Wednesday, May 14, 2008

New Beginings!!

Hello people, I would like to first of all say how much of a privilege it is getting to stay in the United Arab Emirates! Such an awesome blessing from God. When we came here, hubby and me were starting a new life together as a newly married couple. I still remember the overhwleming realisation that I was well and truly on my own now. Responsible for not only myself but another adult human-my new husband. His breakfast-lunch-dinner, his shirts, vests, his health, his stress at workplace, his favourite activities,his likes and dislikes...get the drift?? :-)

I followed him to Dubai from India after being apart for six months while he settled down here and made arrangements for an appartment and my visa. They were the toughest days so early on in our marriage! But we all know Who sustains us all through tough times, is'nt it??

As I walked out from the Dubai International Airport, the heat and humidity of the place hit me hard and I began to really doubt if Dubai was indeed ''the place'' as my hubby dear had been telling me regularly during our frequent phone conversations....just like the Israelites in the book of Exodus, I started cribbing and whining to him! Why do we have to live here?? My poor husband who had taken off from work to come and fetch me from the airport, kept calm and said the magic words...''wait till I take you shopping'', that calmed me -only a bit though!

We were soon on our way home, a temporary accomodation till we got the keys to our own appartment in a day or two. The Dubai cabs are luxurious! Air-conditioned ,clean and efficient...however, in my ungratefulness I didnt even notice all this. I was too busy feeling sorry for myself and my lost baggage! Imagine , starting a proper married life and no bags! No luggage! No pretty linen which my mother had lovingly made herself for my new house, no spices-special packets which my mother's cook(she also doubled as my nanny and so I love her as a mother) had taken weeks to prepare once my departure was announced at home! I was indeed travelling like a typical Indian housewife from the olden days, when a new bride would pack up dry spices and food stuff to take to her husband's house and cast her magic in the new kitchen! I was so looking forward to doing things my way-finally! Dreaming of doing up my house , had kept me going through the long months of distance from hubby. I missed him so! And now I was here with him , tired, hassled, annoyed and definetely no where near grateful to God for travel all comes back to me now, nealry two years on when I am living a pampered,cushioned and protected life!

Our new apartment was in this really lovely neighbourhood....and when I walked in, I immediately felt good! It had such a good vibe to it! I imagined how it would look when it would lovingly decorated and be full of beautiful smells from my kitchen! But more of that add more to my already bad mood, hubby had to literally dump me at this empty appartment and go back to work since he was too new to be taking too much time off! So off he went and I sat with a temporary mobile connection with my hubby leaving instructions to follow up with the airline office to trace my baggage!

The appartment was bare....but I still loved it. In the evening when hubby came back, we had nothing to do but to step out and grab a this time I had calmed down completely. So we went out and over night my perception of UAE chnaged!! As I walked down the road to hail a cab, I was amazed by the lush greenery all around me! The hot and heavy air notwithstanding, the neighbourhood has so much natural beauty that I was stunned simply seeing the blessingsGod has showered in this so called desert land! How can it be so green..i kept asking hubby! How can they cultivate so much!! The pavements looked as if a rich green carpet had been lain, soft green and so beautifully trimmed! Why had'nt the harsh heat and sun scorched all this lovely flora? Then I noticed something even more striking...the men! Most of the population here, about 75% of them are expats . A study reveals that expats from a staggering 200 nations are currently living in UAE. But what I noticed was the respectful distance and lowered gaze men keep here around women! This was refreshing change from India, which is unfortunately not very woman friendly! I felt free and liberated! I again mentioned to my husband, ''the men are so decent'', he agreed with me! It made him aslo feel good that I would be safe on my own where ever I would visit, while he was at work!

The evening ahead was full of sights,smells and activities! The evenings here are something else. because of the day long heat, men, women and children stir out in the evenings. People rushing around getting their groceries, children playing soccer, moms and their toddlers walking along the can hear thousands of languages around you! I noticed with delight so many Indians around! and even better, so many Indian supermarkets catering to our fussy ways! Ask me!! I know the lengths I would go to just to get the right kind of semolina to make ''halwa''-an indian dessert made from semolina, milk,sugar and almonds and cardomom! And so here I was very very happy that my cooking would go on just the way it was meant to be! Traditional, spicy,authentic and yes, very Indian!

And amidst all that my life here as Mrs Johnson began! I was finally able to see that evening, how blessed I was to be here. That God knows exactly where we are meant to be and places us there to enrich us more! I regret all that moaning I indulged in the day I landed here. But God has made it such a special journey since then! When I met my husband, indeed even when I hadnt met him, I always fet called to be a home maker and a mother. I desired nothing more out of life! How awesome that God brought me to a country where staying home is encouraged, being a good wife is encouraged, becoming a mommy is considered to be anhonour, submitting to the head of the house ie father or husband is encourgaed, being modestly dresed does not make me an alien, talking about God and relgion is not considered politically incorrect-infact- it gets you accepted better in the society even if you are non-muslim! The Arab culture is so family oriented and so warm, I have never once felt out of place here! Coming from a similar culture In India, settling down for me has been so easy! How could I have ever doubted that God had brought me to a difficult terrain! I have made friends from so many countries that it is mind boggling! I have had the privilege of sharing the gospel with them! I have had a chance to do a comparitive study of Islam and Christianity, something which would have probbaly never interested me if I hadnt come to the Middle East! This is the country which has given us friends and a lovely church! This is the place where there is so much potential to work for Christ! This is the place where we are putting down our roots now.....indeed my lot has fallen in a pleasant place! All glory be to God!

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