As I sit here in my favorite Starbucks in Manar Mall, I cannot help the tears. I have sat here in the same area for the past 5 years! Everyday after school and on Friday mornings, I have read a book, been on the internet or just met up with friends. The staff know me by name and drink order. From where I sit, I can people watch as everybody rushes by with families and friends.
Today is the last time for this everyday ritual. I will no longer hear Arabic being spoken around me and wonder what they are saying. I will never see the men and women dressed in their traditional black or white clothing. I will not see the Arabic side by side the English. I will never hear the call to prayer. It’s these everyday things I will miss the most…I took it for granted and now I will miss forever.
I remember when I got my first contract out in RAK and thought, “Where the hell is that??” Now, I know it tooo well! I love the reaction when going through customs in another country and they ask where I have come from and my reply always starts with Ras al Khaimah….Their question, “Where?”…..My response, “United Arab Emirates”….”Where?” ….”Dubai!”….”Ahh right! I hear it’s great there…” And the conversation begins about the wonderful Dubai! I find it funny as I use to think Dubai was the UAE and that everyone lived in tents in the desert! Hahahaha! I know better! I now know the 7 Emirates and been to each one! I also know that the UAE is NOT as conservative as everyone seems to think! The locals are lovely and very big hearted.
Being here 5 years, doesn’t by any means make me an expert at life here! There are things that still make me go Hmmmmm….For example, what is that hose next to the toilets actually for?? Why are there soooo many makeup shops, lingerie stores and shoe stores in one mall? And, why are people here only in a hurry when they are in a car???? LOL!
Today is also the last day I will be an “EXPAT” and will never refer to anyone as a “LOCAL”! Canadians are Canadians, no matter where we were born.
So this ends my final entry from the sandpit, camel town, and the UAE! Farewell RAK, UAE! It’s been interesting, memorable, and an experience I will never forget!
Now the next chapter in my life back in Canada begins! O CANADA! See ya on the other side of the pond!!