Tuesday 16 December 2014

Bound for Sydney

So the day has finally arrived. After 18 months away, the kids and I will be on a plane bound for Sydney. Just a quick holiday, but we're looking forward to it. 

There will be lots of visits with family and friends
There will be lots of laughter (probably a few tears too)
There will be lots of food - sushi, fish and chips, BBQ chook, good bread.
There will probably be some rain. 
I'm certain there will be lots of fun. 

Saturday 6 December 2014

A sense of adventure

The sun setting on the Burj al Arab. 
Yesterday afternoon, I sat in the late afternoon sun with a warm breeze blowing, the kids were running off their energy at a beachside park in the shadow of the Burj al Arab. As the sun began to slink down the sky I had one of those moments. Those little jolts when you suddenly think 'how on earth did I get here?'

Is it just me, or does this happen to you every now and again? It's almost like watching yourself from a distance. I looked at the kids, who suddenly seemed older, more grown up. I looked at the amazing view around me. I soaked up how comfortable and relaxed the kids were in this setting. They're totally at home and at ease. I thought about Skip flying 20,000 feet above Saudi Arabia at that moment on his way Lebanon.

It seemed like five minutes ago the girls were just babies and I was waving Skip off to Brisbane. Now these walking, talking, opinionated people are in my care and I'm waving him off to Beirut.

While living in Dubai is not strange anymore, I still strongly feel the sense of having a big adventure, which is terribly addictive. While I don't get to jet off to places like Beirut, I love hearing Skip's tales on his return. It's meeting new people and hearing their stories. It's venturing to a new part of town in search of a good meal and feeling like I could be in downtown Mumbai. It's knowing that being in the centre of the globe you could trek off to somewhere new with ease, even if you don't.

I often wonder when this feeling will end and the pull of 'home' will take over. Or if it ever will. Sure there are moments when you'd like nothing more than to sit and chat with family and friends. Or wish that the kids had a lush green backyard to play in. Or to laugh with people you share a long history with. At the moment, the pull of the adventure is still too strong.

Monday 1 December 2014

National Day 43

December 2 is the UAE's National Day. Forty-three years ago, the Emirates joined together and founded the country of the United Arab Emirates. National Day is a big celebration. The city becomes awash in the national flag, the colours red, green, white and black are everywhere. People decorate their cars in the national colours and pictures of the rulers. It's basically a big party and everyone's invited.

Today at school, one of my girls dressed in an abaya (the black national dress) and the other in the colours of the flag. They will dance and eat party food with their friends. There will be performances and they'll do art and craft. There may be camel rides and falcon displays. There will definitely be henna painting. 

In the complex where we live there will be a big party tonight. There's jumping castles, local displays, henna painting, lots and lots of food. There will be traditional dancers, coffee and dates. Of course, there will be lots of fireworks.

I love UAE National Day, there is immense pride from the Emiratis for their country. What I love most is that everyone is invited to feel the same pride and join in the celebrations. I'm not Emirati and never will be, but I feel lucky to share in this country. I'm thankful for the wonderful life this country is giving our family. I'm amazed at the hospitality the Emiratis share with the expats.

If we decide to go out and be part of the celebrations tomorrow, I won't need to worry about drunken yobs telling me to go back to where I came from. Instead there will be a look of pride from the locals that others are sharing in their culture. Because of this I know that this country will always hold a special place with me. How much better would the world be if others could adopt this way of thinking? The best way to create loyalty is share with each other. Next month we will celebrate Australia Day here and share a little bit of our culture and we'll all be richer for it.

Happy National Day!

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