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Lisa: Abu Dhabi Adventure

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.

I am Lisa and I moved from the UK in August 2014 with my husband and 3 children. We came in search of a better life because things were miserable for us in the UK… we felt there just had to be a better life for us somewhere else – and we were right!

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

I started the blog the very day we made the decision to move. I wanted to look back at where we started from, to provide family and friends with a way of being involved in our journey and also give others some inspiration that you can achieve anything when you set your mind to it.

Do you have any favorite blog entries of yours?

Christmas in the sun

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?

It differs in every way possible! Generally everything is so much better. Back home, we struggled to save, we had huge outgoings and not much spare for treats or luxuries. We lived in one of the UK’s most beautiful parts but couldn’t enjoy it because the sky was permanently grey and we never had any money! Our wages were eaten up by tax, rent, bills, fuel costs, etc… and we were sick of horror stories in the news about the decline of the country in general. Now, after only 4 months, life couldn’t be more different. We both earn much bigger tax-free salaries and have no rent/bills to pay. Our children go to private school (which is also paid for). The sky has been blue and the sun has shone every day for the past 4 months. The cleanliness and standard of living is amazing. Our children are experiencing such a different life which is no comparison to their old one. We spend our weekends on the beach, at the pool, eating out, water sports, shopping and exploring the emirates. Yes, it is a different culture but nothing like we were led to believe before we came. It is very westernized – nightlife, pubs, shopping malls, theatres, waterparks, theme parks, you name it, it’s here and it’s probably one of the best or biggest in the world!! The local people go about their own business and are friendly, helpful and welcoming. This is a society where being aggressive or showing disrespectful behaviour is not accepted – but isn’t that a good thing? As long as you respect the values and culture that shape this part of the world then you can’t go wrong.

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?

We knew 8 months beforehand that we were moving so we researched it all as much as we could. There were no major surprises; the only thing I would change is I would have brought more of my personal possessions instead of just turning up here with 5 suitcases between us!

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

Whilst walking through the souk in Dubai creek, one of the many forceful street sellers tried to entice us into his shop….he shouted ‘Madam, what are you looking for’ I replied ‘nothing, thanks’. He said ‘I have nothing, in every colour, what colour of nothing would you like?’ I thought this was quite funny!!! We also find it quite amusing that our 3 year old stands in any public toilet waving his hands frantically under the soap dispenser and tap, completely expecting it to appear by ‘magic’ as he says! – Which is usually does J

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

  • Research things fully.
  • Make sure you have all certificates/documents you need over here attested before you come.
  • Join as many forums as you can link to the area you are moving to, they provide a wealth of info and can answer all of your questions before you arrive.

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

The expat community is amazing. We have probably made more friends here in 4 months than we did in years back home! Everyone has the same thing in common, it draws people together and makes you much more friendly than you would be back home. Generally people are ambitious, positive, independent and strong-minded or they wouldn’t be here!

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

We should have done it years ago!

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