It's been the fastest and longest six months of my life. We have crammed a lot into that time including Skip starting a new role, the kids starting a new school, creating a home, creating a brand-new life. Thousands of kilometres from everyone we know. Overall, I think we've done good.
Six months in, the newness and strangeness has worn off. Dubai is home. Six months in, Skip and I still have moments where we look at each and shake our heads and say: "I can't believe we live here!" I look over my early posts here and giggle at how clueless and wide-eyed I was. Such a veteran now, six months in.
Here are some thoughts on life in the Middle East, so far...
Do you miss Sydney?
I really thought, before I left, that I would miss Sydney. Her harbour and her crazy layout, but I don't. I miss friends and family, without doubt, but I don't miss Sydney as a place, not yet. I do, however, miss good coffee and good sushi, both of which are lacking here. Oh and I also miss good Chinese food, with real pork. I miss BYO restaurants too.
Has it been easy to make friends?
Yes and no. But overall, yes. The vast majority of the population here are from somewhere else, so people do tend to reach out to each other a lot more. Friendships are made and cemented much more quickly. You have to rely on your friends a lot more than you normally would as you don't have family or lifelong friends here. In saying that, I have people here that I already know I'll be friends with for life. In a short period of time, I've already been through a few 'big life moments' with some of them, something you'd never do with people you've just met.
The downside of this is that some of them are already starting the 'going home' talk. Whistfully planning their return to the home country and already counting down. It's a constant reminder that these solid bonds are going to have to dissolve a little, a lot sooner than you'd like.
For me, this is only the beginning of the journey, so I can see myself waving goodbye to good friends before I know it. It also means I need to widen my circle of friends.
What's the worst part of living in Dubai?
- Being far away from the people you love.
- The heat – that crazy, crazy heat, which keeps you locked inside for many months.
- The driving. The roads are brilliant here, the people on them, not so much.
What are the best parts of living in Dubai?
- Being immersed in a place that is so different to Australia.
- Living in a place where I feel really safe.
- Fabulous Lebanese and Indian food, oh my goodness, this I will miss if I ever leave.
- Shisha. Sitting back, puffing away on flavoured tobacco is exotic and not something I do often.
- Seeing how my kids have bloomed here and learnt so much.
- Meeting fabulous people you don't ordinarily get the chance to meet.
- Being in close proximity to the whole world. So much amazing travel to be done.
- Getting a different understanding about the world. My horizons and my mind have definitely been widened.
- The positivity of the place - I love that most people love living here. It's made me realise how negative Australia can be, you're always hearing about how the place is going to ruin, the negativity from the politicians and the media is depressing. Here, the message is: Dubai is great, but how are we going to make it better? People genuinely love their leaders and I think the leaders really want this country to be the best place in the world. I may be a little naive, but it's a refreshing change.
- Living near the water, that's always special.
- Discovering the beauty of the desert.
Six months in and it still very much feels like the beginning of a wonderful journey. I think there are years ahead of us to discover a lot more.
Now, tell me, what do you want to know about life in Dubai. Please feel free to ask any questions and I'll answer them as best I can.