I’m not sure whether to post this as it makes us sound terribly spoilt, but here goes.
In the Middle East it’s possible to outsource every task you could conceivably think of – from the ironing to banging a nail into a wall, changing a lightbulb and assembling Ikea furniture.
Even things I didn’t think were possible to avoid can be delegated. Had we wanted to, we could have valet parked at a children’s party this week, and already today I’ve politely declined having someone carry my groceries to the car and having the car washed while I shopped.
Because the truth is, it’s really, really difficult not to have help in Dubai.
One of my favourite bloggers, Where’s my ruby slippers?, posted a wonderful and honest account about this aspect of Dubai life, and I found myself nodding in somewhat shame-faced agreement when she described how, that morning at the mall, a lady had taken her parking ticket at the exit and put it in the machine that operates the barrier. “Had she been able to shut my car window without cutting her arm off, I have no doubt she would have done that as well,” she wrote.
The drawback, of course, is how lazy it makes us. How it becomes too easy to throw money at a problem – and, the most concerning part, the effect it has on our children. I’m constantly reminding BB and LB that there are many things in Dubai that aren’t normal (“Where’s her nanny?” asked BB once in England, on meeting a little friend in a park filled with mums, not paid staff).
But, here’s the thing: apart from our trips home, this is the only existence my children know, and teaching them that life here can be a little too easy is a challenge.
This week, our doorbell rang and it was DH’s dry cleaner, dropping off his freshly laundered and pressed uniforms. We thought nothing more of it until we realised the impression it had made on BB.
I bought him some new school uniforms a couple of days ago, but one item was out of stock so I placed an order and left my phone number.
“They call when my shirt arrives?” BB asked, looking a little puzzled. “Won’t they deliver it, like Daddy’s work clothes?’
Sigh! Time to revisit real-life for a reality check, me thinks.