UAE: Orientalism and Slipper Socks–Lessons at the Nail Salon

UAE: Orientalism and Slipper Socks–Lessons at the Nail Salon

It’s 2013, a new year and of course the air is full of portent: new beginnings, fresh starts, gleaming resolutions to become perfect by February, March at the latest. Gyms throng with new devotees, yoga classes bulge with folks suddenly in need of a little down-dog enlightenment.

2013 marks the beginning of our second year in Abu Dhabi: we moved here in August 2011, so we are slowly becoming accustomed to the rhythms of expat life. My younger son, for example, when we returned to Abu Dhabi after spending the holidays with family in Manhattan, said “basically we just have two homes even though we only have one apartment.”  That’s as good a summary as any: we no longer have an apartment in New York, so we’re always sort of perching–a rental, a hotel, someone’s house–and yet New York will always be “home.”

I’d thought that by now, sixteen months into our Abu Dhabi adventure, I’d have gotten further below the surface of this city but I still feel like I’m floating. It’s a city that allows the float: English is the common language, there are people from every country imaginable walking the streets, I don’t have to cover my hair or my skin to go outside, bacon and liquor are readily available even though they are forbidden to Muslims.


Mannahattamamma (UAE)

After twenty-plus years in Manhattan, Deborah Quinn and her family moved to Abu Dhabi (in the United Arab Emirates), where she spends a great deal of time driving her sons back and forth to soccer practice. She writes about travel, politics, feminism, education, and the absurdities of living in a place where temperatures regularly go above 110F.
Deborah can also be found on her blog, Mannahattamamma.

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