Tuesday, December 3, 2013

UAE National Day - Not just for Emirates

Fireworks in Celebration of the Expo2020 Win in Dubai
Last weekend was very eventful for Dubai.  On Wednesday, November 27th, Expo 2020 was awarded to the Emirate.  The city celebrated, and fireworks entertained us from the Burj Khalifa. This was a great kick off to the long holiday weekend for UAE National Day.  Only 42 years ago, the UAE became a nation, and now it has been selected to host an Expo - quite an achievement.

All this happened to fall on American Thanksgiving weekend, so we were full on at home.  From me briskly walking for a good 20 or so minutes with two 6+kg (9-pound) turkeys to catch the Expo fireworks to my two day cooking extravaganza, there was a lot to celebrate and be thankful for.

While the actual National Day was on December 2nd, a lot of us in the private sector were off on Sunday and worked on Monday.  That evening, I finally took my son for much needed shoe shopping.

We went to one of the smaller shopping malls here, and were pleasantly surprised to find a central area with locals showing off local crafts - net making, basket weaving, henna painting and singing. In another area was a large table with National Day accessories like scarves, bracelets, flags, and pins.

My son very much wanted a pin with a picture of HH Sheikh Mohamed, Vice President and Prime Minister of the UAE, and the Ruler of Dubai; HH Sheikh Hamdan, the Crown Prince of Dubai, and HH Sheikh Khalifa the President of the UAE and Ruler of Abu Dhabi.  It was small so I gave him some money to buy it - and after all it was National Day.

My son was so excited to put the pin on right away.  He walked around proudly with his chest out for all to see.  He had a sweater on that he zipped up, but immediately had to open because it covered his UAE badge.  On the way out we watched some local dancing and drumming, and he danced the entire way back to the car.

As we went to dinner, I kept thinking about how proud he was of his new purchase.  I thought about the thousands of children living here like my son, who are not local, but were born here.  This is the only home they know.  They all know they descend from parents who are not local, but this is the place they call home.

Like those other children growing up here, he loves the UAE and Dubai.  When we travel and he sees an Emirates flag on the airplane he is incredibly excited.  And when people ask where he is from, Dubai is included in that explanation.

He doesn't quite know what an Expo is, but he was excited it was awarded to Dubai.  I am sure this will be a holiday he does not forget - a celebration of Expo and the UAE, Thanksgiving and we even put up our Christmas tree early.  How can a child not love a country that can offer him the ability to do all of this in one weekend.

Congratulations and Happy Birthday to the UAE - our home away from wherever "home" is…

Fireworks in Celebration of the Expo2020 Win in Dubai