Tuesday 19 May 2015

Here, there and everywhere

For the first couple of years we lived in Dubai (we've been here almost 3 years, can you believe it?!), I lived in this strange state of confusion. In Australia, or more accurately - in Sydney, I knew exactly what time of year it was, there were constant little reminders that I didn't conciously realise I was acknowledging - the smell of Jasmine in the air, it's September; the sight of a glorious purple carpet of Jacaranda flowers, it's November; that cool crispness in the air and the sky is cloudless blue, it's April; the heady humidity, definitely February. What I didn't know at the time was, I'd know exactly where I was what needed to be done, the place in the year.

When I moved to Dubai and all these little indicators had vanished and the school year was suddenly topsy-turvey (not to mention the seasons), I found myself feeling constantly confused. In September I'd start thinking 'Is it almost Easter?' and in May I'd start thinking about Christmas. Then I'd have to stop and seriously think about what time of the year it was, had I missed someone's birthday? Quite often I would have to resort to looking at the calendar on the phone to remind myself. It was truly unsettling. 

I had resigned myself to feeling this way forever. Until last week, when we returned from a trip to Australia. I pulled up to Darbs nursery and instantly we both saw a palm tree laden with fresh green dates. "Look, mum! Peas on that tree," Darbs squealed. "No they're dates! That means summer is on it's way."

Then as I drove home I saw a bright, glorious flame tree in full bloom and instantly thought to myself: "It must be May!"

Later than same week there was a haziness and a heaviness in the air. Like an old sailor, I commented to Skip: "The humidity is definitely on its way, can't be far off."

I realised that I have been here long enough that I'm starting to recognise the different little nuances of the seasons. That I've been here long enough for it to become familiar.

Coming back to Dubai after a couple of weeks in Sydney was difficult. We stopped in Singapore on the way home to break up the journey, have a bit of a holiday and catch up with some lovely old friends. When we arrived back it took me about a week to get used to it, every morning there was those few seconds - "Where am I? Sydney? Singapore? Dubai? Is it a weekend? Do I have to get up? What's going on???" I even had a moment on the plane when the stewardess woke me for a meal and I thought "Where the hell am I? Who is this lady?"

Life has now settled back into the routine, sort of. It's always hard coming back after holidays, you dream about how you can start a new life where you've just holidayed. I always used to start googling real estate and jobs to see if we could make a new life where we just been. Romanticising that life would be better in that new locale. It's weird when you start holidaying where you're from. Thoughts of "Should we move back?", "What are we doing here?" creep in. Just like before, you start thinking about uprooting life again from the mundane everyday world.

It wasn't helped that I developed a kidney infection and was back and forth to the doctor. Then just when I thought it was over, was told I had to come into every day for IV antibiotics That doesn't make the re-entry to real life any easier!

As the days roll on, you settle into life again. Look forward to summer (well sort of). Think about end-of-school year concerts and exams. Prepare for Ramadan and Eid. Get ready to wave friends off until August. Life rolls on wherever you are....
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