Savoir Flair Staffers on Why They Love the UAE and Call It Home

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uae 49 national day
Photo: Courtesy of Christoph Shulz

"Home is not a place; it's a feeling." — Cecelia Ahern

We can all agree that feeling “at home” has got very little to do with four walls and a street address but a lot to do with the emotions a place invokes. Safety, comfort, and love are the quintessential legs that make a country, city, or even an apartment feel like home. While some of us know exactly what or where our “home” is, it is a deep desire for others – a longing some people spend a lifetime attempting to fulfill. The UAE, however, rather effortlessly continues to make an enormous expat population – covering over 200 nationalities – feel at home. As we celebrate the 49th UAE National Day, the Savoir Flair team reflects on what makes the UAE home to them.

1

Haleh Nia

Founding Publisher and Editor-in-Chief

The UAE, specifically Dubai, has been my home since birth. I feel privileged to have witnessed its growth from a small town — where everybody knew your name — to the sprawling metropolis it is today.
I am proud to live here, proud to have such visionary leaders, and proud to call myself a young female entrepreneur who, over a decade ago, set business roots here. After all, where else in the world would I have been able to have launched a company at the age of 24?
2

Melanie Euverte

Associate Publisher

It’s been ten years that I have lived in this incredible country where everything is possible. From the people you meet to the experience you get to live, I am forever grateful for the opportunities the city of Dubai brings. My daughter was born in Dubai, so this city will forever be in my heart.
 
uae 49 national day
Photo: Courtesy of Leonard von Bibra
3

Grace Gordon

Fashion and Beauty Director

They say that home is where the heart is, and my heart was in Dubai long before I actually lived here. Working for Savoir Flair remotely for many years gave me the privilege of experiencing Dubai as a perpetual tourist; always awed by the sights, the sounds, the tastes, the smells of Dubai. However, when I moved here, Dubai revealed itself to me as much more than just vast stretches of white beaches, magnificent cuisines, on-hand leisure and comfort, sky-crowding buildings, bigger and better everything… it turned out that this weird-beautiful city is a magnet for amazing people, all mixing together in a true melting pot of cultures, beliefs, and values. I am always learning something new, always being surprised, always learning from others. And as someone who craves learning and new experiences, what better place to live?
4

Dana Ksaybi

Head of Sales

For me, the UAE has been my home for 32 years. It was where I was born and raised and continue to work. This country is called a first home by many people like me, and it’s because it provides a safe and comfortable space to be in for all phases of life. With all the political and economical unrest in the world, we are blessed to be in a place that can consistently provide for its people no matter what. There is no better place to have spent 2020 in!
5

Maria Popova

Head of Production

Never in a thousand years did I think that I would call Dubai home. It was an unlikely but overpowering love that brought me here. But I discovered so much more along the way. I call Dubai home because that’s where I do what I love. It’s the place that enabled me to thrive and create. It’s the place where I have grown into my own skin, evolved, and matured. The place where I feel safe and hopeful. The place where I met incredible humans; humans who will be a part of my journey for years to come – and maybe even longer. For these reasons and a million more, Dubai is home.

6

Xandi Eleazar

Head of Social and Digital Marketing

Unlike many, what initially drew me to the UAE was not the never-ending superlatives that people often associate with it. For me, moving to Dubai came out of very practical and logical reasons. In just a span of a few decades, the country has built an enviably modern social fabric and infrastructure. In effect, it has managed to attract some of the world’s biggest talents. It’s the fastest-growing city on earth, so as a young adult, there was no better place to be.

My initial plan of staying for “only” three to five years turned into six, then seven — and before I know it, it’s been 11 years. Over those years, I have built a solid career, had a family, and enjoyed the multicultural vibe the city has to offer. It has been an incredible experience to raise a Third-Culture Kid in a diverse city like Dubai. I believe this is a good training ground for my child into becoming a global citizen and polyglot, armed with unique adventures she would never have anywhere else.

uae national day
Photo: Courtesy of Ling Tang
7

Nadine Ismail

Business Development Manager

What makes the UAE home to me is the cultural diversity. From the celebrations of every ethnicity, religion, and culture, Dubai created such a beautiful transition from Singapore, where I previously lived, by embracing one melting pot to another. It’s definitely a city where you can meet somebody and ask, “Where are you from?” and it allows for hour-long conversations where you end up having so much in common. It’s forever growing, breaking barriers (and world records), and pushes you outside of your comfort zone!
8

Daria Dolgodvorova

Office Manager

To me, what makes the UAE home is the people. I’ve met the most amazing people here.
9

Frankie Rozwadowska

Beauty Editor-at-Large

I was lucky enough to call Dubai home for four-and-a-half years, and although I’m now back in my original hometown of London, Dubai will always be my second home — not just because I’m back and forth a lot to see the Savoir Flair team and the many amazing friends I made along the way, but because every time I land to that view of the city skyline, the twinkling Burj Khalifa, and the outline of the Palm imprinted on the sea, everything feels familiar and new all at once. I mean, where else in the world does a new restaurant pop up on a daily basis, is the biggest mall/skyscraper/giant frame in the world built, or can you go from a swanky, shiny seven-star hotel to a bustling souk or the desert dunes in a matter of minutes? Not forgetting Freedom Pizza. What I wouldn’t do to get a slice of that heaven sent over right now.

10

Lydia Medeiros

Culture Editor

I washed up on the shores of Dubai as a trailing spouse, hugging a toddler and a newborn baby to my breast, not knowing what to expect except the heat of the summer. I’ve lived as an expat all over the world because of my husband’s work, and as a trailing wife, and then a trailing mom, you can start to lose your own sense of self and identity as it gets wrapped up in your husband, your kids, and all the places you’ve been uprooted from. Dubai shattered those limiting boundaries for me.
Within a year and even in the middle of a global pandemic, I’ve been able to pursue my passion for theater and my love of writing – even so much as carving out a job for myself in each market – and I have begun to take back my identity as a woman, an artist, and a human being who isn’t just a wife or a mom. New York City (where I lived for seven years) may be the “concrete jungle where dreams are made of,” but Dubai is the land of the “movers and shakers” where dreams become your reality.
11

Sanika Tipnis

Editorial Assistant

Growing up immersed in the UAE’s multicultural heritage has been a blessing, to say the least. What makes me rather proudly call the UAE my first and forever home is that it is a huge part of who I am. Spending the most impressionable years of my life in Dubai – witnessing the city’s evolution – has largely influenced who I am today. This city is what taught me to think big and never to limit my dreams. From ski slopes in the desert to man-made islands, Dubai taught me that nothing, absolutely nothing is unachievable if you set your mind to it.

With its streets lined with incredibly tall skyscrapers, opulent malls, and luxe hotels, the UAE today is a global symbol of innovation, futurism, and the epitome of luxury. Like a traditional dhow parked next to a swanky yacht, this country is a thriving example of embracing modernity while being rooted in its cultural heritage. What I love the most about this nation is the fact that it blurs the imaginary boundaries that often divide us human beings, allowing people the world over to reside here harmoniously — all bound by the common thread of feeling at home.

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