“No offense, aren’t you too old to be scared?” – Kevin McCallister, Home Alone
My husband, Rocket (his new blog nickname), is part of an international team and his job requires occasional travel in the region. When I moved to Dubai, he limited work travel, making sure that I felt comfortable and wasn’t home alone often (which was greatly appreciated)! In the past year, he has only traveled twice. Admittedly the first time Rocket left, I was lonely and apprehensive. I had just moved to Dubai 2 months prior and had yet to learn my way around or make friends. Fast forward 10 months later, although I still missed my husband a lot, the second time around was much different!
10 months ago:
I thought we just talked about this? I knew my husband would have to start traveling again at some point. My head kept reminding me that Rocket said the media distorts the danger level, but in my heart, I still didn’t want him to go. Besides, he just told me 2 days ago that he wouldn’t travel to the more dangerous regions for a while. And now he is actually going to go? I’m thankful that God hears our prayers!
He left, sliding into the back seat of a cab late that morning. And just like that, I was HOME ALONE for the first time in Dubai!
The first day, I tried to stay busy, pretending that Rocket was just at work. I explored new areas in my neighborhood and spent time organizing things at home. Earlier that morning, Rocket begged me to attend a house party hosted by another couple that we spend time with regularly. That morning, knowing I didn’t want to go alone, I tried to come up with as many excuses as possible for not going. Instead of conceding, and knowing that I was mainly afraid of driving, Rocket made sure to render every excuse invalid. He downloaded Uber on my phone, saved the number of a taxi service, gave me his debit card and cash, and created a whatsapp group with the couple in case I needed any help. Although, I told Rocket I wouldn’t drive, I pushed past my apprehension and hit the highway for the first time since moving to Dubai. Wonder why driving was such a big deal for me? Check out “Moving Past Limitations.”
The next day, I decided to have a relaxing beach day, sitting poolside with a cocktail at the Westin, located near the Marina. Unfortunately, my plans didn’t go as expected. Being relatively new to Dubai, I failed to realize that due to the national holiday, prices for a beach day would be higher coupled with a no alcohol policy. Despite my initial disappointment, a day at the beach was just what I needed.
In the end, Rocket’s first trip away actually pushed me to be more independent and accelerated my adjustment period. It was a blessing in disguise!
1 week ago:
When Rocket’s boss called to tell him that his trip might be canceled, I was ecstatic! Not because I was scared of being home alone this time, but because I love spending time with my husband.
Unfortunately, when he came home Sunday night, his trip was confirmed. Similarly to last time, I tried to spend as much time as possible away from home. The more time I spent running errands, the less time I felt alone. However, instead of driving 10 minutes on Sheikh Zayed Road for the first time, I used a whole tank of gas in 3 days driving on E11, 311, and all over town.
I went shopping (at 3 different malls, including Ikea), met up with friends, caught up with friends from back home, and even had a few meetings.
It was very different from my first time alone. I tried to spend as much time away from the house as possible, only returning at night to stay up late catching up on tv shows.
What I was so afraid a year ago, is now a trivial every day occurrence. Without Rocket’s first trip, I might have waited another 3 months, 6 months or even a year to drive on Sheikh Zayed Road (the main highway in Dubai)! I’m still trying to figure out my new life in Dubai in terms of my career and our family goals, but looking back at the past year, I have grown a lot and continue to push past what I thought (or think) are my limits.