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Columnists > Zvezdana Rashkovich


Zvezdana Rashkovich
Zvezdana Rashkovich was born in ex-Yugoslavia. At the age of seven she started her lifelong nomadic journey across Sudan, Egypt, Libya, Iraq, Qatar, Dubai and the United States. A fluent Arabic speaker, she has worked as a medical and legal interpreter for refugees in the United States and owing to her eclectic experiences developed an intense enthusiasm for multiculturalism. Zvezdana currently lives in Dubai with her Sudanese husband and four children. She is the author of 'Dubai Wives' and is working on a memoir, 'Africa in the way I dance'. Zvezdana blogs at Sleepless in Dubai where she shares her experiences as an expat, mom and writer.


Zvezdana Rashkovich

What’s Under The Abaya?

Posted by: Carole on Tuesday June 26, 2012 (02:36:17)   (4308 Reads)
Zvezdana Rashkovich
Recently I wrote a blog post for InCulture Parent magazine that was later republished in the Huffington Post. The article was titled "Raising a Hijab-Wearing Daughter in a World that Doesn't Understand" It got a number of responses that shouldn't have surprised me but did nevertheless. I also made me think about all the misunderstanding surrounding the Arab women's mode of dress, whether they were religiously or culturally inspired.

To pretend there is no controversy and frequently ignorance surrounding the topic of hijab and the veil would be like “sticking our heads in the proverbial sand”. In my experience and after engaging in discussion with people from diverse parts of the world, even my home country, men and women alike posed the question, ‘Why do they wear it?” A shroud of imagined mystique with equal parts exoticisms springs to their minds. On the one hand, you have Scheherazade and her tales of 1001 nights and the veil swirling beauties portrayed in movies through decades of Hollywood.    more ...


Zvezdana Rashkovich

What NOT To Wear In Dubai

Posted by: Carole on Friday May 18, 2012 (01:51:56)   (28357 Reads)
Zvezdana Rashkovich
In my last article I mentioned that one of the reasons I did not live living in Dubai is the fact that some of the expatriates are disrespectful of the local customs and culture.

Well, just within the last week a flurry of controversy has arisen about what is acceptable to wear and what is absolutely not.
Two local ladies spearheaded an initiative on social networks to ‘Dress Right’ resulting in a battle of opinions and views that seized the nation’s attention.

As I perused the endless commentary online and in print I occasionally chuckled, and sometimes felt upset at the views presented.

Many tourists seem to think they are visiting Las Vegas which is another city where I have seen the display of outfits similar to the ones encountered at Dubai’s shopping malls supermarkets and streets.    more ...


Zvezdana Rashkovich

5 Reasons I DO NOT Like Living In Dubai

Posted by: Carole on Sunday April 15, 2012 (23:14:12)   (16153 Reads)
Zvezdana Rashkovich
1. Goodbyes: in a transient community such as Dubai change due to job situations or family obligations are unavoidable. Sometimes, they occur in an abrupt manner in the form of a termination of contract, sometimes because of homesickness and sometimes due to the allure of another tempting offer in another country. Possibly one with a better climate, lush vegetation and cool rivers. Friends are made quickly in this fast paced city but then lost seemingly just as fast. Sadness and often anger follow the heart wrenching departure of a friend. After every forcedly jovial farewell lunch or dinner, long after the pretty cards have been signed and the going away gift presented with a brave smile, a bitter taste of despair remains. Is this how it’s going to be? Families, children and singles are equally affected. This uncertainty hovers above each expat like a dreaded cloud, the sure to come ending at some point or other. Maybe even discouraging some, making them more careful about emotional attachments in such a fickle world.    more ...


Zvezdana Rashkovich

Multiculture: Melting Pot Or Salad?

Posted by: Carole on Wednesday March 14, 2012 (00:10:59)   (5524 Reads)
Zvezdana Rashkovich
For the last month or so sandstorms have been on Dubaians minds. Represented in the form of swirling, howling Shimal (north westerly winds) and widespread attacks of asthma and allergies this familiar climate manifestation is a part of life in the desert. My last post was on weather so for fear of sounding like an overzealous meteorologist I have opted to write about another topic close to my heart.

Multiculture. It’s my favorite aspect of living in Dubai. I heard someone call a blend of cultures and nationalities a “salad” rather than a “melting pot”. After living in the Gulf for fifteen years, North Africa for thirteen, Europe for seven and the USA for almost a decade I have started to like the salad comparison. A melting pot would imply that all the cultures and people have fused together to the point of a “fluid” diluted identity. The salad however, retains all the essences and uniqueness of its main ingredients…mixed and tossed in a massive flamboyant bowl of flavors. Possibly with a dash of passion and a sprinkle of longing for some added zest.    more ...


Zvezdana Rashkovich

It’s Winter in the Desert

Posted by: Carole on Sunday February 05, 2012 (02:15:22)   (4490 Reads)
Zvezdana Rashkovich
I can say that with a smile these days, reveling in the warmth of my newly purchased woolly socks, the feel of a cozy blanket and the endless cups of steaming ginger tea I indulge in throughout the day…all without turning into a sweaty mess.

Makeup actually stays firmly on, rather than sliding off my face as it does during the usual heat and humidity filled days throughout most of the year. Jackets and scarves, even boots are worn hastily. Large and small bonfires are stirred to life across the desert landscape while groups of huddled boys or men gather around for gossip and Arabic coffee. Numerous cups of hot chocolate with tiny marshmallows and cardamom spiced Karak Chai (milky, sweet tea beverage sampled widely across the Gulf countries) have been prepared for the children and guests in our home. We were the proud owners of an electric fireplace a few years ago but for reasons I cannot recall we got rid of it, only to regret it at this time of the year, every year. It would have come in very handy on *cold* Dubai mornings or evenings.    more ...




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