Saturday, June 13, 2009

Desert Notes: In One Year

This week marked the first anniversary of our move to Abu Dhabi. In no particular order, here are some of the things that I have learnt over the past year:

  • There are more words for love in Arabic than in any other language.
  • Coffee was first roasted and boiled by Arabs in AD1120 making “kahwa” which is still prepared today.
  • It gets very very hot here in the summer.
  • The nice cool winters make you forget how hot you were in the summer, so it surprises you every time.
  • Mothers, no matter what nationality, all worry about the same things in regards to their children.
  • Children worry more about who will play with them than what religion or nationality their playmate is.
  • A smile is understood in any language.
  • Plumbers, screwdrivers and plug sockets make a potentially lethal combination.
  • Fast food tastes like fast food no matter where you are in the world.
  • Dumpsters are the worst invention in the entire world, and are my new pet hate.
  • Beauty has far more to do with how you think of yourself than with what you wear.
  • South African taxi drivers would manage very well on the UAE’s roads, and would pass the local driving exam with ease. Their taxis on the other hand would all fail the roadworthy test.
  • Where there are South Africans, there will always be Mrs Ball’s Chutney.
  • Travelling with children is an absolute nightmare, and no airline is sufficiently child-friendly.
  • The Middle East has a lot more to offer than the media would have you believe.
  • You can never stop learning.
  • Family is far more than blood ties.
  • Not everyone knows where South Africa is.
  • “Inshallah” sometimes means it will never actually happen, like our aircon man arriving on time.
  • In the UAE, shopping can be considered a national pastime.
  • Being apart from family is survivable most of the time, but missing out on things like birthdays, funerals and weddings is truly hard.
  • Its really hard to write an interesting column when you have a bad cold.

So what have you learnt in this past year?

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