So, here I am. I’ve arrived in Dubai. I’ve left Vancouver.
At this point I am most definitely filled with a mix of emotions: excitement, sadness, confusion, slightly lost, love. It’s funny how at any point you can be filled with such a large blend of feelings. It’s not an easy feat- leaving the unbelievable familiar- and venturing out into the unknown on the other side of the world. I anticipate that there will be moments when I wonder if I’m nuts and why I chose to do this. I expect that feeling will come. When it does, I will remind myself that this was my choice and at any point- I can always choose to do something different. I was brought here for a reason, I followed the guiding voice inside me.
The last week in Vancouver went by so quickly. I tried my best to get most of the essentials done before the last week, so that I could actually enjoy my last moments in Vancouver with the people that I love. I couldn’t have been more happy with the time I spent with the beautiful people in my life. My leaving party was one for the books- that I will never forget. An intimate, beautiful dinner at Wildebeest in the private ‘Underbelly’ party room- followed by drinks with a larger group of people in the Underbelly all night long. It was so special. It’s funny how these things just end up working so perfectly. The space came to my attention, was miraculously available and the night flowed as smooth as coconut butter. I think it shocked quite a few people that me, Chloe, Holistic Nutritionist and vegan/vegetarian/pescatarian chose a meat-centered place like Wildebeest for my farewell party. To me, it was a great example of who I am- I tend to move with my emotions and follow my heart- it doesn’t always make sense. Wildebeest felt perfect. Enough said.
Similar can be said of my move to Dubai. A Holistic Nutritionist who is thriving in Vancouver, has an amazing life and incredible people in it- picks up and moves to a place like Dubai. Dubai isn’t exactly a Holistic Nutritionist’s wonderland. The land of oil & gas, synthetic lives and man-made everything. However, once again- it doesn’t have to make sense to feel right. I felt as though I had no choice in the matter. I was being drawn here by a force that is much stronger than my mental mind. Perhaps a large part is the challenge, walking into the unknown. Also, growing up in Malaysia- I do, in part, feel comfortable and at home in the Middle East. Of course, there are some underlying heart strings that pulled me here as well (Dad, Faris- need I mention you?)
I was so overwhelmed with the unbelievable love I received from everyone in Vancouver (and around the world) leading up to my move to Dubai. SO much support, it seriously swells my heart. I truly do feel like everyone has my back, no matter what I do and where I go. It’s not an easy choice to leave your family, friends, and home of 8 years. Nonetheless, I am so grateful for all of you and the support that you continue to offer me, regardless of what I do. I hope that I can continue to share my experiences with you and bring love to your life.
Here I am. I’m ready to venture into the unknown. I’m ready to build my life here in the hot & sweltering desert. I’m ready to be vulnerable, put myself out there and let go of the controls I built and held onto in my life in Vancouver. I’ve learnt a lot about myself in the past year- and I continue to every day. Of several lessons, these are a few that I want to share with you, with thanks to my beautiful teachers who have supported me unconditionally and shown me the way to where I am:
1. I’ve noticed how shy and insecure I become when it comes to food and sharing my food. This is probably in large part, a result of my disordered relationship with food for so long. However, I am committed to allowing this to change. I want to share my love for food, without the attachment of insecurities that makes it difficult and less successful. Thank you Sherry Strong, for inspiring me to push myself, open up and be who I am, no matter what. Thank you for sharing your incredible talent and passion with food and for empowering me on my own food journey. I look forward to the day that I can eat breakfast in your beautiful home, again, made by you (of course).
2. I’ve noticed how hard I can be on myself as a healer and the impractical standards that I tend to hold over my own head. The only way to learn and grow is to try. This is something I am learning quickly. Thank you Divi Chadna for bringing me to a place where I felt supported and comfortable enough to take the leap. You really have been the shining light of support throughout my journey this past year.
