Relative Dubai newbie Benita Adesuyan is already saying too many cheerios for her liking.
There are many things that people say are hard to get used to when you move to Dubai. One is the way taxi drivers weave through the traffic. Two, the summer heat, and three – the cold hard fact that people come and go.
The city is transient, so people are here for a short time, some are here for what seems like forever and then they start packing their bags for home, or to some other far-flung destination, but this week I’m adjusting to saying goodbye.
Still being a relative newbie to Dubai, making and keeping a friend is hard enough. Like so many new arrivals before me, I probably spent the best part of my first two months going to the opening of every envelope, every lunch, brunch and drinks I could get to in a bid to create a social network of friends in the city. Once life starts to settle down a bit (and you realise you can’t physically or financially keep up with all the outings) you start to forge friendships and see who your reliable buddies are going to be in your new life. For me, it’s the ones I can drag to an off-beat night in a dingy bar on the other side of town, or will happily listen to my woes and text me to make sure I got home safely.
So, just as you start to get used to your routines and your go-to people on speed dial – they start leaving. One of my good friends was here on a temporary contract and even though you know there’s a deadline, when it comes around it does seem like it’s come out of nowhere. The email inviting you to a leaving do brings it home, and makes me remember my own leaving do when I exited London. It was a flurry of hugs, speeches and tears, as we left and promised to keep in touch.
But leaving isn’t all bad. As sad as it might be to know your bestie isn’t around anymore – it just means you now have more friends in different places. It is strange rethinking the making of friendships in your thirties because you feel like you should really have a handle on the whole thing by now.
Friendships aren’t just about who you see on a regular basis – you can see someone every day and not get to know them any better. It’s really about how you connect. I’m not, and never will be a ‘crowd’ person – I was never ‘little miss popular’ at uni, a crop of well-selected friends is all I need but it does mean that you notice it more when they’re not around. I guess it just takes getting used to.