The ‘Sandpit’ as expats affectionately refer to Dubai truly is a place that bristles with a permanent sense of ambition and excitement. Indeed in Dubai the rate of change is something on which the Emirate appears to thrive (especially where that rate is at ‘headspinning’ levels). World’s tallest building? Check. World’s largest shopping mall? Tick. World’s most enviable police car fleet (think Maserati, Lamborghini, Ferrari et al)? Check. Dubai is in a constant state of flux, growing and evolving into its best self.
One thing is for sure, the status quo does not remain so for very long, for example, to assume a car’s hi-tech GPS could ever hope to keep pace with the continuous changes in the road networks, would be considered sheer naivety and utterly laughable. Needless to say, residents are often skeptical and afraid of change, preferring to cling to the security of the ‘familiar’, like a child would cling to its comfort ‘blankie’. Re-learning new road networks requires an element of getting lost until one can readjust one’s internal GPS to match the new road networks. This process can take a while, and even with that, not everyone will be able to reach a point where they truly know or are comfortable with the new road system.
Equally Dubai residents cannot escape the dark cloud of change, no matter how hard they may try. Fact: from one summer to the next, one never knows who will be returning in September (the start of the school year amongst my peers). When each summer rolls around, one is guaranteed to be wiping one’s eyes with Kleenex and cursing the expat life that sees wonderful people who have shared one’s life here setting sail for another destination whether by choice or not. Sadly, it is often more than one family packing up and shifting as quickly as the desert’s sand.
When all of those goodbyes have been sobbed, one still has to wave ‘au revoir’ to other friends as you and they depart the Sandpit for their home countries or less sweaty holiday destinations…..the sadness is nursed with the promise of the fresh air of home and the warm, welcome embrace of family and friends on the auld turf. Alas the end of the summer break signals another round of ‘Goodbyes’……the round that is hardest of all. It never gets easier. We are never truly comfortable with it, but it is the life which we have come to accept.