Abu Dhabi, UAESaturday 6 June 2020

Why I’ll truly miss Dubai neighbourhood The Greens when I move house

I've truly enjoyed living here these past four years, but now it's time to move on

A view of The Greens in Dubai. Antonie Robertson / The National
A view of The Greens in Dubai. Antonie Robertson / The National

Before I relocated to Dubai in 2015, I’d moved countries four times and lived in nine different houses all in the space of about six years. So when I arrived, I was ready to settle down.

At the time, I said I’d be in the next place for at least four years, and I achieved just that – living in The Greens for almost four years, excluding a five-week stay in a Barsha Heights hotel-apartment when we first got here.

I’ve loved living in The Greens. I remember the first night we moved in, we’d somehow lost a bag and, at about 9pm, I had to re-buy basic make-up products and toiletries before I went to work in the morning.

But that was fine, because there was (and still is) a big supermarket and pharmacy on our doorstep that stocked all the essentials.

I realise this might not impress those coming from big cities, but before this we’d been living in a small village in the backstreets of Bahrain, where it was about a 10-minute drive to the nearest supermarket. And before that, I was in a quiet suburb in Qatar where the nearest shop for kilometres was at a petrol station. So this level of convenience made me very happy indeed.

Over the years, more businesses have opened in the area to make my life even easier. More supermarkets – including a Korean speciality store, yoga and Pilates studios, medical clinics and even a couple of pet shops. There’s also a relatively new hotel, Zabeel House by Jumeirah, The Greens, which boasts great restaurants and a lovely spa.

Dishes at Lah Lah in Zabeel House by Jumeirah, The Greens. Courtesy Zabeel House
Dishes at Lah Lah in Zabeel House by Jumeirah, The Greens. Courtesy Zabeel House

Then there’s the walking track around the lakes where I’ve spent many a morning or evening strolling, jogging or ­contemplating the meaning of life while sat on one of the benches looking out at the water features. I make it sound idyllic, because, to me, it was and still is. I can quite easily go for days without setting foot outside the perimeters of The Greens – and I won’t even notice.

You can run, walk and cycle around the lakes. Antonie Robertson / The National
You can run, walk and cycle around the lakes. Antonie Robertson / The National

So, the fact we’re leaving is bittersweet. I grew up moving houses a lot (I’d lived in about 10 abodes before I was 12 years old), so it’s unusual for me to get too attached. And while I’m eager to leave our specific apartment to start afresh somewhere new – if only because I really want to completely redecorate – I’m not quite ready to part with everything this area offers.

We’re going to Dubai Hills. At the moment, it’s still being constructed, and there isn’t much there, other than the houses, a hospital and a golf club. Even when there are more facilities and amenities, due to the project’s sheer size, there will no longer be any two-minute walks to the nearest shop to grab that bunch of coriander I forgot (it happens a lot).

As Dubai Hills continues to grow, I have no doubt it’ll become an incredible place to live

Now, don’t get me wrong, I realise this is a great development and we’re lucky to be able to live there. I can see how this might start to sound like the moaning of the ungrateful. After all, our house is lovely and will be the perfect size for when our family expands and we welcome our first child this summer. But there’s no denying that the area currently lacks the character of such a well-worn ­community like The Greens, and that’s what I love. Having grown up in ­Bahrain, where aged bungalows on older compounds – as opposed to shiny new apartment blocks and cookie-cutter villas – were the accommodation of choice, it’s more similar to what I’m used to.

Granted, I’ve barely exchanged even a few words with my neighbours these past four years – I might have more luck amid the ­Pleasantville-like streets of Maple – but that doesn’t detract from the vibe of the place. As Dubai Hills continues to grow, I have no doubt it’ll become an incredible place to live and, if plans remain on schedule, it won’t take long, either. Plus, as prices currently favour renters, there’s never been a better time to make the move.

Yet, I can’t remember a time I’ve felt sad about leaving a certain home or area. So, while I look forward to the future (and redecorating), I know I’ll always have a soft spot for our first Dubai home. It’s served us well, but it’s time to move on.

Updated: March 19, 2020 07:22 PM

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