Expat Experience Link-Up: The Everyday Experience

Better late than never.  I wanted to seize the chance of completing the final part of the Expat Blogger Link-up called The Expat Experience hosted by Molly @  The Move to AmericaFor the final theme, "The Everyday Experience," we are to write about what we really enjoy or cherish about living abroad. Join in the fun by clicking here and feel free to share some love.

The Move to America

In almost eleven years of being an expat in Dubai, the entire experience has been ever-changing and never constant. It pretty much sums up the environment as well, since this dynamic and young city always evolves.  

Driving, for instance. Leave the country for a short break of about a week or two and upon your return, you'll find yourself completely surprised that the road you usually take has changed. A new interchange has opened to replace an old roundabout and names of highways and roads have been replaced.  Sometimes, residential developments and towers pop up like mushrooms unnoticed and it often makes me think, "When did that happen?"

Dubai in 2010, Imagine what it's like now.

The environment somehow mirrors my personal life too.  The way I viewed Dubai during my first job here was completely different from the way I see Dubai when I moved to another company. 

There were lifestyle changes and little did I know, it was changing me.  As I adapted with the melting pot of different cultures, I see different facets of myself.  Some parts of myself that I didn't like and some parts that I am proud of.  Little by little, I am finding the courage to stay true to who I really am in this rapidly changing city.

Weekend Brunch

Things I love about everyday life in Dubai:
  1. The weekend brunches. The above picture paints a thousand words.
  2. It is sunny all year round.   The buildings and villas always look new because it never rains. You can be fashionable and wear stylish and expensive shoes without worrying they'll get ruined. There's valet almost everywhere too.
  3. It is tax-free. There are exceptions to this of course like parking tickets, housing fees and toll fees but they're indirect.  No need to calculate taxes on your pay check or grocery bills.
  4. A large array of cuisine, whatever you fancy that are available on speed dial.
  5. The shopping festivals. 
  6. Feeling of safety and security. People here have great respect for the law, so it's a very secure environment. There was a time when I can leave my wallet on a table inside a food court. Come back after 30 minutes and it's still there.  I have misplaced my valuables many times and I always get them back.
  7.  Easy access to beautiful beach.
Jabal Yibr :  On the highest mountain in the UAE

Tips to make the most of everyday life in a new place.
  • Explore the outdoors and neighboring cities during the weekends. My first year in Dubai, I kept weekends busy visiting sites and discovering new landscapes until we ran out of places to see. These road trips are not only entertaining but also educational and can be great conversation starters when meeting new friends.
  • Join clubs, fitness classes or hobby groups. Easiest way to meet like-minded people and new friends. I joined some weekend language courses and even a dance class where I met friends outside my usual circle.
  • Find beauty and love in the most ordinary thing you encounter everyday. I should put this on my bathroom mirror everyday. I get overwhelmed by tasks and stress that I often forget to pause and smell the roses.
Any tips you'd like to add and share?  
Wishing you all a lovely weekend.

Love and light,

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  1. Tax free and all those brunches? When can I move over there? :))

  2. I love all those fresh fruits in that brunch! Looks refreshing and delicious!

  3. Goodness! Tax free??? weekend brunches? I'd love living there!

  4. Oh, I like weekend brunches and being able to enjoy the beach all year-round! And also being able to wear nice shoes all the time. One of the things I found most difficult to adjust to when I moved to Europe was to ditch my ballet flats and start wearing boots instead. All these years later I still don't like boots and I'm always happy when the first warm days of spring come and I slip my feet into my ballet flats again. So silly, I know, but it makes me so happy :)

    Great tips! I would suggest that as well - and it's one of the reasons why I joined a Russian course here in Basel!

    Have a lovely week, Arni! xoxo

  5. Every time we visit Dubai we are amazed by the changes....a new roundabout or another futuristic building and I like the fact that there are always new cafés and restaurants to try too. Dubai is to some extent unrecogniseable from our first visit in the late 90s.

  6. you always share such genuine tips. really sounds like it comes from experience and from the heart. "easy access to the beach" -- sounds so amazing. :)

  7. I've yet to visit Dubai but you're making me want to hop on a plane right now for a visit.


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