Monday, 27 March 2023

He's back!

We are currently on Spring Break, but Linnea and I are not traveling just yet, as Lucas came back for a quick visit. He only got six full days here this time, but he has made the most of it. So far we have been sightseeing at the Abrahamic Family House, had lush lunch at Mysk on Saadiyat, checked out the new Craft by Sidehustle venture progress; and enjoyed a family steak dinner at Yas Bay.

We have also been to the mall, spent a few hours on the beach and by the pool here in the compound, been for walks; and Lucas and Nathan have played padel.

He has also seen a few of his friends. Today his gang went to Ferrari World and then they had dinner at their favourite Nandos. And - he's had a haircut! As you can see, mullets are apparently still a thing in Scandinavia...

Tomorrow we are flying back to Copenhagen together, Lucas, Linnea and I.
Lucas is going back to Uni and Linnea and I are continuing across to Sweden for a quick visit. Nathan doesn't have leave until June, so he's not coming this time (either) unfortunately. At least he's not missing out on Scandinavian spring, as the weather forecast for the next week is rather grim, booo. I'm really not happy about having to bring my winter jacket and boots, I wanted sunshine and flowers!

Sunday, 26 March 2023

The Abrahamic Family House

The UAE declared the year of 2019 as the Year of Tolerance, and during that year several initiatives here were launched in that very spirit. Pope Francis was here on a visit, and probably one of the most important ideas to come out of that, was the idea to create The Abrahamic Family House.

I have followed the construction almost daily, as they are situated just across the road from the Louvre Abu Dhabi, on Saadiyat Island. In the beginning of the month, they were finally opened to the public, but I had saved my first visit until the whole family was gathered; and yesterday we went to discover!

This is an interfaith complex, housing a church, a synagogue and a mosque. The design is unifying in that each building is a 30 by 30 meter cube, providing a common base. But each individual building is at the same time entirely unique, the Ghanaian-British architect David Adjaye has drawn on inspirations from each of the three Abrahamic faiths.

His Holiness Francis Church is dedicated to the 13th century monk Saint Francis of Assisi, after which the current Pope is named. It is oriented towards the east, and the rising sun.

Some details from the inside:

The ceiling inside the church is made of timber, and is meant to invoke the story of Noah's Ark. It was absolutely stunning!

Another picture from the outside:

The synagogue is the first purpose-built Jewish place of worship in the UAE, and it is oriented towards Jerusalem. It is called the Moses Ben Maimon Synagogue, to honor the 12th century Jewish philosopher known as Rabbi Maimonides.

There was prayers going on at the moment of our visit, so unfortunately we could not see the inside of the synagogue today. We will come back.

Last but not least, the Imam Al-Tayeb Mosque is named after the Grand Imam of Al Azhar, and of course, oriented towards Mecca.

Us ladies had to cover to enter (there are abayas on loan for those who are not aware of dress code) and all had to remove their shoes. Nathan hadn't quite thought through his sock choice... this was NOT on purpose, but we had a good giggle!

The light is important in each of the structures, here it filters inside the mosque by the mashrabiya on the windows:

The mihrab (the niche) and the minbar (the pulpit):

 The ablution space outside:

Underground, there is a Visitors Center and an Exhibition Space. The Abrahamic Family House is already in full use as a space for worship, but it is also a center for learning and dialogue. The plans are to host a variety of different events here.

The exhibition space ended with the Wall of Intentions, where visitors are invited to write down their wishes or intentions. It was beautiful to see all the messages scribbled here, in different languages, intentions of peace, love and acceptance.

This olive tree was over 100 years old, a cross-cultural symbol of peace, well suited right here:

A monument in the reception area:

The Foundation Stone was on display here, together with the story behind the Abrahamic Family House.

There is also a library corner, and a café:

And also a gift shop, selling objects that all carry messages of coexistence. It was beautifully curated.

What a stunning and majestic place! A powerful statement of respect and tolerance in the adversarial world we are living in. The Abrahamic Family House sure is a beacon, and a symbol of the openness, inclusion and coexistence that I love so much about living in Abu Dhabi.

Friday, 17 March 2023

Nine years

It's our 'Abudhabiversary' today! We are counting NINE years now in this country!
I remember those intense first days here as it was last week. For example our first IKEA-shop up! Ha ha!

Our life in Brunei of course feels more and more distant, but one thing is for sure, that was a very special time of our lives; and we will always cherish those years a lot. We loved Brunei, and we still miss it.

Can you imagine we moved from these views... (The right one is from our kitchen window!)

... to these views..!? Here from the kitchen window in Haya Compound:

And out into our "garden"..:

And can you believe how small these two were..! Oaaahh... time flies!

Wednesday, 15 March 2023

My off-day project

Behold - my off-day project! The Great Wave of Kanagawa by Katsushika Hokusai, in LEGO!

Lego started making these LEGO Art sets in 2020, such a cool theme. This particular one was released in the beginning of this year, and I just thought it looked awesome! We have one of these prints at the Louvre Abu Dhabi, and it's a favourite of mine. So I decided just to go for it, and ordered one of these sets as a gift from me to me.
It has been standing around for weeks waiting for me to have a quiet afternoon to enjoy it and finally the other day, it was time!

One of the coolest things with this LEGO Art-set is that it has a QR-code on the box, and when you scan it you will find a soundtrack to listen to while building the set. It's a tailor-made soundtrack that includes interviews and stories about the artist, and this particular work. Such a fantastic idea! I listened to it twice over actually, and will probably listen again - to take notes!

This soundtrack turns the whole building process into a relaxing immersive experience. I really enjoyed building, while disappearing into the world of the art curators and Lego designers speaking in the soundtrack.

And look - here we go! 1800+ pieces later, and I had finished my LEGO Art-version of The Great Wave of Kanagawa! Awesome!

I even found the perfect space for it straight away, on top of our new cabinet! Beautiful addition to our home decor. Love it!

Tuesday, 14 March 2023

Lately at work

Almost every day I arrive to work, or during my work day, I take photos of my work place. I mean, how could you not?! This dome, this light. It just never gets old.
Look at this amazing shot I managed to grab of the 'Rain of Light' just the other day..!

I had an external tour on the weekend, and my guests (who were repeaters, I already had them on a tour just two weeks ago) arrived bringing me a gift! How lovely, and surprising! Looking forward to enjoying this 'Golden Dreams' tea!

The museum stands as a backdrop for many events throughout the year. Just recently it was the Forbes 30/50 summit one evening, which had a long list of distinguished participants. Unfortunately I didn't get to tour any of them, only passed the beautiful set-up arriving while arriving to work in the morning.

On the other hand one afternoon, I got to meet Lucas Bravo, an actor from Emily in Paris who came for a tour. My French colleague Termy took him around the museum, but I got to thank him for entertaining me through the pandemic lockdown when I binge-watched Emily in Paris; and we had an interesting discussion around this painting behind us by Pierre Soulages.

You might have noticed a theme in this post... - all my COLOURS! Today I was told I looked like a "Spring Explosion" at work..! Ha ha!

Here I am in action, this morning I was delivering an Architecture Tour; which is slightly different than the normal tours, as we don't talk about art at all, just the building, and everything in and around it:

We had a nice team lunch today, as we were celebrating Ann's birthday. It's quite rare that the stars align and we are able to sit down all together in the team like this, so I really enjoyed it.