So last weekend I took a roadtrip (a short one) to Dubai, to see what all the fuss is about… and I while I can see its allure for some, Dubai ain’t all that!… ha ha…
Well, let me put that in better terms… Dubai is a place I am greatful to have nearby. But, I don’t think I would want to live there. Too touristy, too much at your fingertips that you don’t really need. It is like Las Vegas… I don’t want to live in Vegas… but I don’t mind dipping over there for fun every once in a while.
My trip was short. It was good to get out of the bubble and see some new sights. Now, there are things I can check off my list. Things like the Burj alKhaleefa now make sense.
And Dubai mall, made me feel like I might not get as homesick after all. That place has everything…. my favorite European and American brands all in one place. (and some brands I wonder why they were ever exported, like Payless Shoesource… who needs a Payless? … in Dubai?…. I didn’t go in, but it’s probably not going to be as cheap/affordable as it is back home?… or is it?…. ha ha…)
Now, Christmas was spent in Doha. This city looks much the same except everything is different. My friend who was freshman when I was here last, is not a college graduate. Her boyfriend is now her fiance, and her love for butterflies has matured (no more butterfly stickers everywhere… ha ha)….
But it was nice to see familiar faces, even if they had changed, as her fiance quipped when I told him that he looked different, “yeah it’s because I lost some of the hair on my head, and gained some hair on my face.”….
Like Morocco, I am taking time to take things in and reflect on where the change really occurred: Whether it’s me and my perspective that has changed or it’s the feel of this place. It was so nice to come into the airport welcome section and see my friend standing there waiting for me. What a contrast to my first ever arrival in Doha, when I had just traveled 16 hours, felt like crap and didn’t see any name tag for me. When I had to hussle to call the dorms and tell them, um I am here. When the niqabi woman who picked me up and was obviously looking for a white girl, chided me for not making myself known to her… ha ha…
I laugh about all that now… but……
No doubt about it, my Arabic improved a lot when I was in Doha. But I was also frustrated with a lot of things. But after 9 months in Egypt, my perspective on some of that has changed. But not all, I noticed the high number of black Qatari women working at the immigration desk. It’s funny to see people who look like they would be classified as African-American in the US, who speak Arabic, and then assume that I do not. One woman said when I came up something to the effect of “since we’re the same color I’m gonna be nice to you… ” what? ha ha….. But I just stuck to English.
Of course, I am also thinking about life choices. Many of the women who I was with in Qatar have since married, some even have had a baby or two… I don’t want to be in their shoes, but I am wondering how important that stuff really is to me. Moving here at best would complicate my chances and at worse significantly diminish them. But I came anyway. And I don’t regret the choice: I feel like this is where I am supposed to be right now.
Hearing some people’s (well, women) horror stories about ex-pats in love, makes me just want to stay out of the drama…. ha ha…. It also makes me realize that I have a “type.” I’m not sure if this helps or hurts me these days (ha ha?).
But Rabna Kareem and such!