Sunday, 1 December 2013

UAE National Day 2013 and thoughts on expat pride

Recently I've been mulling over my increasingly surprising feelings about being an expatriate in Dubai. On our first arrival in the UAE, everything was exciting and exotic and sure, I loved our big adventure, but I never thought this could be a place where I 'fit in', never mind feel proud of. The last 18 months have flown by and on this year's 'National Day' I started to think about what being part of this community means to me. 

For the last few years, the UAE National Day parade has taken place right on my doorstep. The fantastic array of costumes and nationalities on display really showcase the breadth of people proud to be living in this diverse country. This year, standing in the crowd on the pavement in the afternoon sun, I suddenly wanted to be part of it. Not that I was tempted to dress up in a bowler hat and hand out fish & chips to add an English flavour to the event, but I did begin to examine my thoughts on being part of this 'big experiment' of a newly born, fast growing, state of the art country. 

Unlike the UK which was pretty much fully formed when I was lucky enough to be born there, a person living in the UAE can feel it growing around them. A new skyscraper here, a new record broken there, the expats who left home and came here are practically breathing life in to it every day. From the hard working labourers to the pilots and us stay at home types, we are making this place what it is by bringing our skills and spending our money in it. That's not to say that everything is great here. Some people in charge, some rules, some traditions are not what I would choose for my own utopia. But this place is so young and with the speed at which it is plummeting through it's development, I have faith it will get there. And I'll be so proud to be able to say I was there when it all started, celebrating the 42nd year of the union that we all came together to benefit from. 

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