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Sula Powell: Reality check
January 23, 2015
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I have just returned to Dubai from Scotland after an almost three week holiday. A well deserved holiday in my eyes after very nearly combusting under the stress and strain of Semester 1 final exams. Not ever do I wish to see another accounting textbook again. On a regular basis, perplexed, I found myself asking why oh why does the so-called balance sheet never actually balance?

I trudged my way through the exams (Micro Economics, Accounting and Management) for what felt like a lifetime of never ending trauma (apologies for the exaggeration). The atmosphere around university suddenly lifted, a sudden surge of pleasure circulated the air. It was time for winter break, FINALLY!

Luckily I had roughly four days of relaxation to enjoy before flying back to Scotland. I ventured on my first ever visit to Dragon Mart, which I would describe as a place that has anything and everything from a striking supply of tropical fish to an overwhelming selection of various light bulbs and shades.

For the rest of my time I lay dormant like some sort of animal at The Beach JBR in the hope of transforming into some bronzed goddess that my Scottish friends would envy. However, who knew that the UAE got cold (obviously not me), it does actually have a winter, and much to my annoyance I did not tan so well.

However, kudos to the little food stall by the beach, my quinoa and pomegranate salad was delicious, but perhaps not enjoyed so much by my dental braces, I was ever so thankful for those complementary toothpicks. The idea of flying home actually slipped my mind. You most certainly can not bathe on any Scottish beach even in their “summer” so I was quite content with the idea of skipping the trip home and remaining in the semi-summer weather of the UAE.

After an eight and a half hour flight I was finally firmly back on Scottish soil- no snow thankfully. That cold, crisp, raw air slapped me rapidly into reality, or at least the things I once knew. I was a far cry from any Ferraris, Lamborghinis, Mercedes G Wagons or huge, monstrous malls.

I was back home surrounded by green countryside and an infinite supply of cold, drinkable tap water. These things may seem minor and insignificant but they are what I yearned for. I suppose I can shamefully admit I forgot what a beautiful country Scotland was and that I am extremely lucky to have grown up there.

Throughout my time in Scotland I never actually left Dubai. I was constantly surrounded by eager friends and family keen to hear all about my Arabian adventure. People stood in awe as they listened to all my stories, some in disbelief as they joked, “Are you sure you are at university and not on holiday?”

In a way I feel proud and somewhat privileged that I can educate my friends and family on the UAE, but I admit I am quite obviously no expert. I simply tell them see for yourself or that Dubai can not be described only experienced. So I warn you, brace yourself for a sudden increase in Scottish tourism!

Being home was different, extremely different, I felt as though I had forgotten everything I once knew. I had to fill up my car with petrol all on my own without any assistance, and I had to pack my own groceries as well as provide my own bags. These are basic things that used to occur to me on a regular basis but as I progressed onto life in the UAE I admit I have become lazy or somewhat reliant on people doing things for me.

So in a way I have decided to devise a New Years resolution, such a cliché I know! Basically in short, for the remainder of my stay in Dubai I strive to remain true to myself and always remember who I am and where I came from and not let the fast paced, luxurious lifestyle change me.

Sula Powell is a Scottish/Jamaican business student at Heriot Watt University in Dubai. Sula is a keen horse rider and a part time model holding a number of prestigious titles including Europe’s Perfect Junior Teen. For the remainder of her journey in the UAE, Sula will be sharing her experiences on the ups and downs of student life.
 

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