Cristy: Yabba Dhabi Doooo!
Please tell us a little bit about yourself. Who you are, where you come from, when you moved to Abu Dhabi, etc.
I’m a wife and mother of 2 that left behind a career in mortgage banking to follow my husband to Abu Dhabi. My husband began working on projects in the UAE in 2009, and after I visited a couple of times I knew I wanted to move there.
When and why did you decide to start blogging about your experiences?
I honestly just started my blog as a way to let friends and family in the US know about our new life in the UAE. I started posting on my experience in October of 2011. After receiving several emails from potential expats moving to the area, I realized my audience was more than just my family and friends. I like the idea of helping ease the worries of new expats.
Do you have any favorite blog entries of yours?
Yes, “My Son, the Pickup Artist”, is a favorite of mine. As a mother, it was one of my proudest moments.
Tell us about the ways your new life in Abu Dhabi differs from that back home. Did you have trouble getting used to the new circumstances? Did you experience culture shock?
I love my life in Abu Dhabi. Our family has a far more relaxed laid back lifestyle since we moved to our new home in the sand. Of course, there have been things we’ve had to get used to, but most of it has all been good things. I don’t know that it’s exactly bad to have to get used to people breaking their necks to try to help you every time you walk into a store or business.
Do you think you were fully prepared for what awaited you in Abu Dhabi? If you could, would you change some decisions/preparations you made?
I was a little lucky, because my husband spent over a year in the UAE prior to our family’s move. I can’t really think of any major decisions or preparations I would have changed.
Every expat knows that expat life comes with some hilarious anecdotes and funny experiences. Care to share one with us?
My kids love to remind me of the day right after we first moved to the UAE that I tipped the poor guy helping me to the car with my groceries a measly dirham. These were the days when I was still adapting to the conversion rates. When I got in the car my kids were laughing, and my son said, “Mom, you do realize that you just gave that poor guy about a quarter for tip?”
Which three tips would you like to give future expats before they embark on their new life in Abu Dhabi?
My three tips would be to not expect Abu Dhabi to be like wherever you are expatriating from, accept and embrace the differences, and most importantly learn to laugh at the ones that drive you nuts.
How is the expat community in Abu Dhabi? Did you have a hard time finding like-minded people or fellow expats?
We have a very large group of friends in Abu Dhabi, and it seems to be constantly growing. Making friends in the UAE is actually pretty easy, because expats tend to be extremely friendly and eager to meet new people.
How would you summarize your expat life in Abu Dhabi in a single, catchy sentence?
Abu Dhabi, where life feels like a vacation.