It has been a month since I smuggled 50kg of clothes, shoes and a Nutribullet into a 30kg weight limit on board an Emirates flight. A month of moving into an apartment higher than Sushisamba, attending three brunches, drinking spirits out of watermelons, drenching myself in sun, making new friends and starting the job of running the MENA arm of a global company, with one other.
I haven’t had time to touch the ground and think about home properly. Although a few days ago was the first time I missed it slightly, when I would usually be around my aunty & uncle’s watching the rugby with my family and dog, instead I was round friends’ who I’d met but a mere few weeks previous, and yet felt like I had known them forever. Eating lasagne with my new ‘Dubai family’. It was at that point I thought ‘this is my life now’ no more going home for the odd weekend to see the fam.
I’ve already learned a lot from just one month being here. Firstly, as just noted; your friends become your family. It’s different from London because although I wouldn’t see my family for months at a time, bar my brother, I knew I could get on a train and three hours later I would be in front of the fire with dinner being cooked for me.
I would see my friends in London on more of an individual basis, dinner with one on a Tuesday, happy hour with another on a Thursday, out with the girls on a Saturday. The lifestyle here is more of a big group vibe. Brunches here aren’t like brunches back home.. a brunch back home consists of being hungover and going for poached eggs and avocado on sourdough at midday in Brixton Village while resembling Vicky Pollard. Brunches here are quite the opposite. Think dressing to the nines, heels, makeup, hair. Arriving at a plush venue (by home standards) and being greeted with drinks on arrival; any drink you like in the majority of cases brought to you by a dedicated waiter for the duration of your stay, followed by food. Lots and lots of food. I’m talking sushi, roast beef, chocolate tarts, cheese boards. The lot. This lasts around three to four hours before you’re spiralling into an all encompassed hangover by 6pm, and, if you can muster the energy for an after party, basically the rest of your weekend is spent feeling like death. Then when you don’t have a brunch booked in, you’ll have a yacht party, or a beach party. Every single weekend is taken up with some sort of party, life’s a f*cking party (and I’m loving it).
Second learning: No one walks anywhere. Like literally you get a cab bloody everywhere because they’re so cheap/it’s too hot/everything is too spaced out. See a trend here? Loads of food and drink, no exercise. Heeey weight gain. But it’s okaaaay, we all have gyms and pools in our buildings. We know they’re there, on the fifth floor, or was it sixth? Erm, they’re there somewhere and we will find them.. when a muffin top starts forming and spilling over our bikini bottoms.
Thirdly, what you’ve probably wanted to know more than anything. Boy goss. Not one to kiss and tell.. mainly because this year has been particularly ‘dry’. Owing mainly to the lack of men with confidence in London/ me not wanting to go on random Tinder dates anymore/me being hugely fussy and a bit of a bitch.
But here, fresh off the boat, I have had a bit of an eventful month of it (by my standards). But it’s not like me at all, I feel like I’m back at uni and I do need to chill out a bit. Although meeting people here is part and parcel of moving to a new place, jumping into bed with partial strangers and spending a week feeling guilty about it is not cool, drunken or not. Cue best behaviour and my wifey-material self.
I have had a few messages wanting advice on moving abroad. I would say it’s different for everyone, if you’re a home bird who can’t miss their mum’s Sunday roasts, stay put. If you’re not afraid of meeting new people and immersing yourself into the unknown, do it. I am so lucky to have good friends already here, from whom I’ve extended my friendship group, and without them I probably wouldn’t have made the decision to move. To me this isn’t the start of a new life, it’s an extension to it. The goal is to always settle back home, live in a big house in Surrey with dogs and kids and all that jazz. The best advice I ever received from my gran is: “Only settle with someone who has the same goals as you. You can be totally different people but if you are both going the same way in life, it will always work”. But until then, I need to live life and ensure I’ve got no regrets before I pop sprogs, oh and find a potential suitor of course..