CamelsIt has been four weeks since we said goodbye to the United Arab Emirates.  This has given me time to reflect on what I’ll miss the most about living there, some understandable and some you won’t understand until you live there.  Nonetheless, I believe you can take away valuable lessons from anywhere you live, even if you can’t see it while you’re in the thick of it.  I hope you’re able to enjoy some of these one day.

Honor System

When we first arrived; we decided to take a drive into Dubai.  Little did we know, the gas station on the way did not accept credit cards, and we didn’t have cash.  The man allowed us to go ahead, spending our day in Dubai, as long as we returned on our way home and paid him.  All he took was our ID information and license plate.  Things like this happened all the time.  A word of mouth promise goes a long way in the community.

Camels

This is a no brainer.  I’ll never again live in an area where camels walked along the road where I was driving, and that’s sad.  Nothing like seeing camels scattered all through the dunes.

Driving

I didn’t drive for the first six months of living in the UAE.  My husband took me to and from work every day, as I was terrified of the erratic driving and crazy roundabouts.  However, once I became comfortable and gave it a whirl, it was fun being behind the wheel!  You learned to be more alert, paying attention to everything around you at all times.  I think this actually made me a better driver.

Photo by Expat Travelingmom

Conservative Dress

For my daughter’s sake, I absolutely loved living in the UAE for the simple fact that everyone covers up.  I didn’t have to worry about what my daughter was being taught about “beauty” via ads nor people on the street.

The Sea of Kanduras and Abayas

I loved going to a mall at night, when most of the locals go out, and being lost in a sea of white and black.

Kids EVERYWHERE

The UAE is a happy, family friendly place.  Kids are everywhere and always welcomed.  I would often find myself telling my kids to quiet down or to stop playing around, only to be told by both locals and non-locals that they were children and it was fine.  Almost everywhere caters to children; they are to be seen AND heard!

Palm Trees and Dates

Street after street is lined with palm trees, almost all of which are date producing.  I’ll probably never get dates as cheaply nor as fresh as I did while living in the UAE.

Call to Prayer

I knew I would love and miss the call to prayer the minute I heard it for the first time.  Whether in the malls or coming through my window in the morning, it was just a beautiful part of every day.

Photo by Expat Travelingmom

Photo by Expat Travelingmom

How Cheap Some Things Were

You could get excellent quality steaks, cut in front of you, for next to nothing.  Fruits and veggies at the local markets were cheap too.  Possibly our best bargain was getting all 8 of our dining table chairs completely recovered and copied to match the original design, for 50 AED each…that’s only $13.61 each, including labor and material.

Our Villa

Just the fact that our house was called a villa made it sound cooler!  We loved our neighborhood, the layout of our home and the massive yard.  Homes are big, and almost all bedrooms have their own ensuite bathroom, which was pretty cool.

Photo by Expat Travelingmom