One year on, and it’s nearly Christmas Day with an e-motional shift. Himself and I are experiencing the reality of an e-Christmas. E-cards. Ex-pat gatherings. Ever-so-far away from home. E-gifts. One year ago, we blithely enjoyed precious time with our sons and their families and with our extended families. Time and distance soon puts the importance of loved ones into perspective. We are not alone in being far from home. We talk about how both our late parents always kept open-house and how there were always extra people at their tables. We are experiencing similar hospitality, a warmth and generosity of spirit from people in the UAE.
Displays of Xmas trees and decorations in the malls tell us a certain festive day is happening. This is not that long after the Eid Adhar and National Day holiday celebrations. People here know how to rejoice and how to party. So as ex-pats, we will get together with others as a blended Kiwi family for the day. We’ll top up our mobiles for those long-distance calls. I remember how my English-born mother in the 1950s had to book an international toll-call days in advance with the local manual telephone exchange to phone her mother, brothers and sister at Christmas. And there were time constraints on international calls and because we were on a rural party-line. Never enough time to say the things that ought to be said to loved ones. Always tears. Always reaching across the miles to touch the other in some way. Now, it is technically so much easier for Himself and I to connect with our families while living in another country. Yet, I am experiencing that same reaching out to those I write messages on the e-cards for.
That’s the heart of the matter. The head, meanwhile, remains focussed on work. A few days ago, getting to work took on a whole new meaning. Rain. It rained in the UAE. And it rained day and night. Water spilled over the streets and into buildings. Water with nowhere to go. I think of it as nature’s way of giving this dry, dusty sandy city a wash. Before I came here, I’d never imagined that it could rain like this in the desert. I’m told the flows of water are spectacular in the wadis in the Hafeet Mountain Range. It’s all go in this part of the world.