Crossing the continent

I wrote this post last week and I am only now getting round to posting it. I have been extremely busy finding my bearings and starting university, so you can imagine…

 

Hello followers (I can now say this as I have a few subscribers),  I’m here, Alhamdulillah! I finally unpacked today, that’s after a whole 6 days of exploring the city, I never had any time to feel jet lagged with all the excitement! I now feel settled in though and I thought I should write my second blog post. I am currently sitting by the pool on the rooftop trying to get a tan. Arabs have told me I’m too pale?! Totally enjoying this moment. Blessed. MashAllah.  I have received a tonne of emails and messages from people asking me about how Dubai is treating me, so let me share my experience about how I crossed a continent/long haul flight first (why is it that you always end up sitting next to someone you don’t want to sit next to?!). On the day of my flight, I spent the day in Glasgow with my parents grocery shopping, this included stocking up on enough onions to face an onion famine. We had lunch in a dingy Asian takeaway/restaurant because according to my dad they do the best food, I say average. Soon after, we headed to the airport, 4 hours prior to my flight as dad had to rush off to work. When we arrived at the airport car park, my mum, dad and wee sister pulled my suitcases along and I rushed on ahead as I knew my mum would start giving me lectures (i’ve already been told by my dad several times to not be ‘seduced’ by the Princes of Dubai (okay, he didn’t use the word seduce but you know what I mean). After each lecture I knew mum would start crying, so I just wanted to prevent Glasgow airport from getting flooded. I thought they would leave straight after dropping me off and that would mean it wouldn’t give my mum much time to cry (and I could enjoy a coffee and continue reading my book) but I was wrong. I sound like a horrible daughter, but I just didn’t want to put her through the traumatic experience of one of her chicks leaving the nest once again, at least not in public. They ended up staying at the airport for an hour and my mum tried to walk away three times, I repeat, THREE times, but every single time she came back and cried. Yes, my parents are very dramatic. Dad more so than mum, he was welling up long before mother, by that I mean DAYS beforehand. I’m only going to move to Dubai for a year, not a lifetime, parents! I dare not imagine what my wedding day will be like –a tsunami of tears from my mother, father and eldest sister as the younger one has a brick for a heart (haha, just kidding, I saw you waver for a second at the airport :P).

You will be glad to know, I did finally get to enjoy my CAPPUCCINO, at long last, after getting through two security checks. Whilst I was sipping on some coffee by the gate, I remember thinking I’ll get a whole 7 and a half hours of glorious sleep (this remained a mere thought as you will soon find out). Once the gates opened, I boarded the plane and rushed to my seat. I was assigned a window seat and I thought I would have the entire row (3 seats) to myself. 5 mins after I sat down an Indian guy came and placed himself right next to me and started speaking to me in English with his DELHI-WALI accent.  Indian guy: “Hello, I am going to Delhi, is Dubai your final destination?”

Me: reluctantly “yes”. There goes my sleep.

The guy wasn’t a creep, just an overly nice freshie. I was sniffing away during the entire flight (full of the cold) and he would randomly place tissues on my lap and several times he got up to get me a glass of mango juice (without me asking). He came in handy in the end, especially as I was having trouble with the guy behind me, he wouldn’t let me recline my seat the tiniest bit without causing a furore so Delhi-Man told him to ‘let the poor lady relax as she is exhausted’. I told my sister all of this and she was blown away by his kindness and said I should’ve kept in touch (I’d like to think she was joking). The funny thing was this guy looked very much like Himesh Reshammiya, but with short hair and a 1000 gold chains around his neck..

Anyway, after the sleepless flight I went through passport control (looking like I was going to celebrate Day of the Dead).  I was welcomed into Dubai by the most beautiful Arab gentleman, well he needed to take my photograph for my visa, but struggled because my eyes kept appearing red. This is because my pupils are abnormally dilated all the time (not because I fancied this man or because I have been taking drugs).  We ended up having a lengthy conversation of 10 minutes and of course I was imagining what our babies would look like throughout.

I finally collected my luggage and struggled along with my suitcase (Delhi-Man came racing behind to bid me farewell). I went to find my ride (transfer), a little man was awaiting with a sign with my name on it. Bless him! I soon arrived at my accommodation where my flattie was awaiting with excitement.

Here are some pictures of my accommodation:

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    I guess I can toss and turn as much as I like in this bed and won’t fall off!

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    The pool which I am currently sitting by to get a tan (note this is from another night)

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    I told my sisters that they can sleep in the maids room when they come to visit. They weren’t too happy 😐

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    Balcony

I am sorry for boring you with the minute details, but I know some of my family and friends will appreciate knowing these mundane bits of information and will feel comforted knowing I am safely here –without a strange plane disappearance and thankfully the flight path didn’t include crossing Ukrainian airspace. I’m yet to get a  hold of some photographs hence why you will have to wait for deets about what I’ve been getting up to in Dubai (I’m not trying to create suspense, haha).

