I share my birthday with the UAE

The whole nation celebrated the UAE’s 50th anniversary, but for Susan Thomas, a chemistry teacher at GEMS Our Own English High school – Dubai, the event was even more special because she was born on the same day as the nation she now calls home. Here she shares how her life has become intertwined with that of the UAE

Susan Thomas enjoys Dubai’s Miracle Gardens as part of her birthday celebrations

2 December 1971 marked the beginning of a federation, and it also marked my humble birth in Bhopal, Madhya Pradesh in India. Little did I know that my life and destiny would be so profoundly intertwined with that of this great nation.

Twenty-three years ago, I set foot in the UAE to join my husband. Our first seven years were spent in the emirate of Ras Al Khaimah. We then moved to Dubai and have lived there ever since. This country has given us a safe place to call home. Many wonderful memories were made and I am proud to be a resident of this amazing country.

As the senior chemistry teacher at GEMS Our Own English High School – Dubai, I am privileged to be able to impart knowledge and instil in my students a love and respect for the deep-rooted values and rich heritage of this country.

UAE National Day has always been special, as it coincides with my birthday, and it also makes it easy for family and friends to remember and wish me a happy birthday. I remember one occasion when my brother, who lives in the UK, came all the way to Dubai just to celebrate my birthday. I vividly recollect travelling down the Creek in a Dhow with my brother’s family. There were beautiful decorations, spectacular fireworks and magnificent festivities everywhere, all around us. It felt as if the whole country was celebrating my birthday with me. That’s what Dubai does to us. It has this uncanny ability to make us feel very special, unique, one of a kind. Thank you, UAE.

This year was extra special. I turned 50 along with the UAE. It is a matter of immense pride to celebrate this milestone birthday along with this great nation. I am deeply honoured to have witnessed the tremendous progress and incredible growth of this country. I thank the wise rulers for ensuring a safe and secure environment.

My birthday wish for this year is to meet His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice President and Ruler of Dubai, a visionary leader who established the UAE as a role model in the region and across the globe.

God bless the UAE!