Scary big men with beards and mustache, wearing crease-free white kandura (wonder why they don’t get dirty at the end of the day) and guthra (headscarf) fixed with egal (black rope); reserved women in their black abaya and shela; sizzling 45 degrees humid temperature during the long summer months; no fun in Ramadan; dry Christmas celebration are just among the many other culture-shocking moments of my stay in Dubai, UAE.
I wouldn’t say I’ve been harrased or intimidated by these Arab people and their norms. Perhaps it’s just a little part of the cultural indifferences that we have to understand and accept when we go out of our national territory. In this place, I rarely experience the taste of raindrops but rather a shower of sandstorm (literally, it’s stick on the scalp for days). I experienced watching belly dancers (they’re really on their fluppy bellies) that almost had their waists detached from their bodies (obviously, an exaggerated description). While working in the hotel, I worry myself so sometimes of threats thrown at me by some Arab guests whenever they are not promised of something they want.
Nevertheless, I coped up with the culture-related idiosyncracies and had a cautious sense of living in Dubai. It’s a motivated mechanism of self-defense that pull me off and put me just right into my place. Working in a multi-cultural environment is not a quip. Insisting yourself is not as easy as you think, no matter you believe how right you are. The technique is minding your own business. The more you involve, the more you get yourself into trouble.
I don’t really feel this way at all. I am not what I am now if I didn’t step in the desert land. I couldn’t have met Xam’s dad if I didn’t cross the boundaries. I sure had a lot of wonderful memories to share, having met new friends and families: Asian, Arabic, Egyptian, German, Russian, to mention the least. The reality seazes and brought me to know and use my sensibilities by familiarizing and acknowledging other nationalities’ background and culture.