Notes by Nectar

Your destiny lies in your own hands

On my own…

As I mentioned earlier, I moved into my own place just over seven weeks ago (I’m loving it) and my parents left exactly three weeks ago today…

The last few days of my parents being in Dubai were frustrating – they seemed to be aiming for the most disorganised move in history (and I’m still dealing with some of the fallout from that, such as DEWA deposit refunds, etc.) and I was looking forward to them leaving so that I could enjoy just ‘being’ in my flat.

But, when we got to the airport and said our goodbyes, I bawled my eyes out… which led to my dad getting upset (Mum seemed fine)… And thinking about it now still makes me a bit teary. On my way home, I was debating whether to attend a friend’s 40th that evening. I just wasn’t in the mood. But when I walked in the front door and took a look at the boxes (of junk, admittedly) that Mum had left behind in my living room, I rolled my eyes and got ready. And I’m glad I went – it was a fun night.

The next morning I felt fine – I woke up in my quiet flat and knew I’d made the right decision not to go with them.

But then I suddenly had to think about what to have for lunch. And what to have for dinner. And then repeat the process all over again the following day. And the day after that. I’ve discovered a few things:

  • I absolutely hate cooking. Cooking for one person is a complete waste of time. Even making a simple salad is tedious – washing vegetables, chopping vegetables, making the dressing – and ten minutes later it’s all gone and you have to clear up. I’ve made eggs, stir fries and pasta – but I don’t like the heat of the open flame on the stove either. I do seem to have mastered brown rice though (without the rice cooker).
  • Don’t use the salad spinner on the kitchen counter. This might sound like common sense to you – but as I put the leaves in the spinner I wondered where the water went… and five seconds later I had my answer. Right out of the bottom of it! I did laugh out loud though. At my own stupidity.
  • Don’t go to the supermarket on a Saturday afternoon. I already knew this but had reconfirmation just before the New Year. I thought I’d stock up on a few items before VAT kicked in and I think everyone had the same idea.
  • IKEA has ruined my dream. When I moved here, I bought an Expedit cabinet/bookcase – 185 x 185 cm – for my books… and my plan when I moved was to get another one to go next to it in my living room so I could have my wall-to-wall books. Well, Expedit no longer exists. It was replaced with Kallax, which is almost identical, except it’s 182 x 182 cm. Can I live with that difference of 3 cm and the shelves being 1.5 cm lower on one side of the wall? No, I don’t think so. I need to find other options (I’m currently trawling Dubizzle, hoping someone is selling off their old bookcase).
  • I love sitting at home with the balcony doors open and the birds singing but the flat gets so dusty so quickly!
  • My new laundry guy has been scamming me for the last six weeks – charging me more than I should be paying. I only discovered this because he was away and someone else who works there dropped off the laundry. Oh, just wait until he gets back…
  • Zaatar w Zeit don’t deliver to my new address. I can’t describe the devastation I felt.

Well, I think that about covers all the important things I’ve learned over the last few weeks. I’m sure there will be more revelations as time goes on, so watch this space!


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Dubai: Week 5

There isn’t that much going on here (for me) to write about each day separately so I think will have to be weeks from now on.

So, week 5. 

Torture session with Rama followed by Sunday brunch at the Shangri-La – my parents, sister, cousin and me. It was nice but the food was different from the last time we went, and the service was pretty rubbish. We waited 20 minutes for our coffees after lunch. I don’t know what’s happened to me but I crave coffee these days. In London I would have one a week, but here it’s every time I go out (but not at night – I’m not quite there yet).

After lunch, my dad had an appointment with his physiotherapist. My mum usually accompanies him but she was helping my sister with her packing so I went with him. My mum had been saying how good-looking this physiotherapist was but I couldn’t really judge because I’d never seen him. So when I met him… Oh. My. God. She was right! I’m sure there must be some part of me that needs physiotherapy? Hmm… Anyway, while my dad had his appointment I sat in the waiting room counting all the spelling mistakes in the magazine I was reading. I thought I might go along with him every week!

Monday was uneventful – I went to the gym for a cardio session and did some work. 

On Tuesday I spent the whole day with my parents. We had to go back to Sharjah to sign our contracts. I decided to take my camera with me as I haven’t been taking enough photos. It’s all about practice, right? We were in Sharjah for about an hour – we signed our contracts and went to see a friend’s furniture store. 

On our way back, my parents decided they wanted to go to IKEA. Again. They were looking at cupboards for their room and my dad finally found something he liked. We ordered it and while they were paying I took some photos.


Instead of going home, we went to BurJuman – a different shopping mall. It was nowhere near as crowded as the Dubai Mall or Mall of the Emirates – it was quite nice to walk around.


My dad was in the mood to buy some shoes and ended up buying five pairs. I’d never seen him like that. It was as if he had the need to fill his new cupboards before they’d even arrived. So while he was trying on shoes, I decided to jump on the bandwagon and chose a pair for myself.

