It was 7 a.m. on a chilly winter morning. As we waited for the school bus, I blew out a cloud of hot breath into the frigid air. Seeing this, my brother held an imaginary pipe in his palm and exhaled an even greater cloud of air. We giggled and repeated it again. This is one of the first memories that comes to mind when I recall my early winter days in the UAE.

Those were the days when we eagerly looked forward to the much-awaited Eid holidays and Christmas holidays. Times before water parks or theme parks. Times when fun meant, family get-togethers with barbecues in the backyard, or out in the open and once-in-a-blue-moon journey to Al Ain’s one and only Fun City. Then, there were the hot springs in Khatt, in Ras Al Khaimah, where the water is reputed to have medicinal values, the rock pools in Hatta with natural freshwater springs and small cascades and the Jebel Hafeet Mountain in Al Ain. These were the places we used to visit with our cousins (a battalion of them I must say) during school winter holidays. Even though the UAE in the 1980’s or early 1990’s did not have that many recreational choices as it does now, we nonetheless made the most of our winter vacations, as nature was no less beautiful in this incredible country.
As we grew older, so did our roster of winter family get-together preferences and visits. My one much cherished memory is our very first trip to Wild Wadi in Dubai. An amazing water theme park, where you can see the child in every adult.
In the present day, there are a plethora of places to visit, and means to spend quality time and have fun at the same time. Despite that, we prefer spending time out in the open, closer to nature, taking advantage of the pleasant cool weather. One such place is the Al Qudra Lake, a remarkable man-made desert Oasis.
December! My favorite time of the year in the UAE, especially those years when Eid and Christmas coincide close together. With all the illumination and holiday season decorations, the country totally dazzles and sparkles. To a bleak eye, it’s a magnificent sight. Overall, there is no better place to spend the winters, than in this country, which has been my home for as long as I can remember.

By Renzy Jopsy,
Mother of Danyl Jopsy Grade 4