Good bye Dubai
As I write this I am sitting at my kitchen counter in Glentana, South Africa. We said goodbye to Dubai on December 3rd and are not only enjoying a beautiful holiday in South Africa but are also en route to Perth, Australia our soon to be new home.
Dubai was our home for almost 9 years. It is the place our boys identify with. It is here where they have spent their elementary school years, made friends and experienced what it means to be a Third Culture Kid and an expat kid. Life has been good to us in Dubai. We have been able to save, travel and experience first hand what it is like to live with other cultures. Living this crazy life where shopping is the national sport and materialism stares you in the face at every turn has been an interesting experience on all fronts.
For me it has been a struggle. Trying to keep my kids and myself grounded and following the values that are important to us; integrity, honestly, kindness, hard work and not to mention our Christian values, has been a real challenge. Finding meaning and fun in the everyday simple things is quite challenging in the face of all the latest and greatest gadgets and toys that their peers have. We have persisted and I think haven’t done too badly in the face of being called “lame” and “boring”. Suddenly here we are at out house in South Africa and all my kids want to do is go to the beach, draw and play outside with a dose of television thrown in on non beach days. They are happy to stay at home and have not played any electronic games since December 1st. It appears that when they are away from peer pressure they are able to be themselves. As parents our challenge is to help our children be themselves despite peer pressure. To have enough self confidence in who they are as people, not to get sucked into the whole materialistic merry-go-round. I have tried to show them that “stuff” does not make us any happier, but that we experience true happiness when we are being totally selfless.
We do not live on an island anywhere in the world. We will always face these challenges no matter where we live. I just think that in Dubai it is more in your face. Of course I cannot speak for other cities since I do not live there. This has simply been my experience.
Of course Dubai has been a big part of my life. I have met interesting people and made some wonderful friends some who will remain life long friends. I started my freelance photography business and was even able to meet my goal of shooting a cookbook I was fortunate enough to meet up with lots of other like minded food bloggers and was able to participate in photography workshops being led by some of the world’s leading photographers at GPP events. I have learned and grown incredibly as a person and a Christian. I have become more in touch with myself and have begun a life long journey staying calm and focused on the present through yoga and meditation. I have learned now more than ever that less is more.
I leave some very special people behind in Dubai, and some that have already left Dubai and moved on. I will miss them. It saddens me to think that I may never see some of these people again. This is the part of expat life that sucks.
As we face a new challenge as immigrants I look forward to the simple things. Seasons, local produce, farmer’s markets and a few other things that are deeply important and personal to me. I don’t want a big fancy house ( when will I have the time to clean it?), or posh cars. I don’t care about designer labels ( although they are nice to have). I only care about being the best person I can be. To be happy with what I have and to lead by example. Everything else will follow. The big plan has been mapped out for us, it is our job to enjoy the ride and help others along the way. Just so you know, I am buying a bicycle when I arrive in Perth. I have plans to cycle everywhere. I hope I can.