When I told people that I was moving to Dubai, the reactions were diverse. Some reacted with great interest, curious at this new culture and place. Others reacted with fear, fear of the unknown. Luckily I have never been the type of person who let other peoples fears get in the way of my grand plan. Besides, today, with the availability of internet, we are all but a click away from real and raw information about how other people live, pretty much all over the world. There are no excuses for ignorance, nowadays!
I have always followed my instincts, taken the chances I have been given and it has always brought me forward in life. From Sweden to Africa, from Africa to the UK, and then from UK to Middle East.
Dubai is a special city. It’s not perfect, nor is any other place on this planet, but it has elements of beauty and creativity. Not to mention the fact that it’s a super diverse society, and it functions (yes, there are places like that, believe it or not!). Here, we celebrate public holidays from multiple cultures, one is not celebrated at the expense of another. In the elevator on the way up to the office you can hear a local Emirati wishing a fellow executive from India Happy Diwali in the end of October. I greet my Jordanian friends with Ramadan Kareem, when the holy month is around the corner. When Christmas comes, the malls are kitted out with the classic Christmas seasonal decorations and Santa can be found in every toy store in the city. There is always space for celebration, if only the will is there and the hearts of the people are open.
Dubai is beautiful. It’s beauty lies in a vast and impressive desert landscape, a gorgeous sunrise and set, the turquoise sea we can all enjoy from the windows of our offices and the overwhelming landscape of newly built towers. Yes, it can be somewhat of a cement jungle, but the creativity and vision behind this place, has to be admired. Imagine that you are an architect, hired to build the tallest building in the world. Someone will put a pen and paper in your hand, and say: “There are no restrictions, no limits. What can you create?“. What is the extent of your imagination? A place like this, brings that out of people, the very best, and I find that fascinating.
A few examples are as follows:
Burj Khalifa – An insanely high tower that looks a bit like a perfectly melted ice tap turned upside down. It’s an amazing structure, both architecturally and engineering wise. When you stand at the foot of the tower, it’s truly overwhelming.
Dubai Mall – Maybe not an amazing structure per say, but inside it has a few cool places to visit, like the giant Dubai Aquarium, a waterfall with lots of men diving down into it (jeez, that one was difficult to explain!) oh and about one million shops. More importantly, it has the country’s first Cheesecake Factory, oh yes, it’s a sinful place 🙂 (must admit I am somewhat of a regular…. 😦 )
Burj Al Arab – the only 7 star Hotel in the world (which is not the most interesting factor of this property), built to look like a sail, accompanied by the nearby wave-looking Jumeirah Beach Hotel. Not 100% my taste in terms of interiors, but impressive nevertheless.
The Palm Jumeirah Island and The World Islands – Both man-made structures created by piling up sand in the water (heavily simplified description of course) to create a Palm Tree which can be seen from space, and then a world-map in the middle of the water.
There are of course other interesting projects like Saadiyat Island (that has a Guggenheim and a Louvre), Sheikh Zayed Mosque and Masdar City, all in the capital Abu Dhabi.
Now, all of our nature lovers out there reading this, probably twisting and turning in your chairs with frustration over my one-sided description of this city, I already mentioned (much like a disclaimer) that this city is not perfect, nor is any other place. Of course, piling up sand in the middle of the sea will create disruption in the Eco system and have consequences which I wouldn’t know the first thing about (I know, I should google it). So, no angry comments below please 🙂
What I really like about my children spending time here in Dubai, is that they are given a grand view of everything. I hope they will leave from here with the state of mind that nothing is impossible. That word should in fact not exist for them. When they create something in life, whatever it may be, I want them to always aim for the best. Always work and re-work, and re-think until the final result is excellence. The best they are capable of producing, their own vision. I want them to actively seek inspiration and best practices, if at all you should compare yourself to anyone (which I don’t normally encourage) it should be with the best, that is the only way you can challenge yourself to achieve further. Happiness is not the materialistic consequence of your success, but rather the journey itself.
My 5 year old son had a school project, it was called “Space” (go figure!) – “What would you like to do for this space project, T?” I said. He looked at me with crystal clear eyes and said with a serious voice – “I want to build a space rocket, Mum, big like Burj Khalifa!” – “Ok, I chuckled, let’s get crackin!” 🙂