So it’s official, after three years in the sandpit we are headed home to Blighty. But what a fantastic three years we’ve had, from the girl who didn’t want to move to Dubai to the girl who almost doesn’t want to leave. Dubai has given me, and our family, so much in the past three years it will always hold a special place in my heart.
People often think of Dubai as a place to come to live a lavish luxury lifestyle, and don’t get me wrong if you want luxury then Dubai can definitely provide it. Dubai is also the place where people come to save, to make money, to get ready for their next chapter.
But what about the little things that Dubai gives you? The pieces of your heart that you take with you wherever you go?
Dubai has given me…. lifelong friendships
I never truly appreciated the saying your friends are the family you choose until I moved abroad away from family. There is nothing quite like an expat friendship, the bonds that would have taken months and years to form at home are welded in days and weeks. You quickly become each others support network, shoulder to cry on and person to rejoice with. The friendships I have made have stood the test of expat life out here and have stood the test of time against people moving home, that will stand the test of time as we head home.
We may not speak everyday anymore, we may not be facing the same problems or issues, but we are still friends. We are still there. We will still be there.
One thing I am looking forward to moving home is being able to see the people who have already left, to catch up fully on the news. And have a weekend in Ireland in the process. Then when the rain gets too much I know of a few people who I am sure wouldn’t mind a house guest or two.
Dubai has given me… more religious and cultural awareness
Moving away from home comforts and a world where I knew everything about everything (or not as it would seem). Where the predominant religion was MY religion. Where the holidays were centred round Easter and Christmas to moving to a country where the religious background is Muslim. We follow Muslim holidays, we follow a more Muslim working week Sunday through Thursday. I wear more conservative clothes out in public (or try too) covering shoulders and knees, being respectful to the country that we choose to live in.
Before coming to Dubai I had some awareness of what Ramadan was and that Eid followed shortly after having lived in Manchester right by the Curry Mile during University. What I didn’t appreciate at home was what Ramadan means, of how it celebrates the month that the Holy Qur’an was revealed to the Prophet Mohammed. How it is a spiritual and reflective time. How it is not all about the fasting. How the breaking of the fast during Iftar is a special family time. That traditional it is done so with a date.
For a more detailed explaination from a Muslim Mummy in Dubai Zeyna from Mummy on my Mind reflects here on what Ramadan means to her.
I love that the 3 year old knows what a Mosque looks like, and that Muslims go in there to pray. I love that his nursery class is made up of children from the UK, from America, from India, from the UAE, from Holland. That his nursery class is multilingual, multicultural, yet it comes down the fact that no matter what 3 year olds are 3 year olds no matter where in the world they are from.
Dubai has given me… confidence
Confidence in myself. Confidence in my abilities. Confidence to start this blog. Confidence to arrange coffee mornings to meet other mums. Confidence to attend meet ups to meet other mums. Confidence to sit and chat, to push myself forward. Confidence to reach out to others who might be having a tough time.
Dubai has given me…. Baby Boy
Living in London, working in the City, meant an expensive lifestyle before we had the opportunity to move out to Dubai. Both of us holding jobs that were well paid, both of us at the same level career wise, both of us driven, it was never a question as to whether I’d go back to work or not. Even when it meant that 95% of my salary would go on childcare, we needed that 5% to live. Which put us waiting for a second baby until the Big One was in school, September 2017. Moving to Dubai changed all of that, childcare ceased to be an issue as I became a stay-at-home mum, and Baby Boy arrived (albeit dramatically) two and a half years earlier than we would have planned had we stayed in London, April 16th 2015.
Dubai has given me… the opportunity to be a stay-at-home mum
It may not have been in our plans but living here has given me the opportunity to stay home to be with the boys. I have been there for every sick day, for every grazed knee. For every tantrum and every cuddle. For anytime they’ve needed me and anytime they’ve not. I’ve been indulged with having nursery as a luxury, a choice, rather than a necessity. I’ve had days and weeks where it’s been the best thing ever. I’ve had days where it’s been the hardest choice. Most of all it’s been an amazing opportunity that wouldn’t have been an option had we stayed home.
Dubai has given me… a desire to live abroad (again)
From the girl who wanted to play safe and stay with what she knew, to the girl who is open to (pretty much) anywhere in the world.
Home is where the heart is after all, and the world is a big place to explore, who knows what the future holds?You can follow our adventures from the sandpit (and beyond) over on Facebook, see you there!