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Photo: Priscilla Obermeier

In the Marvelous Misadventures of a Third-Culture Toy Store Family, Pris writes all about her messy, mobile, and TOYful family life around the world as she and her husband Markus build Frederick & Sophie while raising their Third-Culture Kid, Indy!

Location: Dubai

Spring is in! And what better way to celebrate that magical time of renewal and fresh starts, than with a move to a new country? As I write this post, the Burj Khalifa stares down at me from its breathtaking heights, like a gentle giant, welcoming Markus, Indy, and I to Dubai with a nod and a smile. 

 

I still remember the first time I walked down the skyscraper’s hallways several years ago. If the tallest tower in the world is anything, it’s a testament to achieving the impossible. Add to that the incredible sights waiting for you at the top, and you’ll arrive at a place of pure bliss. Or so I did. As did Indy who found his bliss in the tower’s store in the form of a plush blue Mr Burj, who he carried with him everywhere.

 
#tbt Dubai, 2016. Waiting for our taxi. Ready to take on the town with Mr. Monkey and Mr. Burj. / Photo: Priscilla Obermeier
 

Mostly, I felt affirmed in my sense of wonder. Here I was, standing in a tower that can be seen from space! Seven impossible thoughts before breakfast didn’t seem to faze the incredibly diverse people of Dubai, and I felt an instant connection. A connection that deepened through more visits that left me yearning for more. 

 

Over the years, I came to see Dubai as a kaleidoscope of perspectives, languages, cultures, and cuisines from Europe, Asia, Africa, the Middle East and USA, and I came to see my family’s travels to Dubai as a rare opportunity to explore the world in a single place. Whether Markus, Indy, and I explored the Souk or Bloomingdale’s at the Dubai Mall, whether we ate a stack of pancakes at IHOP or Kafta Bel Tahina at fine-dining Levantine restaurants, Dubai embraced the multicultural-mobile-entrepreneurial family we are.

 

The concept of “No place like home” has been on my mind quite a bit this last year. Facing lockdown after lockdown after lockdown, I have been pretty much housebound ever since the pandemic struck Europe. I missed travel, writing at Starbucks, having a quick and easy lunch at a restaurant, but I also learned that there was another side to being confined to couch and desk chair. For one, I read more books than ever (my inner relentless bookworm was quite pleased to say the least). I also worked out more (it turns out that there are very little excuses left when you just have to move off the couch and turn on an app to get an ab). With the world around me quieting down, I slowly felt myself calming down and catching up. I turned my focus to my family, health, our wellbeing, and our personal space. With time to rethink and reassess who we are, what ignites our joy, inspires our imagination and confidence, and with that understand and overcome unhealthy patterns, I felt in need of a positive refuge brimming with possibilities, diversity, and an appreciation for the old and the new. A whimsical place that would reflect our personalities and values, where we felt safe to explore and think out of the box, inspired to try, and to be less of an oddity as the wonderful confluence of cultures we are. Pretty much the brick & mortar equivalent of our Frederick & Sophie site!

 

It didn’t take us long to find the answer. Taking all precautions and medical examinations needed to safely travel, we packed up our most beloved belongings, sold the rest, and took a plane ride into spring in Dubai. 

 
Hello, Dubai! Indy is here. / Photo: Priscilla Obermeier
 

I still have to get used to the fact that we’re here to stay (at least for a while), but I do know that I already feel at home. Mr. Burj seems to agree with me from Indy’s new bedroom!

 
 

And it’s just that isn’t it? Home isn’t a place. It’s a feeling of belonging, of being loved for being you. Home is that what serves you positively. It’s that source of resilience and meaningful connection that inspires you to envision a better world and work towards it. It’s where hope springs. And while I look out of my window and smile back at the Burj Khalifa, I feel that this spring, hope glimmers from all around me. 

 

This spring, the wonderful new toys in our spring edit and our new sweet and soft Petit Bateau and Sophie la girafe pieces add a note of joyous freshness. May browsing through our spring picks ignite a sense of both hopefulness and home.

 

Surrounded by the kindness and grace of the people of Dubai, Markus, Indy, and I wish Ramadan Kareem to all those around the world who celebrate it! May the holy month bring you and your family blessings, bliss, and warmth.

 

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