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Robin where did you grow up? And where did you meet your husband?  

I grew up in New York’s Harlem district.  (“District” sounds so much chic/boho), even though we are originally from Florida.  I am a product of 12 years of private, parochial schools where I blossomed somewhere between 9th and 12 grade. (Thank you Jackie Collins & Harold Robbins).  I met my one and only husband, Musa, when I was 16 and he was fresh off the boat. (no English. Cute!) He worked in the corner store where I lived. We somehow communicated and were married a year later.  (I think we finally got it right).estatic

You have moved many times it sounds like. Where are all the places you have lived? And do you have a favorite?  

Wow, Vicki, you are sharp!  You picked up that we’ve moved quite a bit.  (impressive!)  We lived in 4 neighborhoods in  NY before moving to FL.  In Florida, we moved a LOT, as well, then, we spent 2 years in the West Bank of Palestine during the 90’s, then back to the states for a few, then, our first stint in the United Arab Emirates that lasted for 10 years.  We were in Sharjah, the next emirate over from Dubai at that time.  I. Loved. it.  I’ve been asked about my favorite place to live.  Never really answered, but, it looks like the UAE wins.

Any move takes a while to adapt to, but living in Sharjah was perfect for me.  My kids would have the schooling (all in English) that I wanted, plus the chance to study our religion regularly, as opposed to only on Sundays, as some of the mosques offer.  Don’t drive?  Need an important ingredient FAST?  Or just plain don’t want to go out in the heat?  No problem!  Just call up the supermarket, (there’s usually 4 within one block!) and they will deliver ANYTHING, ANYTIME.  Don’t feel like cooking?  Call up any restaurant - EVEN BURGER KING (eww!) - and they will deliver whatever.  Pizza Hut, Hardees (eww!) KFC, even Baskin Robbins (BASKIN-ROBBINS!!) all deliver!  (I think you get it.)  You could call up a whole dinner party and no one would ever know (they’d suspect!).  It’s FABULOUS!!  Yes, I have done this in the past, but, remember:  I’m USING my cookbooks, now!

Have you ever worked outside of your home?  

I have actually worked outside of the home in the beginning of our marriage when we had a couple of grocery stores.  I was cashier and would also run errands for the business.  Later, when we moved to Sharjah, we were registering the kids for school, and the principal asked me if I wanted to teach English.  Umm, ok.  So, I taught English to 4th, 5th, and 6th graders.
That was for a year and that was enough, thank you.  I have since been fortunate enough to be at home, where I am always on duty.

Considering all the places you have lived I am guessing you have came across many different types of cultures. How do you and your family adapt? And do you take any with you?  

With regard to adapting to the many cultures we have met, I treat each one as a discovery experience and make sure the kids do, too. (Geez, that sounds so cliche`).  I mean, I now know something that I didn’t know before, right?  Look how much they would be missing if they didn’t open their minds and eyes to the differences - and similarities - in all the interesting people that we’ve met.  Everyone has a story.  I keep it simple.  (Oh, brother!)

Your kids are beautiful by the way. What do you do that keeps them grounded thru out your journey's?  

That’s the key!  They usually DO stay grounded while hubz and I do the travelling.  We did take them on soooo many road trips in the states.  (We finally got THAT down to a science).  The other day, Monica actually commented that now we wouldn’t be doing any more of our road trips at the drop of a hat.  Yes, I know, sadly.  But, at least they will have their memories.  (I think I will miss those the most about our move).  

Beautiful kids, Vikki?  Thank you, but, I usually give the credit to Musa, there.  He is from Palestine.  (NOT Pakistan!  Well, some people think that’s what it is !!!)  My girls excel in “socializing,” English and Math, while, my boys are very good socially, in Math, Science, and Social Studies and sports, as well.  The girls are doing better than my 12 y/o son with the move.  I think the fact that the SON before him isn’t in the house full-time may have something to do with it. (I’ll have to investigate).

You say that you married into the Arabic culture. How easy was it to adapt to that culture? And what is your favorite thing about it?  

Adapting to the rich, Arabic culture was fairly easy - for me.  I always say that my husband and I “grew up” together because we were so young when we married.  We learned from each other.  I think the fact that he never pressured me into changing for him or his culture had a lot to do with my ease into the culture, and I will always love him for that.  Unfortunately, I am aware that this is not everyone’s experience.  There are horror stories!  My in-laws have never made me feel as if I didn’t belong with them.  From my first visit to see them in the West Bank, they have always made me feel that now that I was their son’s wife, American or Arabic, I was now a part of the family.  PLUS, I had a brand new, spanking baby BOY in tow!  (ta-daah!!)

Let me just say that my favorite things about the Arabic culture are the genorosity/hospitality and the cuisine.  An arabic home is always open to friends- and friends of friends- alike.  The food, while what seems like forever in preparation, is well worth the wait once ready!  

