Reflections from Dubai

I visited the Middle East for the first time last week. I had the opportunity to talk to various people in both the local and expat communities. Here are my reflections:

Living in a foreign country strengthens your patience and tolerance – foreign residents recognize they need to adapt and accept the differences in their new home; they chose to live somewhere that was different than their country of origin so can’t complain about those very differences.

Living in another community requires you to initiate, reach out, integrate – being the new kid on the block, not having a network from one’s upbringing, puts the onus on you to create those new connections and relationships, you need to make the effort rather than hoping others include you.

When do you choose to learn from others or evolve through your own journey? They have different views on car safety with few people using seatbelts, still allowing car engines to run and talking on mobile phones while filling up with petrol/gas – is this because many believe in reincarnation or life and death are God’s will so don’t worry about risks? Or because they’ve had powerful cars from day 1 of their re-invention 60 years ago whereas North American saw the car evolve from Henry Ford’s invention?

Weather matters for many people – so many people I met said what they loved most about Dubai was the weather, the almost daily sunshine and warmth. I loved sitting outside in the evening having dinner without a jacket. And I can’t imagine even visiting there during the summer when you can’t realistically go outside for any duration. I like seasons – the variation of weather through the year is appealing to me.

What are your reflections from visiting foreign countries?