Saturday, April 4, 2015


“I can’t wait to go home,” I tell myself at the end of some layovers. I usually look forward to working the return sector back to Dubai, counting down the flight time, getting on the bus and rolling my luggage straight into my room. However, on my last flight – a long, 6-day, Brisbane-Auckland multi-sector – I found myself getting a little confused with the concept of where home actually is.

As we slowly approach the 5-month mark of moving to Dubai, I’ve become grateful for many things: the opportunity to work for such a well-known company, living in another country and the chance to see the world. Although grateful, these reasons can have their downsides. As I just finished my degree while working a part-time job, a real job can be hard to adjust to. This may not be your regular 9-5 but booking a million days off and handing out shifts whenever one feels like isn’t as easy. Also living in another country, a different culture without the comfort of friends and family can be tough.

However, there’s something else, one thing I’ve opted out of the previous three advantages, because well… It deserves it’s own category and it’s the primary reason I’m adjusting so well.

My friends.

I’ve found the weirdest bunch of people here in Dubai and I couldn’t be more thankful (please note, I mean weird in the most loving way possible). We’ve bonded through training, waking up at 5 am, studying, and reciting memorized phrases over and over and over again. We’ve de-stressed and made the absolute most of our days off by going to the beach, taste-testing different restaurants and going to a few clubs… Okay, okay, many clubs. We spent every waking minute with each other, practically living in my friends’ apartment and only using my room to sleep.

All this was possible due to living in a temporary accommodation for 4 months. We were very lucky to stay in a hotel and have the luxury of walking just a few flights of stairs to knock on each other’s door. And when we’re not out taking over the city, we’re slumped on the couch, watching a movie or enjoying the likes of Instagram. There’s truly nothing better than doing nothing with your friends. But, as cliché as it sounds, all good things come to an end and now starts the reality of what was supposed to happen months ago. We’ve moved out of this lovely building, our temporary accommodation, our oasis of Dubai, and are now scattered throughout the city.

We were given about a week notice to pack all our stuff and end our suite life of Zack and Cody lifestyle. And as much as we didn’t want to think about it and take it as the end of the world, we did. All the girls were coordinated on their crying schedules and the boys had to bear with our emotional moments. Who would be our new flat mates? How would the place look? How far is it? When and how will we be able to see each other? A cloud of fear, anxiety and sadness took over and we didn’t want to leave. But it had to be done.

And now, I’m typing this long overdue blog post out on the balcony of my new flat, on Sheikh Zayed Road, high up on the 24th floor, with an amazing view of the city. Here I can finally begin to settle in, decorate and make it feel like home. But, as I was sitting on my jump seat during landing, this wasn’t what I imagined. My idea of ‘home’ was torn between life back in Mississauga and back with my friends in Dubai. Home is my sense of comfort, my security blanket, a place where I feel like I belong… A feeling I have yet to encounter at this new flat of mine, a feeling that’s never genuine at the club being offered bottles, and certainly not on layovers spent with temporary friends.

I know returning back to Toronto isn’t a feasible option right now, but the alternative I’ve got here is just as good. We moved to Dubai and met in a temporary accommodation; but even after training college, in-between our flights and the new distances between us, I know I’ve made some permanent friends. If it weren’t for them, my only comfort would be after a 14-hour flight up North. So now when I say, “I can’t wait to go home,” I know they’re just a few metro stops, bus rides or a cab ride away.