Here’s Abu Dhabi in the United Arab Emirates. We lived there for 4 years, loving every minute of it. Life there is – what’s the word – cushy? Convenient? Indulgent – yep, that’s it! Indulgent, the perfect word. The UAE is filled with self-indulgence. They want to be bigger, better, and more iconic than any other nation. Most people take jobs there because you are paid more to go on an overseas assignment. For a few years, you can pretend that you are rich, at least for a few. The UAE is one of the richest nations on the planet. You realize this when suddenly you stop at a traffic light and notice a brand new Ferrari, Maserati, BMW, Bentley or Jag and a young person is driving it because Daddy gave it to them for a birthday present. Oh, yes, shopping at Marina Mall – check out those ladies sauntering into Chanel and Armani just for quick shopping trip. I learned a lot.
The island is mostly expats from 125 nations so life is very very interesting. I guess I can spend more than one blog to talk about this but I don’t have the time, right now at least. We had a glorious apartment in the middle of Abu Dhabi, drove a Peugeot (unfamiliar to most Americans), enjoyed our official day off as being Friday and not Sunday, and endured temperatures of 120 degrees Fahrenheit for summer months. Marvin worked on the Abu Dhabi airport for those years, so I had a lot of time to write, travel, and explore. I guess now it may pay off in writing. At least I hope so.
What did I learn there? Okay I hope, amidst the light heartedness of this blog, that I can speak some reality right now. I learned that women were second-class citizens much of the time. I learned that Filipinos along with Pakistanis and Indians were little more than slaves in this culture in the way they were treated. I also learned to live in the tension of seeing reality but unable to speak against it at that time. I learned a lot.
To live the life of a nomad is a choice. We lived in California during the years our children were growing up, but they are now adults. Travel increased for us around 2000, making a choice to live free and clear of any entanglements that would keep us bound to one place. We do not own a home. We live very simply with few material possessions. Hmmm, I do love my used BMW – always have, always will. We don’t like to be in one place for too long. I have decided to stop fighting this and to move into the glorious reality of my life.
More travel is ahead of us. I know it because that is how God created me. I consistently prayed for God to give us a few places to ‘settle’ and hang our hat and then to travel out from there. It’s a lot less unpacking if you can afford it. Well, let’s see if that is a reality for us in 2014. I want California and Finland as home bases. Settling for two for the price of one – one small small apartment in Cali and one small small apartment in Finland BUT the back yard is the world to me, along with some disposable income to move out and GO. Life is beautiful to me and Jesus is the very center of my joy. I like how He created Debra. My life is not glamorous. I sacrificed a lot to live this way, but it is all worth it. It truly is.