Bye for now!

Preparing for a year in exile…

…Just kidding, a year in DUBAI! WOOHOO! Hello cyber world/soon to be followers (maybe, no??!), I have been meaning to create a blog all summer, but I am writing the very first post the day before I leave. It’s not even 34 hours before I board the flight, talk about last minute! I am sat here in my stripey, grandpa-like pyjamas (I will no doubt be glared at in disgust by my sisters for wearing these again, but honestly they are sooo comfy), so yeah, I am going over the list of things to do in my head…Like my blog, I have also left my packing to the last minute. I literally just chucked my wardrobe in a black suitcase last night. I have to photocopy my passport photo like 13 times, print my boarding pass etc. etc.  So to be honest, this post is probably on how NOT TO prepare for a year abroad; DON’T LEAVE EVERYTHING LAST MINUTE!!!! It is important to point out that I am very organised/plan in advance normally, however, as I have been working laboriously full time all summer I have had little time to prepare and I didn’t know I was going for definite until I received my exam results, not so long ago! image

My ugly pyjamas that my family hate but I absolutely adore

I guess I will begin with why I am moving… I am studying MA (Hons) Business Management at the University of Heriot-Watt (Edinburgh) and we had the option of studying a year abroad. Initially, I chose a few European universities to study at, but ended up getting accepted in the middle of nowhere in Sweden, despite the university being very good, I thought how will this be any different from where I have grown up i.e. rural Scotland?!?! I think the first thing you need to think about when you are choosing where you would like to study is what would you like to get out of during your year abroad? I personally want to experience a lifestyle completely different from the one here in Scotland, learn about a new culture, learn a language and pick up new skills.  Anyway, I spoke to my tutor and discussed my options and Dubai was another place I could go to, to be honest, I don’t know why I didn’t apply here in the first place. I spoke to my parents and sisters, they were being very supportive and said I should go for it! Since then it has been a long process of bureaucracy, which includes: applying for a visa, completing paperwork for the university, sorting out accommodation (whilst being in a different continent) , booking flights and the list goes on. In regards to tips/advice on how to prepare for a year abroad…

  1. Get a job (and when I mean get a job, that means be prepared to do anything for the sake of some ££££). At the beginning of summer, I handed my CV in everywhere. After filling in several job applications, I got a job as a sales advisor at a local finance firm. It wasn’t my first choice in jobs, however, I was determined to make some money so that I can enjoy my year abroad that wee bit more! Incidentally, as soon as I started working there, I got offered three other jobs at Clarks, EE store and another finance company –I would’ve taken any of these.
  2. Research your destination and the university thoroughly. For me, I have previously been to Dubai and luckily, the university is a Heriot-Watt campus so I didn’t have to research much. However, I have made a list of places to visit as soon as I get there and have already purchased several Groupon deals, hello, gold mask facial and water/safari park trips! Also, not sure if reading Desperate in Dubai by Ameera Al Hakawati counts?!
  3. ACCOMMODATION –this one is a biggie. In my case, the university despite accepting me forgot to leave an en-suite room available for me, and there was no way I was going to go for shared accommodation, so I had to find private accommodation myself (I will do a whole post on that later).
  4. Be prepared to adapt to a whole new university system/country, despite the university being an English speaking one, I found that there were a lot of delays when it came to communication, often they took days to respond to my emails and I was left in the dark wondering what was happening with my visa/accommodation etc.
  5. Find a cool flatmate (again, in my case, my friend from uni here is transferring for a year too –we’re going to have so much fun, Rola –I didn’t have to find a stranger to share with, thankfully).
  6. Purchase a whole new wardrobe –this is probably the number one thing I did (priorities, eh?!). I also took a trip to Glasgow last week and bought a whole load of items from the end of summer sale. I can’t wait to raid the shops in Dubai!!
  7. Mentally prepare yourself for all your friends and family members who will be crying hysterically when saying good bye –I mean why would I be sad? I’m going to the UAE, the melting pot of the Middle East!

I have spent far too long boring you all with all the logistics of going abroad –I can assure you future posts will be much more exciting!  I look forward to sharing my life in Dubai with you all for the next year, for now, I better run all these errands… hat clothes

I still haven’t packed everything and the suitcase clearly isn’t closing-ughhhh!

Goodbye, habibis/habibtis!!!!!  See you on the other side!

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Am I actually moving here? Ahhhhh!!!!