Yup, we’re moving out of Dubai after nine years. But it’s not what you think. The timing of it seems to coincide with Trump’s despicable Muslim Ban (a smokescreen for even scarier things to come) on several countries in the region. While geopolitical events were a slight concern when I moved to the emirate nine years ago, those concerns quickly dissipated. I continually write and tell everyone that I’ve never felt safer in all my 43 countries of travel than I do here. The decision to relocate was taken last summer, before that orange monster was even elected. I never thought he would win.
Before I get into why we’re moving out of Dubai, I want to clear up a few points. Dubai has been extremely good to me. Truth is, I will miss it dearly. Some in my personal and professional network with a slight “conservative” bend have said “Glad you’re getting out of there.” I kinda want to say to them “please shut up” because I know why they’re saying it.
And then there’s my fellow Americans who say “How can you live in a place that has so much cheap labor and where women are oppressed?” Firstly, women are not oppressed in Dubai. They hold high positions in government and corporations, a majority of the female population don’t and are not forced to where burkas and many women are outspoken and have fulfilling careers and social lives.
My second reply to these self righteous folk are: “America was built on the backs of immigrants. And how can YOU live in a place where the government can’t provide basic health care for all its’ citizens, neglect veterans that are sent off to fight unnecessary wars and then have to deal with mass shootings every month on a school campus or at a movie theatre? And where work life balance is so skewed in one direction that most people are burnt out by the time they’re 40? Answer me that. How long has America been considered a super power?” We’re not moving back there, at least not now. You’ll be seeing a lot more posts on my new country of residence very soon.
It may not sound like it but I have tremendous love for the States. It’s because I love it that I’m critical of it. And I really hope this buffoonery is not a big part of her legacy. I was born and raised in America, I went to school there, I worked there, my closest life friends are there. My immediate and some extended family are there. And I continually admire how the American bleeding heart spirit seems to permeate the rest of the world. However, so many are grossly informed and with preconceived notions about what living in Dubai is like. Read 10 Dumb Questions About Living in Dubai.
I commend Sheikh Mohammed for building this beautiful city into what it has become. No emerging market is perfect and without growing pains but he is striving to make it the best that he can: a transparent, cosmopolitan and international hub welcoming to many. I still get butterflies every time I cruise down the main highway, music blasting and wind in my hair, and spot that incredible skyline. It’s stunning and I feel privileged for having been a part of building it and watching it grow.
If it’s not already clear, I’m not Muslim. My background or religion has never garnered ill treatment from anyone here. In fact, I won a lawsuit against a former employer of Muslim faith (not Arab before you start making judgments) for dishonoring certain financial terms in my employment contract. So, in my experience, the laws and governmental bodies in Dubai are very supportive and objective.
So Here’s Why We’re Moving Out of Dubai
We’re moving out of Dubai because my husband and I would like to start a family. We realize being closer to relatives is the right thing for us. Dubai is also a very transient city. We’ve said goodbye to more than a few really close friends over the years. In your mid thirties making new friends takes a whole new level of energy that I just don’t have as much of anymore. I’ll need to make friends in my new home. But hopefully there will be a greater sense of location permanence with them and with our future kids’ friends.
Some other less important reasons we’re moving out of Dubai:
- I miss the change of season – its f’ng hot here in the summer and warm all year round. It was great the first few years but I want to see the leaves change color in the fall and more rain dammit
- I miss having abundant supplies of fresh and organic produce, especially since I suffer from food allergies. Dubai has local produce but its limited. And organic produce is available but its pricey
- And most importantly, I don’t want my kid asking me for a rolex when they’re 14 🙂 Just kidding (sort of)
Stay tuned for posts about Why I’ll Miss Dubai! Feel free to ask me any questions in the comments below.
Thanks for Reading.