3. I am continuously learning to let go of past coping mechanisms when it comes to stress and change. I said goodbye to my eating disorder just recently, and believe that it is no longer serving me. Good-bye eating disorder. Hello liberation. Hello imperfection. (Thank you Elaine Maher, for guiding me to this place of clarity and peace). Feel the feeling, drop the story. This is my mantra, thank you.
4. I am learning to love and support my body- regardless of it’s shape. I am learning to embrace my body and support it through strength training and exercise that is loving and empowering, not destructive. Thank you Michael Okech for being such a solid, grounding source of support and love for me these past few months. I can’t imagine how my life would be now without our time spent together in the beautiful Old Barn space. You really have been the grounding roots in my life recently. I am already missing our time together, dearly.
5. I am learning how to follow my heart and go for what I believe in, no matter what. Thank you Shayna Grimwood for sharing your life with me and always creating such a beautiful space of love and support for me. By following your own heart so passionately, you have inspired so many others, including myself, to never give up and to continue climbing that hill, regardless of the weather, obstacles or pain.
6. I am learning how to be humble, loving and non-judgemental. All of my friendships have taught me this lesson. In general, all relationships will teach you a lot about yourself and bring a lot of your insecurities and coping strategies to the surface. I can’t thank all of my friends enough for the love, lessons and light you have brought to my life. Whoever you are and wherever you are, I love you. Rachel, Alyson, Melanie (Genssler), Katrina, Caitlin, Parham, Barbara, Julie, Victoria- I love you all and thank you so much for loving me.
7. I am learning to stop. I am learning to drop the story and just live. Melanie Emlyn, you know very well how important you are to me and how instrumental you have been in my growth, life and love this past year. I honestly do not KNOW where I would be right now, without you. I may very well not be here in Dubai. You have listened to me through all of my thoughts, worries, insecurities and judgements- night and day. I miss you so very dearly and cannot wait to chat with you when you return from your beautiful, relaxing trip to Mexico. I seriously love you.
8. I am learning to pay less attention to what others think (or what I think others may think) and to listen more to that clear voice inside, my intuition. Paulina Kisielewska, I hope you know how unbelievably happy I am for you and where you are on your journey at this very moment. You finally went for it, you put yourself first- and continue to now, no matter what. I love you so much, thank you for always being there for me no matter what, since our first meeting 8 years ago at the Ice Cream Social. You are my true soul mate. Love you. I also must also express my gratitude to your family (aka my second family), especially Dunia. I am so grateful to have you in my life and cannot wait to spend more time with you in Dubai. Love love love.
9. I am continuing to learn to let go of control when it comes to changing people or controlling situations. No one teaches this lesson more powerfully than family. It goes without saying that family plays an important role in a lot of your growth, lessons and shaping. I wouldn’t be who I am without my family, pain and love. I know that my move to Dubai has caused some strain and doesn’t make a lot of sense- however, regardless, I am grateful for your unconditional support and love. Sam, Mum & Dad– I love you each so much. I look forward to our next family reunion. You are all with me, always, in each moment. Love love love. Al– you’re in here too, I hope you know that. Mum, Sam & Al- I miss you guys so much.
10. I am learning to embrace imperfection. There is nothing beautiful about perfection. I used to be so hard on myself- to the point that if I didn’t perfect, I didn’t deserve to live. If I didn’t feel perfect on the day of an event (nails done, hair done, skinny, new outfit, perfect skin)– then I didn’t end up going. How horrible is that? There is so much more beauty in imperfect vulnerability. Being your true self, no matter what. For me, that means letting go of control- rolling with the punches and following my intuition more and more. Thus, with this in mind, each and every one of you that is reading- thank you. You have all touched me in at least one way since I began Chloe’s Countertop 1 1/2 years ago- and I love you all. Love love love. & Gratitude.
Finally, Faris- I am so grateful to have met you and am so excited for our new life here in Dubai. Thank you for all the support you have shown me in the past few months, despite the insane distance. I can’t wait for all the upcoming adventures. xo
Cheers & Love (from Dubai),