US Expat Living in Abu Dhabi, UAE - Interview With Gina

Published: 2 Dec at 9 AM
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Filed: Interviews,United Arab Emirates
As a child, Gina always preferred to crack a joke rather than discuss something of substance but then realized as an adult that we can do both. Abu Dhabi is Gina's first expat journey and it is definitely leaving an impression. The many excursions and experiences throughout the The Abu Dhabi PTA (see listing here) demonstrates how interesting it is to live within a country with so many different cultures. The Abu Dhabi PTA is my therapy: a way to see the best in people, understand the power of friendship, advocate for the education of our children, inform Americans on the what life is really like in the Middle East, while also doing a little charitable work in the process.

Meet Gina - US expat living in Abu Dhabi, UAE
Meet Gina - US expat living in Abu Dhabi, UAE

Here's the interview with Gina...

Where are you originally from?
I'm originally from the United States; more specifically Southern Illinois on the Kentucky/Missouri border

In which country and city are you living now?
I live in the United Arab Emirates in Abu Dhabi.

How long have you lived in UAE and how long are you planning to stay?
I have lived here for almost two years and will stay for as long as my family feels it is a good fit for us.

Why did you move to Abu Dhabi and what do you do?
I moved here with my husband and our son for my husband's work. He is an executive in the healthcare industry.

Did you bring family with you?
Yes, our 9 year-old son and our two dogs.

How did you find the transition to living in a foreign country?
At first it was very difficult. Navigating the system in the Middle East is difficult; although it may be difficult any other countries too, I am not sure. I do hear from other expats that because English is commonly used here it is easier for Americans.

Was it easy making friends and meeting people; do you mainly socialise with other expats?
Yes, we mainly associate with other expats. Not because of desire but because it just comes together that way. I found it easy to make friends through my son's school; hence, the blog The Abu Dhabi PTA. Without this group of ladies I would've been a very depressed, lonely soul.

What are the best things to do in the area; anything to recommend to future expats?
There's so much to do and see. I would recommend that all expats take a desert safari cruise.

What do you enjoy most about living here?
The diversity. The United Arab Emirates is very much like a little New York City due its diversity.

How does the cost of living in UAE compare to the US?
The cost of living is on par with other major cities throughout the United States so I didn't find it cost prohibitive to move here.

What negatives, if any, are there to living here?
As Americans we are accustom to freedom of speech and it is difficult sometimes to live outside of a democracy and I need to be aware when I am writing. What is funny to Americans may not be funny to all. I have to find the balance between making fun with people vs. making fun of people — and it is more difficult when I am juggling so many nationalities. I do follow the motto, when in doubt take it out regarding my writings.

If you could pick one piece of advice to anyone moving here, what would it be?
Learn the history of the region, be open-minded and be patient.

What has been the hardest aspect to your expat experience so far?
The official documents and the restrictions on what we can do and what we cannot. Americans have few restrictions placed upon us and it is difficult to get used to living in an area with governmental, cultural and religious differences.

When you finally return home, how do you think you'll cope with repatriation?
It will be difficult to give up my full time housemaid, the gas attendants who pump gas, the grocery baggers that take your groceries to the car, and all of the other workers here that make my life more easy.

What are your top 5 expat tips for anyone following in your footsteps?I am assuming this question is reference to my writings.
  1. Be unique. Write something different....
  2. Be consistent. Write frequently (listen to what I say, not what I do)....
  3. Be committed. Use it as therapy ....
  4. Be your own PR person. If you want people to read your stuff, spread the word....
  5. Be a liaison for the people in the world who wish they were doing what you are doing...

Tell us a bit about your own expat blog.
Initially, my blog started because I have a very busy brain and I needed to purge some thoughts and feelings so I can go about my daily life. I then noticed how many people were interested and entertained in my experiences and decided what a great opportunity it would be to share the real Middle East versus the Middle East Americans see on American news channels. I also understand the power of humor and how it can be used to help people see a different side of an issue by allowing them to let down their barriers. Humor is a very powerful tool for change and if I can help people have a new perspective through my writings then I consider that a success.

How can you be contacted for further advice to future expats coming to your area?
Absolutely! I am always available to chat.

About the author

Expat Blog ListingGina is an American expat living in United Arab Emirates. Blog description: My name is Gina and this is my blog. It isn't a mommy blog because I am quite sick of those. It is about my experiences and observations as an American woman living in the United Arab Emirates.
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Comments » There is 1 comment

Shawn wrote 6 years ago:

Hello My name is Shawn and I am currently living in the US, Texas. I will be moving to Abu Dhabi in Aug 2014 to start my new job. I will be alone, no family or pets. I have been reading everything I can about everything related to the UAE and people in my same situation/expats. I would like to say that this page was helpful but like most things I have read on-line it mainly for families and coupes. However it was useful information and thank you for posting this. So anyone that can point me to someone that is single/male or female that is in my situation that would be great.

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