Foreword: This post is the first of my “Buhay OFW” series. This is my attempt to share the happy and sad days of being an OFW, its perks and downs, some ‘how to’s and useful tips, and a bucket of realizations along the way.
As an OFW of 8 years (Wew!) residing in Dubai, UAE – This Is Our Story. ❤
I will start to tell our story by beginning in the end. As I am penning down this post, it just dawned on me on how quickly time has passed and that in a week’s time, we will be leaving Dubai – for good? for a while? No one knows for sure 😆 . It has been more than a month now that we have started to prep up and readied ourselves for going home. It has been quite busy for us closing off and disposing items that we won’t be able to bring home. Overall, more than the physical exhaustion, it was the emotional letdown of letting go specially of that we held dear.
So, here I am writing down what is it that we will miss the most of Dubai?
8 years of shared life with families and friends
We will definitely miss our life here in Dubai – special moments shared with families and friends. The bayanihan spirit of our ‘Kabuhok Fambam’ and midnight movies, jamming, heart to ❤ talks and early morning snacks with ‘103 fambam’. All these and more that we hold dear ❤ ❤ ❤ . Special events and occasions, planned all together and the feast painstakingly prepared. The one that stands out to us is the way ‘Kabuhok Fambam’ did a bayanihan in Ken+Kat’s church wedding preparations – we cannot thank you all enough! ❤ and how many times when our Keith has celebrated his birthdays outdoors did most of you prepared and helped a lot in our DIY decors and lent tables, took time to prepare and helped us a lot to make sure the event goes well. THANK YOU– not only for these occasions but for the many times we shared memories as FAMILY.
But hey, no goodbyes, we all remain to be families and friends- we won’t just get to see each other more often. ❤
Late night karaoke bonding (I have to write this separately though this is a continuation of the first! ❤ )
Having been in love with music since I was a kid, and being surrounded with families and friends who won’t pass up a chance to sing loudly in front of a crowd, our regular bonding moments had always been karaoke. Our 103 Fambam always makes sure it would be raucous night for everyone, needless to say – we will definitely miss our karaoke sessions!
Kunafa and Baklava hunting
Having a sweet tooth, it is no wonder we have come to love arabic delicacies. We would definitely miss taking long walks at night en route to buying kunafa and baklava. Me and Kenneth would try local pastry shops from one street to another and compare which ones we liked best. In the end, after trying out several shops and exhausting all nearby stores, we ended up favoring the first one we tried and from then on, we have found our favorite sweets shop ❤ .
Cravings for Middle Eastern and Contemporary Indian Cuisine
Surprisingly, Dubai hosts a variety of cuisines in as much as it is a home to various nationalities living as expats. Of all the middle eastern restaurants, it is the Lebanese cuisine which stands out to our palate. Although, we are generally ‘rice persons’, we prefer shawarma, saj (four cheese), arabic bread over mandi. Now, if we want rice and lots of gravy, then we know that we can rely on Indian food to satisfy our cravings – top favorites are chicken biryani (masala), buttered paneer / chicken, methi matar malai (there’s really quite a lot in our list!). The last three dishes are usually ordered with either butter nan or roti (bread) and what better way to end the meal but with indian desserts – top favorites are gulab jamun, rasgulla and kulfi (Yum! 🙂 ). Hmm, no wonder we gained at least 10 kilos since we resided in Dubai.
Crazy shopping sale and discounts
Over the years, we have developed a knack for finding out sale and clearances, be it in shops, warehouses or events in trade centers. Like what we always say, ‘When in Dubai, you always wait out for the sale’ – because you can expect one to come (for most of the brands) at least twice in a year. There are in fact certain brands which has it once in every quarter. And for gadgets? then you need to wait out for the Gitex which they have recently made out twice in a year as well! :green: As OFWs, it is but norm to always look out not only for ourselves but more so for our families and friends back home which is why we love looking out for good finds where we can maximize our earnings to cover our balikbayan boxes and pasalubong whenever we go home.
The many parks to go to & choose from
Dubai alone has more than twenty (20) public parks to choose from (according to timeout dubai) that even we haven’t gone to all of them! haha 😆 . So whether you just want fresh air, a jog or long walk, or simply relax, there are quite a lot to choose from and there is definitely one near you. What’s even good is that most of these parks are free or can be visited at very minimal cost (AED 5/). Access to and the convenience of going out for an outdoor activity and fun is cheap and easy. Ken+Kat’s top picks are Jumeirah and Mamzar beach parks and Creek and Zabeel parks. Oh, and the most memorable? Mushrif Park. 80 (Don’t ask as me why!)
Convenience and Zero Tax!
When I think of Dubai living, the first thing that comes to mind really is Convenience. Imagine, supermarkets and shops right down in your residence, easily accessible. In fact anyone can just order online or via phone, without any minimum amount of purchase, and it will delivered right away at your doorstep. Almost any household item and necessity is only a call or a click away. And part of this convenience? the Zero Tax 😉 Need I say more? 😆
The dry season all year round
This is in comparison to the tropical climate in the Philippines where notably at least 12 storms are passing through every year and floods are common. It has been said, “The sun does not set in Dubai” – Life’s really ironic isn’t it? when in Dubai, I used to say I miss the rain. And when I’m not, then I miss the lack of it! XD
What about you, what will you miss most of Dubai?