Hanging Out With The World
If you follow this blog, you know that my wife and I are living in Fujairah, United Arab Emirates, about an hour and a half from Dubai. And that I am working for the Higher Colleges of Technology.
One of the amazing and thoroughly enjoyable parts of living and working here is the people I get to know.
This morning, just doing normal work-related things I have interacted with people from India, Pakistan, Egypt, UAE, Oman, Scotland, Lebanon, Jordan, England, New Zealand, Australia, South Africa, Bangladesh, Philippines and Turkey: just to name the ones off the top of my head.
But more than just interacting with these wonderful people, we’re sharing our lives with each other. We work together. We live in the same community. And we each bring our own cultural biases, worldviews, ethos and communication styles into the mix– which is sometimes frustrating, but always interesting.
My wife and I were finally able to open a bank account yesterday at the National Bank of Dubai. The woman who helped us open the account spoke 4-5 different languages and her native tongue was a language I had never even heard of before– and I’ve heard of a lot of different languages–my wife is of Indian decent and India itself has 122 languages spoken by 10,000 or more people- some calculations say that there are about 415 living languages in India.
Within the past few days I have conversed with people whose native languages include: English, Arabic, Urdu, Hindi, Malayalam, Tamil, Konkani, Swedish, Balochi, Farsi, Turkish, Tagalog and Polish. And that’s just native tongues. If I was to list all the languages people were able to speak, the list would be huge.
And let us not forget religion. Just today, within the first few hours at work, I have spoken to Muslims, Hindus, and Christians. And among the Christians I have spoken to there is Mar Thoma Syrian Orthodox, Malankara Orthodox Syrian, Anglicans, Mennonites, Evangelicals, and Maronite Catholic— many people in the west have never heard of some of these denominations. I also know people who are Sikh and Parsi (Zoroastrianism).
There’s something different about the multiculturalism here than in even the most metropolitan city in the States. Right now, I am enjoying it.
I know there will be challenges, but it is nice to wake up in the morning and know that I’ll spend my day hanging out with the world.