InterNations Featured Blog
Lupe: Mid Life Adventures
Please tell us a little bit about yourself. Who you are, where you come from, when you moved to Dubai, etc.
Hi, I’m a teacher, originally from New York but more recently from Florida. Before turning to teaching, I was a Speech Therapist. I am a mother of two grown children and one granddaughter who is about to become three years old. I moved to Ras al Khaimah in September 2012. My husband joined me in January 2013.
When and why did you decide to start blogging about your experiences?
I decided to start blogging in 2011 when I originally applied for a teaching position in Abu Dhabi. The job fell through and I used my blog to vent my frustrations at the narrow-mindedness of the educational council. Now I just use my blog to vent as well as catalog my experiences.
Do you have any favorite blog entries of yours? Please add the URL link as well.
I can’t say that I have any favorite blogs. I tend to like them all but then I’m really critical of what I write.
Tell us about the ways your new life in Dubai differs from that back home. Did you have trouble getting used to the new circumstances? Did you experience culture shock?
Well, I always thought that life in Florida was pretty laid back. But the life here in the UAE and in Ras al Khaimah in particular has Florida beat. It seemed to me that I acclimated pretty quickly, so the only trouble I had in the beginning was just plain homesickness and missing my family. I was a watering pot for the first month. As for culture shock, I think that the only thing I wasn’t prepared for is seeing the men greet each other. The whole rubbing noses and kissing each other took a little getting used to.
Do you think you were fully prepared for what awaited you in Dubai? If you could, would you change some decisions/preparations you made?
Yes, I like to think that I was prepared for the lifestyle here. However, what I wasn’t prepared for was the fact that there is such a confusion when it comes to understanding American degrees. I was actually asked if my degree was in art because it is a Bachelor of Arts. They kept insisting that my degree wasn’t in education because it didn’t state that on the diploma. I think my biggest disappointment came in realizing that my employer did not give full disclosure before hiring me. Then they tried to change the contract mid-stream. Next time, I’ll investigate the employer more thoroughly.
Every expat knows that expat life comes with some hilarious anecdotes and funny experiences. Care to share one with us?
The herd of goats that lived down the block from my villa. Their leader was a dog. He led them everywhere. My former roomy and I thought it was hilarious.
Which three tips would you like to give future expats before they embark on their new life in Dubai?
- Well, I don’t know about Dubai, but in Ras al Khaimah get used to people saying “no problem” a lot. It appears to be the set answer for when you need something taken care of.
- Two, when they say they’re going to be there at your house within the hour, count on it be the next day.
- Three, if you drive, use all your defensive driving skills. No one stops at stop signs, it’s just a suggestion. Indicators are thought of as a luxury item. They don’t use it. And when you use yours, they pretend they didn’t see it.
How is the expat community in Dubai? Did you have a hard time finding like-minded people or fellow expats?
In Ras al Khaimah, there really aren’t a lot of Americans. Mostly Brits and Canadians. But we have a lot in common and the locals are really sweet people. There was no problem in making friends from other countries.
How would you summarize your expat life in Dubai in a single, catchy sentence?
Toto, we sure ain’t in Kansas anymore.