Meet British mum Chesca Rodgers-Jafarian, 42, who is mum to 4 and full time Therapy Centre Manager at Sensation Station.
Q. What first brought you to Dubai?
A. I came here with my first husband on many holidays as my sister inlaw had lived here for 10 years (she is still here, and it’s been 17 years now!) One holiday we were trapped here because of the ash cloud that was a big concern in Europe, so our flight ended up departing weeks later. During this time we decided to look at job opportunities and my ex husband got a job straight away. That was in the April and he came out to live in the October. I had to give notice on my NHS job so I followed in the December. I worked at RAK hospital first of all and made a good friend in Sue (one of our British mums) who was the Director of Nursing. These are great memories for me.
Q. Tell us about your children.
A. I have a son who is 23 and a Daughter who is 20 (who has given me the most gorgeous Granddaughter who is almost 2). I also have a son age 10 and a son who was sadly stillborn in June 2016 and my next baby is due in October 2017.
Q. Where’s your hometown and what do you love most about it?
A. I come from Plymouth in Devon and I love how beautiful it is with all the farmland, fishing villages, beaches and beautiful moorlands everywhere. It’s such a great place.
Q. How long have you lived here and where do you live?
A. I have lived in the UAE for the last 7 years by starting in RAK then moving to Umm al Quwain and then on to Ajman before finally moving to Dubai just over a year ago. You could say I’m an expert of the Emirates!
Q. Does Dubai feels like home to you?
A. Yes – most definitely – but sometimes I don’t realise it until I go back to the UK when I find myself feeling that I just can’t wait to come back to Dubai again. However, I think that home is where I have my own space and all my belongings. I am torn really as my adult children now live back in the UK so I miss them very much. Saying that, my in-laws spread across Sharjah and Ajman make up more than 200 so this makes me feel that I have loads of family here!
Q. We all have times when we miss certain things from home – like strawberry picking or pub gardens, what do you miss most about back home?
A. It’s Cornish Pasties, proper fish ‘n’ chips and the Toby carvery for me, plus the fact that I miss the order on the roads that you have back in the UK!
Q. Most British mums will stock up on things when they visit the UK. What are your must-have items to pack in your suitcase that you can’t be without?
A. Hmmmmm… I think chocolate as it tastes strange if it’s made here and it’s expensive if it’s been imported.
Q. Do you work? If so, what do you do?
A. I work full time as the Centre Manager of Sensation Station, which is a Therapy Centre offering paediatric speech and occupational therapy. I love this job so much.
As a mum with a son with Atisum myself, its been a passion of mine, and through my passion I’ve also had the privilege of providing input to a new British curriculum school, Dubai Heights Academy that opens in September 2017 where I have worked with the owners from the start to help with inclusion as part of the school and to ensure that good therapy provision develops as they grow as well. There have been so many wonderful, rewarding opportunities in Dubai that I feel fortunate to have been involved with.
Q. What age were your children when you returned to work and did you struggle to balance being a mum and working?
A. For my older children that I had in the UK, I had a year off work each time. Now with this baby it will be 45 days, (which I am not too impressed about by the way!) I am the main earner so its a must that I go back to work and provide for the family. I think I’ll manage the juggle well (or at least I feel this right now), as I think my children are all pretty much well grounded and are they’re very close to me so I feel really proud that I have been able to provide for them all well and my husband is self employed and we have enough staff to be home to raise our new addition so it should be fine.
As for the time spent with my children, I feel it’s definitely about the quality of the time we spend together rather than the quantity of time. I also think my baby may learn more Arabic than English by being raised by Daddy though! (Ha ha!) In my view, families find their own ways to manage and there is no right or wrong.
Q. Tell us something about yourself that people don’t already know.
A. In 2014 I reverted to Islam and in 2015 I remarried in Dubai. As you can imagine these were huge changes but this was something that was very important to me. I honestly thought I would be alone and not re-marry after I reverted, but I’m pleased to say I am very happily married to my husband Abdulrahman.
Another thing is that since being pregnant this time, I have developed an intolerance to Dairy, Wheat and Gluten. I have been discovering the wonder world that is ‘Free From’ foods and I can honestly say that I have felt so many improvements in myself – mentally, emotionally and physically.
I also suffer with Fibromialgia and this causes me a lot of pain in my joints. It’s actually a very silent pain as nobody can really tell that people suffer everyday with this and that I’m struggling. It has eased with pregnancy thankfully but it normally comes back with a vengeance once the baby is born.
Lastly, I’m planning a water and hypnobirth this time round at Al Zahra Hospital so this will be very interesting for me. I’m also happy that I’ll be able to do all the things I have on my birth plan like delayed clamping and having my Doula Suzanne with me (all going well that is,) as obviously anything could change my best laid plans!
Q. What has been your favorite family holiday destination and why?
A. I have not had a holiday for a very long time due to needing my leave to be able to fly home and see my older children and my Grandaughter. However, I am especially keen to go back to the Maldives again.
Q. What’s the thing you love doing most with your children?
A. I like to take them swimming in the sea or the pool. I also like activities that educate and are learning based. There are nice parks here when the weather is cooler to have picnics in too and these are some of our favourite days together.
Q. What are your best money-saving tips to share with British mums living in Dubai?
A. I wish I had more to share as I find it very expensive to live here but the usual must haves are the Entertainer and Cobone – and not forgetting lots of Facebook groups like this where you can buy and sell useful stuff in Dubai cheaply.
Q. What’s your favourite family-friendly restaurant in Dubai and why?
A. My son loves the Rain Forest Cafe in Dubai Mall for theobvious reasons.
Q. Where’s your favourite special restaurant in Dubai and why?
A. I love having breakfast at The Farm, Al Barari when its cool because it’s such a peaceful and pretty place.
Q. We all need some down time occasionally! If you had a whole day to yourself, what would be your ideal mum’s ‘me time’?
A. It’s having a visit to Anantara on the Palm. I love the Spa there and the whole set up of the place actually so I often go with friends for an all girls pamper.
Q. What’s the last book you read and the last TV series you watched?
A. I’ve recently read My name is Malala and the last series I watched was a British Comedy on Netflix called Cuckoo. I’m now eagerly watching the new series of House of cards.
If you’re a British mum and would like to be featured, we would love to hear from you. Please drop us a line to firstname.lastname@example.org