I have recently moved out of Dubai for good and what I carry along with me are the memories of the last thirty years this country has managed to create for me. It’s been two months already and there’s not probably a day I have not missed Dubai. Not only because of the fact that it is the city I grew up in but also because my family is back there.
Dubai is where I grew up in, where my family is, my education, my friends, my first work experience to all that life has taught me thus far and all that I cherish. It’s a new journey that I have set sail on.
I will miss strolling through the cobbled streets of Bur Dubai, enjoying a good chat over coffee with friends, dining out with family, short getaways to nearby Emirates, shopping mall visits with mom and most importantly planning the two-day weekend out with new things to do and new places to explore.
From Oman chips sandwich to the best chicken shawarma at the cafeteria in the corner, from Jumeirah beaches to the latest Dubai Frame, from the drive to work through the traffic cluttered road to the long weekend drives, I will miss everything about the city. Feeling nostalgic already!
The most difficult and emotional part of the entire process was probably waiting for my turn at the visa office to have my Dubai visa cancelled followed by the goodbyes.
My parents came to Dubai over three decades ago, dedicated all their hard work and has considered the country as their own from the country that they have citizenship in. But, what is unbearable for them will be the phase of moving out of the country one day, just like me.
We have seen the country growing tremendously over the years, from desert to skyscrapers was a journey I think generations of expats and locals contributed to. But expats have always been an outcast in the sense that, work or find your way out. No welfare cheques, no free education, no free medical, rents are roof high and yet the country is loved for the opportunities and for most of the memories we have created building our lives here.
While moving out of the country, I am not sure how this new place is going to accept me, I will have to start over – quite literally from scratch. I will have to build my dreams all over again and set up my life stone by stone, but I am up for the challenge, midway through my life, I am going to give it a try now.
All I wish there was more recognition for expats who have contributed more than half of their life to be a part of the UAE economy. I wish there was a scope for a long-term visa and facilities like medical for people to survive in the country. The UAE has a big heart, but at this point, I wish it was big enough to accept expats and recognize their contributions to the economy as well. If that ever happens, I will come back to Dubai, because it has been my home away from home and will remain that way forever. Until then, it’s going to be complicated, challenging yet exciting goodbye!