Home is where the heart is and as the old saying goes, my home has been in Abu Dhabi, UAE for a quarter of a century.
Yes, you are not mistaken. Lived in the same country, city and apartment for 25 years. Same wives, husbands tend to add saintly and martyr-like tones, but that’s not the topic of focus right now!
Other than a slight teething issue, this place took hold of us in no time! Initially we had high hopes of coming back in 2 years.
Back then, when we first boarded a flight to the desert land, Abu Dhabi was not as well-known as the more popular and flashy Dubai, and friends and family wondered if Abu Dhabi dubai It’s… well, a city in Dubai. I spent months correcting them – It’s not Abu Dubai, it’s Abu Dhabi…five times repeat after me! We spent another few years trying to explain why we didn’t need a visa to travel between Abu Dhabi, Dubai or Sharjah.A few more years to explain why we can’t simply run to Qatar or Kuwait or Bahrain just to deliver a package to a friend’s uncle’s wife’s sister-in-law’s son who lives there because we done These places require a visa! In a few more years, convince the same people that the deserts of the UAE are covered in sand instead of gold dust, that petrol doesn’t flow from our kitchen taps, and that camels don’t randomly wait at traffic lights for Lamborghinis and Ferraris.
With so much to do, before you know it, 2 years has stretched to 25 years!
In that era, in a foreign land filled with cultures from all over the world, it was bliss to hear Hindi or see a sari or salwar on the super clean streets of Abu Dhabi, and ours as we followed familiar sounds and We prick up our ears and stick out our tongues at sight, like a police dog tracking its scent to the ends of the earth and back. Believe it or not, this may now be called “track’!
Our annual vacation to India is going to be a huge project and ahead of it we will be doing some heavy shopping for gifts that we think will delight our relatives. As soon as I get home, I feel like a typical ‘‘Dubai Comes Back’ Aunty, when I unpack my bulging suitcases and hand out clothes or toys or whatever, until someone kindly points out that most of them are labeled “Made in India”! Ouch!
Then there will be a mandatory visit to a few aunts and uncles who look to make a proper impression as we tell them our Arabian Nights stories. One of the highlights of these visits was the children’s program, especially when people learned that they had been learning Arabic since kindergarten. The boys have to show how much they have mastered. At the gentle urging of their proud and doting mother, they would stand up straight and chant the numbers 1 to 10 aloud – from wahid to ashara, over and over and over and over and over again, because that’s all they I know, period! When I put my hand over their mouths, their little show goes down, it’s the modern day”Force stop application’!
Now, as our 25 years in the UAE draw to a close, we return, to our own country, and we obviously miss the place we have called home and the friends we have called family for the past quarter century. As we look forward to life in our home country, our hearts are filled with love and gratitude for all that the UAE and Abu Dubai have given us.
ok ok… it’s Abu Dahabi!
The views expressed above are the author’s own.
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