Goodbye Amsterdam, hello Dubai!
Ten years ago I moved to Amsterdam, a 24 year old girl straight out of university, looking for ‘bright lights, big city’. Everything about Amsterdam intrigued me; the cosmopolitan vibe, the open-mindedness, the crooked houses and canals in the Jordaan, the nightlife, the American Bakery, and stores which were actually open on Sunday!
A life I thought would be ‘Sex & the City’ but at times turned out to be more like ‘Girls’.
Now, a few jobs, many friends and (memorable, hilarious and disaster-) dates later, I’ve come to the conclusion I have to break up with the city I love. A new adventure abroad awaits. While many people around me are settling down, I still want to travel the world, drink cocktails like there is no tomorrow, discover new hotspots, bump into Mr. Big, try a new hobby every year, keep my old friends while also making new ones, be the best aunt to my sister’s super cute kids… The best place to do this? Dubai. Without a doubt. My home away from home since my sister relocated there last year.
It’s a mysterious place. Disney World for adults, unlike any other city I’ve ever been to! Breathtaking skyscrapers seem to be rising from the ground every day. It’s very Western, with great (guilty pleasure) restaurants, luxurious hotels, glitzy clubs, fabulous beaches and the largest shopping malls in the world (complete with a ski slope and underwater world with sharks, huh?). Yet also very Middle Eastern, with Emirati men in spotless Dishdash robes, and Nikes, walking around with their bejeweled wives and kids, or driving their Lamborghinis on Sheikh Zayed Road. It’s foodie heaven, a mix of the best of the Eastern and Western hemisphere (hello Lebanese food! hello Cheesecake Factory!). On the down side, it’s also a place where migrant laborers work hard in 40 degree heat to build magical hotels which they will never be able to afford themselves.
I am 34, single, with a bike and a sub-rental house from a Pakistani landlord (who once tried to marry me off to his 1.50 m son, yikes…). It’s now or never. Without a doubt, I am really going to miss (riding my bike in) Amsterdam and my great friends, fun colleagues, mom, and Calve pindakaas, but I need to do this or regret it forever.
“We’ll always have Amsterdam!”
But for now, it’s time for new adventures in Dubai!