Jillian R.
We moved to Oman in Feb/March 2011 and subsequently, well, here in Abu Dhabi last fall. Living in the Middle East is not an easy feat which one can just adapt to - like moving to Korea for example. While there were surprises here and there due to the differences in culture and mindset, we didn't really have to change how we act or dress, to name a few. Well, we didn't have to change anything except our diets really - which I didn't mind at all. Again, living in the Middle East; it's literally a whole new world.

Here are a few things that I'll probably never get used to.

1. Getting pecks on the lips/cheek before parting ways with my husband; while this is a very, very common thing among couples, you don't see it often, or at all here. Say you're at the supermarket and your husband wants to wander off into the car accessories section while you just wanted to get on with grocery shopping. You bid each other farewell and tell your husband not to spend unnecessarily (knowing that he will anyway). This is when you may want to hug your husband and/or kiss each other on the cheek. We don't do that here. Sometimes Eric kisses me goodbye anyway (on the cheek/forehead!) and I quickly scan the area nervously to check if anyone was watching or was getting offended. Yes, people get offended easily.

 No kissing in public!

2. Having to go to different supermarkets to complete your shopping list. You cannot get pork products or anything that contains pork traces at most supermarkets here. While I don't usually cook pork anyway I would still like the option of being able to get it easily. I remember the first few times I went shopping with Eric in Korea while we were still dating and I was still living in Malaysia. I saw him grab several bottles of sweetened condensed milk from the shelf and I asked why. He said "because I may never see it again". I laughed at him. It was until I moved there myself that I found out just how true it was; hence we adopted a general rule while shopping; if you see something you like/want, grab at least 2-3, you'll probably never see it again. That general rule also applies here.

I grab lots of "Bounty" brand paper towels every time I see them, plus, only Lulu's have them. Thank you Lulu's! 

3. Fridays and Saturdays are weekends. This one really isn't that hard to deal with. Except it takes away the joy of Fridays. Fridays were once magical. You have extra energy on Friday evenings. You feel a bounce in your walk to the car, all that's gone. Now, Thursday is the new Friday. I don't know why there are so many T.G.I. Fridays here. It obviously defeats the purpose. Sunday is the start of the work week. I always, ALWAYS mistake it for Monday and call it that until I confuse everyone. I find it very difficult to say "--a Sunday-Thursday work week". Who says that?!

4. It's a land of construction workers. Like my last entry suggests. They like to stare. I bet they stare at anyone who does not look like them. It's very uncomfortable, mainly because they stare without any trace of expression.

5. Not knowing a good hair salon. I haven't had a hair cut in a year or so. There are many beauty "saloons" around Abu Dhabi. Most of the "saloons" are either the Indian barber kind (which are for men only) or fancier ones which are for women only. The women-only salons are usually completely covered from the outside, obviously to maintain the privacy of women who are in their without their head scarves, etc. While I completely understand and respect this, it makes it hard for me to decide which one I should go to. I've always needed to look inside a salon and see if the lighting was okay, what kind of chairs/equipment they use, etc. Obviously, I don't feel comfortable going to a "saloon", peek in and leave if it wasn't up to my standards. That said, I've decided to only get a hair cut once a year when we visit New York or when I make a trip home to Penang.

Until then, I'll just grow out my hair like Rapunzel.
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2 Responses
  1. Glenni Says:

    Saloon sounds much more exciting than salon, but too bad they don't mix company there in either one. Thursday is the new Friday, hold your Arabian steeds! That makes, Saturday the new Friday, so there's still room to unwind at any of the many TGIF's before you head back to work on...when was it again? the old Sunday which is like the new Sunday before the old Monday? I am so confused loll!! Let's call the whole thing off before we slip into a whole different dimension. Just as well to stay home and sip that extra can of condensed milk you had lying around :D

  2. Anonymous Says:

    .thanks for sharing

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