Sunday, 15 October 2017

Life: Ten Things I've Learned Since Moving to Dubai

Has it really been... 8 months since I jumped (ok, more tentatively stepped) onto a one-way flight at Heathrow? There's really nothing like quitting your job, packing up your flat, moving to a new country, starting a new job and picking a country which doesn't really have a concept of "seasons" to throw you into a timewarp.

Eight months on, Dubai feels almost like home. I maybe didn't appreciate how hard moving halfway across the world could be and there were (past tense) days when I felt very small and lost and far from home and familiarity. Even seeing Instagram pictures of the notice boards at tube stations had me running to the nearest bathroom trying not to smudge my mascara.  

Today, as I type this, life is very different from the one I had last October in London and the one that I imagined for myself as an ex-pat. It's different in the day-to-day, in the things that for me are normal but that I appal friends at home with, and, it's different in ways that I never dreamed of for myself, or maybe I dreamed them but never let myself believe them, as I looked out at October skies from the balcony of my tiny flat last year. 

This is what I've learned (so far):

Firstly, the days of the week (let's start with a simple one). Friday is Sunday, Saturday is...Saturday and Sunday is a working day.

Secondly, the seasons. Summer is winter (air-con appropriate clothing, movie nights, copious amounts of Netflix, walking 10,000 steps inside the mall) and winter is summer (summer dresses, beach days, the prospect of a G&T on the balcony).

Thirdly, getting around. Taking four taxis in one day is not an indulgence or a luxury but the non-optional only way to get to work, to a yoga class and to a bar which is technically on the same street you live on.

Fourthly, selective amnesia. You will have no memory of the last time you did the following: walked down a street, took public transport, wore socks or tights, used a hairdryer, applied lipstick without immediately wiping it off again.

Fifthly, lifestyle creep. You will no longer gawp in shock when someone your own age tells you about their boat, their balcony swimming pool (yes that's a thing), their maid or their dog's personal trainer.

Sixthly, personal safety. You will leave your front door unlocked and your MacBook, wallet and phone on a cafe table while you pop to the bathroom. 

Seventhly, personal nudity. Introducing a friend to your boss while wearing a bikini (me, that is, not the boss) at a pool party is in no way as horrifying as it sounds once you've done it. 

Eighthly, road safety. Your taxi driver or other road users making three lane changes in one swoop, reversing back down a motorway sliproad or watching TV while driving becomes normal, if never any less terrifying. 

Ninthly, food shopping. You will stop feeling bad about getting groceries home delivered via an app. Even when your "groceries" are a six-pack of Diet Coke because you still don't know how to turn on your oven. 

Tenthly, saving the best until last. You will every day marvel at yourself for actually picking yourself up and doing the "move abroad" thing. It was worth it. 



  1. I love following your little adventure on here! You are incredibly brave and I'm glad you're feeling more settled. x

  2. So glad you're having a great time! I'd love to move out there for a couple of years, sounds like an awesome challenge! x

  3. Ahh sounds mad but also exciting and bizarre. I’m so looking forward to seeing this myself! Or at least the holiday version ;-)

  4. I think you're so brave to pick up your life and move abroad on your lonesome.

  5. It's great that you can reflect on such a big move and see that so many things are going well (well, apart from the roads- they sound terrifying!).

  6. This is brilliant! A friend of mine moved to Dubai a couple of years ago, and when I visited last year I was shocked at all the taxi-taking, food delivery, maids, beach parties etc etc. I'm going back in January and am SO excited!

    C x | Say Hello


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