An impending visit from the parents prompts you to sort out the little issues you've always put off and opens your eyes to what you've forgotten to appreciate.
A fresh perspective from UAE visitors
I had been eagerly awaiting a visit from my parents for weeks - counting down the days, no less. And yet despite knowing that they would be arriving on November 6 at 7pm at night for nigh on 12 months (they booked flights as soon as they returned home from their first visit), I left it until November 5 to ensure that the spare room was in tip-top condition. And my mum has standards, so that took some time.
A couple of hours of hard graft left me vowing that it will stay this way (ie, clear of my excess junk - roller blades, exercise balls, old clothes and the like) long after they board a plane to return to the UK.
Similarly, it was also only the thought of their impending arrival that prompted me to sort out a few niggling DIY issues earlier on in the week. I'd been putting off calling the maintenance number in my building for days, thinking it would be a hassle.
In reality, it couldn't have been easier. Minutes after making the call, a man rang the doorbell and promptly set about securing the cupboard door that was hanging loose and changing a light bulb that had blown a month or so earlier, but couldn't be reached by me without the help of a stepladder.
So the visit already had its benefits even before they arrived. A few days in, and it has continued - and I don't just mean because it has been so nice to see them.
I think having visitors forces you to see the things you have long since become blasé about in a new light. Mum and Dad have marvelled at my balcony - how nice, they say, to be able to sit here in the morning and have a coffee - and yet I can't remember the last time that I made time to do that.
We've taken trips to the souqs, sipped fresh mint and lime juice at the little cafe in Bastakiya and caught an abra across the creek, paying just a dirham to do so. This morning they returned with tales of how wonderful the metro was and what a great vantage point it provided for viewing Dubai.
These were the things that I did when I first arrived but have almost forgotten about now that I have become immersed in real, working life. I am pleased that I've been reminded.