Expat life is a funny thing, when you’re at home you take everything for granted and can’t imagine missing anything. But as soon as you take yourself away, you start missing things that you’re so used to. I’ve only been out of the UK for a few months now but I thought I’d put together a list of things things I’m already missing.
If you’re at expat, what do you miss the most?
Things I miss from home
The daylight hours
Moving from the UK in the height of summer is probably the worst idea unless you’re also moving to somewhere that has long daylight hours. Here in Dubai sun sets around 6.30pm every night and this time only shifts a little in the winter. But when the air temperature is warm enough to be sitting outside in the evening there’s something in my head that tells me daylight should be staying for much longer. I can’t really complain because as the UK hit winter even here will have more daylight hours.
I think my missing of seasons is being made worse because autumn is my favourite season and that’s the season the UK are in now. My social feed is full of people talking about autumn; the falling leaves, the crisp mornings, the change of clothes etc. and I have to admit I’m jealous. Sure the weather changes here, it’s shifted from being 40 degrees in the day to averaging low 30’s while the evenings and mornings are cooler too but there’s no sign of falling leaves and pumpkin spiced lattes (not that I’ve ever drank one of those).
Having the weekend on Saturday and Sunday
This probably sounds like the most bizarre thing to say but having the weekend on Friday and Saturday confuses me every week. I call Sunday – Monday, Thursday – Friday. It just always feels weird. Having grown up in a country where the weekend is on Saturday and Sunday it is so hard to shift the mindset to the weekend being on different days. It doesn’t help when things you’d normally watch on a weekend (Sunday) have to be recorded and watched after work. I never realized it would be such a shift mentally.
If my point above wasn’t bizarre enough then this one is probably having you laughing out loud while you reading this. There is something about the supermarkets here which I just can’t get on with; they are expensive, they don’t do a shop online and deliver service, they have so much plastic waste, you have to weigh your fruit and vegetables before you get to the till and it takes hours to find everything you want especially if you’ve got to the huge Carrefour’s they have here. To feel like I’ve got everything I want in a week I have to visit three different supermarkets because only certain brands have certain things. Biggest adulting moan of my life.
I couldn’t write a whole post that’s full of negative vibes so to make up for it here are some things I love about my new home.
I don’t think anyone, unless you don’t like sun (what?!), could moan about the sun always shining and it always being a pleasant to hot temperature outside. Just having a clear blue sky and the sun shining above your head certainly helps to lift people’s spirits, there’s no sign of SAD here. What’s more, now the sunshine is a better temperature you find yourself wanting to get out and spend more of your free time out and enjoying the gorgeous weather.
Views of world famous landmarks
I know I’ve lived in London so could argue this is true anywhere but where else in the world can you step outside your apartment and see the world’s tallest building and the only seven star hotel in the world? There is something so special about seeing these two buildings especially as you drive to work or to an event or just around the city at the weekend.
Being part of an expat community
At home you have your family, your long term friends and work pals but typically these are all separate groups of people who don’t always have time to see you and hang out. Living and working aboard is different though because you typically don’t have lots of those long term friends and family around. Instead your work mates and their immediate family become all of that and more. The expat community is the most welcoming community you’ll ever be part of, people want to make sure you have things to do at the weekend and you’re never too lonely.
I hope you enjoyed reading about some of the silly things I miss and enjoy and my new expat life in Dubai, I’d love to hear in the comments if you have anything to add.