Wednesday, November 23, 2016

What's really going on here?

It was my birthday on the 7th of November, and I typically don’t work on my birthday. In fact, for at least the past 4 years I have always travelled out of the country during that period.

Last year my mother and I went to Dubai. It was her first time, my second. We loved it so much that we decided to do the same this year. From the very first time I went to Dubai about 8 years ago, I was struck by the hospitality of the people. Although the hotel (Al Murooj Rotana) is quite luxurious, it was the way we were treated that stuck with me the most. We were made to feel like it was truly a pleasure to serve us. So when I was booking that first trip with my mum, I did not hesitate to book the same hotel. We were not at all disappointed.

I loved that experience in Dubai so much that it was a no brainer. This time, however, I decided to try another hotel. I thought that choosing a hotel from the Jumeirah group of hotels would be a good idea. After all, they owned Burj Al Arab, the only 7-star hotel in the world! I chose Jumeirah Creekside Hotel, one of their 5-star hotels.

This time around I was travelling with my mother and sister. I was really looking forward to this trip, as I’d had surgery in July and had had less than a week off work since then. I didn’t have any time off during the summer, so mentally and physically I desperately needed this break.

So after work on the 4th my mum and I made our way to Heathrow Airport. We met my sister (Tina) there, checked in and had some fun going through the Duty-Free shops. We got to our gate early and waited for boarding to start. A few minutes after the airline staff got to the boarding desk we hear my mum’s name being called. That’s when things went south. My mum was not able to travel because her passport expires in December and to travel to the UAE you need at least 6 months left on your passport. To say I was upset is an understatement. We were stunned.

Eventually, we were offered a ticket change to travel the following night, which would give us time to go to the passport office the next morning to get an emergency passport. So we headed back home. The London cold felt particularly bitter against the hope of the warmth we were yet to experience in Dubai. The cab ride home cost me £100 that I hadn’t budgeted for. The next morning however, my mum was not allowed into the passport office because apparently, you need an appointment in order to get an emergency appointment! The next available appointment was on the 7th at 10:45am. I began to wonder if Father God was trying to tell me something. Where we not supposed to travel? Because our flights had been rescheduled for that night, and the hotel had agreed to change both our arrival and departure dates, my sister and I travelled that night without my mum. She would end up joining us on the 8th (4 days after our original flight).

So we get to Dubai on the morning of the 5th, thank God. Mum’s suitcase was there waiting for us, but mine wasn’t. Tina was livid, livid at the DXB airport staff and livid at me for not being livid. Frankly, I was too tired to be upset. I wondered what lessons there were for me to learn here.

Anyway, we get to the hotel. Let’s just say, the front desk didn’t and reception area didn’t do the hotel justice. I will not say any more about the hotel.

What did I learn? Will I go back to Dubai? Probably. Will I stay at that hotel again? I don’t think so.

Not everything has a deeper meaning. Sometimes we grow through little life issues. How do we handle inconveniences? Are we gracious? Do we turn back and give up? Or do we just plough through?

I had a lot of high hopes and expectations for where I would be at this stage of my writing career. (I use the word ‘career’ extremely loosely). From critiques to rejections, to wasted time and just life (and frankly sometimes not feeling like writing), I have at times wondered where I am going with this. But something in me just refuses to entertain the idea of giving up. My idea of what it means to be a writer may not be exactly what God has in mind for me. All I know for sure is that I am meant to write. So I’ll continue and trust that He will open the right doors for me at the right time. If He wants to.

Ufuoma Daniella Ojo is a Software Training Manager/Senior Technical Author. She lives just outside London. She is working towards Kindle publishing her first novel, and is trusting God for specific direction for her writing life.

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