In case you didn’t know… They’re not a lot of American’s in Dubai.
I didn’t know this before coming. For some reason I assumed there would be American’s all over Dubai. Everyone speaks English, there’s a bustling economy – I thought American’s like to get out & explore the world! But nope. Not too many. I’ve ran into a few & they’re all so shocked, as am I, to meet a fellow American. It’s like this fabulous, reconnecting with the lost world, feeling that we both embrace in. Anyway, here’s a briefing of the American’s I’ve met so far:
(Real names are not revealed . What would I do if someone actually read this and knew the person I was referring to?! Nightmare. And that would happen to me)
I met Big Daddy through work. Our company has a little kiosk in the mall that we take shifts working. One day Big Daddy approached. He was fresh off the boat from America & excited to tell me with his cool dude, big daddy style grin, elbow leaning on the desk, that he’s needing a $3M home in Dubai.
Big Daddy had BIG muscles busting out of his shirt, veins busting out of his muscles, and blood busting out of his veins. Ok, not really the blood part but close. He had a backpack on with all his life essentials in it & was red in the face with a nice, thinning, light red, ginger hair color. This guy was the definition of cool. Even cooler – he quickly told me about the company he started & was opening in Dubai.
Big Daddy quickly appeared to be the American type, cool dude, sneaker wearing man I would imagine seeing portrayed on Saturday Night Live. As we viewed properties all across Dubai he asked me, “where the hell do you buy liquor here?” Well well well, you’ve come to the wrong country my friend. Quickly, after Big Daddy adjusted to Dubai, he became more and more hostile. Agitated. And annoyed. At everything. He was learning the frustrations of Dubai. The fresh off the boat bliss was leaving and the real functioning life frustrations in Dubai were setting in. Awwww to see this pumped up male specimen stressed.
Each time we met I learned more & more information about my fellow American friend. He likes supermodels from New York, he has a close “friend” he’s talking to in Dubai (God forbid we call her a girlfriend), he likes whiskey on the rocks at night to unwind, he requires some specific ab cruncher machine in his gym but only for morning workouts, his co-founder doesn’t like me (What?!) and so on and so forth.
Needless to say, me and Big Daddy ended our professional relationship. Frankly speaking, in America, I wouldn’t have given this guy more than a 1 min conversation because these types stress me out, make me want to cry, and I can’t keep up with their coolness. But here I am, in Dubai, desperately seeking fellow Americans to latch on to conversations that remind me of home. So there I was, talking to Big Daddy in the Starbucks day after day about muscles and Muslims.
That was Big Daddy.
I also met John Anderson through work. He called our call center looking for an apartment in Dubai & was transferred to me. The first I saw of John was an email explaining his requirements. It was perfectly written English. Very specific. This guy is American. After scheduling a viewing & meeting for the first time I knew at first glance this dude was American. He looked like my family member. How and why is this rare breed here in Dubai?
John Anderson is your typical American sweetheart brother. Probably captain of the football team in high school, valedictorian in college, and Mr. Congeniality at work. I was excited to talk to him in all out American, our slang, our accents, our English. This was a relief & created fun conversations. A normal discussion explaining whether or not an apartment would be painted, turned into a musically enchanting, joyous, high-pitched song simply because the dialog flowed easily.
The best part of John Anderson? He said he spent a summer in Minneapolis & fell in love with it. My heart was warm. The second best part of John Anderson? His fiancé was from Wisconsin! What? Mid-western people right here in front of my eyes, in Dubai? My life was made for this moment. These two acted exactly how I remembered two people from the jolly ol mid-west to act. So cute and fair skinned, light haired, overly kind, smart, and soaking up everything around them. On the biggest adventure of their lives so far. Innocent.
That was John Anderson.
Again, I met Daisy through work. Daisy and I’s first conversation was very popular girl, like I totally knew she was like American.. likeeee totally girl.
Because Daisy seemed to know a lot about everything on our phone conversation I didn’t dare ask if she’s American. Maybe she’s trying to (like) blend in with the culture, so I best not be calling her out. .. Until, she told me her email address:
How could I not say something? And how could I not have guessed? She was popular! And probably a cheerleader. Knowing the following conversation was totally going to freak Daisy out it was rather fun to have…
Katie: “Hey girl, are you from the States?”
