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  • Writer's pictureLiz Totton

Pink Shops, Part ٢ (2)

An Oasis Amidst the Desert, I exaggerate.

An Oasis in the middle of the Desert, I exaggerate. The Good.

We found it! There it was: Najma stationery store!!

Najma:The Stationery Store!!

Najma:The Stationery Store!! The So So.

For a VERY brief moment, it was sort of like an oasis. Of course, nothing like an oasis, but I like pens so I was prepared to love what was inside even if it was just a little scary on the outside. Don’t judge a book by it’s cover, right?!

Back to reality… Now, I don’t know about you, but when I think about school supplies, I would not ever think to go to a Stationery shop. I am not even sure that you can even find on in the US anymore, can you? Maybe you can find one on a Main street in some Midwestern town?! Anyway, all that mattered at that moment was that we found it.

The bad part of pink town. The Ugly.

The bad part of pink town. The Ugly.

We went in. Najma is very small and cramped. It has high shelves full of all the things that I love, except they were very different, as you might expect across several large ponds. We must have looked a little lost because a store hand immediately came around to offer us a basket and some assistance, which in my experience here, does not happen often. I felt very lucky to have a hand since the supplies were not anything like I had ever seen on a previous back to school shop. You’re not at Target anymore.

He looked at our list and helped us to find paper, pads, pencil cases and highlighters. We smooshed ourselves in between all the many parents in there back to school shopping. I am sure that there were about 20 more people in that small store than a fire code might have allowed, but I doubt that they either have or enforce fire codes there.

Over here, they use A4 paper and only metric measurements. They use 2 ring binders. Back home, we use 3, but mysteriously many there are labeled 20 ring binders! Could you imagine threading hundreds of sheets of paper into a 20 ring binder?! I opened it up and, of course, it was a weird misprint as there were only 2 rings within it. The binders, folders and notebooks all have my beloved Jenglish on them. Most things were too weird to purchase.

REBEL Pink Cookie notebook.

REBEL Pink Cookie notebook is just plain weird!

Some were too cute not to purchase, like capuchin monkey/banana pencil, which was really poor quality.

Capuchin Banana is actually NOT your friend. It is a cheap, mechanical pencil MADE IN CHINA!

Capuchin Banana is actually NOT your friend. It is a cheap, mechanical pencil MADE IN CHINA!

A cute pencil won’t fool me again! Some things were just far too expensive when you converted them to justify purchasing them, like spiral bound notebooks. I couldn’t find a single one in there under 24 AED, which is about $8!! Can you believe it? Now, some were labelled with lofty adjectives such as “Royal, Professional and Luxury Brand,” but I am still not paying $8 for it! I guess I know what I will be bringing home from the USA next summer: a suitcase full of spiral bounds! So friends, care packages could contain spirals and sunblock, in case you feel inspired.

Strange Jenglish Rulers.

Strange Jenglish Rulers.

A Rainbow of Notebooks!

A Rainbow of Notebooks!

The notebooks come in a dazzling array of colors. I just loved to look at them all. There was very little order to this store, though the clerk could help you find just about anything you could not on your own. Once there, you still had do some sifting through the piles to find the right eraser, ruler or pencil sharpener. I asked for a combination lock for Skye’s locker and wound up with this “Lock Digital.” It was too small and broken, but what can you do? No returns in Abu Dhabi.

Bizarre Combination Locker Lock.

Bizarre Combination Locker Lock.

So, I am not entirely sure where I have gone with this post. I just wanted to finish it really. Like Hollywood, when you have a Part one, you are obligated to produce a Part Two even if you have not entirely thought out the plot, characters or ending, right? I had a great idea for how to write Part Two, but then things took a turn for the worse. We had a pretty rough weekend and week here attempting to find our family a place to live (MUCH harder than finding the Pink Shop) and settling the girls into this crazy corporation of a school, GEMS AMERICAN ACADEMY. Skye also had a meltdown about leaving her school and country for all this craziness—I cannot blame her!

This week and last woke us up to the realization that we had moved to a 3rd world country. The U.A.E. has a lot of growing to do. I imagine that is why there are so many foreigners here: to help this oil rich nation grow into itself. The country seems like a little kid dressed up in a grown man’s three piece suit: awkward, immobile and maybe trying to be something that it’s not?! It’s okay. It’s coming together but not without a lot of headaches. On a happy note, we found our place to live today, and this will be our view. The view may look odd, but that’s the Yas Island Formula One Racetrack across the water and a fabulous 5-Star hotel, called the Yas Viceroy—it’s stunning at night and we have two wonderful balconies on which to view it. I can get used to this, but maybe not everything else…

Al Muneera

The View of our Beach.

View of Viceroy and Formula One.

View of Viceroy and Formula One

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