Expat Interview with Tarana, Indian Expat in UAE

Published: 28 Aug at 9 AM
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Filed: Interviews,United Arab Emirates
Tarana has been a resident of Dubai for almost three years. She spent most of her childhood here, but headed to New Delhi for college education and work. She is a former copywriter, reporter and content editor and now a stay-at-home mom to a toddler she likes to call ‘Little Dude’! Tarana is an avid blogger and shares her experiences and adventures on her expat blog called Sand In My Toes (see listing here)

Meet Tarana - Indian Expat Living in UAE
Meet Tarana - Indian Expat Living in UAE

Here's the interview with Tarana...

Where are you originally from?
I am from India, born in Bombay (that's what it was called then, anyway!). When I was only three, we moved to the United Arab Emirates (UAE) and I spent all of my childhood there. We moved to New Delhi in India, where most of my father's family is, so I could pursue my college education. This wasn’t where I settled down, though!

In which country and city are you living now?
As luck would have it, I moved back to Dubai, here in the UAE, after my husband received a job offer here. Coming back to this country brought back a flood of sights, sounds and experiences from my childhood. But of course, almost everything had changed, and most of my friends had moved away. So, it was a lot like moving to a new city.

our family on a mountain retreat
our family on a mountain retreat
How long have you lived here and how has the experience been so far?
We've been here for almost three years and this move brought with it motherhood for me! My son was born two years ago and you could say that I've been exploring this country from a parent's eyes. The only downside is that my son hasn't been able to spend as much time with his extended family as I would like him to, so we plan to move back home around the time he starts pre-school. We decided that being away from family was not a sacrifice worth making for the financial benefits. I had already experienced this in my childhood and I didn't want to repeat it with my son.

Was it easy making friends and meeting people; do you mainly socialise with other expats?
It was easier once my son was a toddler and I met other parents in play areas and parks. I do try to socialize with people from different cultures because I'm truly interested in learning about them. However, most people have busy lives and if you are not a working mother, it can be hard to meet new people. It doesn't help that I don't have a driving license yet, which is notoriously hard to get in this country!

Burj Khalifa, tallest building in the world
Burj Khalifa, tallest building in the world
What are the best things to do in the area; anything to recommend to future expats?
Dubai has something for everybody. It doesn’t matter if you love adventure, sports, nature, wildlife or entertainment. You’ll find something to do! Of course, the first thing that comes to mind is shopping. There are bound to be some things cheaper here than in your home country because there are no taxes, so be sure to stock up on things like gold, electronics and designer handbags! Don’t forget to visit wonders like the Burj Khalifa, Ferrari World, Atlantis The Palm and Yas Waterworld. This list could go on and on…

What do you enjoy most about living here?
I like the fact that it is so family-friendly. We never have to stand for too long in airport queues. The locals are respectful of women, especially mothers. There are baby and mother rooms everywhere, which makes it easy to venture out with your baby.

If you could pick one piece of advice to anyone moving here, what would it be?
Since you won’t be able to get citizenship no matter how long you stay in UAE, don’t lose sight of your long-term goals. The cost of living can be high, especially with school-going children. Many families barely make ends meet even though both parents are working. If that is the case, I think it is better to move back home. Bottom line – if you’re not saving enough to build a better future, don’t hang around.

Global Village, a confluence of cultures
Global Village, a confluence of cultures
What has been the hardest aspect to your expat experience so far?
As I mentioned above, raising a child all alone without family and friends has been very difficult for me. Not having that kind of social support can take a toll on you. Luckily, my mother was able to visit on two occasions to ease the pressure.

What do you miss most about home?
Family and friends, of course. It takes years to build good friendships and I know nothing can replace the place of old friends. Back home, there’s always a shoulder you can lie on or a trusted friend you can turn to for help.
On a lighter note, I miss the street food, the open markets with their colourful ethic wear and also the chaos (but only so!).

What are your top 5 expat tips for anyone following in your footsteps?
  1. It would help to read up about Islamic and Arab culture so you understand and adhere to cultural norms.
  2. Don’t be afraid to step out of your comfort zone and get to know people from other countries. It’s not everywhere that you have an opportunity to meet 200 nationalities!
  3. Put some of your income into an account or investment back home. It will only help you, and will curb overspending.
  4. If you don’t plan on staying long (or are undecided), don’t splurge on your home. You’ll have to sell things at a throwaway price when you leave, or literally throw them away!
  5. Since you’re in the vicinity, explore other Middle Eastern and African countries. Turkey, Oman and Egypt are my top picks!

Little Dude loves the beach
Little Dude loves the beach
Tell us a bit about your own expat blog.
I transformed my existing blog into ‘Sand In My Toes’ when I settled down and had some time to spare from parenting duties! My blog is about a new mother’s perspective and experiences and also about my adventures in Dubai. I love connecting with readers and other bloggers from around the world, so drop by to say ‘Hi’!

How can you be contacted for further advice to future expats coming to your area?
You can get in touch with me on Twitter (@sandinmytoestk), Facebook (www.facebook.com/sandinmytoesTK) or Google+

About the author

Expat Blog ListingTarana is an Indian expat living in United Arab Emirates. Blog description: A blog about parenting, Dubai and life's many adventures.
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Comments » There is 1 comment

Vinma wrote 5 years ago:

Great interview! Congrats TK on being a featured blogger here! I have the pleasure of getting to know her and work with her in the blogging world on a few occasions and it was most delightful!I wish her all the best with her life and also the blogging endeavors she would be undertaking.

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