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Time flies, it’s been fun, but .... - By Rebecca Wicks

Everyone’s leaving me. Everyone. Everyone I know! Well, maybe not everyone. But a lot has changed around here lately. A LOT of people I’ve grown close to over the past couple of years are busy making travel plans without me. It’s really quite sad.

I guess that’s the thing about living abroad. You cling to people in the absence of your friends back home; you rely on them to walk the path unknown alongside you, to console you when things go wrong, to provide a listening ear when you’re homesick. And then, they realize that actually, they don’t want to be here anymore and you’re right back to square one – living in a city that isn’t quite home, amongst people who don’t really know you at all.

Dubai was never home to a lot of people I know. It was just a place that served them well for a while, served a purpose, if you like. It’s been fun, and hey, "it’s not you, it’s me". It’s just time to move on.

I have to admit, I feel the same way. Some things here have grown on me – the ability to take a taxi door to door, the convenience of having a maid to tidy up after me, the independence of having my very own studio flat (albeit one I don’t actually own), the ability to finally manage the debts that have plagued me since I left university with a degree in drunken shenanigans and way too many clothes I couldn’t really afford.  But yes, in spite of all this, Dubai to me was never a place I saw myself living in for long. Let’s face it. It’s not like the rest of the world. The billboards that used to offer promises of things to come, now show mostly chicken adverts and phone contracts. Promises have been broken all over the place. In spite of being surrounded by cranes and construction, Dubai can seem like a ghost town at times, compared to before.

I’m kind of looking forward to leaving, too. It won’t be the same without all my friends. But it’s not quite time for me yet. There are things I still have to do!  And I have to admit, even though it’s June and I appear to have used all my holiday allowance already (error!), planning all these trips away from the city are kind of helping the time to fly. They don’t call it the ’Middle’ East for nothing. We are truly in the middle of some amazing and easily accessible places. One pro to living here, was always the convenience of travel.

I’ve written of Cape Town, New York, Hong Kong and Yemen. Even a boat trip to Mussendam a few weeks back was pretty eventful. It never ceases to amaze me that the sea can be so blue, teeming with life just a couple of hours outside Dubai. Life is much more peaceful over there – it seems to move at a slower pace. You don’t feel the need to fight it, to cram as much as you can into a weekend. Unlike in the city, doing nothing is as satisfying as doing a whole lot of something.

Tomorrow I’m going to Istanbul to meet some friends, who are flying over from London. Turkey has fascinated me for ages, and the weather promises to be perfect. I might even get to wear something with sleeves outside – how exciting!  We’re staying in a bit of a dodgy hotel… not quite the luxury to which I’ve become accustomed, but you can’t be a snob all the time and it’s not like I’ll be living in my room. Getting back to "basics" in a new, exciting, historic city will be fabulous. I’m looking forward to discussing life, love and the future with two of my oldest friends – one of whom actually upped and left me in Dubai after living here for 9 months! I’ve since forgiven her.

I’m looking forward to hearing their stories of London – a city I most definitely used to call home. Maybe I still do.  I guess in a world that’s easier by the day to move around in, it’s inevitable that we can’t keep all our friends in one place. Luckily, thanks to my brand new Blackberry and the wonders of technology, we can still keep in touch with them all.

Yes. It’s good to know that there’s life outside of Dubai, and even when the bubble bursts and I’m feeling just a little bit alone – I can never forget, not for one second, that there’s still so much out there to look forward to.

Posted: 17 June 2009

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