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Lizzy of Arabia

  • Lizzy of Arabia
Blog of the month
Published 3 years ago
My name is Liz. I am originally from New Jersey in the USA, but we were most recently in the Seattle, WA area. We now live in Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates.
liztotton

liztotton

My name is Liz. I started Lizzy of Arabia to keep my friends and family stateside apprised of our new life here in Abu Dhabi. It has morphed into more of a forum for me to attempt to understand this culture and better understand my own through the ...

My name is Liz. I am originally from New Jersey in the USA, but we were most recently in the Seattle, WA area. We now live in Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates.

 

When and how did you decide to move to Abu Dhabi? Is it complicated to settle down there?

We were supposed to come here 5 years ago, but then the economy took a nose dive here in the Middle East and, well everywhere I guess and the project that my husband was supposed to take was put on hold. To say that I was waiting by the phone for another shot at coming here is an understatement. I felt more than a little desperate for travel and wanted more than anything for my daughters to live abroad for a while.

Abu Dhabi is a very easy place to settle into. Almost everyone speaks English (if that is indeed your language).

 

Have you ever lived abroad before? How many countries have you visited?

I have lived in Greece, Taiwan and the United Kingdom. My husband is from Cape Town, South Africa, so I have spent a lot of time there, but I have never lived there. I have visited more than 25 countries, I think.

 

What do you like the most about Abu Dhabi?

I love that we have friends from all over the world here. I have always believed that the mere act of speaking to people about their homelands conjures similar sentiments to the actual act of traveling. I also have many American friends here, but we all have two things in common: a sense of adventure and a desire to see more of the world. I also love how safe it is here in the United Arab Emirates. At this time in my life with two soon-to-be teenage daughters, I’d gladly trade the many freedoms of the west for the security of the Middle East.

 

How is/was the cultural shock? What are the main differences with the US, your home country?

I honestly experienced very little culture shock though this country is radically different to the United States. I came to this region for the differences, not the similarities. Everyone’s different though. You could live in this country in very much the same manner you did in your home country. American chain food and retail stores abound. We don’t frequent them, but they are there. I think the hardest thing for me to get used to was the summer heat - it’s extremely oppressive. I do not enjoy being inside in a controlled climate. I disliked winter at home for the same reason. Nowhere is perfect all year round. The other seven months here though are pretty close to perfect.

 

Do you miss anything from your homeland?

I miss my family and easy communication with them. It is very difficult to negotiate a 12-hour time zone gap. I cannot express how much I miss Costco and Michael’s (Arts & Crafts’ store) and being able to buy wine in the grocery store and not having to carry it out in the “Black Bag of Shame” that you get here in Abu Dhabi, but at least we can buy it, I guess?!

 

Any 'memories of an expat' you would like to share with us? Your best souvenir? Or maybe your worst experience?

My favorite experience, thus far, in Abu Dhabi was going to the Camel Beauty Pageant in Madinat Zayed in December. I am utterly enthralled by camels. I was also seeking an authentic Middle Eastern experience. In Abu Dhabi and Dubai, it is very easy to live a life very much like the one you lived at home. I wanted to feel like I was nowhere but here for a day and the Camel Beauty Pageant provided me the opportunity.

 

What does a typical day as an expat in Abu Dhabi look like?

Being a mother of young-ish children (they’re not really that young anymore…sigh…), most days revolve around my children. I take them to school, and then I run around our complex for exercise. I eat. I blog. I meet friends for lunch or coffee. Then, I go back to pick them up at school and chat more with friends, moms and teachers there. I enjoy my school tremendously. Weekends we try to find adventure or just relax at the beach. Our kids go to birthday parties, sleepovers and play-dates. We live a life a lot like we did at home in the US.

 

When did you start your blog? For what reasons?

I started Lizzy of Arabia in August of 2013 when we left the USA to come live here in the UAE. Initially, I wrote just to keep my friends and family stateside apprised of our new life here in Abu Dhabi. It has morphed into more of a forum for me to attempt to understand this culture and better understand my own through the eyes of others. There is no better way to get to know your roots than through travel and writing.

 

Did you make new friends with your blog?

I have - not many though. I am open to it. I get a lot of e-mail, again, mostly from people thinking about moving here or in the very early planning stages. When you get here, send me a message. I am very friendly, and I’d love to meet you and show you around.

 

Why did you register on expat.com and what do you think of the website?

I registered on expat-blog during the summer to ask members questions about life here in Abu Dhabi. I wanted unbiased counsel rather than strictly relying on the information that my husband’s prospective employer provided us with, which was obviously laden in self-interest. Your members replied quickly, honestly and with vast amounts of helpful information, which made negotiating our salary package, choosing a school and place to live much easier. Because people on here were so helpful to me, I try to repay the favor karmically on my blog by helping others who are in the process of or just thinking about moving to Abu Dhabi.

 

Which advice would you give to the other Expat blog members who would like to settle in Abu Dhabi (or UAE)?

I would tell them NOT to bring the entire contents of your home like we did. While it’s nice to have it, all that stuff is dually an albatross around your neck. Case in point, the antique, heavy piano that we brought from home. It was just not feasible to bring it into a small apartment on the 8th floor, but how could we have known what type of residence might appeal to us here? I would add that finding a blogger who lives in the city to which you are thinking about relocating is a great idea. Please do not rely on anyone, with self-interest in your taking a position or not, for information about the city. Some will, of course, be very honest. But others may not. The latter was our experience. Please do your research before you make the move abroad. You won’t regret it!

I would also advise a person coming to live here in Abu Dhabi in particular to bring a sense of humor. Many aspects of life can be very frustrating in the beginning. If you are able to laugh about it, you will stay much saner.

Lizzy of Arabia

26 Comments
alamina
alamina
3 years ago

very interesting !

Reply
AnywhereTraveler
AnywhereTraveler
3 years ago

Anyone teaching English in Abu Dhabi who wants to share their experience? Husband and myself are looking to move to UAE asap. Stacie :-)

Reply
liztotton
liztotton
3 years ago

Hi Stacie, I just saw your e-mail. Thanks for writing. I'll send you a reply now. Lizzy

Reply
Sarah-Zoldyck
Sarah-Zoldyck
3 years ago

wow wow :o

Reply
khaldun
khaldun
3 years ago

I live and work in Abu Dhabi and i look for friends from various nationalities. I speak English, Arabic, and French. I have little command of German.

Reply
liztotton
liztotton
3 years ago

How interesting. Isn't easy to make friends from so many places here?! Abu Dhabi must be the perfect place to practice all your languages. :)

Reply
nadouda8
nadouda8
3 years ago

I LOOOOOOOOVE UR BLOG CERTAINLY ITS VERY INTERESTING

Reply
liztotton
liztotton
3 years ago

Oh, thank you! I LOVE to hear that. :)

Reply

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