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UAE | A promise.

As UAE celebrates it’s 47th National Day today, I can’t help but reflect on my relationship with this country over the past few years. A country that made me many promises, and now one that I have promised myself to. 

Dear UAE, I visited you in my early years, packed in a car of family members and being the quintessential tourist, ooh-ing and aah-ing at all the places I was taken to. There wasn’t as much of you as there is now, not as many shiny buildings and tall towers, but I still fell head over heels in love with you from the very first glance. I promised you then that I would be back. 

Two summers before I came to you, in my early twenties and filled with aspirations for my future, I painted a huge mural of your crowning glory, the Burj Khalifa, in my bedroom as a crack in the wall, looking into Dubai. It was the summer before that one that Mr Z and I were engaged on the 124th floor of that same building. Betrothed to the man that resided in the UAE, my promise to return to you shone bright. 

In turn, you promised me a life filled with happiness and security. With Halal food and the sound of azaan five times during the day. With shawarmas and bright lights. With desert barbeques in the same city as molecular gastronomy of unbelievable delights. With camels and falcons, and towers that are unique, each of unparalleled architectural elegance. With a crown prince that swims with elephants whilst not forgetting to remind us of your rich history of pearl diving. With Tesla cars on the road in the same city that you can enjoy Abra boat rides for just a few dirhams. With palm trees and clear blue skies, with sunshine just as golden as the never ending sand dunes. 

Unbeknown to me, at the time when I eventually made the move from UK to UAE in the summer of 2013, you had also promised me a wedding surrounded by loved ones, a son, followed by another, and the chance to meet with some lovely people from all over the globe that I now call my friends.

uae national day mummyonmymind

You promised me the possibility of calling you home, as fiercely as I called UK my home too. Your promise of safety and security has stayed true throughout the years, and never have I felt threatened to walk your streets no matter what time of day or night it is. Your promise to dream big lead me to create this blog where I jotted down my experiences as a new mother in a new city. Your promise of growth allowed me to discover sides of you I could not have dreamed of, celebrating your successes as if they were my own. This same growth that supports local start-ups to flourish and have a platform. Your promise of tolerance has ensured that my children grow up with kids from all over the globe, hand in hand, in a country that fills them with pride, whilst celebrating a range of other festivals regardless of being an Islamic country.  Your promise of freedom to drive, to shop, to dress the way I feel most comfortable. Your promise to smash the stereotypes the world has of the Middle Eastern world. Your promise of love and friendship means I am able to live in such a family-friendly society, with endless activities that keep weekends ever so exciting. 

Of course, there’s no denying that there are some aspects that need to be enhanced. As with every growing city, you too have lessons to learn and things I wish were different. But for a country that is only 47 years old, you are so ahead of your time, so full of mightier aspirations that I have no doubt you will conquer and so full of promise of betterment. 

So many promises, from you to me, all of which have been kept complete. All of which give me immense pride to call UAE my home. All of which made certain of keeping my one promise to you. The promise I do not at all regret. The promise to you then that I would be back. 

UAE, I have promised myself to you. 

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