I’ve lived in Abu Dhabi for a number of years now and if you’d asked me last week I’d have said I was here for the foreseeable, but now…I don’t know. Of course I know the drawbacks here and there are chances I don’t take, places I don’t go. I wrote about one of the risks a woman on her own faces in a culture where women are less than men and Christians than Moslems; it’s available here as a free story and, believe me, I never put myself at risk of what happened to her. Local men are always asking to be my FB friend and I always decline. I know that nothing can shake their conviction that a western woman must be a whore and there for them to enjoy. You’ll never see me in a short skirt, drinking too much in Trader Vic’s. I don’t walk home at night from the Marina. But set against that the calm, polite way of life and the sheer niceness of the Emirati people. To say nothing of the warm winters.
It isn’t even as though marriage is an issue. I’ve been married, I put an end to it and I don’t want to try it again, so the fact that I’m unlikely to meet The One here isn’t a problem.
But…as I say, I don’t know. Well, actually, I do. Writing is important to me and I can’t use my real name when I write and I’d like to. I really would. My next erotic novel, The Unquiet House, will be out at the end of the year and I’d really like to be able to hold it in my hand, show it to people and say, “This is mine. I wrote this.” And, here, I can’t do that.
So today I gave my sponsor twelve months notice. (Your sponsor is your employer—the person who speaks for you so that you can get a visa that gives permission to work). He assured me that I can take it back any time I want, but at least now I know the clock has begun to tick. It wasn’t a sudden thing—I’ve been tossing it around for months.
So now I have another choice. I grew up in Toronto and I the only passport I have is Canadian but I have an apartment in Highgate, west London. (That’s London, England not London, Ontario). When my twelve months are done, if I still want to leave—where do I go?