It was morning of March 18, 2016 when I first set foot in the sand land – United Arab Emirates. I wanted to shout right after I got out of the plane’s door, raise my hands, jump out of joy, and welcome myself in this country. But of course, I did not do that. There was only a smile of gratitude that I arrived safely after a non-stop 9 hours flight with Etihad Airways, Manila to Abu Dhabi.
An airport bus drove us to the passenger’s entrance. I feel anxious since it was my first time traveling out of the country and on my own. There were signage going to the pass control where your passport and visit visa will be stamped. There is also eye scan. And then, you’re good to go. I got my luggage and walked through the exit/ arrival area where my dad, my aunt, and their friend was waiting for me.
Thank God it was Friday, day-off for everybody. Before we go to their space, my new home, we went to the fish market to buy something to cook for lunch. The assistant there is a Filipino. It was nice seeing Kabayans everywhere. I thought to myself that it wouldn’t be hard to adjust.
We got to our flat before noon. It is a room with 9 bedspacers, mainly double deck bed with curtains as dividers and for privacy, there is a small kitchen and the bathroom is outside. Honestly, I was not at all surprised since I used to watch documentaries of OFWs. It was like this and the only difference is I am no longer watching it, I am already a part of it.
I took a nap for about 2 hours. I still feel the turbulences from the flight. I don’t know if I was able to rest. I arrange my things to the cabinet. We got out and bought some stuffs that I will be using for my stay.
We walked around the streets, encountered a lot of Arabs, Indians, Pakistanis, and other different nationalities, and of course, Filipinos. It is true that this is a country with diverse culture.
We went to the malls. There are lots of shopping centers in UAE. This one is Marina Mall with Ferris Wheel in front which feels like Skyranch Tagaytay or Mall of Asia in the Philippines.
I’m excited to explore this place next time on my own. It was a long day really but I am looking forward to my next days. There is so much more to learn in this country.