Making up history

This weekend sees the UAE’s first ever Theatresports show, being held in the wonderful newly opened Courtyard Playhouse, a performing arts centre focussed entirely on producing grassroots theatre using ‘homegrown’ talent, and the only official theatresports venue in the Middle East. I am so excited to be part of this – improv is addictive, funny, (occasionally) intellectual and really, really good for the soul, whether you’re in it, or watching it. I’d love to see you there. Go on…do something different this weekend. Have a laugh. Be part of Dubai history.

Tickets are free; yes, FREE! And there are two performances on Friday and two on Saturday, at 7pm and 9pm. You can even pop along to the open day from 1pm to 3pm on Saturday, as part of ‘Quoz Happens‘ – if you’re at the Ripe Market at the Courtyard, or grabbing a coffee and a carrot cake at the Lime Tree – we’re just upstairs. Get involved, cheer us on…play your part in building grassroots theatre in Dubai!

To reserve your seats for the evening shows, click on THIS LINK. Come on…as if you could resist this pretty face….



A little ‘me’ time

Firstly, apologies for the radio silence. Things have been a little hectic due to visiting relatives, theatre performances and the small matter of a 4000 word short story to write for my degree portfolio. Not to mention the PTA obligations, Sports day, International day, and the various overseas train smashes concerning future schools, renting houses and sick family to manage.  Blogging has been beyond what time has allowed. And so when it came to dress making, I figured it was time to outsource.

I have a perfectly good sewing machine at home, I just have no inclination to do anything more complicated than table runners and cushion covers. On the tourist trail to Bur Dubai a few weeks back, I came across a particularly spectacular bolt of patterned silk (well they said it was silk) for a mere £7/m in the fabric souk, and decided to get a jump suit copied I’ve been wearing almost non stop since I bought it nearly three years ago.  For Dhs 250 (about £40) I will have a brand new swishy silk pantsuit to play in, made to measure and cheaper than the original one. Tick in the box for supporting the ‘local’ (chinese) economy while I’m at it.

Having visitors, especially first time ones, often opens my eyes back up to what’s around and gets me out of my self imposed local living rut. Going down to the creek always reminds me where we are, that we aren’t just in this little bubble, that there is a lot of other real life to see out there. Of course it’s full of touts trying to sell me pashminas and boat rides but if you get past that you can really enjoy just being part of the city, haggling for fabric and riding the abra alongside every other creed and colour who is crossing the creek for one purpose or another.
Somewhere lurking near the opposite end of the expat spectrum, during my blog hiatus I was also part of Dubai’s first Short+Sweet theatre festival. A great initiative to encourage local people to write, direct and act in a series of 10 minute plays, it was a spectacle of good, sometimes great, and some downright awful entertainment, but it was ours. Five years ago or so there is no way the city could have even conceived of hosting a festival like this, and it is really exciting to be contributing to the arts scene and (hopefully) changing it for the better. This weekend was spent performing and at and participating in the Emirates Literature festival, another fantastic example of how much things have moved on in the past few years.
And so that’s the end of my excuses; why the dog ate my homework etc. I now have three glorious weeks of relative relaxation, or two weeks of holiday and a  ‘reading week’ as its called in university circles.  I’m looking forward to it: gym, spa, vacation in the desert, and maybe even a trip to my beloved but much neglected mall. The year has certainly got off to an intensive start but it’s been incredibly satisfying too. I don’t think I’ve ever felt so full of ideas and optimism for the time ahead.
It’s also fair to say I’m knackered. Pass the wine someone…

Lucky indeed…


(Photo credit: morberg)

Seven years ago this weekend, we landed in Dubai for the first time, for my husband’s interview with the company that would move us here and change our lives forever.

SEVEN YEARS AGO. I apologise for sounding incredibly middle-aged, but where the hell did that go?

I was barely in my 30s, not even married, and now I’m staring at 40 and have a three year old son.

Despite this only being a ‘temporary’ move, it is the longest we have ever lived in the same house.

I have friends I made here who I have known for longer than a lot of people’s marriages last.

Our marriage has lasted.

I have missed seven years of reality TV, politics and celebrity gossip. I have no hope of ever catching up with it all and feel rather fortunate about it.

I have not been inside an office for seven years.

I panic at the thought of having to walk about in cold weather.

Actually, I panic at the thought of having to walk anywhere.

There are people I have not seen in seven years and yet I’m still surprised when I see them on Facebook and they look older than they did when I last saw them.

I am seven years older than I was before and yet I’m still surprised when I see myself on Facebook and I look older than I did when I left the UK.

Seven years is a long time, and this year has certainly been the best of them by a country mile, although I optimistically predict that next year will be just as much fun – if not more. But for now I can only conclude that seven is indeed a lucky number, because when I think of all we have enjoyed, experienced and achieved since we first arrived, there is little that I would change. Maybe if you’d have asked me before now, I would have wished we had gone home after three, four, five years. But it took me so long to adjust to being here and to embrace and understand expat life – and motherhood on top of that – that had we moved back while I still wanted to go so desperately, I’m not sure I would have accepted that my life has changed, and that I have changed for the better as a result of all of it.

On this basis, should we return to the UK within the next few years, I can optimistically expect to start enjoying myself again somewhere just shy of 2025.