma, should she stick to her long-time opinion against the commercialization of Ramadan or should she jump on that bandwagon?

Artwork by Aalaa Albastaki (Instagram:@lalaa_albastaki, Twitter: @AalaaAlbastaki)

Artwork by Aalaa Albastaki (Instagram:@lalaa_albastaki, Twitter: @AalaaAlbastaki)

Recently I found myself at an existential crisis, if we can call it that.

For years I’ve often looked, with disdain, at how companies take advantage of Ramadan. Special deals for the Holy Month are advertised profusely through social media, billboards, streetlamps, television, radio, and print commercials and the main topic of this advertisement is, ironically, food. Without a second thought, many of us sadly will think of “food” among the top three mental prompts when the word “Ramadan” is heard.

The month of worship, simplicity, and genuineness is seemingly reduced to a month of sitting at a lavish dining table filled with an abundance of all sorts of delicious treats, most of which will go uneaten and into the trash. Ramadan, as we all know, is so much more than that (and it would take me another two articles to extol its benefits).

I don’t agree with the brash commercialization of Ramadan but now, as a business owner (and of one that deals with food), I am faced with a dilemma. Should I not create promotions and special deals for the month and potentially lose out on a lot of revenue? Or should I jump on the bandwagon of commercialization with a guilty conscience?

It was a hard call to make. I ended up with jumping on the bandwagon, and here’s my reasoning.

Firstly, I think if I’m not going to do it, someone else will. Me not taking part in the commercialization aspect of Ramadan will not impact the public’s immense demand in any way. Whether you like it or not, the demand is there and whether that’s fuelled by the commercialization or whether the extensive advertising campaigns are just capitalizing on that demand is a chicken and egg situation.

That leads me to the second point: which is demand. There is a demand for what I’m providing (namely sweets). In recent years we’ve seen Ramadan become even more of a social month; gatherings have increased at an exponential rate and have turned into social events.

Thirdly, Ramadan is a month of worship and simplicity but it is also a month where all the unnecessary superficial complications of life take a back seat. Things begin to slow down, and we meet relatives and friends more often than we do throughout the other eleven months of the year. What I am providing is simply a condiment to those gatherings which don’t happen that often during the rest of the year.

And lastly, I think that whatever you do, be it your actions in Ramadan or anything else, balance is key. We are all mature adults with the capacity to reason and we should all have the skill of balancing our priorities and giving each thing its due.

So, if we are confident in our spiritual actions during the month, if we know that we are not falling back on our prayers, or on getting closer to God then we should sit back at the end of the day and enjoy that slice of cake with our friends because that in itself is an act of care.

What Happened on Our Sail Authors Discussion Panel

Iman Ben Chaibah (@ImanBenChaibah)

Iman Ben Chaibah (@ImanBenChaibah)

Iman Ben Chaibah, founder of Sail Publishing, a digital publishing house for online magazines and ebooks, and editor in chief of the Emirati Sail Magazine, an online magazine about community and culture written in English by Emirati columnists. Iman is a multi award winner in digital publishing, entrepreneurship, and literature. Iman has also completed the Leadership Strategies in Magazine Media Course in Yale University. Besides her work in publishing, she also lectures in Canadian University in Dubai.
Iman Ben Chaibah (@ImanBenChaibah)
From left to right: Omar Al Busaidy, Sarah Al Mulla, Alia Al Shamsi, and Mohammed Al Serkal

From left to right: Omar Al Busaidy, Sarah Al Mulla, Alia Al Shamsi, and Mohammed Al Serkal

Last Tuesday, 6th of June 2015, we hosted a discussion panel event with our published authors:

  • Alia Al Shamsi, author of the children illustrated book: Alayah
  • Omar Al Busaidy, author of the business / self-help book: Just Read It
  • Sarah Al Mulla, author of the poetry / short stories book: A Journey Within
  • Mohammed Al Serkal, author of the fiction novelette: Shallow

In the panel, Sail authors discussed the ideas behind their books and what triggered them to start writing those books, from the circumstances they may have gone through to simply using writing as their only escape from life.

The authors then discussed how they sustained their writing process through out their books. Between Alia elaborating on the creative process creation with her book’s illustrator, to Sarah inspiring her writings from the life around her, Omar and his commitment towards writing during his unemployment, and finally Mohammed who wrote only when he felt the character of his book spoke to him. They also discussed how they handled writers’ block. One of the main suggestion came from Alia, to her it was about committing to writing regardless of what was going on, and no matter how uninspired she may have been.

A shot from the discussion panel. From left to right: Sarah Al Mulla, Alia Al Shamsi, Omar Al Busaidy, and Mohammed Al Serkal.

