Thursday 25 July 2013

People are people

A few weeks ago, the kids and I joined some of my family for a getaway at Port Stephens. While we were up there we visited Stockton Beach and the sand dunes. I stumbled across this little fella, took a snap and sent it to Skip in Dubai saying something like: "Are we in Australia or Dubai?" (Actually I just sent it to him accidentally again while writing this post and he's probably wondering why on earth I did, until he reads this). 

Skip wrote back that of course it was Australia, the sand was completely different and look, they are clouds. 

I've been asked often what the people "over there" are like. There is often a wariness to their voice. 
The Middle East has always been painted to westerners as 'exotic', 'extreme', 'crazy', 'unsafe', 'backward'. Full of terrorists. 

The thing is that people are people wherever you go. They may dress differently, eat different foods, like different music, have a different routine to their day, believe in a different god, they may speak differently, but essentially they're human. Everyone likes to laugh, to connect with other people, to provide for their family, to live a good life, to just get through the day. The things that really matter are the same. We may like to believe (or the media/government would like us to believe) that we're intrinsically different, but we aren't.

When my kid has had a tantrum in the supermarket I've seen sympathetic, knowing eyes from behind a veil and an Indian man dash over from another direction with something shiny to distract the child from his screams. All parents know and understand the full force of a tantrum. I've seen Pakistani men and Filipino women smile with delight when they've passed by my children pulling faces at each other to get a laugh.

So while that camel above is an Australian camel, it's still a camel. I'm sure it does whatever Arabic camels do too.

Tuesday 23 July 2013


I didn't think I'd write here again. But here I am, and that's OK.

I've learnt over the past couple of weeks – when you're certain you know something or think it's a sure thing, you are usually clueless, well at least I am! It's a lesson that continually smacks me in the face. Often over and over again.

The kids and I are currently in Australia. Apparently we're holidaying, but I must confess it doesn't feel much like a holiday. More like hard work. It's not easy travelling for an extended time with three kids. It's wonderful seeing family and friends. It's comforting being in familiar surroundings and situations. It's very hard being away from Skip. It's hard being away from home. Our own space. Funny that now means Dubai.

They say absence makes the heart grow fonder, but being away is more than that, it has made me realise how much I'm meant to be with Skip and that my home, for now, is Dubai. The pull is very strong. That's where I belong. So that is definitely a gift.

I knew that coming back to Australia, the biggest thing that I'd notice was how everything was the same. I've experienced it before. You go away on a big holiday or adventure and are filled to the brim with new visions and ideas and you come home and it's like time has stood still. For a week or two, I noticed it slightly but I still felt the same, that I hadn't really changed that much. Then I realised it was the small changes in me, the ones I hadn't noticed occur, that were the biggest differences. Things that have become commonplace, everyday things are strange and foreign to people in Australia. A life that we've adopted so quickly and easily, is quite different to the life we had here. Yet, I was thinking it was pretty much the same. I've changed subtly but more than I realised.

The parts of living overseas that excite me and make me want more are uninteresting to most people at home. I see their eyes glaze over when I talk. The things that ignite people's interest – alcohol licences, indoor ski fields and fast cars – aren't what make up my life in Dubai, sure they're there but it's a tiny part. And that's fine. I understand that my new world is foreign and often hard to comprehend, I couldn't comprehend it until I was there.

So, I guess that's why I'm back here writing. To document our life and our travels, to provide a different glimpse of the world. To make it not so foreign. To inspire people to think outside their neighbourhood. Something for our family to look back on and remember. I suspect it will be a little different to before, but hey, old habits die hard.

Welcome to a new journey.
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