You spoke of henna-ing.... what does that mean?  

Henna-ing.  (Is that a word?)  Well, henna is a natural vegetable dye that comes from the leaves and plant of the henna plant.  It is used as a part of the beautification process for a bride-to-be a few days before the wedding and  can also be used in the hair.  My daughters-in-law both used it to decorate their hands for their henna parties, where all the women (it’s a “women only” affair) can be decorated either on their hands, arms, or feet.  Monica,15, likes to put it in her hair all day, and wash it out at night for a GORGEOUS head of red hair that lasts for a good 3-4 months!  Victoria, 10, hates the smell of it and has to be bribed - BIG!  (It’s very good for the hair).

And what of these malls that UKGirl Vicki brought up? Are they  more fabulous than what we have here?  

Thanks, UKgirl, for covering the malls!  But, yes, they are a religious experience.  Are they more fab?  Umm, Vicki, ladies.  I’m sorry to tell you this, but, we do not have have fabulous malls in the states.  The only thing that I’ve seen come mildly close was the The Mall of America.  Mildly.

Do you foresee another move in your near future? Where would you like to move to?  

See, Vikki, the thing about moving is that EVERY move has been a final move.  The last house in Dalton, Georgia, was “over improved,” but we just KNEW we were going to be there for good.  My husband loved the quiet, small-town life, but realized there was nothing there for the kids.  Not really a future.  I mean, it’s the “carpet capital of the world!  Translation: it’s full of carpet factories.

I know there are more that I would like to ask but I'm sure Robin is going to look at this and go "whew, that girl is nosy".  

Never, Vikki.

Feel free to ask your own questions.  

Thank You Robinesque for sharing your adventure with us.

Here is her blog about her recent move.
A Time to Spill    

I didn’t mean for it to be THIS long.  Whoa, it IS an “interview” Wittymom!

(Mellisabelle isn’t going to like this).

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Member Comments

    • 0 votes vote up vote up

      Vikki Hall wrote Oct 5, 2009
    • Robin your story just sounds so romantic...... Really how did you communicate with hubz? Must have been the eyes....

      Thank you so much for sharing your wonderful story with us. Maybe when you get a chance you can do a blog in pictures about the malls.

      And I would love to see more of your home.... the kitchen specifically.... do you leave your cookbooks out on the counter like I do?

      Thx again!



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    • 0 votes vote up vote up

      Jenz ~ wrote Oct 5, 2009
    • estatic
      This is great!!! And how exciting, R! I wish you and your family the absolute best.



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    • 0 votes vote up vote up

      Anne E wrote Oct 5, 2009
    • Your story is so interesting.  Shows what true love can do.



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    • 0 votes vote up vote up

      Angelcart wrote Oct 5, 2009
    • Hey Robin I would LOVE to be part of your henna party's!!!!  As I mentioned to you before, I love to do that to my feet and hands but......I'm not that artistic!  My girlfriend who is a fabulous  artist has done my hands and feet beautifully!  She usually does me before we take long road trips or go to rally's.  Loved your story!estatic

      PS - I love the smell.happy



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    • 0 votes vote up vote up

      UK Girl wrote Oct 5, 2009
    • Ladies - if you love shopping and you want to see shopping at it’s best in the world the Dubai is the place - its like an Olympic sport there - you can spend days just window shopping and eating and ice skating and watching shark ...

      I have friends who go twice a year just to shop and sunbathe - plus once a year there is an actual shopping festival  

      [Link Removed]


      Ukgirl, Your links have been removed, please consider upgrading to premium membership.



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    • 0 votes vote up vote up

      Laurie Zieber wrote Oct 5, 2009
    • This is a wonderful, interesting interview! Thanks Vikki and Robinesque!



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    • 0 votes vote up vote up

      Lazylola wrote Oct 5, 2009
    • Great job ladies, Vikki youmake a great interviewer. I’d have to take out my life savings to go to Dubui, but it sounds like it would be a blast to go shopping and just to visit.



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    • 0 votes vote up vote up

      Robinesque wrote Oct 7, 2009
    • This was interesting and hard!  Yes, I agree with Melissabelle about interviewing members randomly.  We could choose someone (with their consent) to interview and take turns in asking questions, instead of one person’s perspective.  

      I don’t know.  

      Ladies, as soon as I buy a battery for the camera, I will photograph the kitchen.  Thanks for all of your sweet & encouraging comments!

      (Takes a bow).



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    • 0 votes vote up vote up

      Wittymom wrote Oct 7, 2009
    • This was so great. I don’t get on here a whole lot these days but can I admit that I’ve been checking in to see if you updated, and then had the NERVE to miss the actual day you were “interviewed“.  Very interesting adventures for you and your family....and it sounds like some more are forthcoming!



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