How is your time organized between work/study and free time?
Well, my time is pretty much structured because I am a very organized person. Because I am a college student, I spend most of my time in college with classmates. However, at the end of my classes, I find more time for leisure activities where I engage in things that I like to do for fun with alone or with my friends. I believe it is very important for one to arrange for different activities and manage their time effectively in order to cover as much work as possible as well as manage their leisure activities. Therefore, my tike is pretty much structured and well organized between my study and free time. Also, the way I structure and organize my free time depends on whether I am alone or whether I am planning it with my friends and family.
What do you usually do during your free time?
That depends on very many things. For example, whether I am alone or with my friends as well as on the specific time of the day. Nevertheless, I prefer spending my free time with friends, especially my college friends because of the many interests we share together. Therefore, I use my free time to catch up with friends, tell stories, visit places, play games and do a whole lot of things to pass time. Specifically, the weekends are the most precious moments for us, from Friday to Saturday. This is because we have plenty of time to cover a lot of activities. On the other hand, when am alone, I fin d it more interesting to read newspapers, browse the internet and conduct my own researches on various issues. I love art and culture, so most of the time I will be seen attending art exhibition, listening to poetry, and praying in mosques with family and friends.
With whom do you spend this free time and what are your different types of activities?
To be honest, I like enjoying my free time with other people. For the most part, I spend my time with my friends, mostly other young women from college as well as others in the neighborhood with whom we have growth up together and have a lot in common. In addition, I also spend most of my free time with my family. I have a very large family that likes to have fun. Therefore, on many occasions, such as on public holidays and important days on the Islamic calendar, we get together to celebrate and have fun by visiting different places. The good thing about the family is that we have a lot in common, which makes it easier to select places to visit and the many different ways to have fun. Spending time with family also allows us to bond with our extended families such as cousins and build stronger ties as a family. On the other hand, the time I spend with my friends is more of exploratory time, where we seek new adventures and get a taste of different leisure products that the city of Abu Dhabi and the entire country has to offer.
With such a background, I believe there are many different kinds of activities that I can involve myself in during my leisure times. Some of the actives I partake in with my friends include sports events such as playing tennis, swimming, and visiting different places. Since I am from a college that prides itself of its diversity, in terms of the culture of its students, I have many friends of different nationalities. Therefore, the confluence of our different cultures often spices up our free times. This is essentially the reason why we engage ourselves in a wide range of activities.
Besides, I also spend a lot of time with my family, as I have already indicated. When I am with my family, we spend most of the time with visiting restaurants, museums, and attending games such as football with my brothers.
What places do you go?
We visit so many places, like I have already indicated. Whether I be with my friends or my family, or even when I am alone, there that joy I find in discovering new places. Therefore, I find myself visiting laces such as restaurants, museums, attending live shows, or having fun in the outdoors with my friends and family.
However, whenever I am alone, I like going shopping at the Ripe Market, which is in Saadiyat Island. I enjoy the place because I am able to get good quality products at a very affordable price. We also visit the market at The Collection in the island very often with my friends. I am also more of an adventurer. Therefore, I like spending my free time exploring new areas in the city of Abu Dhabi. For example, I have noted that laces such as The Corniche, Eastern Mangroves Corniche and the Saadiyat Beach are all very good spots for a leisurely stroll or a run if youre looking to work off the excesses of the night before, or if you simply want to get out and enjoy some sunshine.
Also visit the parks very often just to relax and grasp the natural air in the city. Most of the parks in the city are very affordable besides offering very high quality services. One of my favorite parks is the Al Maqtaa Park, which has a free basketball court. I visit the court once in a while in with my friends to watch basketball matches. I also spend more time at Al Khubeirah Park that is near the InterContinental Abu Dhabi in Al Bateen, which is also a very good park for one to spend their time. Al Raha Beach is also one of my favorite places to visit since I come from around the beach area. I enjoy cycling with friends and family on the cycle paths that are around the beach since my family has membership for unlimited use of the bikes. The membership goes for about Dhs499 annually.
My brother is a very huge fan of the Al Jazira Football Club, which plays its home games at Mohammed Bin Zayed Stadium, opposite Dusit Thani Abu Dhabi, Muroor Road. Therefore, one in a while, I accompany my brother and some of our friends to the home matches of the team. I enjoy attending these matches because of the lively atmosphere that fans create while watching the matches.
