Lindsey: Arabian Notes
Please tell us a little bit about yourself. Who you are, where you come from, when you moved to Abu Dhabi, etc.
I am originally from the UK – born in Scotland but grew up in England. My family has always moved around a fair bit, as well as enjoyed travelling, so I suppose I’ve always felt travel was in my blood! I first moved to the UAE in 2006, to Dubai where we stayed until 2011. After a brief stint in Australia, I realised how much I missed the UAE – how great our lives had been here and luckily my husband received a job offer to come back – this time to Abu Dhabi, so we moved back at the start of 2013.
When and why did you decide to start blogging about your experiences?
I wasn’t working and have always enjoyed writing – for years I’d toyed with the idea of starting a blog but never did anything about it. Since I had the time and I was in a new place – and I had the hindsight of seeing the UAE again with new eyes, I decided the time was right and just dived in and did it!
Do you have any favorite blog entries of yours?
I think it would have to be the posts I have written on the subject of questions I am most frequently asked about living here…
- A Question of Culture
- The Road to Success is Always Under Construction
- We are not in Kansas anymore - learning the hard way
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?
No, I wouldn’t say there was really any culture shock as I was already very familiar with the region having lived in the UAE previously. I also think that as long as you do some research before you come, and come with an open mind it’s pretty easy to accept the things that differ from home. You have to bear in mind that this is not the same as your home country, but that’s one of the great things you moved to discover! I think that some of the main ways that life differs to back home are the things that improve your life – it’s the small things that often make a big difference to improving your quality of life. Although that said – the standards of driving definitely differ to home! And the driving is terrible here!
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?
I don’t think there’s anything I would change – I was pretty well prepared for the move. I had sold off most of our stuff before we left Australia as I knew most things were pretty cheap to buy here, and would certainly be easier to get when here. It’s definitely worth doing research into the prices of things and to see what you can sell stuff for before you leave. With the pricing differences between countries I was able to sell many of our second hand things in Australia for prices that were higher than to buy much of the same new stuff here!
Every expat knows that expat life comes with some hilarious anecdotes and funny experiences. Care to share one with us?
Be prepared for what I like to call ‘Hello tennis’. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve answered an unknown number with ‘hello?’ only for the conversation to go something like this:
Me: Hello, Lindsey speaking.
Caller: Hello? Hello Maam?
Caller: Maam, helloooo?
Me: (A little annoyed) Ye-es, hello.
Me: (Getting more annoyed) Yes, hello – you called me!
Caller: Yes, hello Maam..
Me: (Really quite irritated by now) Yes. Hello – how can I help you?
Caller: Yes, Maam, hello…
Which three tips would you like to give future expats before they embark on their new life in Abu Dhabi?
- Do your research before you move;
- Come with an open mind;
- Relax, and roll with it. It’s all different and new – just remember that and enjoy it!
How is the expat community in Abu Dhabi? Did you have a hard time finding like-minded people or fellow expats?
I have found it fairly easy to meet likeminded people here. I find people on the whole to be very genuine here, and of course everyone is in the same boat at the end of the day too so people tend to be pretty welcoming I’ve found.
How would you summarize your expat life in Abu Dhabi in a single, catchy sentence?
A magical, mystery tour you’ll never forget!