I'm sure a lot of you must be familiar with this: the nervous feeling when you're in a circle playing ice-breakers and someone asks, "so, where are you from?" and IMMEDIATELY your brain starts to do the math. Wait, do I say where I'M born and raised? Or where my parents were born? But hold on, I grew up in Dubai basically my whole life. Ugh.
In the end I just end up saying "hi, I'm originally Indian but I was raised in Dubai literally my whole life". Identity is such a weird thing - I'm called too 'foreign' or 'white-washed' at home, but I'm not as well versed with Arab culture here in DXB as I'd like to be. Life's hard sometimes y'all, when you're not even sure where you're from.
ESPECIALLY in a place as diverse as the UAE, where every second person is from somewhere new, you're like "what the heck! I'm from somewhere that has so many more cultures than I even knew to begin with." Sooo...you get the point. There's a lotta confusion and your identity kinda begins to look like a rly complex algorithm.
But there's a couple of things that tie us Dubai Third Culture Kids together, so I'll list some for y'all:
1. Chips Oman
This is a delicacy, don't even @ me. Chips Oman are every Gulf kid's essential snack growing up, and we all love it so much that there's literally Chips Oman-inspired sushi. Oh, and there's also Chips Oman parottas that are a fave, you gotta agree.
2. The Beach
The undeniable love for tanning and the beach is a big part of the TCK fam! No matter where you're gonna be at, you'll end up looking for a beach to go and refresh that tan. Because we are blessed with tropical views and eternal summer here, we ain't letting that get away from us. Like, ever.
3. Arabic Slang
'Mashallah' we say to anything beautiful without even a second thought. Arabic slang finds its way into our lingo without us even realizing it, and it's such a nice way to link us back to our DXB upbringing. Language is such a big part of growing up in Dubai, habibti.
The one and only HOLY GRAIL food. I can't even tell you how excited I was when I was on holiday in Greece last year and I saw hummus on the menu. Middle Eastern food is our go-to when you're away from home, and it'll remind you of everything you ever loved about the cuisine here.