This was written in Dubai a while back and I forgot to post it but I am doing it now…
Upright on the hotel bed I sit with my laptop trying to create sense of what I want to write while my lower body is snuggled up in a big white comfy duvet. I am trying to gather sense of what I feel at this point. I am confused.
I am in Dubai now, my home or so I felt. I had come here along with my dad for a few days to meet my best friend and well to be in Dubai. I missed it and I wanted to know how my home felt. I was so excited to be used to the old comfort this home once gave me.
It was around 4 or 5 am on a Friday that I reached. In this hometown, as soon as the people left office/school on a Friday, it symbolised homecoming and we welcomed the weekend. Radio Jockeys wished us to start an awesome and chill weekend and that’s what many of us did. As soon as Saturday evening rolls over, we knew it was time to say goodbye and a rather dull hello to a Sunday dawn, where we had to go back to life, school and work.
As soon as I stepped out from the airport, the humidity extended its welcome by fogging up my glasses. I knew I was home.
It was that time of the day when the whole city was asleep and there were just a few cars on the road. Nothing much has changed except something.
While going to the hotel in the taxi, I looked out with so much of fondness and nostalgia outside remembering every memory that took place wherever I looked. My dad and I reminisced at the memoires our family once made at these places.
As I started remembering more, waves of memories hit from every place I went. When I looked out now, I felt like a stranger roaming around in known lands and not of a kid whose home this was.
There was something so different in the air and in the atmosphere, I couldn’t put my finger on. I was staying in a hotel in Bur Dubai.
Back then, I lived in a big old off-white building right here in Bur Dubai. My whole life was consumed by that building. The hotel I was staying in was just behind that big old building which was once home.
As I looked around where my old home stood, there was so much of change not in the physical sense but more so in the energy and vibrancy of the place. It felt abandoned even though people live here.
From the days I lived here, I remember how Friday mornings were an embodiment of hustle and bustle. Families went out to get breakfast and did their routine shopping from super markets. There was always something or the other going on and now no one in the streets. Maybe a person or two but that’s it.
I guess it was the heat that kept people from going but back then, there was still hot scorching heat and people still went out. So, what’s different now?
I was a stranger now. I had been from my home so long, so long that I don’t recognize it any more. It felt as if home died the day I left. I am sorry.
As I am writing this, I am still trying to understand what I am feeling. It is a pang of sadness and disappointment not because I left this home or some nostalgia. I am just sad and upset because I have finally realized I don’t understand my once upon home anymore.
I feel guilty for wanting to leave this place. I feel like it is bad of me to feel guilty about this feeling because this has been my home for so long and how can I not like it? How can I just not like it anymore?
Back in Singapore, I thought I missed Dubai dearly and would do anything to go back but now I have realized, I miss the life, friendships and memories I had. I want to go back to that old life in Dubai. That is what I wanted, not this new one I am put in.
When I have to leave on the 7thback for Singapore, I don’t feel I am going to miss Dubai, the place.
For a fact, I know I am going to be hurt when I leave my best friend who lives here. I surely am going to miss the places I always like to go to but again it was that life and that moment of that place.
I am going to miss the luxury of looking at these places that remind me of my memories, yes, I am going to miss that not anything else I feel.
When I say I miss Dubai now, I miss that old life, not the place anymore.
I miss that life and the reason I feel I belong here or even want to come back is for that nostalgic memory and for my best friends. That is it, but when they leave, then what?
I guess I will still come but just for that memories.
I am always going to be a Dubai kid, but not in the way some people have defined it. I am an old Dubai kid who loved her life here. This was my home once but not anymore. Dubai is always going to be a part of me.
After all these years, I finally realize what home means. I thought home had a lot to do with physicality but no, as long as I am with my mom and dad and my best friends, I am closer to home. When I have to be truly at home, I also have to embrace the place I live at. I have to be happy and content with the life and role I am doing.
I want to call a place home when I have it all going.
Now I know what I missed all this while when I was at university crying, it was that life, that feeling. It is all clear now.
It was not home I missed; it was the life I once had.