Expat siblings reunited…in Dubai!

We are six siblings and all of us are expats.

I kept on checking the flight status of Cathay Pacific on my phone. Dawn is yet to come and his scheduled arrival was 6am yet here I am, tossing and turning in bed. I’ve set the alarm clock to sound at 5:30am. I am nervous because…I never really use an alarm clock to wake me up. Not in years.

One of my brothers, a marine engineer by profession is set to report to work for a ship that’s docked, where else but in Jebel Ali port! Right here in Dubai!! Of the hundreds of ports possible for him to go to, he was destined to come to Dubai.

To Dubai – where I live along with one other brother and our youngest sister!

Michael Alain Ariane Grace in Dubai

The youngest of my four brothers, Michael and us at the airport

We were not sure how long he can stay around before being whisked away to the ship so I asked my other two siblings to sleep in our house so we can see Michael at the airport.

Four out of six

It was early in the morning – we look like we’ve just been dragged out of bed!

The last time I’ve seen my brother Michael was almost 5 years ago. FIVE. If the next time I’ll see him is in another five years, my God, so many things would have changed that time, like I would be over 40 years old already!

He is 10 years younger than I am so I used to babysit him when he was a baby. Now, he is taller than me but still gives me those tightest bear hugs. BTW, my sister and I are about 5’4″ but we are dwarfed by our brothers!

I wanted my brother to meet my kids so much that I called off from work, hurried home to feed and dress the kids. Michael was being taken to a hotel by a driver from his work and my other two siblings tagged along.

Benjamin cry

Of course Benjamin has to cry – he has not seen this man before! But thankfully, only after a few minutes, he settled.

the kids with Uncle Michael

Meeting Uncle Michael

BIG SURPRISE of the day: Michael thinks Pristine is pretty. Ok, not just thinks but declares it with conviction, “PRISTINE IS SO PRETTY!”, in all capital letters.

Pristine and Uncle Michael

“How did Pristine became so pretty!?”, he asked as if he doesn’t know the obvious answer: because the mother is pretty too!


Seriously, If I had to move mountains for my kids to meet my brother, I would because God knows WHEN is the next time.

When you are an expat (and the rest of your other siblings are), there is really no guarantee when you can see each other again. It’s sad how it gets complicated when you all grow up because there are work schedules, commitments, family and financial matters, etc, etc. We had a serendipitous meet up with my other brother 2 years ago. I have not seen him after that.

We are all expats – three of us are here in the UAE, one is in Japan, two are working in a ship traveling around the world. (One is currently in Norway and Michael is about to travel to several ports in Europe and the North sea)

Nothing was planned and nothing was in our control yet four of us are together even for a few hours in Dubai. It’s unbelievable. We are thankful for little divine interventions like this.

Are you an expat? When was the last time you saw your siblings (or family)?

Top Photo Credit


  1. I’m glad you got to see your brother! I can’t quite imagine the extra hurdles of living overseas, but even here, the US is so big that if people move away you don’t see them often. My sister-in-law lived on the east coast and we went to see her once in the 5 years she lived there. She came home a couple of times, but even here in the US that means we saw her less than once a year and her husband even less. It’s sad that our mobile society means we see those important to us less.



    1. I know the US is so huge that it must feel like you’re living in different countries even when your loved one is “only on the other coast”!

      Once a year reunion is generous for us – I wish it’s like that.



  2. Being in Dubai has its perks, one of them is the fact that this is a hub, where East meets West. So chances are long lost friends and family will drop by here at one time or another. A few years ago,a friend from high school who now sails the seven seas made port in Dubai and he was able to come in and have dinner and drinks with us.

    Luckily, I have both younger siblings living here with their families so we get to catch up regularly. Up until recently, all my brothers-in-law and mother-in-law were also living and working here. When we have lunch on Fridays, there’s no less than 10 adults and 11 children so you can imagine the amount of food we have to prepare and consume – and the resulting mess after all that carnage! But I wouldn’t change a thing – those Fridays are some of the best.

    I’m so happy for you and your children that they got to meet their Uncle Michael.



    1. We are like that on some Fridays too…so many people in the house but all Filipinos so my poor husband, who can’t understand our language just hides into the room and read a book! LOL



  3. Its always beautiful to reunite with your family. Mine is back in Delhi and I can truly feel the happiness you must have felt when your kids met your brother. My siblings also met my baby when he was 10months.



  4. Hi Grace,

    We move from England to Australia. Obviously, we miss everybody but we do get visitors and life is lovely here.

    It’s a lot more complicated for you with family members all over the place but you will always appreciate each other all the more when you meet up.



    1. I bet Australia is lovely! It’s one of the best places in the world and recent survey says, the happiest people on Earth live in Australia!



  5. Nice post, same thing in my family, my two brothers are expat also my parents but now my parents retired and are now settled in the Philippines. We just had our 1st complete family reunion last year and it took us 21 years before we were complete again.



    1. Awww, 21 years!! For our family, the last time we were all together was for one of my brother’s wedding in 2008. I wonder when will be the next reunion.

      My two brothers work on a ship that travels around the world and they are on a contract…it makes reunion very difficult!



  6. Such a sweet re-union! I feel happy for all of you 😀
    I didn’t know you had two of your siblings in Dubai with you, that’s great.

    And I totally agree with your brother about Pristine, she is SO SO SO pretty 😀 every time i come back it’s as if they have grown up so fast.

    It’s been a long time since I could catch up with your posts and google reader’s demise is one of the major reason. And if you check my IP address you will realize that I have come closer to you ;D



    1. HEY!! You’re in the UAE!!??
      When?? WHY?? Sorry, I got excited!

      Yes – my sister has been here since 2011 and my brother in 2012 🙂



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