You could say a lot of things about Dubai. And some would be true. And some of it would be not so great.
Before moving to Dubai, a lot of people had a lot of opinions and thoughts about Dubai they eagerly wanted to share with me. About the insanely large and fast motorways. And the heat. “Camilla, you do realise it’s so hot there that you, with your Norwegian blood running through your veins will most likely just fall over and die?”
Or when I wondered out loud about what foods I would miss out there, “Camilla, you do realise they are so rich in Dubai they can import everything. You’ll never miss a thing!” Well, I ain’t seen no Cadbury Creme Eggs in the supermarket yet, and Easter is really not that far way. I’m just saying.
But no one told me about this. This world like no other. Where diversity is celebrated, not just tolerated. Where different cultures and religions can work alongside each other, and not against each other.
Where a Christian Church can sit on a road right next to a Mosque, a Catholic Church just across the road, and two doors down The Iranian Club.
Sure, Dubai is not without it’s faults. And though I am not ready to delve deep down into the murky waters of a society that is built up around a sometimes horrifically unfair and questionable hierarchy system, I am ready to stand up for Dubai’s positives. The Dubai I’ve been introduced to.
While my nieces visited a few weeks ago, I brought them along to Finley’s nursery, to join in the International Day celebrations. While I had relatively low expectations of the day, I thought Finley would enjoy showing the girls round.
Well… As the children lined up and walked out into the Nursery gardens, waving their flags and shy little hands towards the crowds of people, all to the sound of a children’s choir blasting through the sound system “We are the world… we are the children”, my eyes welled up classic embarrassing Mamma/Aunty Milly style, while I tried catching some of it on camera and savouring the memory of this multi national, all welcoming, colourful party. It is not the first time I have felt overwhelmingly grateful for where we are in life, and all the incredible things our children are being exposed to.
The kids and I shared out Norwegian waffles alongside a few other Scandinavian Mums, who brought delicious homemade treats, before making our way round the many tables, of over 40 different nationalities represented. We tried Indian curries, Brazilian coconut chocolates, Danish buns, made Spanish flowers and African straw huts, and got groovy on the dance floor to none other than Gangnam Style.
And the outfits! I was in awe of all the kids, and adults, proudly showing off their national costumes along same traditional foods and artefacts from their country.
All true Spanish Señorita’s carry two flowers in their hair, of course.
Maybe the kids didn’t learn an abundance of facts about other countries? Maybe they can’t remember which country those tasty little dates came from, or who that talented lady painting their henna tattoos was?
But does it matter? What they did leave with was a memory of a colourful, happy day. Of adults genuinely interested in them, and their background, and where they came from. And this is where they are growing up. In an international society that accepts different cultures, religious views and celberates the fact that these kids, are all just kids, no matter where they come from, or how many languages they speak.
This is the Dubai we’ve been introduced to.
A multitude of different languages all on the same dance floor.
Swedish chocolate balls… oh how we’ve missed you!