Add to Technorati Favorites expat Abu Dhabi Dispatches: Milestone

Monday, February 9, 2009


As of February 3rd, I have had feet on the ground in Abu Dhabi for 6 months. Looking back, It seems a lot longer than that although not in a bad way. It's more like there has been a whole lot of water under my bridge in the last 6 months than there has ever been previously in my life. New life, new country, new job and leaving the people that I care about and helped frame my life behind a half a world away.

 I enjoy recalling the departure of my flight from JFK  to Abu Dhabi on August 2nd of last year. I was mentally numb from all the pre-relocation activities and stress that occupied my life the months prior to my leaving as well as the trepidation and excitement of building a new life in a far away land which would start happening immediately upon my landing some 12 hours later. It was really too much for my pickled brain to process. My mind reached a Blue Screen of Death mode that is so familiar to Microsoft Windows users. So I decided to sit back and enjoy it. It was like the calm that displaces the abject fear that a bungee jumper experiences when looking out into the abyss and knows the push on the back is seconds away. No going back, in for a penny, in for a pound. Let's do it!

However, I remember the moment the speeding plane found enough air under it's wings and lumbered off the bumpy JFK runway. It got all smooth and when I heard the "thump-thump" of the landing gear tucking away in their beds for the night I thought "well this is it!". I didn't know when or even if I would ever set foot on my native soil again. I knew even less of what my immedeate future held for me. It was a stunning, life-defining moment that passed all too quickly but will be remembered forever.

Each week that passes finds me more comfortable here. I think it has a lot to do with finding a rhythm and routine that complements the culture, surroundings and way of life. I am discovering that this can't be forced but has to evolve with time. Resistance is futile. I have read other sources that say the first 6 months is difficult and full of turmoil but from then on, one finds a center much as a pendulum eventually does. I am hoping that this might be true in my case.

I am travelling back to the States at the end of this month to see family and friends for the first time since I have been in the U.A.E. Yes, I am ready for a little R&R. I am excited and look forward to the trip, but I am also a little concerned how my semi-acclimatised to the Middle East culture self will react and regard American culture. I will be seeing it through the different eyes of an "outsider".  I will let you know how it goes 



Roger said...

good post. let me know if you make it out this-a-way on your r&r.

Ace said...

Just have time to do a Florida out-and-back this time.

I plan on a more extended trip late summer where I will spend considerable time out West. I will see you then, bro!