Love notes to a city we all love

Love notes to a city we all love
Olivia McCubbin

What better way to celebrate Valentine's Day than to get some 'lucky in love' Dubai residents to pen their emotional tributes to the city they all call home

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By Neha Mahamood

Published: Thu 14 Feb 2019, 8:49 AM

Last updated: Tue 19 Feb 2019, 7:26 PM

It's our favourite time of the year: Valentine's Day, and safe to say we're one big heart emoji this week. Modern poet Christopher Poindexter said it best when he said, "If love is anything, it is everything."
With love in our eyes, chocolates in our mouths and romance running through our hearts, all we can think about is the good lovin' that's going around. Flower shops are being flocked to, heart shaped chocolate boxes are selling out and everyone is just a little bit more forgiving around this time of the year.
Love is pure magic and the most awe-inspiring thing about it is the fact that there are so many categories within it. There's the 'no-matter-what' kind of love between a husband and wife; the 'always kind of love' between a parent and their child; the 'through thick and thin' kind of love between you and chocolate...
All of these different types got us thinking of all the other kinds of epic love stories out there and we were struck with the most evident, most relatable, most diverse one: our love affair with our vibrant city!
Dubai is home to all kinds of people from all walks of life. It is no secret that people have travelled the world over only to call Dubai home. If we could live anywhere in the world, we'd still choose this vibrant, ever-evolving, accepting city. With its skyscrapers, cafes at every corner, pockets of old Dubai tucked into deep corners of the city seeping in culture and tradition alongside urban structures, Dubai is an experience onto itself.
Surely, we aren't the only ones with this unabashed love for our colourful and eclectic city? We asked some Dubai-based individuals to tell us about their love affair with the city and here are some of the love letters they've penned to amazing Dubai:
Olivia McCubbin, 30, Co-founder and Head Coach at Best Body Co., 2.5 years in Dubai 
Dear Dubai,
Thank you for being an incredible city, a mix of cultures, ethnicities and people from different walks of life, who I call my family, in my newfound home in the Middle East.
I must admit, moving to the sand pit was not an easy decision to make. Originally from Melbourne, Australia, my family didn't want me to move to the other side of the world, to a place they had never been before, without a network of people they knew who I could reach out to or rely on. But I'm grateful and happy that I took a leap of faith and moved to this magical city with my husband, over 2.5 years ago.
Dubai is the place where I got engaged, in the Liwa Dessert, and married on the breathtaking Palm Jumeirah, to the love of my life. Dubai is where I was brave enough to stop working in a profession that didn't fulfil me and gave me the courage to follow my passion for health and fitness to try something new. Dubai is the city where I'm proud to have launched into my first entrepreneurial venture, starting Best Body Co., to help inspire others to lead a healthier lifestyle and really make a positive impact on others. Dubai, I'm thankful for the many firsts that I've been able to experience, all because of you.
I feel a little bit guilty of being a little too spoilt here in Dubai, which I admit I sometimes take for granted and wonder what was life like before this? From things like no longer preparing my healthy meals myself, to insta-shopping for groceries and treats to satisfy any craving, to having my favourite restaurants on speed-dial, to having towels politely handed to me at my favourite gym spots and also, Dubai being the gateway to explore the richness the rest of the world has to offer.
How will I ever leave you? I hope maybe to never have to.
Happy Valentine's my love. 
Clea Beze, 25, Fashion Buyer; 2 years in Dubai
Dear Dubai,
What a magical love story.
From the first day in the city,
I knew my stay would not be temporary.
I discovered your real environment.
Welcoming, cosmopolitan, charming,
futuristic, modern and surprising.
this is all what I could ask for,
and yet you offered me more!
I was not ready to start this romance,
but it came up as evidence.
I am daydreaming each day,
realising how lucky I am to stay!
Thank you, Dubai, for your generosity,
you will forever be part of my history!
Muby Astruc, Owner of When Shabby Meets Chic.; Born in Dubai.
Dear Dubai,
So here I go, another Valentine's day in this desert-city that I call mine. And yet, as much as Dubai is mine, I am not yours. You belong to me, to my very existence; yet not me to you. And in this extremely complicated version of our relationship, lies freedom. Freedom from boundaries. Freedom from borders. Freedom from passports; nationalities; cultures; heritages. for, you see, being an expat girl with no past; in a city that has given her love, yet not a commitment; is the only version of truth I understand. And this truth has given me wings. It has given me the ability to become anybody, at any time, in any place. It has taught me how to be comfortable eating from a mat, with my hands; just as much as it has taught me to be comfortable at a Michelin-star restaurant over a 7-course meal. It has taught me to enjoy Ramadan days, as much as Christmas nights. And all this, because you gave me freedom. You let me be me. No ownership. No commitments. No promises. And in this no-strings-attached relationship; I have found myself. I have been everything I have wanted to be. I have created and re-created myself. From a writer to an artist to an entrepreneur. From a girl to a woman to a mother and wife. From nothing, to everything and back again. The joy of freedom. The joy of a love that won't give me its name. And yet, as much as you will always belong to me; I will not belong to you.
Marwa Monir, 30, Compliance Officer; born and raised in Dubai
Dear Dubai,
Our relationship started in 1988 and here we are in 2019 and my love for you is beyond words. Although my roots are Egyptian, I had the time of my life here.
Whenever I think about you and how different you are from the rest of the world, I thank God daily to have you. I feel safe in your arms. You have always astonished me with your achievements. You turned from a desert into a city with the tallest skyscraper. People are pretty, cars are huge, buildings are massive, but most importantly shopping is exciting here. The memories we've made are unforgettable. I'll always choose you in any lifetime over any other city in the world. Today we celebrate Valentine's Day, a day full of romanticism and love. With you, however, it's Valentine's Day every day!
30 years and counting, upon my soul I have loved you to the extreme.
Long story short, Dubai is home.
Marwa Monir
Lee Ryan, 36, Endurance athlete and Captain of Adidas Runners; 12 years in Dubai
Dear Dubai...
Well, what can I say about you and what you have given me in the 12 years of living here? Firstly, I should say thank you, with my hand on my heart, thank you for allowing me to call this city home. You have helped me meet many people, you have made me understand what traffic really is, that there will never be enough Dirham coins to go around, made me believe what is possible (like running in the city is allowed and being fit and healthy brings wealth) and what wasn't (like finding parking in Dubai Mall on any day at any time). You have brought me health and happiness, introduced me to some people that have changed my life and made me feel comfortable in the fact that I don't need to check the weather before I get dressed in the morning. You have shown me that under the gold and glitter, there are real people with big inspiring goals who are willing to work hard for them.
Thank you Dubai x 

Marwa Monir
Marwa Monir
Muby Astruc
Muby Astruc
Clea Beze
Clea Beze
Lee Ryan
Lee Ryan

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