I've been in the UAE for just about 2 months now - and yup there are lots and loads of new people moving into this country, especially to Dubai. I've visited about 7 different firms (on various consulting work) - and can't help notice the large number of peoples who've moved into the UAE in the past 6 years or lesser. On introducing myself (to the newer folks) I find it surprising they’ve met so few souls who are actually from here i.e. the city/country (locals & native expats, uaeians etc). Some take an extra liking or inquisitiveness towards me when I tell them I was raised in this nation. Most often they just ask me more about the country, ways of living in the past decades and why I've moved away etc. To be honest, often I find the inquisitiveness positive since it does gives me a chance to let them know there is a more sincere soul to the UAE than all the glam in Dubai.
In a way it is nice to see different personalities and cultures bring their own aspect to the UAE and for the most part, I think the flamboyant or exciting souls are clustered in Dubai. Whilst Sharjah has more Arab & Sub-con singles & families. However I acknowledge it does make me anxious & nervous as well (I don't know why - well I know why, but don't wish to admit it perhaps?) ‘cause there are times I feel like a complete stranger in a country I grew up. It is unsettling 'cause I feel helpless, anxious - sometimes frustrated and there are times I just want to block it all out and at times pretend most people are simply visiting tourists? It can get overwhelming really - the sudden & super sonic change. I mean we all know Dubai is taking the rest of UAE & ME region kicking & screaming into fast paced change and global map. For the most part, it's all wonderful - the growing economy, the vision to equip (step by step - though there is much more work to be done) an infant nation with tools & processes in place to help run well with leading global nations in the future.
However this perhaps is something most long term souls in the UAE have to reconcile with - however difficult the process. But then comes along an incident, like the Wafi robbery or news of body being found in a garbage dumpster or the constant labour issues - which derails a sensitive reconciliation process, and I often find myself wanting to go back to my home and "pretend" - nothing of this sort happened. Personally, there are times, I find "home" pretty much unrecognizable – and start thinking is the "price" for change, too high?