A recent phone call from a friend has the potential to turn my life as I know it upside down. This friend is planning to live and work in Dubai, in the United Arab Emirates, next year, and suggested that my husband Keith and I might consider moving there too. It wasn’t a formal offer, I think he was just planting the seed of an idea in our heads. To my great surprise, neither Keith or I rejected the idea outright, and in fact the more we think about it, the more the idea is starting to have great appeal. It is still just a possibility, but what is unexpected is how little daunted we are at the prospect of living on the other side of the world.
I realise that moving houses, towns and even countries is not unusual, but it is for me. Although I was born overseas (in Oxford, England) I came home to Australia before I was a year old. I’ve lived in the same town all my life. I now live less than 4 miles from the house I grew up in. I’ve lived in my current house for 22 years. Although I love to travel, and like to think I have a bit of a spirit of adventure, I always have the safety net of home and familiarity to return to. So the thought of pulling up all our roots, packing up the house and moving to a foreign country is pretty scary!
Or is it? I well remember the days when an overseas phone call was very expensive. It would be charged in 3 minute lots, so when those beeps went you would hang up, even if you were mid sentence! If you were really extravagant, or for an extra special occasion you would allow the call to go past the beeps and last a whole 6 minutes. I know there are plenty of you who remember that! Nowadays it is so easy to make cheap phone calls, or Skype or facetime that we think nothing of chatting away for hours at a time. When I was overseas with my Dad in June this year, I would “facetime” with Keith and take my iPad and show him around the places I was staying. It is getting easier to fly around the globe, and as Qantas now uses Dubai as their main hub, I expect we would get plenty of visitors. (Note to self – make sure you rent a three bedroom apartment). I know it’s a cliche but it really is a small, small world.
That we know hardly anyone in Dubai is the other part of the move that a few years ago would have worried me more than it does now. If we go, we will be getting involved in a local church in Dubai, so I’m sure we will meet lots of people. But meanwhile, my friendships are no longer limited to the people in my neighbourhood, or even my city. Through Facebook, blogs, and email it is so much easier to keep in touch than it ever used to be. I have to confess I was never a very good letter writer – OK, I was pretty terrible! But I’m great at electronic communication! I have an online social life that I can take with me wherever I travel. I talk to my “pixie” friends every day, and I am part of a wonderful community of digi-scrappers and memory-keepers who enrich my life immeasurably. Even though I may never meet many of them face to face I consider them my friends. Through Facebook I keep track of weddings, babies, graduations and other life milestones – not to mention food! Even from Dubai I’ll know what some of you had for lunch 🙂
So, nothing has been decided, and it’s at least a year off, but the more we think about this plan, the fewer reasons we can find not to go. We visited Dubai for 3 days a couple of years ago, and had a great time. I remember saying to people when we returned that Dubai is a great place to visit, but I wouldn’t want to live there …
Here are a few pages from the StoryBook I created after our previous visit to Dubai, to give you a little taste (click on the first image for a larger view, then scroll by clicking the arrows to see the rest)