Moving Up!

This week, while working with some senior children, I’ve had ample opportunity to reflect on what makes the UAE so special. My first glimpse of Dubai was at night after I moved here from India four and a half years ago. I was amazed by the dazzling bejeweled skyline as my flight descended towards the city. But since settling down here I’ve realized that it’s not just the steely skyscrapers that sparkle, there are countless other aspects of a life in the Emirates that are dazzling as well.

In the west, Romney and Obama continue to fight it out with promises to revive America’s challenging job market while the UK continues to claw its way back up from the quicksand of recession. But despite testing global conditions, the UAE seems to be sizzling, both literally and in terms of its unparalleled growth in the region.

The Shamal winds which have started to sweep over the Emirates each evening, bring with them the promise of cooler days and comfortable nights and for now it seems as if the Emirates’ dark days are long gone.

In the four and a half years that I have lived here, I have seen the UAE being written off and have watched with pleasure as it rose right back up to be the kind of beacon and inspirational success story that it continues to be for this region of the Middle East. The Emirates are synonymous with progress and prosperity and for anyone who is willing to risk a life in these desert lands; the opportunities for success are limitless.

I know I grumble about work sometimes and I whine about how little I’d have to do if I were teaching in a small missionary school in India, but the truth is I’m a better teacher today than I was four years ago and that’s only because of the kind of opportunities and exposure I’ve had here in the UAE. Living alone in the UAE is liberating in so many ways and yet it has its challenges too. But a stimulating work culture provides routine, a sense of daily achievement and a network of colleagues who sometimes become friends.

Like any other modern metropolis, the UAE’s story is incomplete. It is a work in progress and its modern and progressive leadership will undoubtedly ensure that the Emirates don’t become complacent with their regional success. I am certain that in the future, the UAE will transform itself from a regional power to a global force to be reckoned with and that will make all the difference.

Sure there is a lot that the Emirates can do differently and yes there are high expectations that they must live up to. But this is the place of dreams and if I’ve learned anything here it is that, no dream is too idealistic to be achieved. I’m unsure if I’ll still around to be a part of all the changes that will help transform the Emirates into a global giant but one thing is certain, for the UAE the only way to move, is up!

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I just wonder…

Every day, I wake up earlier than I want to and work longer than I want to, in a profession that I’m sure is my calling. But, sometimes I find I have to do things or find, that I’m part of stuff that were never really on my radar for things I want to accomplish in my life. So, why do I still do it?

This past week, I felt the need to rise above the blurry fog of my day-to-day just for a little while, to get a wider perspective on my life and why I continue to do what I do.

I recalled that I’m here in Dubai to gain the experience of living abroad, living independently and to learn and grow. This is meant to be a learning life-experience for me; it is supposed to be a challenge. And it is. It so is!

I could very well stick to the well-worn grooves of the teachers who have come before, but then I wouldn’t grow. It would be very easy to go to work every day, do my job, teach my kids, collect the paycheck, and get by. I could go home to the India or wherever the fates take me without ever having changed or learned anything in the process.

But the scary thing, you see is this, sometimes I tend to get so wrapped up in the day-to-day because it’s tempting to just duck my head and plow forward, doing all the things that I need to do to make my days run smoothly. But there are moments, sudden flashes of realization that I’m gradually forgetting what it is that I had originally set out to achieve.

So, the questions I’m asking myself today are simple, really simple. What kind of life do I want to live? How does this day, this evening, this hour, this minute, fit into that big picture and into that larger scheme of things? Am I just spinning my wheels, following directions because I didn’t bother to give myself directions, or is it part of the grunt-work that needs to get done to make my dreams a reality?

What do I do if I find that my daily life isn’t in line with my larger purpose or the higher calling that I know is meant for me?

I just wonder…