(This is the 15th post in a series detailing my work trip to Dubai, United Arab Emirates.)
It is always the hardest part. I am never good at saying goodbye to people. Even those I know I will see again soon. But saying goodbye to people with whom I am almost positive I will never see again is very difficult.
Even more so when said group of people has changed the way you look at life and affected your own life in a big way in such a short period of time. These people I had the pleasure of training in Dubai were a group of people I don’t soon wish to forget.
I first shrugged it off when I was told how much of an impact I would have on their lives, but on our final day that notion became a reality.
The whole point behind our final day of “work” was to take a full team picture with everyone: the employees, the trainers, the managers and the owners. When we arrived, though, that plan (just like every other plan before it) was halted due to a parade down the Boulevard celebrating the 41st National Day in the United Arab Emirates (comparable to Independence Day in the United States).
When the parade was finished, we had some time to kill for the other managers to arrive so I gave my broil trainees a little gift for them to remember me by: a silver guitar charm I had gotten from one of the souqs in the area. I also bought a little notepad for all of the employees to sign and leave a message for me since my time in Dubai was, without a doubt, the time of my life. And at this point, it started to become a reality that having us there was the time of their lives.
Then, the picture. Yedid, who has a better eye for photography than I do, was in charge of the photo and did all of the directing to make sure everyone was in the right place. Hostesses in front. Then the shorter females to their wings. And the shorter males filled in the gaps. Taller people in the back and standing on chairs. Trainers and managers on the flanks with some people kneeled down. The final touch; a giant UAE flag laying in the front.
After the picture was over, Lucas presented Issa, the Director of Operations with the collage Yedid makes for every opening. Then, each employee got a photo of all the trainers we had taken a week before when Heather was still with us. Eventually, we all signed the photo for them; mangers got a photo too.
But, it was The next event made the goodbye the hardest.
As the managers and trainers broke off from the group, the employees stayed in formation and, almost in unison, pulled out a piece of paper with a song they had prepared for us as a final farewell. At this point I had to put my sunglasses on to fight any emotions, and in one word to describe the moment: speechless.
It was the icing on the cake. It was the best way to bookend the best time of my life as they sang this song and showed appreciation for everything we had done for them in the previous three weeks.
Couldn’t have asked for a better send-off than what they gave us.
Hardest group I’ve ever had to leave. I’ll never forget them, or my time in Dubai.
Best three weeks of my life.
Until next time …