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Aaron: Soggy Dirhams

In our InterNations Recommended Blog section we let you take the spotlight! Expat life in general is, of course, a perfect breeding ground for great, user-generated reads, and life in Abu Dhabi makes no exception. Take your time and browse the great blogs showcased in this article!

Please tell us a little bit about yourself. Who you are, where you come from, when you moved to Abu Dhabi, etc.

My name is Aaron Gray, I am 33 years old and I am a journalist. I was raised just outside of Washington D.C. in the United States of America. I was the sports editor of the Virgin Islands Daily News in the Caribbean before I accepted my new job in Abu Dhabi at The National newspaper. My wife and I moved here in December 2012.

When and why did you decide to start blogging about your experiences?

I started to blog about my experience in Abu Dhabi within days of arriving here. When I lived in St. Thomas, US Virgin Islands, I maintained a successful blog for almost three years and quickly learned the importance of sharing new experiences and new ideas with other people from around the world.

Do you have any favorite blog entries of yours?

First impressions are killer, Miranda and getting to know your cabbies.

Tell us about the ways your new life in Abu Dhabi differs from that back home. Did you have trouble getting used to the new circumstances? Did you experience culture shock?

Of course, a little trouble and inevitable frustrations come along when you are getting used to new surroundings. It doesn't matter if you just moved to Japan, from Europe, across South America or simply to a new place down the street. Anyone that denies that is just kidding themselves. It's how you adapt to a new culture, new circumstances and a new life. That is worth documenting and that is why I blog.

Do you think you were fully prepared for what awaited you in Abu Dhabi? If you could, would you change some decisions/preparations you made?

When it was time to fly across the world and make a new life in the Middle East, I was as ready as I was ever going to be. Emotionally, physically and financially. If I could change one thing, I would have read more blogs from people like me. Gaining that certain perspective would have added more confidence in my transition.

Every expat knows that expat life comes with some hilarious anecdotes and funny experiences. Care to share one with us?

My first attempt to pay my utility, internet and water bill in Abu Dhabi was a pretty funny encounter. Like many situations here, it was just a very backwards experience: Cost of Living

Which three tips would you like to give future expats before they embark on their new life in Abu Dhabi?

  • Throw simple logic right out the window and get ready to scratch your head. A lot.
  • Stay positive. Be very tolerant. Know the rules of this country. Patience is a virtue.
  • Bring sunblock.

How is the expat community in Abu Dhabi? Did you have a hard time finding like-minded people or fellow expats?

The expat community in Abu Dhabi is pretty cool and not very hard to identify with. You will quickly learn that many people are here for the same reason (money) and finding similarities after that is usually a pretty smooth process. This is a funny blog post I wrote about Americans celebrating July 4 in Abu Dhabi.

How would you summarize your expat life in Abu Dhabi in a single, catchy sentence?

Do not take anyone's opinion as the simple conclusion to any question because how do you really know for sure unless you try it yourself?

Antoine Mariaux

"Thanks to InterNations, I've received very useful tips about the Emirates and expat life in Abu Dhabi."

Maria Loura

"The idea to connect expatriates in Abu Dhabi is just fantastic! Have been looking for such a platform for a long time."

Global Expat Guide