I know how it feels when you suddenly have to change your lifestyle. I have been living in U@E for 10 years now. It was like coming to another planet. From the Airport, I felt like I was just dreaming, I can’t take my eyes to look around with the elegance design of the place. It was like a 5-star hotel. As I approached to the Immigration, the Arab officer greeted me “Magandang umaga po, Salamat and Welcome to Dubai”. I was delighted with their hospitality. I gave him a smile and replied “Magandang umaga rin po at Walang anuman”. Since Dubai is an “Open City” we (expat) are not forced to wear their national clothes. However, here you’ll see Arab Men and Women wearing Candura and Abaya, respectively (their national clothes). But only a quarter of the population are Arabs; almost one third are from India, and about the same from Asia and the Far East; the rest are Europeans.
Life in Dubai is not as hectic as the other foreign land, here just one job you can survive for the daily expenses, compared to the other countries you have to have at least 2 jobs or more. By the way, we are tax free here. But of course there’s pressure on me, since I am supporting my family. What I always do is go to the beach, stay online and chat with my family & friends and this is what you could call foolish habit. But I have to be very patient since I choose to stay here and work.
I realize that even though I have moved to a different country, I can’t let go of the images of my life in Manila. In Manila, life is so different, life is so fast. Prices increase fast, chauffeurs drive fast and snatchers run fast. Seriously, even though my life back in Manila is a routine, I love it. There you can go to the mall, bar hopping, drink to death, go home early in the morning and when you wake up, lunch is served, clothes already ironed, dishes are washed, dinner is ready, and then, repeat the routine. I miss that. For some people, coming here is a dream come true (same with me), a chance to make enough money to escape from the lifestyle of poverty they had in Manila and to return there after a few years to a better life.
I miss my family, friends and the things I do.
I ate “pritong manok”. But the best way to eat “pritong manok” is when you are with your family. I went to the café one time. But I felt weird to have a latte and oatmeal cookie alone. The best is when you mix latte + oatmeal cookie + friends. Then you can have a good time in the café. I tried to do things that I used to do before. But the best ways to do all these things are with your Family and Friends. But I don’t have a choice. I still have to stay, somebody had to pay the bills.
I guess one thing that makes me sane here is the sniff of the salt or smell of the sea, “the beach” a 15-minute drive and a no entrance fee beach. Coral reefs and wonderful fishes made me appreciate life underwater. When I’m down there, I watch them freely go in different ways. Just like when I was in Manila, I had my freedom to do “this” and “that”, go where I wanted to go, just like those fishes at Jumeirah.
While writing this article at the beach park, I suddenly noticed myself, watching the endless stream of people walking on the sea-shore. I remembered my Dad told me “People-watching is the greatest therapy for a lonely soul.”