Positive Thinking

It’s often said by ex-pats especially those of UK origin but many others too, that one of the bonuses of life abroad is that everyone is much more positive about life in general. Recently I read an upbeat discussion of “Things you CAN do [inDubai] that you can’t do at home”. I found it fascinating reading giving an insight into both life here and the contributors culture at “home” and thought you’d enjoy this summary:

The Weather

  • Sit with the patio doors wide open on a March evening!
  • Having my car filled for me, I hate having to get out when I’m back in UK freezing wet windy
  • Spend time in the pool on Christmas morning and then barbecue in the afternoon without worrying about the weather (within reason).
  • Swim outside and sunbathe in March (well did on Friday – not today!!)
  • I can wear T-shirts all year around


  • Eat wherever I want without checking if it’s halal or not…
  • Go to a water theme park/beach in a bathing suit (ladies only days)..
  • Leave my car running while I jump out and withdraw cash or whatever…
  • Leave valuable things in the car without worrying that the window will get smashed and my things will get stolen.
  • Being called Ma’am and not “luv”, “duck” or any other endearment by people you don’t know
  • I can say hello to anyone on the street without them looking at me like I am a weirdo…….
  • Being able to stay home and enjoy quality time with my children….amazing
  • Afford a big villa when it is an impossibility in my home country…..just wonderful.
  • Have time to coffee with friends and for that matter sit and write to this forum or read a book….
  • Develop new friendships with pp from so many nationalities….just great.
  • Drive nice cars…..wow…
  • Travel regularly to amazing places
  • Take nice holidays to around Middle East, Europe or Asia…or Africa…all within reach and affordable and as most of us ladies don’t work giving us time to plan and enjoy…
  • Eating out…variety is amazing…quality depends on where you are comparing with….
  • So many fun activities for kids….could never dream of this back home…
  • Safety…though my home is safe….how many places are really safe in this world? Can we take a train at 11pm..dare not do this in most major cities…
  • Shopping shopping shopping…more variety here..
  • I can free camp on spectacular beaches and desertscapes
  • I can wear shorts and jandals (flip-flops) to 5* hotels for lunch
  • I can have just about any kind of food my little heart desires, delivered.
  • I love studying with people who come from 100 + different countries and unlike UK and USA, they haven’t all assimilated so I still get to observe and enjoy their quirky cultural customs
  • When we lived in Abu Dhabi, I loved that there were women only sections in cafe’s etc.
  • Go to a Ladies queue (eg at government offices) and get served over the long queues of men!
  • Been on the metro 3 times in the last week and been offered a seat twice.
  • Being able to take my son into so many restaurants and feeling comfortable about it, it’s so child friendly here, not like back home.
  • Communicate with 5-6 nationalities in my office during only one working day! Awesome!
  • Be greeted with a hello wherever you go
  • I can have early breakfast at the restaurant
  • I can walk only 10 meters away from Sheikh Mo (the ruler of Dubai)
  • Go for a coffee with your hubby on a whim at 9pm because you have full time live in help who will listen to the baby monitor for you!
  • People usually always give their seat to a lady who is standing on the bus
  • Never lived somewhere where I didn’t need a car before so little things like walking to the mall, walking along the Creek at night etc are great.
  • I love bargaining so Karama and the Souqs are fun coming from a country with fixed prices.
  • Being able to take a taxi without thinking it will cost an arm and a leg!
  • Ladies sections on buses, women and children section on train, ladies taxis…
  • Smiling my way to being sorted out first (the bank, the shop, the lift)
  • Love the fact that most people here are cheerful most of the time whereas in Blighty everyone seems to have something to moan about.

Service And Shopping

  • Have my supermarket shop packed for me (and the trolley contents loaded onto the belt too) caused a few problems the first time I returned to the UK – blush
  • Have the car washed everyday by the cheerful man in our car park
  • Wonder why there are no replacement electric toothbrush heads for sale again!
  • Walk out of my front door without being confronted by an array of outsize wheelie bins provided for me to sort my own rubbish and cart to the end of the path on various days during the month – I don’t miss clogging up my brain with rubbish collection schedules!
  • Park for free in the shopping malls.
  • Pay for stuff with hubby’s bank card and vice versa without anyone questioning it… we both get called maaaaamsiiirrrr anyway so why should it matter if the card I’m paying with says Mr xxx?!
  • Afford someone to clean the house on a regular basis
  • Can afford a maid…or two if we want…a driver…a gardener….luxury….
  • Get immediate medical attention without waiting months or years in our ‘free’ system at home
  • Fill up the car with petrol without having to worry about taking out a mortgage to do so!
  • The fact that you can leave your supermarket trolley anywhere in the car park and nobody bats an eyelid!!
  • Get fruit, veg and other food from all over the world in the supermarkets (all year round).
  • I love the fresh mint and lemon drinks.
  • Go to a mall late at night and shop past 21:00.
  • Have groceries, fruits and veggies delivered for free!
  • Call the grocery and getting the delivery 20 minutes later (free!)
  • Order from the grocery and pay a month later
  • Dial out for anything and everything and get it delivered.
  • Not clearing up after myself in a food court. It irks me NOT to do it (I still tidy and gather everything neatly on the tray to be disposed of) but I don’t do it ’cause it will take some wee man’s job away if I do. If you did that in Canada – well, I don’t know what would happen, ’cause you just wouldn’t!
  • Go to Karama/Satwa/Bur Dubai and have a slap up meal which costs 30 AED (6gbp)!
  • I can get my car washed here when it is super dirty for only 25dhs, I don’t think anyone would get out of bed in Australia for that would they??
  • Get your dry cleaning / ironing collected / delivered…for crazy cheap prices!

Things That Make You Wonder

  • Sit in the car with the car running while someone fills the gas tank (oops you should actually turn it off but many don’t)
  • Stop in your car, beep your horn and the grocery store will bring stuff out to you.
  • Push in to traffic queues etc by doing the hand gesture thingy that says please let me in/give me time etc..
  • Get out of traffic tickets by batting your eyelashes and asking them not to give you a ticket as you have too many already
  • Stopping for shwarmas and bipping your horn so people come to the car to take order
  • Let your kids ride in the car like they are animals or even sit on your knee and help you drive!!!!! I’d love to be a traffic cop here…….
  • Drive like a manic and cut people up (not that I do!) without getting punched! Lol!

And Finally (one habit I’ve mentioned before but I’m obviously not the only victim):

Be trailed in a store like a potential shop lifter;

  • I usually ask them why they’re following me. Makes me cross (maybe I look like a crim? Lol!)
  • Much more fun to quietly give them something to do; put the coathangers back on the rack facing the opposite way etc…..once slowly turned a whole row of camels to face the shop wall and watched the poor assistant itching for me to move so she could rearrange them! Shadowing brings out the worst in me…

For more on this and topics like ‘where can I buy….’, ‘help maid problems…’ and ‘I’m pregnant now what’ (the latter is a BIG topic here as you can lose your job and if not married you will be deported) dip into the wealth of advice and views that is the Expat Woman forum.