Meet the neighbours: Nadine Chammas
JBR resident discusses expat life in Dubai
When she isn’t enjoying all the social opportunities living in JBR offers, Nadine Chammas can be found running all manner of activities in her family edutainment centre, Super Dooper. A keen actor and performer, she runs theatrical classes as well as arts and craft sessions, and has provided local mums with a place to meet and socialise. We caught up with her for an enlightening chat.
How long have you lived in Dubai?
I can’t believe it’s been 14 years. I was only supposed to spend two months here as part of a work project on Dubai Summer Surprises and then go back to graduate from the University of Fine Arts in Lebanon and continue my carrier in acting and singing. But the multiple opportunities that Dubai offered made me take an immediate decision to relocate to Dubai and live my artistic dream in producing musical theatre plays and creating different concepts for kids entertainment. I met my husband here, too.
How did you meet?
In the early days of Dubai, one of the fun activities and social networking was the karaoke nights at Harry Gatos in Emirates Towers. Serge, my husband was in good company that night singing one of my favourite songs. For some reason I felt upset with him even though we never met before. So I snatched the microphone from him and finished the song that he’d started singing. Three months later we were dating; three months after that we got engaged and eight months after that we were married. Now we have a beautiful eight-year-old-daughter, Laeticia and our son, Nicolas is almost seven.
Did you have both of your kids here in Dubai?
Yes and no. When I got pregnant with Laeticia, we were very busy preparing for Dubai Summer Surprises and my due date was in August 8. But during one of our shows in the festival, the main actress didn’t show up and someone had to cover her role. Luckily she was playing the role of a fat funny cook so everyone looked at me with my eight months pregnant belly and said; ‘You can do it!’ That was how we ended up rushing to the American Hospital to give birth to Laeticia on July 3 2004. Nicolas was born in Lebanon.
Have you found it easy to meet other mums here?
During the first years in Dubai, I was working with my sisters and focusing on scriptwriting and theatre production. That, along with my baby girl and my husband, was really my life. I only realised how important it was to meet other mums when I felt that Laeticia needed friends. I also needed to meet other mums so I could vent and discuss baby issues or share experiences. That’s when I met my friend Caroline, the wife of my husband’s colleague at work who had just given birth to her baby girl. Between my contacts, Caroline’s network and our husbands, we are today one big happy family of eight couples and 17 children who have been sharing best memories and growing in Dubai; our home away from home.
Why did you chose to live in the Marina?
Dubai Marina is the new community in Dubai. It’s cool, active, on the beach, full of mums and kids facilities and very trendy. My husband and I enjoy going out and experiencing new restaurants, pubs and cafes and there are plenty of those around in the Marina. Furthermore, the kids’ school, Serge’s work and Super Dooper are all within five minutes of our house.
Why did you decide to open Super Dooper?
After many years of working in kids entertainment, the idea of opening an edutainment centre was a dream I wanted to realise. Super Dooper is a place where I can encourage children and their parents to explore, learn and innovate through numerous activities involving self-expression and imagination.
Laeticia and I love reading. We enjoy visiting borders or Virgin, choosing cool books and reading in a coffee shop.
Family hang outs
Now the kids are older, their favourite hang out is dinner with us in JBR. They love the street life and café culture JBR offers.
Laeticia and Nicolas are really into music and sports so they both take private piano lessons and play tennis at Al Habtour.
Time Out Dubai,