x Abu Dhabi, UAEThursday 27 July 2017

No place like home

If only we could all just tap our ruby slippers together and be whisked away to the place we will always call home.

Most people who have visited Al Ain agree that it's a beautiful, peaceful city. It is my birthplace and was my home for 20 years. I love Al Ain. However, others would not agree. My own siblings, for example, find the city - with its three famous malls that are visited time and time again until one gets sick of saying their names - boring. There are no new experiences, my siblings complain, just the mundane life. That is my argument exactly. There is a serenity and quietness to it. You can wake up undisturbed instead of to the honking and screeching of cars. There is a greenery that is hard to find elsewhere and places that, although they may be small and less popular than malls, bring back fond memories.

Since the city is not situated by the sea, there is less humidity, especially in summer. The winters in Al Ain are beautiful and the scenery is stunning. Almost everyone is acquainted with each other and the close-knit community makes it easier to help one another. Also, since distances are relatively small in Al Ain, everything is within reach. But what I truly love about Al Ain is that it is an oasis; the hot springs are a natural spa-treatment facility.

My siblings say it is still boring because you can't go out every day. And even if you do, it's to the same places and for the same things. I think that's the best part of the city: getting to stay at home. All week there's the hustle and bustle of getting work done, squeezing time into your schedule to meet with others and the inevitable increased blood pressure from stress. When you finally get to go home, you have a quiet shelter and privacy that many people have a hard time finding. It's on days such as this that one realises how fortunate they are to live in such a place.

Although at times the city doesn't seem to offer anything dynamic, I'm always pulled back; I cannot stay away long. When I go home after spending a week in Sharjah (my current residence), I can feel the tension in my muscles drain away, the worry lines on my forehead recede and a familiar smile form on my lips.