Why We Love Raising Kids In Dubai, Glitz & All
I could see eyes rolling on our family holiday, when my parents suggested our children put on a show and my three year old stood up and belted out “Let it Go” while her smaller cousin had to be coaxed into singing ‘Fishing for Jesus’ in a pitch just shy of inaudible.
“That’s Dubai for you,” the adults said, shaking their heads. ‘No’, I wanted to shout: ‘that’s her personality’. Because while outsiders might think Dubai is glitzy, fake and no place for kids, they couldn’t be more wrong*. In our first year alone, this is what it’s given us:
- The common language of friendship – In this great cultural mixing pot, my daughter’s making friends from around the world. Yesterday she came home with a box of Anzac biscuits from a Kiwi classmate, started counting to ten in Arabic, then demanded we watch Peppa Pig in the Queen’s best English. From Easter to Eid, Dubai’s opening her eyes to a rainbow of colours and cultures she might not see anywhere else.
- Safety first and more relaxed mamas – I lost my daughter at her last ballet lesson. Pretty impressive when all I had to do was stand outside and wait for her to finish twirling, but somehow she snuck out without me noticing. Any other city; this could have been calamitous. Here, I could laugh at how careless I’d been when she reappeared, knowing she hadn’t been in danger. Although I will be keeping a closer eye next week.
- The grass is always greener – In the UK, children spend less time outside than prisoners; here there’s a plethora of parks and pools for us mamas to choose from (just not in summer – groan!). And the grass is always green.
- The sun is always shining in Dubai, metaphorically too. Most people have been expats so invitations come thick and fast. It might not be an accurate reflection of real life but as everyone greets her with a smile and hello, I’m glad Dubai makes the world seem like a safe and happy place. Even just for a moment.
*OK it is a little glitzy, but sometimes, mamas, it’s good to sparkle.