The UAE: One Year In…

One year ago today, Matt and I did the craziest thing and moved to the Middle East.

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“One year?!! Where has the time gone?!”

EXACTLY! Where has the time gone? In some senses, it seems like we only got here yesterday…but when sitting down and talking to Matt about it, I realise that there are so many things that we have simply adjusted to, and things that are now part of our every day lives that we would have never of thought of before…

The Driving…

Everyone told us that the driving is crazy here in the UAE, and when we first got here we were prepared for the worst. But really it’s not all that bad! Yeah, you can overtake on any side so you have to keep your wits about you…and yeah you should really stay off the roads before sunset during Ramadan – but apart from that it’s pretty normal.

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Also, we are now VERY used to not filling our own petrol. I actually thought about this yesterday when I was at the petrol station, because we’re going back to the UK in August and I laughed at myself when I thought how absolutely terrrrrrible it’s going to be to have to fill our own fuel. A full tank costs us around £15-£18…so, yeah!

Also, if it says 120km/hr on the sign – it means you can drive at 140…go figure!

Click here for the best 25 lessons for driving in the UAE!

The Days…

Everything happens at night. Literally – everything! The malls are open until 10pm in the week and midnight at the weekend, and people simply get everything done in the evenings. Obviously this is exaggerated in the Summer months and during Ramadan, but even in the Winter you’ll find a lot more things happen late afternoon into early evening.

The Sun…

Yes, we get it – it’s sunny here and we don’t have a tan. We very often get asked why we’re so pale considering we live in a 99% sunny country. And the answer is pretty simple; we’re not on holiday! We work in the day (most of the time) and then come home at night, cook dinner and watch TV. It’s a pretty normal life. We wake up every morning and the sun is just, well, there! We joke about it sometimes – “oh look! It’s a beautiful day” – but we then also completely take it for granted and don’t spend any time outdoors. Our bad.

Now June has come around again, it’s already 30° at 6am, but we have learned to work around the heat (unlike our first summer). If we need to go outside for anything, it’s early early or after sunset! If we need to go to the mall, we already know that the carpark will be a sweat box, but to bring a jacket too because the air-conditioning inside is like a ski-resort!

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The Food…

Anything you want. At pretty much any time. Delivered to your door. What’s more to love? It’s just a thing we’re used to now (and it can be dangerous!) At first we were all touristy and went out for dinner often…but now we know that we can get exactly the same stuff delivered to our front door within an hour and we get to stay in our PJs?!! Game-changer.

Really…think outside the box. Want some frozen yoghurt? Get it delivered! Krispy Kreme?! You got it!! Or if you’re just fancying your favourite curry from the hotel down the road… you really can have it all ❤

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The variety of restaurants and cuisines here is incredible as well! Who knew that some of my favourite appetisers nowadays are Kibbeh, Falafel and Tabbouleh?! I’ve definitely come far from the ‘don’t let the ketchup touch my chips’ girl I used to be!

The Currency…

We started off by thinking it’s Monopoly money, and we’ve come to realise that that’s never really gone away lol! Everything is big numbers here, so we have become kind of desensitised to it all. I’m sure when we go back to the UK we’re going to think everything is super-cheap because the numbers seem so low!

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What we have gotten used to now is what a dirham is worth. We know if a restaurant is expensive, or if a certain clothes store is expensive. And we know this in dirhams. No converting back now – we actually understand!


We know what it’s like to feel so full of water that we might just burst.

We also know what it feels like to completely run out of water.

We have literally been at both ends of the spectrum, and either’s not pretty.

But now, you know, we get our water delivered on a weekly basis and we don’t need to speak to anyone to have this happen. It just appears. Just like that.

The Parties…

We kind of love getting asked that same ol’ question..

“But can you drink over there?!” 

We quite literally laugh out loud.

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There’s a ladies night somewhere every day of the week, and don’t even get us started on Friday brunches!

And as for the real parties – if you think Ibiza is the only place you can see the greatest DJs in the world, then think again! In the past year alone we’ve had Tiesto, Richy Ahmed, Maya Jane Coles, Carl Cox, Robin Schulz, Martin Solveig and Paul Van Dyk to name a few (and that’s just May 2016 onwards).

Yessss, there are certain rules you need to follow, especially during Ramadan…and there are various ‘dry nights’ throughout the year to make special dates in the calendar…but don’t be fooled into thinking you can’t party here!

Those are just a few of the funny little things that we’ve gotten used to in our first year in the UAE. We’re currently going through our second Ramadan (much more prepared than our first) and we are looking forward to our next year here 🙂

We love the UAE, and I’m so happy that this is where we’ve had our first home together.

If you’ve ever though of visiting the UAE but have teetered on the edge…I really do recommend you come out. It’s absolutely beautiful here, and there’s SO much to do (but pick the cooler months lol)

Speak soon!!