- Recommended Expat Blogs: Dubai
- Abu: Dubai Expat Blog
- Lynda: Longhorns and Camels
- Mrs Dubai: Dubai's Desperate Housewife
- Monica: DoinDubai
- Lucy: Homesick and Heatstruck
- S: A Collection Of Musings
- Joy: The Thrift Tip
- Lady Anne: Lady & Her Sweet Escapes
- Reeta: Happy Witchie
- Tarana: Sand In My Toes
- Cindy: Liloneoftheashes
- Jan: Travel Arts Life
- Tomas: The Acme Blog
- Pam: Glimpses of Pam
Please tell us a little bit about yourself. Who you are, where you come from, when you moved to Dubai, etc.
I am half Greek-Cypriot, half British and was born in Cyprus, growing up both there and in the Caribbean. I moved to the UK to study and work before packing up my bags for the sunshine, tax-free salaries and PR/hospitality industry of Dubai 14 years ago.
When and why did you decide to start blogging about your experiences?
As a result of a long time fascination with restaurant reviewing, a burgeoning dining scene in Dubai, fuelled by a primarily expat population and a real gap here for an online resource dedicated to impartial restaurant reviews, I launched FooDiva over two years ago. I pay my own way and have a no freebies policy for my reviews. I now hope to have narrowed that gap!
Do you have any favorite blog entries of yours?
Ooh yes many but here are my top three:
- My bucket list, mostly food-related of course!
- My spot on CNN Go’s travel show on Dubai – a great insight for expats new to the emirate.
- My review of Giannino, an Italian restaurant at Meydan Beach Club last year which went viral thanks to the number two chef of Giannino Milan’s vulgar comment. It made international headlines in mainstream media. The restaurant has since closed down.
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?
I have lived here for longer than I have lived back home in Cyprus (or the UK for that matter); I call Dubai my home so it would be difficult and unfair to compare now! Thanks to my father’s job in the hotel industry, as a family we always travelled so I am pretty versatile and confident I can make any country my home. My job was very social so I had absolutely no issues settling in, and would advise anyone to get on the first plane out here to see why I love Dubai so much!
Do you think you were fully prepared for what awaited you in Dubai? If you could, would you change some decisions/preparations you made?
I actually visited on holiday back in 1999 which is what prompted me to start the Dubai job-hunt from the UK before relocating here. I would always advise planning a holiday before moving to any country – you would be surprised how many people don’t.
Which three tips would you like to give future expats before they embark on their new life in Dubai?
- Do your research and talk to like-minded individuals on the ground before accepting a job offer and relocating.
- Buy the Dubai Explorer guide which will guide you through relocating tips and official government procedures.
- Make sure you come with savings – unless your company provides a fully comprehensive package with accommodation, car etc. – the set-up costs and deposits can be huge.
How is the expat community in Dubai? Did you have a hard time finding like-minded people or fellow expats?
I’ve been lucky that all my jobs have been very social so I was out and about meeting lots of people – having said that, it takes a while to filter through this mass of an expat community and develop real friendships. You need to be patient and give it a year. My friends are expats, but from all corners of the globe, Arab world included. I do interface with Emiratis but mostly through my work.
How would you summarize your expat life in Dubai in a single, catchy sentence?
Work hard, play hard.