We got home and I was relieved my parents were going out that evening. After dinner, I went out to the balcony and took these:


I think I need to take my tripod out there too – just so the camera doesn’t move as I take the photos. And it might be a good idea to wait until it’s a bit warmer. It was quite windy out there. 

It had been a long day and I was asleep before my parents got home. 

Wednesday was uneventful, apart from the yoga class I had in the morning. 

On Thursday I had a session with Rama in the morning. I then went to the ‘saloon’ (FFS) at the Fairmont and met my cousin for a coffee. 

That evening I went out with a British expat group I joined online. I had never met any of them but it was a fun evening and I paid for it the next day (when I had to spend four hours in my photography class with a stinking hangover). I could not wait to get home and into my pajamas. My parents wanted me to join them for dinner with some of their friends, but there was no way I was going anywhere. 

On Saturday morning, my mum and I went to the gym. My parents had been wanting to take me to an Italian restaurant called Vapiano at the Dubai Mall so we headed to the mall for lunch. The restaurant was so crowded when we got there that we decided to go elsewhere. We ended up at Wafi Gourmet – again, great food but terrible service. I’d never been to the cinema at the mall (there are 22 screens there) and we ended up seeing ‘Haywire’. Not a great movie, but definitely not the worst I’ve ever seen…

And that was week 5!

See more Dubai updates here.

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Dubai: Day 19

Thursday (Day 19) was a long day.

My mum, our housekeeper and I needed to get our medicals done for our resident permits – and we needed to be in Sharjah by 10am. I haven’t woken up that early in almost a month. Dad said we’d leave home at 9.15am. 

For some reason I woke up at 7.45 – I could hear Vinay so decided I’d sit with him for a while. He played with his animals and then with my hair for a while until his nanny took him downstairs for some fresh air and to see the resident cat. I got ready and was ready a little before 9. Neither of my parents were ready and we eventually left home at 9.30. We got to Sharjah at about 10.15.

The Public Medical Centre was packed. There must have been 100 people waiting there for their medicals. They were mostly men, and they were mostly Indian/Pakistani. Fortunately we didn’t have to join that queue and were seen in about 15 minutes.

First was the finger printing. This was done in one room which was divided into two sections by a screen – one side for men, one for women. My hands were sanitised with liquid soap and then placed onto a scanner. The lady did the four fingers of my right hand together first, then she did each finger individually, then the thumb, the palm, and the side of my hand. She did the same with my left hand. Apart from the ‘No photography’ signs, there were also signs for ‘No eating, drinking or smoking’ and ‘No mehndi’. It didn’t actually say ‘No mehndi’ but there was a hand with mehndi on it with a red cross over it. 

Once that was done, I had my photo taken.

After a short wait, the three of us were taken to a changing room. The radiologist told us to get changed into the gowns provided and come into the next room one at a time. The changing ‘room’ was a white tiled cubicle, about 5 ft x 5 ft. It was tiny. And the gowns provided? Well, I have no idea how many people had put them on before us but there was nothing else. It was quite gross. We went to the X-ray room, one at a time – it took less than 3 minutes. And thank goodness, because I couldn’t wait to get out of that pink gown.

Then came the fun part. The blood test. I sat down, the woman tapped the inside of my elbow and stuck the needle in. Nothing happened. She tried again. And nothing happened. Considering that’s her job, she wasn’t very good at it. She looked at my other arm, shook her head, and then looked at my hands. She eventually stuck the needle in the back of my hand. It hurt like hell but she found blood. When she was finished, she told me I’d have to press it hard so that it wouldn’t bruise. I did that, but still developed a lovely bruise on the back of my hand. Not to mention the puncture wound where she stuck the needle.


After we were done with that, we headed back to Dubai. As we had hired a car and driver for the day, we decided to go to IKEA in Festival City and see what they had. I still needed bookshelves and side tables and a few other bits and pieces.

We stopped for lunch at a place called Bread & Co. They did have other things apart from sandwiches so I was OK. Food was average, service was terrible.

And then came IKEA. I’d never been to an IKEA before (can you believe it?). In a way, I’m glad I’d never been because I would have had to ship double the amount of crap that I did. We walked around and I finally decided on a bookshelf. It’s 6 ft x 6 ft and a brown-black wood. It’s huge and it’s lovely. I’m just not sure it’s big enough for all my books. 


I found my side tables in the same shade of wood. 


I also bought a desk lamp and files for my papers.

There was no way we could take the bookcase home in the car. Or even lift it. It came in four boxes and they were all bigger than me. After paying for everything, we took it all to the Home Delivery station – they would deliver that very evening and assemble the bookcase and side tables too.

It took two men almost an hour to assemble all three pieces of furniture. Again, Vinay was fascinated by what was happening in my room. 

I think all I need now are lamps for the side tables and then I’m done. A successful day!

See more Dubai updates here.

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