Last weekend we attended our last playdate before we go for summer holidays. It was a playdate straight out from a United Colours of Benetton catalogue. We had delegations from Poland, Germany and of course the Philippines. You think that with the cultural diversity of Dubai we’d have more of these mixed nationality playdates, but we don’t. Firstly I think it’s because we Filipinos tend to stick together like “white on rice“. And with over 450,000 Filipinos living in Dubai alone we tend socialize and make friends with our own kind (most of the time). Secondly, and I think this is the main reason why…is because Arnie and I are not really sociable people (SHOCKER!). We like socializing with friends that we already have but to make the effort and go out of our way to make new friends…well (I can’t comment).
But with Adrian being 1 out of 3 Filipinos in his school, a diverse playdate was inevitable. I had to suck up and face any insecurities I have and take my child to any playdate he gets invited to. I’d like Adrian (and Aden) to grow up without any reservations on making new friends with people of different backgrounds. I’d consider it a personal failure if they don’t at least try.
We were asked to bring “whatever” we wanted and I thought what would the boys like to eat. Viola! Chocolate cake! Our table spread turned out great. Mommy A, or shall I say Daddy A made pizzas for the kids and mommy B brought a whole assortment of mezzes that she said we could eat for a week! She even brought a bottle of wine (shhhhh!) for all us to enjoy. While the kids enjoyed playing by themselves (Thank God Adrian can somehow swim) The adults were feasting on our “lavish” spread and socializing with each other. I’m sorry I have no pics, I’m so rusty with my social skills but I’m pretty sure checking on your iPhone every minute is not on the list so I kept mine hidden in my bag.
The kids adjusted well to each other since they go to school together but the more interesting and fun to watch dynamic were the adults easing in to each other. Aside from the polite smiles and good mornings while doing the school run everyday we actually don’t know each other so trying to find the right conversation topics took awhile to warm up. Nevertheless we made it work. Mommy A was such a gracious host I don’t think anybody felt left out. By early evening we had to cut it short since it was time for bed for our little ones. The boys didn’t want to go home, of course mine was extra vocal about his feelings even suggesting we continue this “party” in our house! We left the get together with such high spirits and positive energy (with a bit of a buzz) from the fun and relaxing afternoon. We made plans of doing this again next weekend but sadly we are leaving this week which made me regret it for two seconds 😉.
I do hope Adrian gets to see his nursery friends once again but the fact remains that they will all go to different schools come September. But if this get together has taught me anything it’s to always say YES to new experiences and open my doors to new possibilities and friends. Looks like in this scenario, my Adrian has taught me some important life lessons for a change.
Last Friday we attended a “End of the Year” party at Cheeky Monkeys Playland , hosted by one of Adrian’s classmate, Zaidaan. Yes, you heard me right, it wasn’t his birthday but he wanted a party so his parents gave him one. NO judgement here, Hey! If I was rich too and only had one son, I’d give him a party every DAY!! If that’s what he wants.
Parties here are so different from what we are used to in the Philippines, in the Philippines, a party always has to be a fiesta where everyone from your child to your child’s grandparents are invited and welcome to come. Here in Dubai its quite different, when the children have a party, The children are the only ones expected to come especially if it is in one of those play areas. The parents just drop off the kids and pick them up after the party. The adults are welcome to stay but are not included in the head count. Since this was our first time I was watching all the other moms and taking a cue from them on what I was supposed to do. There is this one mom (who I think is really cool, she goes kite surfing before school pick up! How cool is that?) who I consider my mommy peg in school, and I was observing her at the party she dropped off her child at the party area, then had a quick chat with the other guests, went out to buy her own coffee and sat down to wait for her child finish the party. So cool and effortless like she’s been to these things a thousand times. Unlike me who looked like a fish out of water, smiling from ear to ear like a crazy person talking to anyone who was willing to ask me “Are you staying in for the summer?“. In fairness to our host, there were finger sandwiches for us adults that were served but because the dining area was full of other adults waiting for their own little ones to finish their play (I think there were 3 parties happening at the same time). It was hard to rally everyone up to eat but then again the adults were not expecting anything from the host so they just went to the café themselves and bought their water or coffee whatever they preferred.
This type of party was so foreign to me that I actually thought, it’s so practical and so easy to host a party like this. My brain was slowly moving on to planning a possible similar party for Adrian but I’m not so sure how it’s gonna go down to my Filipino guests. And if my personal accountant would approve the funds for this mythical party.
Cheeky Monkeys Playland is at the ground floor of Al Barsha Mall, Union CO-OP. I have to confess, I didn’t know that there was a mall here, I know there was a Union CO-OP in that area but I thought it was just the supermarket and nothing more. (I even said this thought out loud to another guest and felt rather stupid about it after seeing her reaction). I like how they set up the party where the kids can enter and start playing at the jungle gym and maybe after 45 mins(?), a party host would call ALL the guests for a certain party and they would follow her to a party room and they would dance and play games and eat there too! The cake was served to both the kids and adults but I was so amazed at how normal it seemed, I told you this type of behavior is unheard of in my culture. I can already imagine my family complaining, just imagine on one of our celebrations I heard some family members complain about the food, imagine if they only got cake!!! THE HORROR!!!
Cheeky Monkeys Playland
Al Barsha Mall, Union CO-OP, Ground Floor
Fax: 04-385 0840