Whether you’ve just landed with your family in tow or your little ones are born and bred in the UAE, there are some truths about being a British Mum in Dubai that none of us can avoid…
- You will feel exceptionally smug in January. There are times when we feel homesick as British Mums in Dubai – but let’s face it; January is not one of those times. Stood on a beach with the sand between your toes, the sun on your back, and the kids splashing in the shore, you’ll feel like you’ve lucked out – and that’s a feeling that never gets tired (especially when you see friends and family grumbling about rainy days, endless train delays, and zero degree temperatures on social media).
- You will find it hard not to convert everything to pounds. It takes years before you stop thinking in pounds, with the same dialogue going through your head every time you head to the shops or supermarket. “£7 FOR A CAULLIFLOWER????!!” you will wail dramatically as staff hand it over from the weighing scales, considering throwing yourself onto the floor in a toddler-style tantrum. You wont though; you’ll simply rethink dinner and grab handfuls of affordable local vegetables to make it work.
- You will be proud as punch of your expat children. You had a childhood walking to the local school every morning, holidaying on the continent, and playing with your cousins every weekend – and at times, you’ll feel pangs of sadness when you realise things will be very different for your own brood. Then they will come home from school singing songs in Arabic, asking for play dates with friends from all over the world, and telling you about the traditions and customs of the Middle East – and you’ll realise they are enriched in so many other ways. Oh – and they won’t even flinch when the thermometer hits 45’C.
- You will still want home comforts. Whilst you have changed the way you shop and you cook, there are certain things that you won’t be able to go without. From jars of Marmite, to dollops of Heinz Salad Cream, to mugs of milky Tetley Tea, UK brands will still feature heavily in your cupboards (and thankfully are very easy to get your hands on in Dubai). And whenever you head back to the UK to visit friends and family, you’ll take one step into Tesco or Sainsburys and feel like a kid in a sweet shop. In fact, you’ll be dreaming about that first supermarket visit for weeks before you’ve boarded the flight.
- You will get used to the weather. When you first land in Dubai and take those first steps out of the airport to the taxi queue, you’ll inhale what feels like 100’C air and wonder how you could ever get used to it (and feel a little daft in your winter boots and scarf). Fast-forward a few years and you will shiver so much on UK visits that you have to convince your parents to switch on the central heating in August – and you’ll be the only one wearing flip-flops when it’s raining too (you never could work out where you’d stored those winter boots…)
- You will fall in love with the expat community. From posting on British Mums Dubai Facebook group, to attending coffee mornings, to selling your unwanted baby items and getting involved in 30-minute chats before you’ve even handed over the goods, fellow expat mothers in Dubai will quickly become your new family. And whether you’re feeling homesick or happily immersed in a love affair with Dubai, meeting up with fellow Brits abroad will raise your spirits every single time. And we’ll raise a mug of Tetley Tea to that…
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