1.You don’t bat an eyelid at the fanciest cars.
Lamborghini, Maserati, Ferrari and Rolls Royce — you grew up seeing these fancy cars cruise along in Jumeirah every day. You don’t get what the fuss is about when out-of-towners want to take selfies with them.
2.You’ve watched at least five Bollywood movies in the cinema, even if you aren’t Indian.
You might have never fully understood the rationale behind the singing and dancing around trees, or the love for Shah Rukh Khan, but you did find yourself trying by watching at least a few Bollywood movies at Lamcy Plaza or Strand Cinema.
3.You know when it comes to desserts, kunefe is the most sinful of them all.
Crispy pastry. Cheese. Sugar syrup. Pistachios. Rose petals. Kunefe perfectly combines sweet and savory tastes. If poetry could be a dessert, kunefe would be it.
4.You discuss the highest temperature of every summer as if it were a contest.
You’ve probably fainted in exhaustion or from dehydration on a scorching summer afternoon at least once in your childhood. Every summer, you excitedly discuss the highest temperatures with your friends and colleagues as though it were some sort of contest on the lines of ‘How high can it go?’ This involves taking screenshots of your weather app showing 48°C when you’ve mustered up the courage to step outdoors in the afternoon.
5.Words like ‘Habibi’ and ‘Yallah’ have crept into your daily vocabulary.
Even though you’re not Arab, ‘Habibi’ is what you naturally use to express yourself when you’re in a good mood or trying to gently present your case in an argument without coming across as too strong. On the other hand, you find that ‘Yallah’ perfectly describes your impatience when rushing your friends to do something.
6. You don’t know how to look sloppy.
It doesn’t matter whether you’re going to the supermarket or for a walk in the park, you have a minimum level of acceptability when it comes to how you look when you step out of your front door. You know how to work it even in a sweatshirt.
7. Hummus is another word for happiness.
Hummus is among the top five things you think of when hunger strikes, the other four being shawarma, manakeesh, falafel, and fattoush. You’ve been in countless arguments with your friends and colleagues about which place serves the best shawarma. (It’s obviously Al Reef Lebanese Bakery where you’ve been going since you were twelve.)
Abroad, when you order hummus, you know it can never be as good as back home, but you still do it out of curiosity and a deep sense of longing.
8. You’ve subjected yourself to dizzying rides at Global Village.
During your teens, you spent several weekends screaming your lungs out on the rollercoasters at Global Village. You’d be there every weekend with your friends, trying to show them how cool and adventurous you were and how those nasty rides didn’t scare you, when all you really wanted was the cotton candy from one of the stalls.
9. You bring out the big guns on Thursdays.
On Thursday evenings, you leave home looking like you stepped out of a Lipsy London photo shoot. High heels? Check. Airbrushed skin? Check. Mac Lady Danger? Check. Hollywood glam curls? Check.
Why? Because when we up in the club, all eyes on us.
10. Your weekends center around the three Bs — Beach, Brunch, and Barasti.
Fridays and Saturdays are focused around the three Bs that have come to define weekends in Dubai — Beach, Brunch, and Barasti. The order might change depending on how hungover you are from Thursday, but no weekend is complete without these necessary elements.
11. You were crazy excited when Ski Dubai opened up.
We get to ski and have a snow fight when it’s 44°C outside. We’re badass like that.
12. You know that a pot of Moroccan tea is the perfect end to a day.
There isn’t a better way to end a long tiring day than over a pot of Moroccan tea and light-hearted conversation surrounded by friends at your local shisha café.
13. Seeing camels anywhere gets you excited.
You could be on your way driving to Ras Al Khaimah or in Rajasthan on holiday. Seeing a camel always gets you excited and even you can’t fully pinpoint the reason why taking out your smartphone to take a video is your impulse reaction to a camel sighting.
14. ‘Winter is coming’ always sounds good.
While the rest of the world can’t wait for summer to begin, in Dubai you’re actually making travel plans to escape summer. On the other hand, you’re posting selfies from the beach during winter when your friends elsewhere are layering up.
15. You move gracefully between different accents, cultures, and cuisines.
You’re no stranger to cuisines ranging from Vietnamese to Brazilian because the city is home to the best restaurants serving food from around the world. You’ve even attempted traditional Irish dancing at a St. Paddy’s celebration at the Irish Village and pretended to speak German after one too many beers at Dubai’s version of Oktoberfest, but failed miserably at both.
16. You have the highest respect for those observing Ramadan.
You know how hard it is to go through the entire day without a single drop of water, especially in summers as brutal as those in Dubai. You’re always careful about never eating or drinking in public during Ramadan or in sight of someone who is fasting. You do this purely out of compassion and humanity and not out of compulsion. You disapprove of tourists or others who are ignorant, indifferent, or careless and chew gum or drink water in public during Ramadan.
You love the spirit of benevolence in the city during this time as is evident by various community initiatives to distribute free Iftar meals to the underprivileged.
17. You get annoyed at ignorant comments about Dubai.
When you tell someone that you’re from Dubai and hear them respond with an ignorant comment often based on hearsay, you can’t stop yourself from rolling your eyes and asking them to come experience the city for themselves. You know growing up in Dubai was awesome and are proud of how far the city’s come from its humble beginnings.