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January 2011
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August 2011

Neither Far nor Near

My niece thinks that we are moving to Target - yes the store. Thanks to my mother and the timing of a conversation, my niece things that Target is Abu Dhabi. It will be a sad state when she starts looking for us in the luggage aisle, and we are no where to be found.

The other day someone told me that Abu Dhabi used to be Djibouti before they struck it rich with oil. Really? I remember Djibouti being on the East Coast of Africa, and while there have been several earthquakes as of late, and many countries in Africa have changed their names since I learned them in the 6th grade, I do not think that Djibouti moved from East Africa to the Gulf.

People keep saying we are moving to Dubai. NO, we are not moving to Dubai. Dubai is another Emirate (there are seven in total). Dubai is NOT Abu Dhabi, much like Boston is NOT New York City. Please, get it right.

And then I am confronted with "Oh, Abu Dhabi! I just saw the second 'Sex and the City!'"Oh... great. You mean the one that was actually filmed in Marrakesh? The one that was so inappropriate I felt a bit sick? Yeah, that's great. No, it's really not like that, oh, except for the white cars. There are a lot of white cars.

Yes, we are moving to Abu Dhabi, the capitol of the United Arab Emirates. East of Saudi Arabia, South of Iran, and West of Dubai. Yes, there are camels and date trees. Yes, women can drive. Yes, I can dress is "Western" attire.

And more than anything, yes, we are so looking forward to this amazing adventure of a lifetime.

Running up the Hill

It was spring in DC - full on SPRING. It has yet to travel up the coast to Boston. I spent a few days in DC with the American Heart Association as part of Lobby Day - time to speak to members of Congress about the importance of funding research in the areas of heart disease and stroke research. For example, did you know that for all of the National Institutes of Health's budget only 4% goes towards heart research, and 1 % towards stroke, yet heart disease and stroke are the Nation's number 1 and 3 killer... interesting little fact.

So there we were - more than 300 people from 46 states across the country to discuss heart health and stroke awareness. It was an impressive sight to be sure: the color red could be seen from afar. I wonder whether they listened. The Hill is full of lobbiests. Every day, every hour, every minute people traipse up to Capitol Hill and pitch their stories. At times it seems that it takes more energy than it is worth. It is a steep climb up that hill - both literally and then it is figurative for those of us dealing with heart disease and stroke.

And then, in an instant it changes. The stories come out:

-A young girl born with a heart defect who subsequently suffered a stroke

-A woman who has suffered several strokes due to a rare brain disorder

-A woman who has had three open - heart surgeries for valve replacement, and knows that the valve will not outlive her, so she will need another (she is only in her 40s)

These are not stories of older white men collapsing on a golf course. These are the people who deal with heart disease and stroke every single day. I hope that our trip made the incline on the hill a little less steep for those of us who have to climb it everyday...