Dubai: As the year comes to a close, it pays to look back on things to be grateful for, and what adds zest to life as the New Year rolls in.
What was the most defining moment for you in 2022? And what do you aspire for 2023? Here’s what some UAE residents have to say.
Journey of a lifetime
Emirati Aisha Ali Hubais, Customer Happiness Executive at Prime Hospital, said one of her most special moments in 2022 was going on a journey to Mecca for Umrah with her mother and siblings.
“We travelled in October when things were normalising on the travel front. It felt great to be getting out of UAE, that, too for such a special occasion like the Umrah. Every morning, I was mesmerised by nature’s beauty and watching the beautiful sunrise. For 2023, I hope that there is economic stability, peace and prosperity for one and all.”
Marking half a century with a special holiday
Briton Philip de Lang turned 50 in 2022. The Abu Dhabi-based Executive Chef said that was one of the key highlights of his year.
The year 2022 also marked a special moment for him as he ventured into a two-week holiday in the south of France with family and friends.
“I was taking a holiday after three years so it was really special to take the break.”
On a professional level, de lang said the year 2022 kept him busy with many special events — including the F1, the UAE’s 51st National Day where he and his team worked round the clock to keep their customers happy.
“These events were truly amazing.”
On a personal level, he did paddle boarding off Al Reem Island during the Halloween, which proved to be another key highlight for him.
For 2023, travel is definitely on de Lang’s mind. “The idea is to create a balance in 2023 — between work and family time. “So the aim is to have more time for family and friends without compromising on work.”
Finding work-life balance
Jowita Michalska, chief executive officer of Digital University, said on a personal note she felt happy to meet people after Covid-19 restrictions were lifted.
“It felt great to see people face to face and be able to hug them,” the Polish expat said. “I felt human again.”
Her expectations for 2023? “For the world to boom. This is why I am co-producing one of the biggest conferences in Abu Dhabi next year, in November, with hundreds of Speakers from different industries. I am really looking forward to this event.”
Egyptian expat Raghad Mortada, 26, has had an incredibly happening year in 2022. From training over 375 hours for the ironman triathlon to traveling across the globe, Mortada said her year was well spent.
“I am pursuing my Master’s programme in Spain. So it is fair to say that I am experiencing quite a bit of change in my life now — new culture, new language and a new life altogether. But I am looking forward to the New Year, for all the cheer it will bring.”
Mortada is excited to make the most of all the opportunities offered to her - whether that be travel, or just climbing up the stones of success in her career.
“I’m so happy to be home in Dubai for the holidays to spend some downtime with my family.”
Happy memories, hope for new vistas
Indian expat, Somabha Bagchi, 62, a homemaker said: “Looking back at 2022, I can think of the innumerable days I visited Expo 2020. Waiting in long queues, enjoying the spectacular pavilions, feeling the excitement all around brings back happy memories. I look forward to 2023 with a lot of positivity, hope and enthusiasm.
"I hope there will be no more Covid-19 scare and there will be no more war. I would love to travel a lot and wish for everyone to be happy and healthy.”
Change for the better
Jordanian expat student Dina Manaf, 16, said the year 2022 has changed her — for the better. She has confidence in the fact that she walks out of 2022 knowing what she wants and how she will achieve it.
The A-level student in Dubai has begun working towards her career goals and passions.
In the past year, Manaf took charge of school initiatives by collecting donations for flood-affected areas in Pakistan alongside starting a school association aiming to provide aid for climate change-hit areas across the world.
“I also found a love for biology and understand it is the path for me. Going forward in 2023, I hope to create a work-life balance and give enough time to my friends, family, alongside keeping my career goals,” she said.
In 2023 Manaf plans on applying to different universities. “It will be an important year for me.”
Spending time with loved ones
A young Pakistani in his first year of 6th form, Shakir Omar’s special moments of the year all add up to spending time with the people he loves, whether that be in Pakistan with his relatives, or in Canada visiting his sister. He found that
The year 2022 has been a year where he was not afraid of stepping out of his comfort zone, whether that be travelling all the way to Canada alone or going to his first concert in Abu Dhabi with his friends. His attendance at the Formula 1 Grand Prix concert was one that he swears he will never forget. Surrounded by his friends and good music, the Abu Dhabi event promises to stay in his memory for a long time.
Spending Eid-al-Adha in Pakistan with his family was also quite special, as the importance of family and togetherness was embedded in Shakir’s celebrations, and it was refreshing to spend time with family after a long 6 months of studying and exams.
In 2023, Shakir plans on travelling even more. This time he plans on visiting the UK with his family, a plan which will surely be an eventful and exciting trip.
After his IGCSE exam experience, Shakir believes he has felt a shift in his mindset towards his academics and plans to work much harder for his coming exams in 2023. He has prepared himself for the unpredictability that life will surely throw at him and plans on welcoming 2023 with a will to be the best version of himself, with more personal growth and spending time doing the things he loves.
Evolution, new possibilities
Filipino expat Jover Dela Cruz, Founder of human resource consultancy Philpro, said he considers the year 2022 to be “a year of evolution”.
“On a professional front, companies realised the benefits of technological advancement that enabled work from home. This justifies how we adapted globally for the last two years.”
In 2023, organisations face historic challenges, he said. “A competitive talent landscape, an exhausted workforce, and pressure to control costs. Let us all embrace the new changes, re-strategise, open our minds to curating new possibilities,” said Cruz.
Connecting with one’s roots
Sri Lankan expat Sakithma Imashi Iddawela ,16, said the highlight of the year 2022 was her impromptu visit to her home country. “I spent quality time with my relatives and we bonded like never before. It was pure happiness being around family.”
Another highlight for her: Covid-19 restrictions were finally lifted. “I could meet more people and make new friends,” said Iddawela.
For the coming year, she wishes to do well in her Year 12 finals. She hopes to ace it through sheer hard work and determination — all the while maintaining a healthy relationship with her family and friend. “I will not let people and circumstances get the best of me in the coming year.”