Moving to Dubai from Utah expanded my understanding

Sep 19 2012 - 3:01pm


When we were raising children, we tried so hard to impress on them not to make judgements, to learn to be tolerant, to not be prejudice and try their hardest to understand anyone who was different.


I can say that our children get it, and I am so proud of them.

Moving to the other side of the world has made me realize a great deal. People are people, no matter where they live. The majority of us only want a few simple things from life such as love, family, comfort and peace. But, as similar as we are, we are also different and we need to be tolerant and accepting of that.

Are we certain that one way is always the right way for everyone? Certainly not! The way I do something as an American should never be assumed that it is the right way for a person who lives in India, Dubai, etc. What we don't understand we need to find out more about. What we are afraid of?

Before I moved to the Middle East, everyone kept asking me if it was going to be safe. Was I afraid for my life? What about the terrorists? Terrorists are everywhere, even home grown and living in the United States.

I have found the United Arab Emigrates to be extremely safe and welcoming. Just because people are different here does not mean that they will hurt me or even want to cause me harm. Actually it is quite the opposite.

I could have stayed home in Utah, afraid to live outside my bubble, afraid that someone who was different than me would cause me harm. Wow! I would have missed out. It would have been my loss.

The short time living internationally has helped me grow; it has expanded my understanding and certainly strengthened my tolerance. Okay, I get it now.

I have been reading books, articles and delving into the customs, culture and the religion of my new home. I think I finally understand and so many things now make better sense to me.

We as Americans have so many freedoms. We live in a great country. Many of the people I have met in the Middle East dream to visit the United States one day. But, for most of them, it is just a dream and they know that it will never happen.

We need to wake up and be the great people we used to be and open our minds and arms to greater tolerance and understanding. My husband says it all the time, "Just because we as American have the right, it does not make it right." That's is so prophetic and true.

I am so grateful for this experience; so happy that I had a chance to learn, grow and understand. Hopefully, those I meet here in the Middle East will also come to know and like me as the American, since I am. I hope they will be tolerant and accepting of my beliefs and differences. The "shoe is on the other foot" now and I am the outsider trying to fit in and be understood and that is OK with me.

That is my little soap box, I can get off of it now.

I am not left or right, I am down the middle. I try to do what is right and treat others like I would want to be treated.

My parents taught me well. Thanks, Mom and Dad.

Debbie Ferrante Herr of Layton, is presently living in Dubai, UAE, where her husband had accepted a position. She is a former assistant director of the Utah Department of Work Force Services.


I used to be one of those people who thought I understood, but in reality, I really did not. I lived in my safe little bubble in Utah and had never stepped outside of it. I thought I knew all there was to know about life, tolerance and understanding.

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