Organizing My Life
There was no reason to stay in Dubai. The company would submit my residency application and according to the immigration laws I should re-enter UAE with the residency. It was July and majority of the employees including my future boss would be on vacation for the whole coming month of August. It was a good chance for me as well to inform my manager in Baghdad and try to reduce the three months notice to one month.
I decided I should leave most of my clothes and stuff with my college friend in Dubai. Left some other stuff with my Greek lady friend. I wanted to come back with more of my clothes especially the heavy stuff since winter was on doors.
I discussed with my Greek lady friend the possibilities of sharing the room together for the first month so I can seize the time and look for more appropriate accommodation. It was something that I thought to do even from Baghdad.
I set everything in Dubai to be ready for my return after one month.
I reached Baghdad two days after receiving the draft contract. I spent in Dubai 28 days. I had only $900 US with me to return to Baghdad with. That was all what I have left with me from my savings which were about $6000 US. High price but totally worth it, I was thinking!
I would work for the other month in Baghdad and the salary of that month plus the end of year bonus which I was thinking to take it in advance for the months I worked would be more than enough to pay the rents for housing, food and transportation until I receive my first salary in Dubai.
My manager in Baghdad was more than understanding when I told him about finding a job in Dubai and that it was time to leave.. It was quite an emotional moment. I started working in the company the day one it started operating in Baghdad. I knew every single paper in our files. My colleague and I, being the only permanent employees of the company for the company's situation never settled down due to the security conditions in Iraq and the company headquarter found it was wise not to expand and hire many which would throw more responsibility on the company in protecting its employees, were like a family along with our manager and deputy.
The three months notification was not even a problem and my kind boss even refused to talk about it. They wished me well and they asked me to look for a substitute.
I wanted to continue with the company with its Branch in UAE but since our company is so big that its branches were considered separate entity and since our company do not have employees transferring between branches privilege I had to apply with recommendation from my managers in Iraq but they were intimidated and they sent me an open email at the time stating that Iraqis are not accepted to work inside UAE and that has got to do with the immigration ministry of Dubai and UAE in general. I was quite taken aback by that answer and thought that they are so arrogant and did not try again with them. Little I knew!
Back in Baghdad, things were not good at all. The minute we got out from the airport heading to our house we realized how the streets of Baghdad have changed during that month we spent in UAE. 60% of the roads were blocked by huge concrete walls just like in Palestine. My sister warned me that there was only one way to get to home since every single road around our house was blocked.
Services like Electricity, water, gasoline and diesel were almost invisible. A new contractor in the neighborhood bought a huge generator and started to sell electricity to the neighborhood houses. My Dad and sister managed to buy 10 amperes and the small switching board was installed inside the house for security reasons since going out to switch between national electricity, public generator and house generator was more dangerous than ever even if it was only across the garden.
My sister told us the things she could not say on the phone or while chatting so she would not trouble us with all their burdens. She told me how terrified she was spending that month with my old father checking him out every hour to see if he was breathing or not. At 50 Celsius in July with no electricity was a hell for us let alone a man in his mid 70’s and since he had a stroke before it was quite critical. The government along with the invasion was like revenging from the Iraqi people. We hardly had any electricity and if we had it was for only an hour per day. The street generator was sufficient only for the fan but it was not enough to operate an AC, obviously! Of course that goes on the house generator which we had no way to provide with gasoline since the gas stations were packed and the quality sold in black markets were so bad that it used to cause hard to repair damages in the generator.
First night I spent in Baghdad was like hell. If I went to hell instead of heaven after I die, I think I would feel home. Probably will just ask for a manual fan!
I spent the following weeks working hard to leave my office neat and organized to set it for the new employee. Finding the suitable substitute was next , found a couple and pending their applications was the only way since I was not sure when exactly I would take off to UAE.
I was searching for accommodation in Dubai from Baghdad. I thought there would be no harm doing so even though I had in mind a place to stay in with my Greek friend.
I wanted to share with decent girls. I did not want to bump into one’s boyfriend wandering around in the house. I wanted to use the facilities in the house without worrying of diseases being transferred to my body. I do not drink or smoke nor the females in my family do and had no intention to change the atmosphere I was used to.
That was hard to achieve. In Dubai unmarried couples share bedrooms everywhere! Even though I have heard that there is a law against that, it seemed that law was on paper only. With that kind of life in Dubai, I doubt if such laws were applicable.
The Syrian guy who rented for us the room in his flat told us he was occupying a room with his wife and it turned out the next day that the Pilipino wife was actually his girl friend. She was an awesome person, very nice and decent but I hated that I was not given the choice to know all the facts before deciding. The guy knew that we would refuse the offer had we knew the facts earlier and he deliberately hided them. I discussed with my mother and since it was hard to retrieve my money back we decided to stay, after all we would be in our bed room the whole time.
I did not want to repeat that. With all due respect to people’s different traditions, we have ours and it is quite hard to accept different ones especially when you face them everyday and keep wondering how? I am old fashioned I know!
I was getting ready to say good bye to my comfortable house, to my bed room, to the times I usually spend with my family sipping tea in the living room. My sister was the biggest hurdle, my soul mate.