If you see a family of smiling kids skateboarding around the parks of Remraam, with their laughing mum in tow, then this is probably the Finlay family. Thirteen-year-old Te’ata, seven-year-old Khemili and five-year-old Ta’Janih have lots of stories to tell us and, together with Mum, Annalisa, a teacher, they have a very special way of finding joy in everything they do.
You have a really cosy home here. How long have you lived in Remraam?
Annalisa: We moved here two years ago from Abu Dhabi. The apartment came furnished but we have collected up so many interesting things and pieces over our years travelling the world, we cleared the space and settled in with all of our own bits and bobs. I love old things, so lots of our pieces of furniture are antiques from Indonesia and Jakarta and Thailand – all the special places we have lived in.
What was it about this area that appealed to you?
Annalisa: Well, I’m a teacher at a large international school here in Dubai and the school has accommodation for teachers and their families. Now that the road has extended out from Hessa Street, it’s the dream journey for school – only seven minutes from door to door.
Wow, that’s a lovely, short commute.
Annalisa: It is. Last year, before the road was finished, it took 25 minutes, so it’s a huge improvement. There are quite a few teachers from the school living here so we have a nice little community.
As a mum with three children, do you find this a good community to meet your needs?
Annalisa: Oh, definitely. We’ve lived all over the world. The Solomon Islands, Ghana, Bangkok, Jakarta and England. We’ve lived in big cities and small compounds – Remraam is a bit of both. There is a lot of peace here and also a lot of life. It’s a great fit for us right now.
Khemili, what is your favourite thing about living here?
Khemili: I can play outside every day. There are loads of kids to play with and we all meet in the playground after school and it has lots of fun games.
Annalisa: Every block here has a playground and our balcony faces out onto it and the green area, so I can be cooking in the kitchen and I know I can check on them and make sure they’re okay.
Ta’janih: And we go to the middle. We can swing and ride our bikes.
Annalisa: In between the buildings, there is a middle area with swings, a seesaw and some sand. It’s all surrounded by paths and grass so they love to hang out there. It’s shaded, too, so it’s very pleasant.
Does the community have services such as shops and pools and so on?
Annalisa: Yes, it does. Geant opened a few months ago to great excitement and we also have a small coffee shop, a laundromat and a gym, which isn’t open yet but we are all waiting for it! We have three swimming pools here, too, and they are all awesome. We are a family who loves to be in the water, so we spend a whole heap of our free time in the pool. Te’ata is on the school swim squad so it’s great for her.
Te’ata: I love to swim, so we all go to the pool a lot and we can walk or cycle from our apartment which is cool.
Annalisa: And in the middle areas there are barbecues for families to use.
Khemili: But Mummy is a vegetarian, so we don’t do that a lot.
Ta’janih: And me, too. I am a vegetarian because I don’t like chicken.
So, what are the options here for families in terms of apartment size?
Annalisa: Well, there are one-, two- and three-bedroom units. In our block, there are seven floors with four apartments on each floor. We have a three-bedroom apartment which is nice and spacious.
Ta’janih: Me and Khemili have bunkbeds, but I like to go to Mummy’s bed in the middle of the night.
Khemili: Sometimes I wake up during the night, but I stay in my own bed.
Annalisa: I love our balcony. It’s my little restful place and I love to sit out there in the evenings and read my book.
Annalisa: Sometimes I miss having a garden – a plot of green just for us – but there are so many positives to living here, so I wouldn’t move just for that. Parking can be a bit problematic. As a three-bed we get two car parking spaces, so we are okay. But a two-bed apartment only gets one car parking space, so there is always a bit of a scramble. And while there are visitor car parking areas, these get snapped up fast, especially now that lots of the apartments are filling up.
And I see you have a cute little hamster and a very fluffy cat. So, is the community pet-friendly?
Khemili: That’s Bell, our hamster. We’ve had her for one year now. She’s cute. And that’s Sooty, our cat.
Annalisa: Sooty is our fluffy white cat, go figure! [Laughs.] We brought him with us from Abu Dhabi. Lots of people have pets here. Pets are good for children.
So, having lived in so many places, is Dubai “home” for the Finlay family?
Khemili: I like it here. We have lots of friends and we laugh a lot.
Ta’janih: I like Grandma’s garden in England. It’s really big.
Te’ata: I liked Jakarta the best. There was a supermarket right nearby and I loved the pool. But I have so many great friends here in Dubai, so I love it, too.
Annalisa: I have an 18-year-old boy, Kailah, in university in England. So part of my heart is there and my parents are there, too. But, in terms of lifestyle, my family is very lucky. We have each other, a nice, happy life – so much more than other people in the world. We have a lot to be thankful for.
Three things to enjoy in Remraam
Play areas are dotted throughout, with areas for little ones to swing and slide and generally let off steam. The areas are well shaded, which gives mums and dads the chance to catch up in comfort.
With a doctor on-call and a supermarket that delivers, life can be a breeze in Remraam. Meanwhile, Geant Easy is open from 7.30am to 11pm to meet the needs of busy families.
There are three community pools, which have a real holiday feel, and families can enjoy a fun day of splashing about. There are lots of young families living here, too, so there are always new friends to make.