I don’t know if you can tell from my blogs but I love being an expat here. I mean aside from the usual missing family and friends, or missing your little home comforts – I really feel blessed to have this opportunity to live here. As I have mentioned previously, living the expat life means you can go on a journey of self discovery and learn a lot about yourself as well as others. 20 months into our life in Dubai and I thought I’d share what I’ve learnt since living in Dubai…
- Treat yourself – Dubai offers you such luxurious lifestyles that even on a low wage or budget travel you can live a good life. This naturally makes us a little spoilt. I’ve found myself making the most of the fact you can get a bottle of water delivered from down the road, or wanting to go to restaurants that only had a view, and not forgetting asking that dreaded question – ‘Do you do valet parking?’ I feel like life is so short you end up wanting the best of the best when living in Dubai! Always live within your means but treat yourself because life is there to be appreciated!
- Friends are transient – Expat life means the person that is your best buddy today, could be a distant memory tomorrow. Friendships here seem to be so transient because of the fact people move on quite frequently. I can honestly say after a year and a half I have a small handful of people I consider actual friends and not all of them are still in Dubai. However, there are quite a few expats hubby and I were once close to, that have moved away and we haven’t spoken to since! I’ve learnt not to take this personally and just accept it for what it is! For me this was difficult in the beginning – initially I used to go in with all my heart, but when I didn’t get the same back I retracted creating a huge distance and being upset for giving so much of myself, however, now I just value those friendships that make it through a full year of expat life lol!
- Value your health – Technically you get free healthcare here if you are employed or a dependent of an employee – however, the level of healthcare you receive varies – employers buy different packages from insurance companies and this affects the level of coverage you have. For example, dental care isn’t included in a lot of packages and can be quite expensive, or when you go into hospital, certain treatments/tests may need to be approved by the insurance provider before being carried out. This means you take extra care of your health to avoid any hefty bills or any awkward conversations in the hospital.
- Work hard, play hard – Working hours in Dubai can be considerably longer than usual UK working hours – this means during the week it’s difficult to go out and enjoy your evenings fully. The great thing is that Dubai offers you SO much during the weekends through brunches, pool and beach days, amazing events and much more! I know when hubby is home during the weekend he’s like a different person than during the week LOL! We really try to make the most of our weekends compared to in the UK – I feel like we have more quality time living here than we did before.
- Patience is a virtue – Life in general moves slow here – from administrative tasks to being stuck every day on Sheikh Mohammed Bin Zayed Road – you really learn to be more patient. You figure out things will get done in the end so why get worked up? Even things like late food deliveries – You just get used to the fact food could arrive anything from 45 min to 2 hours (lol that is no exaggeration!) and people in general work on late timing lol – it just means you always plan ahead when living in Dubai and be at peace knowing what will be will be! Coming from someone who used to be so time conscious this is probably the biggest learning curve for me!
So these are some of the valuable things I have learnt since living in Dubai and I hope that every expat journey has life lessons to teach us all! What has your host country taught you so far?