Today marks my fifth year anniversary as an expat… I wouldn't have realized it if my friend Connie did not say something about it! how time flies! seems like yesterday that I boarded the plane with my luggages, hopes and dreams...
I have been blessed I must say, for all I’ve had are great adventures... oh err.. and misadvenures (tee hee!!) these five years. The occassional feeling of loneliness and frustration aside, these are the things I’ve learned, realized, proved, gotten used to, done for the first time, come to love…
- … that I can (and actually) enjoy (… even the chores, yes) living on my own when before I was so dependent on my family. I'd like to think being overseas made me a tougher and more mature person.
- … that the biggest responsibility you have being overseas is to rise above (and change) the negative perception other people have of your nationality.
- … calling that wireless telecommunication device “mobile” instead of “cell phone” as I used to back home
- … taking the cab to everywhere when before I was so scared to take the cab alone.
- ... paying just 1 dirham for a bus ride!
- ... doing tourist-y things like going to the grand mosque, dessert safaris, dhow cruises, exhibits etc etc.
- … that planning a weeks’ menu could be very hard!
- … that I could somehow live without a TV... my friends have been cajoling me to buy a TV, but I am quite happy watching movies and series on my laptop via internet streaming and downloading - so my wall still is and will remain flat screen TV free!!!
- … that people are interested to learn about your culture as you are with theirs
- … you (will) miss your home country though you say you hate it and would never go back
- … that you will definitely miss your family! – even the wrestling/ boxing/ shouting and ‘what have you’ bouts with your siblings!
- … that the easiest and usually the first words you learn in a foreign language are the curse words
- … that you can never have too many pictures... even if it’s just taken inside the mall
- … that malling - ergo shopping (here in the UAE at least) is not just done out of a necessity but is a way of life
- … hot showers
- … calling the bosses by their first names
- … writing the date by dd/mm/yyyy instead of mm/dd/yyyy
- ... that salary comes on the 26th of every month and not the 15th and 30th - so I have to budget my expenses if I don't want to be broke two weeks before the next payday
- … having just two meals in a day
- … that ‘weekend’ means Friday and not Saturday and Sunday
- … living in a flat as opposed to a house with its own garage and garden
- … that my room is not just a room but my house and home
- … desert camping
- … sand rolling
- … camel riding
- … watched a belly dancer shake her booty/belly!
- … fishing/ crabbing
- … Arabic/ Indian cuisine - love them arabic flat breads with hummous, curries, shawarma ... and... and...
- … being able to just walk to work
- … being a “ dark brunette” - I have never colored my hair before but since coming here, my formerly ultra
black hair is now dark brown with light streaks!!!
... I won't ruin the mood by ranting about the things I don't like/ have to live with being an expat here because I know that I have a lot to be thankfull for being able to work here, it is because of this opportunity that I am able to help out my family financially even a little bit, so a big thanks to the big guy up there!!!.
There's no party to celebrate my expat anniversary - I guess I'd have to coordinate with my batchmates about that, in the meantime though, we do have some ice cream cake left from my brother's birthday yesterday so I guess I will celebrate with that!!!!