as-salaam aleikum wa rahmatullahi wa barakatuh,
"you are what???"
my step-father said when I told him I am planning on moving to UAE. My mother is Japanese from Japan and my step-father is Japanese-American (full blooded Japanese but born and raised in the US). of course its the usual questioning of how women are treated and then my mother said "have you seen 'Not Without My Daughter?'" *roll eyes*
I could see my step-father took his time and was contemplating on what to tell me and then he says, "you know Uncle Charlie (also Japanese-American)? you know when his parents in Japan died, he decided to move to Japan and live in their home. but the problem is the Japanese people all knew he was American even though he looks Japanese. they can tell. and guess what? he was treated like an outsider. and now you are moving to a country with a completely different culture and you are REALLY going to be even more of an outsider. are you sure you want to do this?"
I reply back, "now if I told you I am moving to Japan would you seriously be giving me the lecture about Uncle Charlie's situation?" and he just started laughing because he even realized it was ridiculous. he wouldbe completey comfortable and happy if I was moving to Japan. I understood his concerns though. UAE is not like Japan, nor is it like the US, sooo many Americans assume when they hear United Arab Emirates, that it is just like the horrifying stories they hear about Saudi Arabia.
but everything didn't happen quickly, so over time my family, although concerned, were a bit more hopeful that everything would be alright. it took about a year and a half of him finding a job, us doing istikhaara, me flying to UAE to meet his family, then me going back home and more istikhaara. then life also happened, death in his family, marriage in his family, and finally we were able to marry. Alhamdulillah. but funny enough, we married in Australia and not UAE. he decided to study for his Master's so I flew there!! Then when he graduated we moved to UAE.
ha ha ha silly as it may be, one of my concerns was the availability of Japanese food, and especially sushi in UAE. sure I was exiiiiiited about getting to eat a bunch of home-cooked Arabic meals, but my favorite is Japanese. I would have been pretty concerned if sushi was not available at all, but my husband assured me there were a few Japanese restaurants. I can't imagine life without sushi!!!! ha ha ha but I'd still marry my husband even if it wasn't available. I'd just be really sad LOL and now there are quite a lot of Japanese restaurants here Alhamdulillah!! :D
so there is my short story of how I ended up in super duper sunny UAE :D