Cali to Dubai: The Reason We Came

From The Top!

Emaan and I came to Dubai spring of this year after an exhaustive stint of work. Pushing a boulder up a hill, only to see it roll back down again, we craved something new. Emaan's sister was living in Dubai at the time and we saw this as a good opportunity to see her as well as part of the world. The minute flights were booked we felt a weight was lifted knowing (at least for a while) we could halt our economic treadmill. Emaan's favorite brand, Huda Beauty, was stationed in Dubai and Emaan had a co-worker who handled the account for Sephora US. Emaan wrestled with the professionalism of asking her colleague if Huda may have time to meet with a fan. (If I had to relate the importance for Emaan, I'd say Huda is to beauty what Beyoncé is to, well, everything else.) We talked, and pretty much decided if she didn't ask the answer was no but if she threw it out there, at least she had a chance. Days before we set to take off, she got a response. Huda had time the Monday after we arrived.

A meeting set with no limit went three hours as they talked about beauty, new releases, and the makeup industry. They played with product, laughed about their resemblance and captured some of the experience in a Snap. Huda was what Emaan envisioned and more. When she returned to Heidi's apartment, I'd never seen her in such bliss. Smiling and looking at the ceiling as she described their chemistry: a shared Muslim heritage, growing up in America, and being of similar age. It happened to be more than a date with her idol, but time spent with someone who mirrored her passions. Back in Cali, Emaan was drawn back to the meeting, imagining the only thing which could be better. Meeting her was amazing; but working for her would be the dream within the dream. Doing what she loves with someone believes in and feels connected to.

Hail Mary

One night after dinner, we discussed a T-chart about the pros and cons of moving to the Middle East. A chance to see the world, no income taxes and saving money for our wedding/home were amongst the plusses. The distance from family, friends, and Mexican food were amongst minuses. With the resolute promise to return, we decided to just try and fire off an email. It took a week to formulate the sentences which went into the body, as a panel of family and friends took turns giving it a careful consideration. Then, read, re-read, breathe, send.

The response from Huda's office:


With the process of hiring, the company's hectic schedule and the mentioned time difference it took nearly two months to click in the pieces. The deal was solidified with face-to-face meetings in L.A. and Vegas while Huda was visitng, and we signed the official paperwork (per Emaan's request) at In-N-Out Burger in East Oakland. The official start date would be less than 3 weeks away and the rush was on. We called Emaan's cousin, who works for Emirates airlines, to help us get tickets last-minute. When the day came, we took two cars to San Francisco International and carried our Cali lives in 7 bags to the UAE.