I’ve been in Dubai for just over 5 months, and I’ll be home in 28 days.
It was pretty much inevitable that I would compile a blog about things I miss about/from/at home, and that’s the topic for this month’s Top Ten Tuesday. However, this list is not for the obvious things: my family and friends, my cat, recognizing money instantly, leaving my bedroom without feeling compelled to cover my shoulders and (maybe) knees. This right here is a list of things I’m surprised and even embarassed to be missing.
1. The laundry room.
No, really. Taking an extended vacation from chores has been really nice, but there are some things I’ll be happy to regain control over, and one of those things is when and how my clothes are taken care of.
(I won’t be surprised if I take this wish back after about three weeks.)
2. Being on the same clock as most people I interact with.
I don’t know if you ever quite get used to being 8 or 9 hours ahead of the majority of people you know … But if it does happen, it must take much longer than 6 months for the adjustment to occur.
10am in Toronto, 6pm in Dubai
I find it surprising that this matters since so much, since most of my day-to-day communication at home is not done face-to-face (you send someone a text or Facebook message, and whenever they get around to it, they send one back), but things go a lot more smoothly when no one has to stop and wonder “what time is it there?”
3. The daily routine of taking public transit and running into people I know.
If I stayed here long enough, both would be more frequent occurrences, but as a temporary UAE resident I’ve definitely missed that feeling of “this is my city” that I have in Toronto. I’m about that downtown life: being able to walk to lots of places, knowing it’s pretty much impossible for me to get lost, not having a time limit on when I should start heading back home, etc.
Seated in a hotel shuttle bus, passing a metro station on Sheikh Zayed Road
(Note: much of this is not because I’m in a new city, but because I’m living on the outskirts, a 20-minute ride from the nearest metro station. Trains here don’t run as late into the night as the TTC, but that wouldn’t be an issue for me if I were more centrally located.)
4. Canadian manners and customs.
So apparently, holding doors open for people is not a worldwide trend. And apparently, there are numerous cultures where it is not considered offensive to make unflattering personal comments to someone you don’t know very well … Like [pointing under eyes] “You look like you didn’t sleep last night” or [placing their hand on my belly as if I’m pregnant, and giggling].
It’s taking awhile to learn to let certain things slide off my back.
5. Eye candy.
I’ve always been boy-crazy, so I became aware of this “lack” pretty quickly. Yes, I’ve been to the Middle East before, so I knew I wasn’t going to spend this trip smeyesing and flirting with random men. But even the beach at my hotel is painfully devoid of watchworthy bodies, except for a few sweet weeks when a bunch of professional soccer teams were staying here (shoutouts to Stoke City FC!) … Meanwhile, in Toronto, the temps are heating up (right? If not, I’m not coming home) and the streets there are probably full of men who are not only eligible but damn sexy.
With Kees Dieffenthaller in December 2013. #happysigh
Fortunately, my homegirl Nish has already secured me a ticket for a boat ride on June 15th. Hot dudes reading this, if you’re coming to Camo, please just leave your shirts at home.
6. Easy midnight snacking.
Yes, I know it’s bad, and I rarely do it. But I miss having the OPTION, lol! I’ve been doing my best to keep a small stash of maybe-healthy snacks available, like rice cakes and nuts and tea.
My Easter gift from the hotel. Sweet!
But, man, sometimes you just want to crack open those dinner leftovers or start on breakfast eight hours early. And while we’re on the subject, I also miss …
7. Cooking privileges.
Living in a hotel room has perks and pitfalls, and one of the latter is a lack of kitchen access. I have a kettle and a minibar (which I blithely assumed was a suitable substitute for a fridge, until I got food poisoning), and whatever foods or snacks or treats I choose to buy are pretty cheap, which is nice.
Dessert buffets are dangerous things.
And don’t get me wrong, I fully understand that it’s a luxury to eat at buffet restaurants staffed by professional chefs and servers three times a day! But once in awhile, I’d rather just open up a legit refrigerator, see what’s inside (especially if the groceries were bought by me) and make something I feel like eating. You know?
8. Checking the weather without feeling guilty.
Example: Yahoo tells me the temperature at noon on May 2nd (Dubai time) was 40 degrees, while it was 8 at home (4am Toronto time). On January 2nd, Toronto was -15 degrees with a low of -20, while Dubai had a high of 24 with a low of 17. Full disclosure: sometimes I check the weather back home for a good laugh because the differences are so ridiculous.
But there have been many times I’ve considered posting a Facebook status update about the weather here, then changed my mind for fear of being met at the airport by a violent jealous mob.
9. Jogging outdoors.
I did my best! For the first few weeks I was back in workout mode, I jogged around the resort (boring) and ran up and down the stairs to and from the 7th floor (boring) and went along the desert highway outside of the resort property (enjoyable, but ultimately unsafe).
Then I gave in to common sense and I now use the exercise room at the resort’s gym. I’ve never been a fan of sharing equipment with a bunch of other people, or of staring out at scenery that doesn’t change regardless of how fast I move, so it will feel awesome to go run alongside Lake Ontario once again! (Although it won’t take long before I start missing the peacocks who sometimes pass by the gym just to say what’s up.)
10. Having a regular social life.
“Regular” means different things to different people, and I’m past the days of finding it fun to go clubbing every weekend. But I do miss having days/nights off at the same time as other people. I really hope I find someone to go party with at least once, now that my night off is Tuesday which is Ladies Night (all of my girl friends here work Tuesday nights). It would have been awesome to see Cirque du Soleil or Carlos Santana or Lionel Richie. And there are no words to accurately describe how much I’ve missed going to fêtes!
This is like normal homesickness, mixed with the time zone adjustment, compounded with Carnival withdrawal and topped off with a more restrictive schedule than I’m used to (having one night off per week is pretty normal during a contract, but I’ve never been in a show that lasted half a year with no breaks before).
So for these and other reasons, get ready for a big party when I come back home!
Or at least a day of jogging, laundry, and making my own omelette for breakfast. :).