Considering Dubai

A cardboard box, some packing tape, and a long green line of yarn. A stub of a carrot and an orange crayon. This is all that is needed, apparently, for a six and seven year old to catch a rabbit. A light hand on a shoulder, leaning in for a whisper, the two look as if they have known each other for a couple of years. Not two days.

Our new neighbors have a smiling toddler with a constant grin and a full head of thick, jet black hair. This family is originally from Pakistan, and I marvel how this robust, stocky young man could belong to the slight young woman. Her brother and his family are visiting from Dubai. For the last two days, G and their six year old son, who enthusiastically sings the lyrics to “Eye of the Tiger,” have quickly become acquainted. They have plotted to trap rabbits darting about the yard at early dusk, created itemized lists of supplies for various projects, caught grasshoppers,engaged in squirt gun battles, and examined fireflies in the dark. Their visit is coming to an end later this week, and we may or may not see them again, but I believe this has been a happy event in G’s summer.

He has enjoyed having a conveniently located playmate. He understands how happy his new friend is to discover a temporary friend right next door to fill in for more permanent ones back in Dubai. G is proud to be a part of this little boy’s first United States experience.

After their first playtime together, G and I searched a map of the Middle East so he could discover Dubai nestled on the coast of the Persian Gulf, east of Saudi Arabia.

And, friends, this is how a child might best learn geography, cultures, compassion, openness, and an eagerness for the greater world. Even right next door. The world is probably closer than you think.

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Looking at the map, G said, “Well, I never really thought about going to Dubai before.” He shrugged. “But I guess we could go.”

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