Ask anyone that has spent their adolescent years in Dubai, and they will tell you that one thing is clear; people come and go.
I’ve always thought of Dubai as a waiting room. It was usually clear to me that this was not the final destination. My parents were going to go back to Lebanon at some point; my brother and I were going to study abroad after we graduated, and then maybe get a job in Dubai for a few years and then leave. It was a waiting room for everyone I’ve ever met, either people with me in school, leaving with their parents to continue life back in their hometown because circumstances have lead up to this point, or people I’ve worked with that just know that they will stay in their jobs for two years and then leave somewhere else. I’ve never met anyone whose final destination was Dubai, unless they were going to raise a family (and even then, Dubai was constantly followed by until further notice). And that should be a given, because the majority of the people that I’m referring to are expatriates (including myself); and we all are currently doing something that takes a couple of weeks/months/years until the plan changes.
What aggravated me the most about it was the fact that it was inevitable that people would leave, and they all did. Some people stayed for university but all others are scattered around here and there, never really at home, never really lost.
It turns out that this was never only about getting used to change and understanding circumstances, it was mainly about getting used to the fact that most things simply are temporary.
I remember dreading the house moves (we’ve moved houses around 4 times while staying in Dubai, it’s not uncommon), and then moving to another country for three years, and then moving to another continent, and you end up finding parts of yourself in some places you lived in, and also end up leaving bits of yourself in these places, and in some people too. We leave footprints that are much more complex than passport security stamps and crossed borders. We’ve travelled to many more places than we’d like to admit, that we sadly won’t have a stamp to prove of because the only proof we’ll ever have will inevitably have to be traced in our heads.
I’m currently sitting amongst the overwhelming clutter in my dorm room in France; the reason for the clutter is the obvious packing, and once again I find myself in a bitter-sweet situation where I want things to stay the same, but at the same time the usual reshaping is already taking place, and I don’t really have a say in it.
I really do wonder sometimes if there will ever be a constant. But then again I wonder if I would want that.
I think that’s why we cherish particular moments so much; if they’d always happen, they’d probably lose their value. It’s the fact that you can lose them from today to tomorrow that makes you grab on. Because the only thing permanent about moments is their bitter-sweet unfortunate exceptional temporariness.