The ‘homecoming’

THE tag 'expat' is worn easily by people who land in the UAE from other countries seeking greener pastures. But the emotions and stress one goes through before actually emerging as an expat has to be seen to be believed. And the best place to observe this are the hospitals, where all the would-be-expats have to make a pilgrimage before being stamped legal residents.

By Talk Of The Town

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Published: Mon 18 Jul 2005, 10:05 AM

Last updated: Thu 2 Apr 2015, 7:43 PM

People visiting various hospitals for the 'medical clearance,' particularly those from the Asian countries, are the most uncomfortable lot. Thrown into surroundings where they virtually feel like aliens, and handicapped by the language barrier, one can come across a myriad expressions on the faces of the people gathered in the hospitals.

If some are tense about not knowing the procedures, and apprehensive about asking others, there are others who seem to be in a trance, going through the motions. Most look for their own countrymen, and when they find one, the relief manifests itself in the body language — their shoulders straighten up that wee bit.

Then there are those in the crowd, who always come up with some wise-cracks to lighten the mood. And even the guy sitting near you chewing his nails lets out a smile, and brightens up. Things are not that bad after all. Then begins the long wait — forms need to be filled, blood needs to be drawn and finally the x-ray, and phew, it's all over.

Welcome home, expat.

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