So, I don’t need to tell anyone how I feel about Dubai. We all know. No need to beat that dead horse. So surely, given the opportunity to leave this joint and go back home to Australia, I would jump at the chance, right?? Well, I guess if that had been the case, this ejo would have a very different title. Something along the lines of “Ejo #61 – Escape At Last” or “Ejo #61 – Fuck Off Dubai, We’re Going Home” or similar. You get the gist. As it is, my ejo this month is not about the colossally magnificent news that we’re packing up and moving back to Australia. Nope. It’s about having the opportunity to do so, carefully (oh, so very carefully) considering it and then rejecting it.
For the first time since we’ve moved to Dubai (way, way back in October 2008) Airservices Australia (the country’s only Air Navigation Service Provider – and our previous employer) has opened up recruitment to overseas air traffic controllers. When we first heard about it David and I kind of looked at each other sideways trying to assess how the other felt about the possibility of chucking it in here and finally heading back from whence we came. Neither of us wanted to ask the question, and neither of us wanted to answer it. But we both knew what the question was: Are we ready to go home?
Eventually we got around to talking about it. The conversations would go something like this:
“So, do you want to apply?”
“I’m not sure. Do you?”
In the end we decided that we would write to the recruitment people and ask them a few questions. Dealbreakers like where we could expect to get placed and whether or not we could expect to get placed in the same city. If Rockhampton was our only option, the scenario instantly became less palatable. And if one of us could go to Melbourne but the other would be placed in Sydney, same deal. I’ve always said that my marriage is more important to me than my career, and I’m not about to start a long distance relationship with David now.
When they got back to us we discovered that Melbourne Tower was not even on the board. This drastically reduced the attractiveness of the idea of moving back for me. If I go home, it’s to go home. And for me, that’s Melbourne. If I’m living in Sydney or, even worse, Perth then I’m not home and I might as well stay where I am. Don’t get me wrong, I don’t have anything against either of those places, but the deal would be made a lot sweeter if we had the chance to move directly to Melbourne.
In case you didn’t know, the main reason that David and I moved to Dubai in the first place was an increasing level of disenchantment with the management style of Airservices Australia. When we first got to Dubai, our employer was the sharing and caring antidote to that and we were happy. Unfortunately, over the years our current employers’ management style has rapidly deteriorated to the same level as we were experiencing back home. I’m talking about deceit, derision and downright hostility towards their air traffic controllers. Morale here is not good. People are resigning in droves and returning to their home countries leaving behind radar units and towers that are painfully short staffed. The company is unable to recruit air traffic controllers from elsewhere because they aren’t offering an attractive enough package. And we’re not just disenchanted, but also disillusioned and disengaged. So it ain’t a happy place.
So why do we stay? Let me make you a list of things I miss from Australia.
* my family
* my friends
* coffee (oh my god, the coffee)
* no smoking in restaurants, bars and cafes
* the weather
* the amazing restaurant scene
* the sound of birds
* the lack of in-your-face racism
* the culture
* our house
* our neighbourhood
* road rules
* clean air
* trees, plants, flowers, the colour green
* jobs done by those who want to do them, rather than jobs determined by nationality
* quality healthcare
* good service
* not being called sir EVER AGAIN
* being able to wear whatever I like
* being able to kiss my husband in public
* being able to swear in public (I’ve started doing this here and think I’d best stop)
* not being afraid to be drunk in public for fear of being arrested
* not being afraid of being thrown in jail for no good reason
* being able to flip people the bird if I feel like it (it’s the principle)
* great fashion
* reliable mail
* no freaking construction
* no sand EVERYWHERE
* cleaning ladies not being terrified that I’m going to beat them
* pornography (again, not something I necessarily want, but give me the choice god damn it)
* freedom of speech
* reading magazines where they call it wine and beer, not grape and hops
* bacon, oh crispy bacon
* being able to log onto Skype, Spotify etc. without having to hide my location using a VPN
* the countryside
* being able to ski within three hours of the city
* OPSM (seriously, I’ve never had a pair of prescription glasses made properly here)
* no in-your-face wasta
* people that turn their headlights on at night (der)
* skilled tradespeople
* minimum wage
* human rights (OK, Australia’s record of that isn’t so great either, but at least you aren’t subjected to it on a daily basis)
* addresses (there’s no street name/number system here – you navigate using landmarks)
* great live music scene
* people washing their own damn cars
* not needing the aircon on 24/7
* good hairdressers*
I really could go on, but I think you get the idea. Now I’ll list what I would miss about Dubai if we were to move back home.
* the travel.
Well, maybe the cheap and plentiful taxis too. And that’s about it. But that one thing, right now, is worth sacrificing all those other things that I miss about home. I’m not done travelling yet. I don’t know if I ever will be. I’ve got a severe case of wanderlust, and I’ve got it bad. And living here allows me to regularly, and frequently, scratch that itch in a way that I wouldn’t be able to do from Australia. So I forfeit my family and my friends and great coffee in exchange for being able to see the world. I can’t even say if it’s a fair exchange. I just know that I’m not ready to give it up yet. And (thank goodness) neither is David. If one of us wanted to go home, we have agreed that we would go. But for now we’re staying.
In other news, we are coming home in February for a couple of weeks so that we can get our fix of all those things we miss about it. Best of both worlds.
* If anyone can recommend a GREAT hairdresser in Melbourne, I’d be extremely grateful.