Tuesday, 16 September 2014

how I spend my expat days in Dubai

As a new expat in Dubai, I never imagined I would find such an amazing job as the one I have. I spent the first few weeks in the apartment, in the air conditioning with only the dog for company. And then bam. All of a sudden I landed a job at Ripe and rather quickly, this whole moving to Dubai thing clicked into place. 

Ripe provides the resident's of the UAE with organic fresh fruits and veggies, hand-picked from local farms. I know what you're thinking...the UAE has farms?! I was a little shocked too since I thought this desert land wouldn't be able to produce much but let me tell you, the flavour of stuff coming from the ground here is unbelievable. 

I work in an office in the warehouse. It isn't glamorous, but it doesn't need to be. I love that everyday I can see, touch, smell and more importantly photograph all the delicious stuff we sell. As soon as the warehouse doors fly open and a whole bunch of our warehouse guys start shouting in various dialects, I know a a delivery is here and I can run downstairs, camera in hand and snap away. And it's not just fresh stuff; it's all those yummy gluten free treats and snacks and superfoods that you read about in womens health magazine. 

I have turned into a health foodie since starting work at Ripe. I am surrounded everyday by delicious organic fruits and veggies and superfoody things like chia seeds, kale and goji berries. Who knew I was a chia seed kinda gal!?

Every day is different. I get to write press releases, oversee artwork for the uber cool Ripe Food & Craft Markets, talk to press, arrange interviews, photograph beautiful fresh fruit and veggies, interact with our customers on social media and develop brand communication. It is, essentially, my perfect job! And who would have thought I would of found it here in Dubai. 

But you know the best bit (here is when we get emotional), I have found people I click with. I have found some of the nicest people that inhabit Dubai and I get to spend my days with them. 

Oh and I don't want to brag but going back to those uber cool markets I mentioned....Ripe do the coolest farmers markets in Dubai and this season I get to be a part of that, something which I am incredibly excited about. I am a bit like a kid at Christmas! But everyday is my Christmas. 

Monday, 15 September 2014

Life Lately; fruits, vegetables and humidity.

It is amazing how quickly you can establish a routine when you move to a new country. And it is quite hard to believe that I arrived in Dubai 3 months ago. Despite the short time frame, my attitude is that of someone who has lived here for years and it surprises a lot of people when I tell them that I am a newbie expat in Dubai. 

I feel the job has a lot to do with the settling in and the fact that the boyfriend had already done the tough stuff before I arrived, meaning I could just walk into a "home". Having a purpose everyday helps and I am enjoying spending my days talking about, writing about and photographing fruits and veggies. And working at an organic food company is rubbing off on our diets; the fridge is full of fruit and veg, I eat things like goji berries and chia seed pudding and I have a small addiction to berry and banana smoothies.

Dubai has done many things for me in the short space of time I have been here. My confidence has grown immensely, my skills have developed quickly, new, amazing people have come into my life and my style choices have become bolder. The amount of colour and prints in my wardrobe right now almost shocks me, because prior to Dubai, grey, white and black were abundant. I think the sunshine has a part to play in that. 

My least favourite part of Dubai so far is the humidity. Last week the temperatures started cooling down and the humidity subsided, but this week it seems to be back with a bang and the sweatiness of this city just doesn't seem to get better! Everyone keeps telling me how nice winter will be and this is what makes the climate bearable. It is strangely nice when you have a cloudy morning in Dubai because the temperature dips right down and the air is breathable again. The marina is so still in those early hours and the water resembles glass, reflecting the towering skyline and the sumptuous sky.

And now that everyone is returning to Dubai after their summer jollies, it is time to start exploring this place we now call home and indulging in the benefits of Dubai. And with new friends to share this city with, it makes it even more exciting. Winter is coming and that means many evenings spent outside (without sweating) with a cold glass of wine, tasting our way round the city, restaurant to restaurant and indulging in some pampering at a fraction of the cost of London.

You can easily see why people don't want to leave because the lifestyle grabs you and sucks you in. I realise how lucky I am right now though and am keeping my feet on the ground to avoid being sucked into the Dubai bubble. Wondering what the Dubai bubble is? Well that's a whole other post in itself. 

Thursday, 11 September 2014

where to live? Moving to Dubai with Expatsblog.com

As a new expat in Dubai, finding somewhere to live, aside from your visa processes, is probably one of the most important parts of your move to Dubai. Luckily the boyfriend had already arrived a few months prior to me and had found, rented and set up our apartment well before I landed in Dubai. 

The process to find somewhere to live, started as soon as we made the decision to move. We narrowed down the areas we wanted and could afford to live in and then researched each one for its amenities, transportation links and dog friendliness. Our search came down to a couple of areas; Dubai Marina, The Greens and Al Barsha. 

In the end, Dubai Marina won because of the accessibility it offered me; I don't drive so proximity to a metro station and the availability of taxis meant Dubai Marina was our prime location. And it is relatively dog friendly, close to hotels and as such bars (all bars in Dubai are located within hotels due to licensing regulations) and restaurants and was within our price-range. 

There are a ton of expat friendly areas across Dubai, which range from the family friendly and dog friendly to luxury and young professional friendly. The price range of residential property in Dubai does vary and it isn't cheap when compared to the rest of Europe, but if you compare our spot, on the marina walk to say, living in a one bedroom apartment on the River Thames in London, then you would say we have a pretty good deal price-wise. 

But expats beware, rent is usually required in two or three post dated cheques and sometimes a whole years worth of rent is payable up-front. Then you have to factor in costs including estate agents fees, security deposit, Ejari fees, Internet set-up and DEWA set-up. 

It all sounds a little scary and luckily I skipped this bit, arriving just in time for the fun, IKEA shopping and decoration bit. But if you need to know more about the serious stuff, my article in association with Expatsblog.com, Finding Somewhere to Live in Dubai, has just been published. 


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