So this is it, the final countdown, after months of going to and fro, we are leaving Dubai but just how do you say goodbye?
It’s surreal. We. Are. Leaving Dubai. We are leaving the place we have called home for the past 3 years. Leaving Dubai and in doing so leaving the birth place of the Baby. Leaving Dubai and leaving behind the friends who have become family.
I’ve had friends leave Dubai and watched as they packed up their lives, excitement tinged with sadness as they prepared to move. I didn’t understand their nonchalance at the prospect moving. The saying goodbye. The doing things one last time. And now it’s my turn. It’s me who’s being nonchalant. It’s me who is living in a surreal bubble, not really sure if I’m coming or going. Except the thing is, we are going. We are leaving Dubai. And soon. Wednesday the 25th May to be exact. I will board that plane, with the boys, with the husband and know that I’m not coming back here to live.
We’ve started our final rounds of goodbyes, and this time it’s me being the nonchalant one.
The truth is, my friends are like my family out here. They are there for me to call on when things are tough, they are there when things are amazing, they’ve been with me every step of this relocation making me laugh when I felt like crying.
And I don’t know how I’m going to say goodbye.
I don’t know how to put into words what they mean to me.
How do you tell the girl who you met within hours of getting off the plane, that the hand of friendship she offered was a lifeline. That it immediately made you feel more at ease. That it calmed down the worries that had you tossing and turning in the nights leading up to your big move. That in randomly offering to make a stranger some baby food would lead to a friendship, not only with myself, but as a family. That our boys would be “best friends” for about half the time they see each other anyway. The husbands playing golf. The family days out. The family days in. The Christmases spent. From one random internet email. How do you say goodbye?
How do you tell the girl who you met when all your friends were leaving, that, even though she went and had her Baby before you even though you were in hospital first, knowing that someone else was going through the newborn stage at the same time as you, with a 2 year old as difficult as yours, made you feel less alone. That knowing she is at the end of the phone whenever you need a play date means the world, again with the kids being best friends for about half a play date before being sworn enemies. Swapping baby sleep tips. Toddler tantrum tips. How to get through the day tips. How do you say goodbye?
How do you tell the girl who dropped everything to rush to help look after your boys while you had to go to the doctors that you couldn’t have been without her that night? How do you say goodbye?
To the girls that I met when the boys were tiny, to the girls I’ve met since the boys were bigger, to the girls I only just got chance to meet. How do you say goodbye to a life you will no longer be living?
And yes, it is a new adventure. One door closing means another one opening, and I am so excited about what is to come, but that doesn’t make saying goodbye any easier.
That’s why it’s easier to be nonchalant, to focus on the practical elements, the packing, the whats, the wheres. To think about the next step rather than what you are leaving behind. I finally understand why.
It’s hard being the one leaving, but it’s harder being the one left behind.
How do I say goodbye to those I am leaving behind in Dubai? How do I tell them I understand what they are thinking, that I know it will be OK, that I know that there are lifelong friendships that have been made. That we will be back. That there is the UK visits. That I know all of this will happen because it happened to me, I’m meeting the friends that left Dubai this summer, I have flights booked and wine bottles with our names on them. And the same will be true of them.
But in the meantime, how do you say goodbye?