A moment to reflect

One year on, Benita Adesuyan ponders how fast time flies and wonders if she’s truly Dubai

The Knowledge

One year on, Benita Adesuyan ponders how fast time flies and wonders if she’s truly Dubai.

Time really does fly when you’re having fun. I don’t know who coined that phrase but whoever it was is my kind of person. In what feels like a nanosecond, almost a year has passed since I arrived on these sunny shores, and it has been a roller coaster ride of self-exploration and discovering a city that changes so much, you can just about keep up.

Dubai is so fast-paced, with so much to do, I wonder if I’ll ever get through it. That Dubai to-do list I drew up when I first arrived, the one with learning Arabic and skydiving on it, still doesn’t have enough ticks. My housemates often look at me in wonder as I dash home and change clothes as quick as superwoman for a glam night out, in my attempt to cram as much as possible into my day.

I think what makes time seem to go so much quicker here is the year-round sunshine. I’m not complaining about the weather – it’s one of the many plus points about living in this city, but if I were still in London, it would be about now that I’d be deciding whether to get this season’s camel-coloured wool or pillar box red trench winter coat. I’d be thinking of snuggling down and getting comfy for the cold winter, staying in and watching X-Factor rather than grabbing my sun factor and heading to the beach.

This past year, I’ve felt that Dubai has embraced me, and I have embraced it. Despite the things I thought would drive me loopy, such as taxi drivers not knowing the way to my destination, the minefield that is renting and flat sharing, I survived. I now know where I’m going and my flatmates are like family. And now that I have been to Dragon Mart, eaten thali at Meena Bazaar and had a laugh at the male tourists (there’s always one) who stand in the ladies’ only carriages on the metro without realising, does that mean I’m on my way to becoming a Dubaian?

When I lived in London, my personal rule was that if you grew up within the M25, spent your teens and formative years with a London postcode and knew that talk about grime and garage didn’t necessarily mean cleaning the car, then, and only then, could you be considered a Londoner. If you moved to London aged 25 and lived out all your natural days in E15 then you still couldn’t be considered a real Londoner. Instead the city had just embraced you.

Perhaps, the same is true of Dubai. With a diverse population including hundreds of different nationalities, we get here and start moulding our lives, recreating a community and network. Even after just 12 months, Dubai is slowly but surely getting into my veins.

So roll on another year. I just hope the next will be as good as the last.

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