Katie: “Hmmmm I forgot the name of the city, the college city…”
Katie: “Where people are weirdly obsessed with football?”
Katie: “College Station!”
Daisy: “Oh my Gawd, how did you know that?”
Katie: “I went to school in Austin….. Aggie, something to do with that football team… It’s in your email address”
Daisy: “Oh… Ok. Yeah.”
Daisy didn’t care much. But that was ok. I cared. And I liked her. We’re from the same place. And she’s totally the type of girl I could never be like but always admired. I’m not exactly clear on what brought Daisy to Dubai, probably similar reasons to myself. Maybe trying to live or find her dream. But she seems happy here and seems to be learning a lot, exploring, and adapting. A Daisy in Dubai. How cool is that?
That’s Daisy Duke.
Sargent Tat is tatted. Has anyone seen the series Sons Of Anarchy? If you haven’t, you should give it a try. It’s pretty good, and on Netflix I think. Anyways, in that series there’s a character named Clay. Sargent Tat is Clay. I really believe the writers for Sons of Anarchy met Sargent Tat and based the character Clay off him.
Anyways, Sargent Tat is probably about 50. He’s rough. Tatoos all over the place. Got his cargo khaki pants on and probably a sleeveless wife beater shirt under his skin tight t-shirt. Big, bushy, white eyebrows that come to a triangle point when he talks to you with deep, creased forehead wrinkles.
Sargent Tat also knows everything. He lived in Qatar so it makes sense he didn’t come to me with the same off the boat bliss all the other American’s I meet have. He already knows what’s up in the Middle East. It isn’t everything it’s talked up to be. The daily struggles of completing what used to be such easy tasks, he was ready for. This awareness and knowledge he had of the Middle East was both annoying and relieving.
Annoying because sometimes talking to the American’s with their off the boat bliss made me happy. They have the spirit I missed. But relieving because I could talk to Sargent Tat with open truth about my opinions of Dubai and he wasn’t shocked. He agreed and supported my thoughts. I wasn’t crazy!
That’s Sargent Tat.
I met Martha at a baby shower. Martha is American. Texan, American. But not at first glance. Martha has adapted. Completely became one with the Middle East. So much so that she’s married to a local Emirati gentleman, has a couple children with him, fully converted Muslim, please take off your shoes before entering the house, and full Abaya as daily clothing type of adapted woman. Martha’s deep in the Arabian lifestyle dream. (Although, all those magnets on her kitchen fridge of the places she’s been give away the American in her <3 )
When I saw Martha take off her Abaya I was shocked. A blonde, big haired, blue eye shadow wearing, studded clothing up and down, pink lipstick smothered Texan woman was revealed . Holy smokes she couldn’t look more Texan if it was Halloween dress-up-as-a-Texan day. Just short of cowboy boots, which I’m sure she had stored somewhere, she was an all out Texan girl converted to the Middle Eastern culture. This was the most fascinating American I’ve yet to come across in Dubai. (I actually met her in Abu Dhabi, which is where I hear the American’s are hiding.)
After listening to her and her friends conversations I couldn’t help but smile SO BIG. All her friends were the same as her. Texas grown women converted over to the Middle Eastern lifestyle. But their conversations easily revealed where they’re from. Slang and all the Texas talk and cussing came out loud and bright. Going on and on about the police, crazy drivers, what’s going on in the states… With a few arabic words in between.
Martha couldn’t keep me from smiling if you paid me. I even had to chuckle to myself a couple times. I think I found it a little funny, I don’t know why. Maybe because in my head I imagine a woman in America that’s looking for a husband that’s going to treat her like a princess, literally. And she probably met an Arab guy who has the image of creating that dream for her. And from that moment she was swept up in the dream.
Martha acted like a princess. Not in a bad, stuck up way. But in a glowing almost fantasy, unrealistic way. A bit unbelievable. Is this real life? Or a woman in a movie? Studded gown, big house, hair and make up done. An over the top baby shower for her daughter might I add. Tea and coffee in her arabian style living room. A maid to serve it. A princess.
That was Martha.
So there you have it! The only American’s I’ve met in Dubai so far. I hear there’s more. But I don’t see them. Lots of British people and Eastern Europeans. But the American’s are either hiding.. or they come and they leave. But when I come across one, I tell you it’s an interesting ride of a relationship.