A day in the life...


Advertisement
United Arab Emirates' flag
Middle East » United Arab Emirates » Dubai
February 13th 2011
Published: February 13th 2011EDIT THIS ENTRY

Wadi AsimahWadi AsimahWadi Asimah

Having a picknick. (Photo courtesy of Craig Knight)
His Dudeness has left the building. Once again I have left home on route to the far-east to continue where I left off. And once again I have made use of a stop-over in Dubai to visit my sister. Two weeks this time, two weeks to live the life of an expat. Expat, the shortened word for expatriate, a person temporarily or permanently residing in a country and culture other than that of the person's upbringing or legal residence, or so Wikipedia informs me. I am of course not a real expat, as I am not actually residing in this country or any other country. But my sister is, and so is my brother and so were my parents once upon a time. One could say my background is infused with this phenomenon.

I thought about writing about a day in the life of an expat, but I am not an expat and besides every expat is different. But maybe I can tell a little about the expat world in general, at least as it applies to where I am now. The expat world in essence is a multicultural world, and while the politicians in Europe may scream out about
Wadi AsimahWadi AsimahWadi Asimah

More picknick photos
the failings of it on their continent, out here it seems to work quite well. I look at my sister’s school going children and notice their friends come from a myriad of cultures. I look at my sister herself and see that her friends come from all over the place. And does this cause tension? Does it lead to xenophobia? No, it seems we as humans are actually quite capable of living together in harmony with respect to each other’s differing habits, upbringing, cultural norms and values.

So, the expat world is multicultural, but what else? The expat world is also seen as quite a luxurious world, where the standard of living is higher than in the home country. Houses are bigger, typically many expats have maids or other help in the household, they drive big cars, they earn more and pay less tax, and live in countries where the money they earn goes a very long way. Is this true? Well again it varies, even here in Dubai. If you come out expecting this kind of life-style you might be sorely disappointed. Not everybody has a big house, not everybody has maids or help and not everybody earns
DubaiDubaiDubai

Teagan's sports day, class 2 AM go! (Photo courtesy of Craig Knight)
a lot of money. Standards of life vary for expats just like for everybody else.

A big negative in my eyes is the fact that here in Dubai there are some whose life revolves around bling. They measure themselves upon the size of their neighbour’s house/car/pool, the school their children attend, the amount of time they dine out, the size of the packages (i.e. how much does the company pay for in terms of housing, schooling, annual leave etc.) in their contracts, their holiday destinations and much more. Sounds familiar doesn't it? Just like anywhere else. The difference is that it seems to be more accentuated out here and it can be very annoying for those who don't wish to participate.

This bling factor also creates an unrealistic view of life. Simply put, maybe out here you can afford to live like that, because the pay is better and the cost of living is lower, but it is temporary and that is what some expats in Dubai fail to see. If you live long enough like a King you start believing you are a King. The big 'crunch' has put paid to many an expats dream world, as
DubaiDubaiDubai

My sister and I, taking photo's and cheering on Teagan and his team. (Photo courtesy of Craig Knight)
they lost their jobs and had to return home to a world where they could not afford the luxury of living in a compound with a pool, a big house, a Land Rover and a Benz, and two maids.

Another drawback of the expat world is that you are a long way from home, you are far from family and friends and the 'pub' around the corner where you used to go to. This is something that one needs to be able to handle and this is one of the reasons why companies pay more to those living abroad. If you are single you might get very lonely, and if you have a family there are other problems involved. Uprooting a family isn't everybody’s cup of tea.

Personally I think the expat world can be great, it can open your eyes to other cultures, you can learn a lot about the host country you are in, more than any traveller could. It can be a great experience if you have children as well, because they will come into contact from an early age with the world and the varieties it offers. They will grow up not scared of
DubaiDubaiDubai

Have to keep that ball rolling! (Photo courtesy of Craig Knight)
the outside world, not fearful of other cultures and religions, but at peace with them and curious about them (or perhaps I am being idealistic and optimistic here).

As for those other perks you might or might not be able to afford while out here, like a bigger house and maids and all that, take it as it comes and remember that they are all just transient and are meant to compensate for the loss of friends and family at home.

I will end this particular blog with my sister’s musings. One day she said to me: 'You know what I think I will miss most whenever we move back home? The food! You have such a variety out here. Things you could never get at home. The supermarkets are stocked with stuff catering to every country and nationality that lives here.'




Additional photos below
Photos: 11, Displayed: 11


Advertisement

DubaiDubai
Dubai

Bouncing away (Photo courtesy of Craig Knight)
DubaiDubai
Dubai

Taking the hurdle (Photo courtesy of Craig Knight)
DubaiDubai
Dubai

Teagan keeping his eye on the competitor. (Photo courtesy of Craig Knight)
DubaiDubai
Dubai

Ready... Steady... Go!
DubaiDubai
Dubai

Fathers versus mothers in a tug of war game
DubaiDubai
Dubai

Teagan's class won!


13th February 2011

miss u
hope you're doing well!
13th February 2011

Gosh, was Teagan´s hair yellow as well??? Have a nice onward trip!!
24th February 2011

Americans
It's all about bling in this country too. Very unfortunate imho. Take care. xxx

Tot: 0.145s; Tpl: 0.026s; cc: 9; qc: 23; dbt: 0.0259s; 23; m:apollo w:www (50.28.60.10); sld: 1; ; mem: 6.6mb