Dubai Diary: Another Birthday, Another Country
When you travel a lot, naturally your birthday will be spent occasionally in other parts of the world. As far as I know, October 25th has been spent in Korea, Russia, Armenia and now, the United Arab Emirates. Having been here in the Middle East less than a month, I was lucky to take a break from Abu Dhabi and spend it with friends in Dubai for the weekend.
I am often asked if it’s hard to be away on a day like this—my answer is, as the birthdays pile up, honestly, no. Such opportunities to work in a place as the UAE do not arrive often: and while I miss friends and family in Fresno, the chance to work in one of the most dynamic places in the world was too good to pass up. Missing events like birthdays at home, Thanksgiving and Christmas are small prices to pay compared to spending a long period of time here in the Gulf.
Plus living abroad now is easier than it was a generation ago. When I lived in Korea in the mid-1990s, it took a week to have a letter sent across the Pacific. Email was in its infancy and expensive, and of course not everyone had internet access. Now social media tools make it seem as if you never left: Twitter helps me keep in touch with thought leaders and companies; Facebook has its role in continuing banter with friends and family; and of course WhatsApp and KIK make quick chats easy. And of course, Skype and FaceTime are essential.
So it’s just another day. We went to a Dubai beach in view of the Burj al-Arab and are now relaxing at a “Villa” in the desert. I will treat myself to a haircut and dinner is later. Than late night Skyping will occur.
The upshot is, if you have a chance to live abroad, do it! The friends and family at home will always be there for you, and the new ones you meet in a foreign land will add even more richness to your life.
[Image credit: Leon Kaye]