Dubai: When was the last time you had a conversation that didn’t involve the novel coronavirus? Believe that a long time ago, a virus was just the flu and didn’t involve the deadly five letter word – COVID! It’s hard to blame anyone if they haven’t spent an evening with friends without saying the words COVID-19, virus, flu, pandemic, or for that matter the economy. Especially, given that we are all living in a “new normal”, a situation in which you cannot go out without wearing a mask or fighting against reduced wages and falling incomes. Most table conversations these days center around these words.
However, some expats believe this is slowly changing. They say they have had enough of the COVID-19 talks. While some make a conscious effort not to utter the dreaded five-letter word from time to time, others feel that thanks to the UAE’s efforts to open up life in the great outdoors, there are now conversations that are irrelevant to the pandemic and its impact. Take a look at what some of these people had to share.
“It is important to be responsible”
“It’s time to move on – responsibly though,” said Ismail Jawad, 35, an expatriate Indian equine veterinarian. “Yes! It is important to be responsible for yourself and others, but let your mind think about other aspects of your life, things other than COVID-19. In recent months, I have consciously moved the topic conversation with my friends, away from the pandemic. We talk about family, life, work. Believe me, there are things we can talk about besides COVID-19. “
Nadine Al Huneidi, 30, Palestinian, wellness consultant in Dubai, couldn’t agree more. “I don’t dwell on unwanted things. The more positive the mind thinks, the more positivity you attract into life. Personally, I don’t see the point of talking about COVID-19 at all. It just attracts negativity. I strive to focus on the positive aspects of life and this is also what I teach my clients. “
Take the world by storm
But Georgian expat Layla King, 50, said it could be hard not to talk about the pandemic as it has practically taken the world by storm. And so, when a friend invited her and a group of other people over for a special Diwali lunch, she jumped at the idea. “It was such a welcome break. My friends and I had a blast. We laughed a lot, ate good food. I spent the whole week of Diwali learning about the festival, Indian customs, their traditions and their food. Over lunch, I learned the significance of Diwali, the story of Indian mythology behind this great festival, which has pretty much become a universal celebration. The afternoon was well spent with friends from different parts of the world and we all had a fabulous time. And yes, the conversation continued without saying words like COVID-19, pandemic, virus, flu. We maintained the social distance, but we were happy and positive. And this is essential.
‘A welcome break’
British expat Justine Welch, 35, sales manager for a private company, admits mentalities and conversations have drifted away from the pandemic – thanks to Dubai opening its public events. “The Dubai Fitness Challenge for one has worked really well for fitness enthusiasts. It was such a welcome break. I’ve been to various hot spots on my own to try a new workout routine. It was a welcome break.
Welch added that this was not the case when speaking to friends and family in the UK and the US, however. “With the lockdown in the UK, the pandemic is at the heart of people’s concerns. But here in the United Arab Emirates, the government has done so well to instill discipline in people to maintain social distancing. It has helped us organize events and move forward in our lives.
She added, “Unless you leave the conversation, find ways to be creative, and stay physically active in a responsible way, you will never be able to move forward and see the better side of life. We cannot be in lockdown mode indefinitely. “