In 2018, I made a conscious goal to read more. Just falling short of my goal of 30 books, I read 27 different stories throughout that year. But in working towards this goal, I was writing less and less, and as a result I have several blog posts written about Kuwait, and almost none about Dubai.
When I moved to Dubai in 2018, I was not as inspired to write anymore. This move didn’t have the culture shock of the last one and I had access to almost all the comforts of home: Tim Hortons, alcohol, etc. The work culture here is fast-paced and hectic, and it left me exhausted on weekends, with no brain power to think of anything to write. So I didn’t.
Entering my second year in Dubai, I (thankfully) am arriving with much more clarity. As most international teachers will attest to, coming back for year two, three, four, etc. is much easier than when you first move to a place. You have your bank account in place, your apartment is furnished, you know that you’ve got some water in the fridge for when you arrive. It’s easier. And because it’s easier, I feel more at home to write and share stories from my experiences here.
Realizing that I’ve literally not written about Dubai once, I’ll use that to frame this post. So what is Dubai like? The best way I’ve described it is that it reminds me a lot of the Emerald City in the Wizard of Oz. Like the Emerald City, Dubai is shiny, clean, new, and chic. It has an air of mystery to it; as it is still a young city, it’s identity it constantly being designed.
I was very fortunate to have visited Dubai a few times before moving here. So in the first few months of my move, I already knew where to find groceries, how to get around, and knew of some cool bars and pubs to go to.
While Dubai is a major city in the Middle East, it is about as Western as you can get. Food is a good example of this. Similar to Kuwait, Dubai has many different food delivery apps. If you want order out, you can choose from approximately five or six different apps (Talabat, Deliveroo, UberEats, etc.). Once you’ve made that choice, you can choose from hundreds of restaurants, spanning from Magnolia Bakery to McDonald’s, from The Cheesecake Factory to Jollibees. You can order in cuisine from anywhere around the world.
When I grocery shop, I’m able to choose from organic, vegan, and keto options. If I want pork products, there’s a special section in the grocery store for that. I can find almost anything I might need or want, except for eggnog, dill pickle chips, and Ruffles All Dressed chips. Do you want coconut oil, but in spray form for cooking? You’ve got it. Do you want pumpkin pie spice because #fall? Go to Waitrose.
Did you forget something at the store? Dubai has an app for that. Instashop is the app that was founded on this concept. They’ve also expanded to include pharmacies and pet stores. If I want to buy a toy for Meredith, I can hit up Instashop and get it delivered within the hour.
Dubai also has the nightlife scene that I was missing for my two year stint in Kuwait. There are happy hour specials every night of the week and they thrive off of a redefined concept of a brunch. If you come visit me in Dubai, I will take you to a brunch. Brunches here, are slightly different from brunches back home, where a brunch is a hybridized meal of breakfast and lunch. In Dubai, brunches can be a daytime or nighttime occurrence. Here, you pay a set amount of money for unlimited food and drink. The entertainment is awesome. The drinks are free flowing. The food is phenom. Brunches are dangerous – you will find your wallet empty at the end of the month wondering where your pay cheque went. Answer? Brunches.
The teaching in Dubai has been a positive experience as well. Like I said, it’s very hectic and fast paced, but the students are overall great. My school is made up of over 99 different nationalities, and sometimes I have classes where not one students is from the same country as another. It’s super diverse and multicultural, and always full of unique and interesting conversations. I work with teachers from Canada, the U.S., Australia, the U.K., France, Spain, Palestine, Lebanon, etc.
Anyway, I feel that this is a fair snapshot at the moment. I’ll leave any readers (and by readers it’s probably family from home, or Kelsey) with a few pictures to sum up the rest of the year I didn’t blog about!
That’s all folks!