“There are no wrong turnings. Only paths we had known we were meant to walk” – Guy Kay

Two years since we left our beautiful home by the seaside in Youghal, Eire. Which we LOVED. I can’t believe how fast time has gone. So many people had talked to us about moving away to other countries.  To be able to look back in years to come and say we actually did it! We moved away from everything we knew.

Mybiglove and I Uprooted Mylittleloves to experience new sights, smells and tastes and places that they would not have experienced.  This will always be something we are immensely proud of.

Our senses had been laying dormant and stale and we wanted our every day routine to be shaken up and given a new sense of life. Then you get this massive sense of achievement from the moment you step foot off the plane- that you actually did it, you made the move.

The above makes you feel instantly stronger and capable of anything. Until you start to experience some of the daily frustrations. Here are some examples of what I am referring to!

Driving in Dubai is HORRENDOUS… 

Indicators? What are those? Those flashy things are optional. A skill I never want to learn is crossing over 6 lanes at 120km/ph without using those flashy things!  This is something I struggle with. Mybiglove will admit to the universe that I am not great at driving nor am I great with directions. My first week in Dubai it took me 3hours to get from The Greens to the Arabian Ranches which according to google maps is only a 10minute trip. Unfortunately the roads have no room for error. If you miss that turn off, you can forget about what ever appointment you have. Go get a take away coffee from the many starbucks drive throughs and enjoy a scenic ride home.

Seat Belts…

Something that angers every bone in my body. Seeing Littleloves in the back seats of their parents and nanny’s cars, standing up and running around the back of the car without their seat belts on. One step up would be when you see the Littleloves hanging out of the sunroof or windows and you guessed it – the car is moving!

Most people come to Dubai with a 2-3 year plan… 

We have made some pretty incredible friends and the sad part is we know they will be gone soon enough. I think Dubai is like vegemite. You either love it or hate it. There really is no in-between. Many people quickly learn that 2-3 years is not long enough whilst others cannot wait to see the back of it. We LOVE Dubai and our original plan of 2years has now become a distant memory.

The heat is intense…

For 5months of the year, the wind will feel like a hair dryer. Your car will feel like a sauna. Your fingers will burn when you touch the steering wheel and your sunglasses will immediately steam up when you step outside. However, for the remainder 7months of the  year – you will feel like you are on a permanent holiday in paradise. So stick with it- It gets so much better.

Summer in Dubai is quiet… 

The good news is due to it being so hot and uncomfortable, most families will flee for cooler climates. This means their are less people in Dubai in the summer holidays. Roads are quieter which as you may have guessed means they are safer and the malls are so quiet. During this time all the amazing hotels have great promotions- finally a holiday we can all afford. Plus with mylittleloves depending on what mood they are in a flight might not be something we could handle. However, a holiday that is 5minutes from your front door is like winning the lotto!

Brunch… 

Brunch in Dubai is not the same as brunch anywhere else in the world! It is a marathon of food and drink. There are so many to choose from but one of our favourites is Saffron in the Atlantis Hotel. You turn up at 12 and are handed your VIP bracelet and your glass of champagne (just to keep you quiet in the queue) while you are waiting for your table.  Then from 12:30pm on the dot you have all you can eat food and DRINK. It can get very messy but it is so much fun. I still don’t know how they let us Irish into these brunches. How are they even making money?

Dubai Time…

Dinner, meetings, appointments, engagements you name it! The one thing that was really hard to get used to when we first moved here was everyone turning up late for everything.  It is still so frustrating but we are slowly learning not to loose are cool with handymen and even our friends. I now get the term “Dubai Time!”

Bidet’s…

We all have two or more in our lovely houses. They are found in the bathroom and as Mylittlelove Aoibhie would tell you “It’s Minnie’s bath” its an excellent place to wash the dog. To be honest I still don’t really understand them? They make so much mess and take up so much space. Someone might let me know there true purpose. Right now anyway ours is used as the washing basket. If your clothes are found in it- Im your woman to wash them!

Ramadan Hours…

Ramadan working hours are great.  Who am i kidding? Im a housewife! They really are great though. Shorter working days means more time with Mybiglove and anyone that knows him knows this is always a lot of fun! Flip side is the roads tend to be a bit more dangerous to drive on around Iftar. All those poor souls who have been fasting all day are eager to break their fasts. My general rule is to be where I need to be before 4pm and not move from there until 9pm. Then as my mother in law would say “your safe as houses”

Taxi driver’s who know where there going…

If you find one – keep him. Lock him up under the stairs, he is worth a fortune! Kidding, I don’t have anyone living under my stairs. Unless you are going to a well known hotel/mall or landmark it is quite likely you will be giving your taxi driver directions. Google maps becomes your saviour every time. This is incredibly difficult if you are new to the city and also have no idea where you need to go. I did have one experience after a night on the razz with the girls. We said one location had a snooze and woke up an hour from where we needed to be… (a few lessons learnt) but anyway! Stay awake and help them out- also TIP them, they get paid feic all!

Post…

As there is no real address system in Dubai getting things delivered is frustrating and involves at least a minimum of 6 phone calls to delivery men. Thankfully people come and go so often we have personal post which is hand delivered by our loved ones.

Photocopies of your passport are required to do just about anything in Dubai…

You will need other paperwork too but these two are always a requirement. One lesson I found tough was that if you want to get any job done just know it will take you 5 attempts every time. Licence? Electricity? Water Bills? No problem just come back 5 different times and speak to 20 different people and perhaps learn Arabic while your at it – JOB DONE!

I’m sure there are plenty of things I’ve missed from our list but these pop into my head all the time as- ‘oh thats just Dubai for you’. The best advice I was given to prepare for life in Dubai was don’t live beyond your means! It’s all too easy to get swept up in the lifestyles that many appear to have, but getting credit is easy and comes with severe consequences if you cannot afford to repay any debt that you accumulate.

The main thing I’ve learnt overall is that all of the infuriating times are worth it.  The emotional highs and lows, the shaking up of your life as you know it, the nervous butterflies, the home sickness, and everything else that comes with being an expat. Even if you take the leap only to get to know yourself and your family better.  You and your family will take these experiences wherever you choose to go in life, whether you choose Dubai is for you, or you want to go home or whether you choose to move onto pastures greener.

Either way we will have a pretty awesome scrap book of photos to look back on when we turn old and grey…

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