It has been a ridiculously long time since I’ve sat down and written a blog post. Honestly, my grammar has gone completely out the window at this stage and this post has probably taken an embarrassing amount of time to throw together. I just decided I’d pop up a blog post since it would be easiest due to my current Wifi situation (like you haven’t already heard me yap on enough about it on my social media). Seriously, there are so many things they don’t tell you when you make the big move to Dubai but alas, I am here to tell you all, or at least what I’ve learnt in the past month since I’ve arrived.
I touched down in Dubai on the 12th of August 2015. Oh how long ago that feels! As of yet I won’t be revealing what my current job is out here just for security reasons after some previous situations in the past. However, if you’re following me on Snapchat, I may have given away one or two clues, so far. As you’d expect, when I arrived it was hot, I mean SERIOUSLY hot but after a miserable, dull year in Ireland, I wasn’t complaining since everywhere in Dubai is air-conditioned.
This gets me onto my next point, the air conditioning here is extremely cold and the two extremes are more than likely to get you feeling achy and sick at some point. I definitely feel the wardrobe I packed for this climate was all wrong; beach clothing and the likes. Although Dubai is a liberal place when it comes to the Middle East, it still respects the modest dress code. At home in Ireland I would of course leave the house in little shorts and a T-shirt but here it is refreshing to see women dress elegantly and modern without showing it all off. Having said that i’m all about women wearing what they want. I honestly couldn’t imagine walking through the mall in a skimpy outfit because you’d look all wrong plus it would be a cold experience. I have heard of people being reported to security for their inappropriate attire but it’s definitely best to stir clear of any potential negative attention.I’m in awe of the Middle Eastern women; they’re so beautiful and gentle. Not every woman wears the hijab but even if they do or don’t, their makeup is impeccable and they certainly like to take care of themselves. I went to meet Huda Beauty at Sephora in the Dubai Mall but unfortunately I didn’t get to meet her. However, just being amongst all these beautiful women with the same passion as me, I was simply observing how they all interacted so peacefully and calmly. One misconception many people in Ireland believe is that women are treated like second-class citizens and I can’t stress how inaccurate that information is if you’re thinking about coming to Dubai. Women in Dubai are treated so well from what I can see. Men stand back for a woman, let her skip the line in a supermarket and are just genuinely nice. A total change from Irish men! I’m a believer in gender equality and obviously it isn’t ideal for men but it certainly beats women being locked up.Every resident in the United Arab Emirates needs to obtain an ID card. Once you have an ID card you’re allowed a sim card and Wifi installed in your home. To do this you need to go to a special hospital to have a blood test and X-ray. Why you might ask? You need to be checked for HIV/Aids and Tuberculosis. I won’t say my experience was too great. I travelled out to a remote area of the dessert to where many construction workers live in large camps. I can’t say it was ascetically pleasing and not what you see on the postcards. The hospital reminded me of an airport/hospital/refugee camp but it was quick and painless. Afterwards you need to go to the ID office to get fingerprints and a photograph taken. It all sounds very extreme and invasive, especially to an Irish person whereby it isn’t a legal requirement to carry ID. However, in a country where a large percentage of the population is foreigners, the whole process nearly seems self-explanatory to keep tracks on things.The cost of living is something that really shocked me. Groceries can be an extortionate price just because so many products are imported from countries like New Zealand, Australia, The Netherlands and Spain, etc.,. In Ireland I absolutely adore sweet potato but unfortunately one sweet potato was about to set me about nearly €7! Cucumber, lettuce and baby tomatoes are all items that can cost up to €5 or more. As strange as it sounds, sometimes eating out can be cheaper than eating in. Ordering in is a huge thing in Dubai, if you want even a can of coke, you can have it delivered to your door. Strange, right? I just had an amazing smoothie delivered to my door this morning. I’m not going to make a habit of doing this though because you could easily become a socially anxious hermit! Having mentioned greater expenses, there are other costs that are dramatically cheaper to Ireland. Taxis for one are incredibly cheaper. A 40-minute taxi will cost around €25, give or take. The metro is another efficient and affordable means of transport.Alcohol is another expensive luxury. First of all you’re technically not allowed consume or have any in your house without an alcohol license but it definitely isn’t checked. However, I can’t stress enough how frowned upon being drunk is in public. You will be arrested and potentially deported. When leaving a night club or pub, staff are very keen to see you get straight into a taxi or car and your taxi driver will drop you straight to your door, ensuring you safely make it into your apartment building.Do I love Dubai? As of yet, no I don’t. It’s just so extravagant and different to Ireland. I thought I would have adjusted better but the culture here is so different. People here are very friendly but shy in comparison to Ireland. That banter with the taxi driver or chatting to a stranger doesn’t exist. As controversial as it maybe to write this, a caste system is present here and I’m struggling to accept that because I see everyone equally, no matter their skin colour, religion or beliefs. Money is another key factor that will determine how much fun you will have. As I’m working a back month, I haven’t been able to see and do as much as I would have liked, so as of yet I’ve really just gone out to nightclubs.The weather has also been a huge factor preventing me from getting around. In Ireland I walk pretty much everywhere and here each morning I walk out of my building into the car waiting for me and get to work, so this is why using the gym is key to prevent the ‘Dubai stone.’ Two minutes outside especially when the humidity is 70% and 46 degrees, life genuinely seems impossible. Apparently in October is when things begin to cool down and life becomes a bit more bearable.As for homesickness, I honestly haven’t felt much except for when I’m horrendously hungover and need a cuddle from my King Charles, Mister Magoo. I was here one month and I spoke to my parents once in that time. Honestly, when you emigrate it’s so much easier to just Whatspp and not actually talk on Skype or the phone because it makes you feel you really are that far away. Whatsapp has no emotion and I don’t want my parents to know the downsides when I’m not feeling good. My biggest fear is that I’ll burst out crying and question whether I made a massive mistake. However, I know I haven’t. My newsfeeds on Facebook is filled with friends or people I know emigrating and articles of crime, poverty and general crap, that I just don’t miss any of it. I have never felt so safe in my life than I have in Dubai.
I’m really hoping I can get my Wifi set up soon so I can actually start uploading again on YouTube and my new channel, LippyInDubai. I honestly have no idea what’s been happening in the YouTube world, yet it has been refreshingly nice to get away from it all. If you’ve any questions at all, don’t hesitate to contact me on my email or social media.Before I sign off, I need to warn any of you ladies to bring a good hair mask with you before you come to Dubai. The water is absolutely horrendous, my hair is snapping and falling out in buckets. Bring on payday so I can get a good Kerasté treatment.
Thanks for reading,