Posts Tagged ‘Dubai’
It’s clear as soon as we reach the supermarket that something’s wrong. People are wandering around looking dazed and confused. By the kitchen roll, there’s a woman in tears, her shopping list hanging useless from her hand. A man dashes past. His eyes are panicky and his gaze sweeps left and right, searching – searching for what? Has there been an atrocity at the butcher’s counter; a cereal killer in the breakfast aisle?
I’m just about to call the children and suggest we leave, but then I realise what’s happened: the supermarket’s changed its shelves around. Not only is nothing where it used to be, but even the aisles themselves have moved, and nothing in the new regime makes sense.
You come out from cleaning products and go straight into cereal bars. There are lentils in the biscuits aisle, tinned tuna alongside breakfast cereal. It’s as if the shop staff threw everything in the air and let it fall randomly onto the shelves.
Heaven forbid they actually intended to shelve the goods like this. I can just imagine the planning meeting:
‘Where shall we put the tinned tomatoes? With the ketchup, pizza sauce and tomato paste?’
A burst of laughter. ‘Where’s the fun in that?’
I hate it. I’m a creature of habit. I write my shopping list in the order in which I’ll find the stuff around the shop; now, I just wander around feeling lost and go home with 50% of my list. But there have been benefits to the new layout: 1) My step count’s gone through the roof, and 2) It’s been three weeks and I still haven’t found the chocolate.
We often get messages from the property developer that originally built and now maintains our community.
Ramadan Mubarak. Eid Mubarak. Merry Christmas. Happy New Year. Happy Diwali. It’s sweet how inclusive it tries to be.
But today, for the first time in 10 years, I saw a post-summer message. And it made me smile. It’s good to be back.
Like most parents, I’m trying not to skip about the house singing as we look down the barrel of the new school term. Yes, my lovelies, after 10 weeks off, my little angels go back to school tomorrow.
Are you ready? I am!
I don’t mean mentally. I’ve been mentally ready for school for the last four weeks. What I mean is that I’ve done all the necessary back-to-school prep to get the kids off to their classrooms with suitably stuffed pencil cases and spanking new lunch boxes and water bottles, as well as kitted out in school uniform that’s correct, fits and is labelled.
And please, non-parents, don’t underestimate how much effort that takes, from the tedious “trying on” of old uniform (budget at least half a day if you’ve got an uncooperative wriggler) to the sizing of the new uniform, wherein the sizes printed in the clothes bear absolutely no resemblance to the sizes of the actual clothes meaning your child has to struggle in and out of four different PE shirts labelled anything from age 6 to age 14 in a room with an ambient temperature of about 56C (or maybe that’s just our school’s uniform supplier).
And that’s before we negotiate the social minefield that is admitting on Facebook that you’re ironing in the name labels as opposed to sewing them in tiny backstitch. Yeah. Hands up to that one.
We’ve also come up with a tick-box menu for daily packed lunches; we’ve baked “pizza rolls” for the days when sandwiches are just too “meh”; and we’ve pre-made batches of morning pancakes. We’ve shopped for snacks and agreed that, for one fussy eater (I’m looking at you, DS), school lunch is the only way to go (never mind about that camo-print lunch box I lugged back from the States in my handbag!).
It’s fair to say – it really is – that we’re ready for school.
But then I look in the mirror and realise that, in all the prep, I’ve overlooked one thing.
In the rush of sorting out the children – in the excitement of getting them back to school – I’ve overlooked my pedicure.
My toenails are pale. They are unvarnished. They are in their August resting state. They may be neat, but they are as bare as the day I was born. This, in the circles of Dubai school mothers, is social kamikaze. What woman allows herself to be seen within the school grounds without at least two coats of TITO’s London Calling? DH, my love, my sweet… you’re on drop-off duty.
- Always push both the UP and DOWN buttons to summon the lift. Sure, the first lift that stops may not be going in your direction but at least you can while away the minutes saying ‘Going up? Oh no. I want down’ to a lift full of (irritated) strangers.
Always remember that there’s no such thing as a full lift. People are squashed in like sardines? Shove a little harder – if they got in, you deserve to be in, too!
- Don’t, whatever you do, wear deodorant.
- When you’re first into a lift with people following, don’t move to the back. You might not be able to get out!
- If you’re standing by the lift door, never ever use the ‘open door’ button to let the people at the back out. Timed lift-exiting is soon to be an Olympic sport.
- After the lift door closes, keep on talking on your Blackberry / iPhone / both at the same time. It’s important that you look important.
- Do utilise the lift’s mirror to apply your makeup / do your hair / inspect your pimples. What else are mirrors for?
- If you’re going above the 15th floor, try to start a conversation. ‘Do you know what material this shirt is made from?… Boyfriend material!’ is always a good line.*
* Hands up, I stole this line from the Laughing Cow cheese ad.
“I’m not buying that for you now: Christmas is coming!”
“If you fiddle with those presents, you’re not having them!”
“No, I’m not buying it: Santa might bring it!”
“If you don’t behave, I’m taking one present out from under the tree!”
“Remember: Santa’s watching you…”
[“When does school go back?”]
“No, darling… it’s not a kitten.”
I took the children to the Family Day at the Dubai Rugby 7s last week. It was the first time I’ve been to the rugby in 10 years. A decade ago, the Sevens for me involved little rugby, a lot of beer and a lot of crazy dancing at the concert after.I can’t tell you how different it was when I went with the children. I was driving, for a start, which meant no falling-down juice. And we sat in the family stand, which meant we had a great view of the rugby without having to deal with the sort of drunken high jinks that I remember from Sevenses past.
What surprised me, though, was how much the children enjoyed watching the international women’s matches. They each picked a team and got right into it. We learned that each try is worth five points and that, after a try, the person who scored gets a chance to ‘convert’ by kicking the ball through the goal, which can give two extra points. If this was news to me at the ripe old age of 43, it was even bigger news to DD.
‘Aw,’ she said, after a player scored another try and failed the conversion. ‘Rugby’s such a nice game.’
‘Really?’ I asked. We’d spent much of the afternoon watching with our hands over our mouths as grown women literally ripped each other’s limbs off down on the pitch. ‘Nice?’
‘Yes! It’s not like netball where you have to get a goal to get a point,’ she said. ‘In rugby they give you five points just for trying!’