I’ve been in the Middle East for nearly 4 weeks and I’ve been to malls, beaches, gyms and multiple bars and restaurants. As I start to build a life here, the natural progression is to build a network around me, to keep me sane and my marriage intact! I love spending time with my husband but there’s not much to give to a conversation about our day, when the highlight of mine was a really good muffin in Starbucks (I must stop buying those)!
Before coming out to the United Arab Emirates, we knew a few people who were already here, friends of friends, and who we should contact once we arrive. Finding your feet in a new place, a whole new country and culture, is daunting. It isn’t another city in the UK where you need to learn where things are and the rest of your life remains fairly stable. You drive on the other side of the road, money is different, weekends are different, clothing is different, supermarkets are crazy, bacon is beef and avocados are ridiculously expensive! It’s always useful to have that contact with someone who has been through this all, not that long ago.
When owning a CrossFit affiliate, my husband and I met a lot of people from all over the UK and the world. People dropped in whilst on holiday, whilst working and whilst stationed with the military, and a few have remained friends. CrossFit is a small world, especially in the UK when competing, and you find yourself with the same people in different areas of the country. One of these friends has a girlfriend who is currently in Abu Dhabi working as a midwife. She also is a member of our CrossFit gym – perfect.
I got her number and messaged her, like a small child, “Hi do you want to be my friend”, or something along those lines! Working in the healthcare system in Abu Dhabi, she is also a useful person to ask questions about the scope for a dietitian out here and how the hospitals and clinics work. It feels vulnerable to go to a lunch date with someone you don’t know, in a place you’ve never been, in a taxi on your own. But hey, I managed and we met in a lovely restaurant, by water and hit it off. We also decided to have a pool day the next day to soak up the sun on her day off. It’s nice to spend the day with someone, sharing stories and experiences, and making plans for the next few weeks. I’ve even been invited to her birthday brunch (my first in the UAE), where my husband and I can meet more like minded expats. I might just be starting to feel settled here.
The Hunt for Holly continues…