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Laura, Dubai

Who are you?

I’m Laura, ex-banker turned full time mum to 2 boys turned blogger over at Life with Baby Kicks.

Where, when and why did you move abroad?

We, being myself, my son and my husband, moved over to Dubai in 2011 when my son was 6 months old. We moved as my husband has always wanted to live in the Middle East, having spent the first years of his life in Bahrain, applied and got a job out here.What challenges did you face during the move?

Moving with a 6 month old was a challenge in itself! Other than that everything went relatively smoothly, the biggest advice would be to enlist the services of a moving company to move you which took most of the stress out of our move.

The big difference we found was the sense of urgency here, things take longer to process and do for example opening a bank account, a relatively simple procedure in the UK took us weeks to sort out!

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Are there many other expats in your area?

We live in an area called the Springs, which is predominantly British Expats with families. Not only that, but the essence of Dubai is that there are more expats than locals which is fantastic from a cultural basis as we mix with a variety of cultures on a daily basis

What do you like about life where you are?

I love the outdoor lifestyle we get to enjoy September through to March, and the fact that we are financially more secure here so I don’t have to work. This means I can stay at home with the boys while they are little without feeling forced back to work.

What do you dislike about your expat life?

The summer. I personally couldn’t take part in the mass summer exodus of the wives leaving with the children for 10 weeks or more, but with temperatures starting to soar over 40 degrees, even pushing 50 summertime is the worst time to be here. It is too hot to go outside and being cooped up with an active 2 year old on the same soft play trail is exhausting. This year for the first time I am taking both boys back without my husband for 3 weeks, that was about as long as I could stand being away and I’m still not sure if it’s too long!

What is the biggest cultural difference you have experienced between your new country and life back home?

The biggest difference is the clothing and ensuring you are suitably dressed to go out in public at all times. Knees and shoulders covered at all times. Completely different to the UK where even the smallest amount of sun sees bikinis in the park and men running with no tops on. I much prefer it the Dubai way than seeing all that exposed flesh in the UK!

What advice would you give to anyone following in your footsteps?

Do it! But make sure you give it a fair chance, we would say the minimum stay here would be 3 years, it takes a year to settle in properly then you need a year to enjoy the life then a year to prepare to leave again!

You only ever regret the things you don’t do not the things you do, so if you have the opportunity then I urge you to grasp it with both hands.

And hire packers.

What are your plans for the future?

For now we plan to stay here for another year, but we are fairly fluid with thoughts of moving back to the UK or New York or Singapore, it’s a watch this space kind of thing!

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