A shot from the discussion panel. From left to right: Sarah Al Mulla, Alia Al Shamsi, Omar Al Busaidy, and Mohammed Al Serkal.

The authors each read an excerpt from their books, to share with the audience a glimpse of what they’d get from reading their books. This was followed by an advice from each of them to the audience members who may be interested in writing their own books.

We concluded the event with questions & remarks from the audience to the authors. Questions varied between how did they endure the editing process, what plans they had for future books, and some more questions on the specifics of the books. A great comment came from the artist Noora AlSuwaidi, she suggested reading a book called “The Novel of The Future” by Anais Nin. The book explains that there are 3 categories of people, some who live only in the real world, some only in the imaginary world, and some, specifically the creative beings, they live between those two worlds, and that is how they can create their artworks, novels or whatever other creative works they may produce.

You will find all the event’s pictures on our Facebook page and on this link.

Our old friend Khalid Al Ameri, who was a columnist with us, and is one of our upcoming authors, joined us in the event and documented his experience along with his mission to get a signed autograph from our 4 authors on his snapchat account. He was kind enough to share it with us, and here it’s posted on our youtube channel:

We’ve periscoped the entire event as well, sadly the view missed out on Mohammed Al Serkal who was sitting in the far right angle, but the conversations are clear here, so you could listen to what you’ve missed.

Working While Expecting – Part II

Fatma AlKhaja (@fay_alkhaja)

Column: Observing the World, previous column: Too Blunt for Words
Fatma (Fay), Emirati girl, with an experience in Corporate Communications and CSR. She is passionate about anything that is traditional and Emirati. In her free time she loves to watch Japanese anime, read manga, and play videogames. Spas are not the only thing that relaxes her, but cooking as well.
Fay’s columns observe work-life experiences and balance. A lot of her articles are based on first-hand personal experiences and issues she has seen or been part of. She loves to observe her surroundings, and watch how people handle different situations they’ve been put in.Also, she is trying to balance the art of staying positive at work and helping her peers understand that not everything should be a problem. With her writings she hopes to make a difference and make people more observant of the little problems in life, or work that hasn’t escalated to a catastrophe. It’s the little things that matters.

Latest posts by Fatma AlKhaja (@fay_alkhaja) (see all)

Article in brief: the author talks about the dilemma of a being a stay at home mum or work in an inflexible job towards maternity needs.

Artwork by Hayat AlHassan (@HayatAlH)

Artwork by Hayat AlHassan (@HayatAlH)

In a previous article that was published back in March, I talked about how you can manage yourself at work when you learn that you’re expecting a baby. What questions do you ask yourself in order to maintain a healthy home-work balance?

In this month’s article I will discuss your baby’s arrival and work. Before my baby arrived, I had read everything I could get my hands on. Everything from pregnancy books, blogs, forums, etc. However, once the baby came, I was in awe as it wasn’t what I had expected. One should know that each baby is different; from their sleeping patterns, what each cry means, eating habits and many more. My daughter refused to sleep from day one, and until this day her sleeping patterns hasn’t changed.

As the months progressed and my baby grew, I was starting to worry because she still wasn’t sleeping through the night and my work resumption date was getting closer. One of the topics I talked about was maternity leave and sixty days is just not enough, especially for new moms or moms who don’t have a support network.

With sleepless nights, short leaves, and work looming ahead, I had a series of questions I began asking myself like, “Should I quit my job? Should I become a stay-home mom? Should I be looking for another job as the one I was on was not that interesting anymore?”

I have to admit I was also nervous about handling separation-anxiety from my daughter, as she was my first child.

Towards the end of my maternity leave, I extended it and took additional days from my annual leave. A lot of people told me not to because I might need those days later, but in reality, I wasn’t thinking of later. The only thing on my mind was that I wanted to spend more time with my daughter now. After that, I added another month of unpaid leave which was really the maximum number of leaves I could take. Before I knew it, I had to go back to work.

Before joining work, something totally unexpected came along. I was headhunted by a recruiter for a new position. The role seemed exciting, but I hesitated because the situation had changed for me. I had to think of my daughter as my priority before a new job. I was weighing everything from work timings, responsibilities, and flexibility.

In the current job, I was entitled to two hours of maternity, which means I could leave at 12:30 when I used to leave at 2:30. At the new job, my working hours was from 7:30 until 3:30 that meant an hour longer without any maternity time. However, I also knew that in my current job I was not going to get any promotion or increments anytime soon as I was away for six months, but the new job offered a senior role. After weighing my options I decided to go to the interview, and after a couple of months I was offered the job. I simply relied upon Allah (tawakkul) and decided to accept it.

Always prioritize your family when weighing your options. No job or role is going to fulfill that for you. When making decisions, make sure that you’ve done your homework, and that you have the support that you need to achieve it.