Saturday, 25 April 2009

Things I love about being a Middle East expat

I'm constantly amazed at how much I enjoy living out here. Regular readers of this blog will know I had many doubts about coming here. In fact, I moved here essentially because we had no choice; either that, or my husband would have remained in the UK job-less, and we all know how hard it is for a pilot to get another job once they've been grounded for a long period of time. No, I HAD to come, and so I didn't really think about what it would be like here. I was perfectly prepared to hate it. I just wanted to be with my husband, and it didn't matter where that was!

Certainly the first week was tricky - I was very homesick and the culture shock was pretty harsh - but I've been here 5 weeks now and day by day, this place is growing on me. So I thought I'd put a little list together of things I like about it!

1) The sunshine. Wow, it's gorgeous, and aside for a few isolated days of rain you can rely on it to shine every day! What a change from the UK.
2) Financial stability. We've gone from relying completely on my salary in the UK, cutting out coupons for Tesco and worrying about my little car's MPG, to a position where I don't even have to work if I don't want to, we eat out all the time and we drive a ridiculously large car that only costs the equivalent of £10 to fill. Blimey, eh. I keep having to pinch myself.
3) My husband's happiness. Words can't describe how relieved I am that he's finally in the skies again, and flying a brilliant aircraft he'd always wanted to fly, to boot! His transformation in the last few months has been fantastic to watch.
4) Cameraderie. Before we came here I was quite worried about what living on a compound full of other pilots and their families would be like. I had an image of the Stepford Wives! But in fact, it's been great. If I ever feel lonely I can just walk out the door and head to the pool, and there's always someone there to talk to who understands exactly where I'm coming from.
5) Staff travel. My husband's airline has great staff travel. Unlike his UK airline, they actually have an ID90 system out here (which we can use on most airlines), and my husband's airline's network is so large that you can fly pretty much wherever you want in the world for minimum expense! What a huge privelege.
6) New friends. I miss my friends at home hugely, but I've discovered that the expat community is incredibly friendly. You're all in it together, and I've met a couple of women in the shops etc who've just handed me their number!
7) Radio 4 on the beach/by the pool/in the desert. There's just nothing like listening to The Archers podcast when you're by the pool! Listening to farmyard animals in Borsetshire whilst you're basking in the sun is a very funny, and lovely combination.
8) Visitors! Lots of friends and family are planning to visit us, and that's very exciting. My mum's coming out next month, and I'm already planning where to go and what to do!

That's enough for now I think. I'll add more when I think of them! If any other expats are reading this, I'd be interested to know your views.


  1. That's wonderful! This is exactly what I try to impart to everyone who asks me about living in the Middle East. I have been an expat in five countries, but no place compared to my experience in Kuwait. It is a great lifestyle! I'm in China now and it is not really quite as good as the Mideast. The two are really not comparable, though, since I am in a small city with few expats and few activities. I'm dying to get back to the Mideast. I hope the economy picks up and the airlines start hiring again!!

  2. Rob Stephenson27 June 2010 at 20:45

    I couldn't agree more. I didnt think I would like it here either, but toally love it. I live in Bahrain, and couldn't believe how friendly and liberal people were here.

    To your list, can I add:
    - not having to get out to fill up your petrol
    - maids, cleaners, nannies, drivers
    - shop assistants who actually smile and are polite
    - being close to so many great holiday destinations.
    - feeling safe and secure.. low crime rate!




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