I also frequent the Art Hub Abu Dhabi, which organizes the Orange Saturday, which is a good forum for meeting artists that are heavily involved in the citys art scene. Since am also strong about my cultural values, I frequent the Manarat Al Saadiyat exhibition that is organized on the Saadiyat Island. This is one of the influential cultural products that signify the importance of the local culture alongside many other museums. I am also looking forward to other similar venues coming up in the next few years with significant progress being made in the development of venues such as The Louvre Abu Dhabi, The Guggenheim Abu Dhabi, and The Zayed National Museum.
How do you get there?
In most instances, we use public transportation to get to some of these places. The city has a very elaborate transport system that is reliable in transporting people to many of these sites. Nevertheless, in other circumstances, we use private means to access some of the places, especially if I am travelling with my family. My dad has a good family car that we use most of the times when we are travelling a family. In other cases, especially when I go to the island, I usually hire taxis or cabs to take me around the different places I visit.
Are there obstacles to getting to some of these places? (And for which reasons)
Definitely yes! There are many obstacles that hinder me form accessing or raveling to some of the places I identified earlier. For example, my family, especially my parents, are very conservative in nature. As such, they are very keen on where I visit and what I do. There are instances where my dad does not approve of the things I do with my friends and may even disprove me against visiting some places with my friends. However, in many instances, the main obstacle is the financial aspect of the trips we organize with friends. We have to contribute some huge sums of money in order to have fun with friends.
When do you go to the places you have cited? (What time of the day/week/year) and how regularly?
In most cases, I visit these places over the weekend, either on Friday or on Saturday. For simple and less costly adventures such as d going swimming, watching football, and visiting nearby parks and beaches, I do that every weekend, almost. However, other intensive activities involve good planning and seeking for resources. Therefore, we organize for one major event every month with friends, preferably towards the end of the month, where we go to new places that are being opened up or we visit some of the places we like
How do you plan and organize these outings? (how do you contact others? Etc.
For the events I attend with my friends, planning is often easy. At our free times, usually at the end of our classes, we usually have discussions about the places we can visit around the city. One of us will then go to check out the place to determine its suit ability and the costs involved. From there, we shall decide upon visiting the place, make the appropriate contributions and organize the finer details of the trip. If necessary, we spread the word to our other friends and promote the event on social media in order to draw interest from other people who would like to travel along with use from college.
On the other hand, family oriented trips are largely decided upon and planned by my father. He organizes the finer details of such trips and gives us updates before the due dates. However, there are also other when I just learn of an event being promoted through media, either radio, print, or television. I then discuss the event with some of my friends before joining in.
Make a list of the places you go to (in order of preference + indicate if there is a difference with the order of frequentation
Wow! This is quite difficult! That is because some of the places I like visiting are not the ones I frequent most of the time because of the huge costs and time involved in organizing and planning such trips. But I will try as much as possible to come up with a good list. Some of the places I like visiting include the following; Manarat Al Saadiyat exhibition, the Ripe Market, The Corniche, Eastern Mangroves Corniche and the Saadiyat Beach, the Al Maqtaa Park, Al Khubeirah Park, Al Raha Beach, and the Art Hub Abu Dhabi.
Make a list of places you would like to go to
I would like to go to places such as The Louvre Abu Dhabi, The Guggenheim Abu Dhabi, and The Zayed National Museum and similar places.
Make a list of places you avoid (at what times and why)
I avoid visiting places that are largely conservative. By this I mean, the places that undervalue women and those that do not tolerate other cultures or expatriates. I believe in a more inclusive community. Abu Dhabi is a cosmopolitan city that has attracted people from all over the world; therefore, the people must be more accommodative.
In this regard, among the places I would not visit include the following churches, bars, and movie shops or theatres, since I am not a fun of movies.
What is the place for museums in these lists? What would be the place of the Louvre in Abu Dhabi?
I love museums. I believe I have mentioned this already. I would love to visit as many museums as possible. So the Louvre in Abu Dhabi is definitely one of the places I will prioritize once it opens up to the public. I am most definitely looking up to it and the next time you ask me about it, I will probably have visited it already.
What are the cultural places you have been to recently? (tell a story of the visit)
I recently visited the Manarat Al Saadiyat exhibition and I can say it was a very wonderful experience. It was something that we had planned for so long with my friends because we always felt it was necessary we visit the exhibition since we all loved culture. Our dream was soon to come true in August this year as we eventually managed to travel to the island to attend the exhibition. It was a ver...
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