“20 years ago, there was nothing here.” Saaid, our Uber driver told me.
“Like, which buildings, do you mean?” I asked looking out over the vast expanse of development and construction projects.
“All of them.”
The rampant rise of turning a desert into a booming world economy that is hosting the World Expo next year is no small feat. Emiratis are some of the wealthiest citizens in the world and their rich oil reserves have created infrastructure that would make your head spin. The population of Dubai is made up largely of immigrants from the Philippines, Bangladesh, India and Pakistan all working across service and labor industries. Local Emiratis makeup only 10-15% of the actual population so it’s evident that everyone is coming here for their own slice of the pie. A non-existent crime rate, excellent health care and luxury villas give Dubai an appeal to the ultra wealthy and its location as a business hub means Europe, Asia and Africa are all within an arms reach.
I’ve heard that living in Dubai is like living in a mall. Everything is new, constantly being manicured and well put together. It turns out that a trip to Dubai means visiting the mall, and with dozens to choose from, it’s actually a nice way to spend a day. The air conditioning and almost theme park like attractions (The Emirates Mall had a downhill skiing hill!) make it a nice respite from the sun. Another thing that was nice about visiting the mall are the international restaurant franchises that offer us the comfort food that we longed for after having been in Africa for two months. TGI Fridays, Cheesecake factory, PF Changs, Din Tai Fung, Chili’s, and Cinnabon were just handful of the shops that promised massive portions, loosening of belt buckles and good old fashioned gluttony. Sights like ‘The Frame’, Burj Al Arab and Burj Khalifa are quintessential world landmarks.
Ava Takes a Field Trip
While we were at the GRC job fair, Ava joined our friends (the Greenes) to ‘Bounce’ and to the Mall of the Emirates for a spin in their bouncy room and lessons on Chemistry and Space. Ava had the opportunity to program a rover to retrieve a satellite from space and for physical science, used chemical reactions to fill balloons. Fun stuff.
The Job Search Comes to a Close
The week before the GRC fair in Dubai was crazy busy. Schools in attendance were updating their vacancies frequently and we had skype interviews with schools nearly every day the entire week before the fair even started. My first interview was back in August, so I had months of interviewing practice which made me a well oiled machine complete with a succinct elevator pitch, and how to make the right impression. Despite the hectic pace, it was nice to reconnect with friends from Korea and administrator friends all over the world when we had a moment between interviews.
We are happy to report that we signed with a fantastic school Saturday night, so our our job search is officially over and a huge weight has been lifted. Sometimes, international school teachers will have to take positions for which they are not ideally suited or in locations that are not pleasant but in our case, we’ll be moving to a new continent to work in a school that has a great reputation with administrators with whom we had instant rapport. With that, we can breath a sigh of relief and focus on more homeschooling and enjoying the sights around us.
Where are we going? You may ask, would be a story for another time.