Almost ten years later my first term at university feels like it only happened a few months ago and I hope that I'm viewing my new city with some of the same sense of optimism and opportunity as I did back then. A little older, a little wiser and on the other side of the intrusion of social media in our lives I've become (I hope) a better self-editor, thinking more carefully what opinions, snippets of my life and pieces of who I am I share in the virtual world and in the real one.
Every day I am learning new things: tweezers are not a substitute for screwdrivers when tackling flat-pack furniture and the Metro doesn't start running until 10.30am on Fridays (our Saturday). Aside from a deluge of rain onto streets which don't have gutters, the temperature has been rising a little everyday and I'm appreciating every moment of being able to run, walk and spend time in the great outdoors before it becomes too hot for my still-pale complexion. I still want to share a bit more about my move and offer a bit more of an insight into my new city beyond where to eat avocado on toast but for now, this was March:
1. Finding a key to Parker's - there's no shortage of restaurants here so Parker's daily key hunts are a fun novelty and once you have a key, it's yours to keep. Food review coming soon.
2. The view from the roof of the Dusit Thani hotel, the constant traffic along the Sheikh Zayed Road sounds more soothing to me than the silence of the countryside.
3. A perfect cappuccino at Baker and Spice. Soy milk may now be the devil to some of the #eatclean brigade, but it makes a much better cappuccino than almond milk ever has or will.
4. Sephora hauling as my London skincare regime is absolutely no use here. I also picked up some candles from Bath and Body Works as despite living opposite the world's largest shopping mall it took over a month for me to purchase anything beyond essentials.
5. Yoga on the 37th floor at Urban Yoga. As much as I'm happy to do my own daily practice, there's nothing like a class to make you realise which poses you accidentally-on-purpose skip over (that'll be any and every arm balance).
6. One of my favourite restaurants in the world has a branch at Mall of the Emirates - I can't not visit a Din Tai Fung if there's one in the country and a long-standing rumour says that there may be a London opening soon.
7. A nightly spectacle, I can't help but stop and watch the Dubai Fountain when walking home and the view from the back row is even better as its seen multiple times through the screens of smart phones, tablets and on the ends of selfie-sticks.
8. Dubai Marina was always a favourite spot on family holidays, we watched the twisty building being built over the years and its still as impressive.
9. I walked past Walter's in Dubai Mall twice before realising that it's a Breaking Bad themed coffee shop. The irony is not lost given that the UAE has some of the world's strictest drug laws but all novelty aside (the baristas wear bright yellow hazard suits) the coffee is very good.
Plans for April include finally going to the beach (I'm not really a beach person but maybe I can become one), a sunset yoga class and going to my first Dubai book club meet so I'd better get a few chapters of Sea of Poppies read now I've finished this post.