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Dubai Diaries: What did you do on the weekend?

kirstin@khaleejtimes.com Filed on June 29, 2021

When people ask me that question, I think about how I would fill my time, years ago.

While there are many things to dread about day one of a work week, there’s one that always sends me ducking for cover. It’s the question you all love to ask with an earnest smile: ‘So, what did you do over the weekend?’ On weekends, I wake up at 3pm and stay in my jammies all day. Half a day is spent deciding what to watch and what to eat while watching, and the rest would be a blur. I wasn’t always like this, though.

Recently, I saw a group of youngsters chasing each other on the Olympic-size ice rink of the Dubai Mall and then I remembered — I was a figure skater once. In the summer of 1997, mum enrolled me in an ice skating class that saw me go from walking like a penguin to gliding like a swan. My coach believed I was ready to take my boots and blades for a twirl on ice. Back then, however, I was just renting a pair of skates because we couldn’t afford one, and since I needed my own boots to take the advanced classes, I had to stop. One day, I thought, I’d go back and become a pro.

Last week, at the gym, I watched two muay thai fighters spar and then I remembered — I was a fighter once. In my fourth year in college, I got judo for a PE class. And what I thought would be just another subject to pass turned out to be a sport I would take seriously. I trained hard as a judoka and learnt how to throw people ‘the gentle way’. At the end of the course, I won bronze in an inter-school judo match. When coaches offered me a spot in the judo varsity team, I had to say no because I was just a few months away from graduation. One day, I told myself, I’ll be back in the dojo.

A few days ago, my husband was checking out guitars at the Fish Roundabout when a three-year-old caught my eye. She was learning how to hold the violin properly and then I remembered — I was a violinist once. I was 22 when I signed up for lessons. There were days I would practise for hours on end, trying to play the right notes and stop my violin from squeaking. I learnt four songs but then I flew to Dubai.

Last year, I saw my poor violin covered in dust and thought it deserved to be with someone who could make time for it. So, I gave it away but promised I would pick one up again and, one day, get up on stage for a recital. Aren’t we all ‘someone’ once? Now that I realise how much of a couch potato I have become, I think I’m ready to be someone else again — even just on weekends. Figure skater, judoka or violinist? You’ll know the next time you ask me my ‘favourite’ question.

Kirstin Bernabe