The UAE, but Dubai especially, is a tricky place to call home. About 85 percent of us who live here are expats — not immigrants — but expats. We live the most temporary of existences. We’re basically here until our employer decides we don’t have a job. If someone loses their job, it’s not, hey, I’ll work in a coffee shop, do some freelancing, while I look for another one. It’s you have one month to sell your stuff and ship the rest because you’re going back to where you come from. A rep from your company will literally meet you at the airport to make sure you get on the plane.

Makes you want to stay a while, huh?

I’m a white-collar bracero here as long as the (Emirati) Man lets me.

After six months of living out of four suitcases, I finally moved into my own place. Rents in Dubai have come down post-economic meltdown and with apartments in Abu Dhabi still scarce and super expensive (think London rents for slumlord accommodations), it made sense to scoot over to Dubai despite the hour-long commute each way. It’s a nice place on the 34th floor with a big kitchen, balcony looking over some of Dubai’s iconic structures, a pool and gym on the top floor.

The development is called Jumierah Lakes Towers, across from the Dubai Marina, if you’re familiar with the city at all. It’s a group of about 25 towers, a Midtown Manhattan sprung up in two years. The buildings are all in some form of half-completion. Our parking garage is still being worked on and you can’t yet drive up the drive to get to the front entrance.

Basically, I’m living in a live construction zone: 24-hour construction permits, dodging concrete trucks when I leave in the morning to get on the highway. From my bedroom window I can watch the laborers scale the next-door skyscraper on rickety risers. Let’s just say they wouldn’t allow this sort of co-existence on Turtle Creek Boulevard. (I’ll post pics soon.)

The suitcases are unpacked, I’ve bought the basics in furniture and the kitchen is stocked. I bought a new car. I’m meeting people, making friends. But it’s weird to have no shared history – well, at least not longer than six months — with anyone here. So what I’m thinking about now is: how to make this home.

4 thoughts on “There’s no place like home, wherever it is

  1. Hey Angela:

    Great to see your blog, and I feel for you on the no-shared history thing. But that has it’s upside, too, I imagine. Reminds me of when I headed to Alaska for a summer — even if I did drag 9 friends along with me and was but 20. 🙂

    This will allow me to keep tabs on you, and for that I am glad.

    Happy 4th.

    Your friend,

    Michael

  2. finally you have surfaced! excellent.
    good to hear from you like this and better to know that you are now somewhat settled in Dubai!? whatever that means as an expat.

    fyi-am in india right now…taking care of mummy. will have to send thru rahul’s wedding picts., unless pratima has sent thru to you already.

    nice part of town that you are living in, yes, one big construction site.
    have you been over to grosvenor hse hotel yet? not far from where you are staying.
    spa, hairdresser, pool? indian rest there is awesome! fyi-our whotel project is on hold…and now wondering if its done with for good. haven’t made it back to me yet..though when i do, will try to tack on some days to hang out w. you.

    write me soon at my gmail address.
    good to hear from you.
    kiki nami

  3. Great to “hear” about life there. It seems like it always takes about a year to settle into anywhere, so you’re ahead of the curve! ; )

    Keep up the posts as I will be very curious to discover what life is like over there and how you’re doing…being an expat, I’m sure your obsevations of that part of the world are quite interesting…

    Your other favorite cuz.

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