Blank Space

Sad but true: one expat’s farewell is another’s yard sale.

One of the parts of expat life that you try not to think about too much – along with the cost of air fares and the cultural drift that sees you slowly lose touch with daily life in your home country (I saw a headline in a UK paper the other day which was essentially X’s reaction to how Y had treated Z. I’d heard of none of them) – is the constant turnover of people in your life.

Strangers on a Train
Hang on tight: the carousel climax from Strangers on a Train – click to play!

It’s endless, and usually sudden, and frequently exhausting. I still feel like a newbie here in my house, but there’s already at least four newer families just in my street alone. More are on their way. And there are ten other streets like mine in this compound alone…

Now replicate that turnover across a whole city and the movement quickly becomes a blur. The merry-go-round never slows down.

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Top of the World

Malls! Everybody loves them (and we really like them and their air conditioned comfort in this part of the world). Even zombies love them.

New dawn at the WTC
Is The Hub a new dawn for the World Trade Center?

Which is why it’s always a mystery to see one that hasn’t quite found its footing yet, like the World Trade Center mall in the heart of Abu Dhabi. Opened in 2014, it’s split into a souq and a more traditional mall.

A quick visit to the souq side shows why they need to try something new. Heavy wooden doors previously blocked views of the interior, so you didn’t even know the place was open, and denied access to anyone with bags, buggies or mobility problems.

Kicking off a much-needed facelift, sliding glass doors have been installed, to allow such novel concepts as light, and access. There’s already a different feel to the place since I moved here six months ago.

Now focus has switched to enhancing the mall half of the Mall, which is why your correspondent found himself as their guest last week at the opening of their new dining concept, The Hub. Continue reading

Faking It

The clocks have gone forward, it’s time for spring cleaning – and I know just where to start: your social feed.

Virtual reality
Nevermind metaphors about virtual reality, Kid A declared Samsung’s Gear VR to be “a bit bobbins”.

Our friend A was visiting us from the UK a few weeks ago. I couldn’t have imagined the path the conversation would take when I casually asked her if she had given anything up for Lent.

The answer was yes; but instead of chocolate, or gin, or swearing, she was forsaking Facebook instead.

Specifically, she’d had enough of endless posts from people of their stage-managed, genetically modified, Photoshopped lives (I may be paraphrasing, but you get the gist.)

And you know what? I think she’s onto something. Continue reading

Mid Year Review

Almost unbelievably, Family Little City has already hit the six-month milestone since relocating to Abu Dhabi (ever wondered why time seems to pass more quickly the older you get? Wonder no more.)

Sheikh Zayed Grand Mosque
Sheikh Zayed Grand Mosque

What better opportunity, then, to conduct a little mid-year review, see how things are shaping up and how life here as sophomore expats compares to our Qatari debut.

  • What’s better?

Um, lots of things. Most things. Ok, nearly everything. Don’t get me wrong, we got a lot out of our time in Doha and there were enough positives for us to want to stay in the region, but this feels like a step in the right direction.

  • Come on, there must be something?

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Slip Slidin’ Away

In which I get injured and treat myself the British way – by ignoring it and hoping it will go away

Yes! I thought as my hand slammed backwards as it hit the ice. This is the perfect opportunity to compare healthcare in the UAE with the system in Qatar!

My left wrist
Do you concur? I concur.

Ok, I didn’t. Of course I didn’t. No, at the exact moment of impact – the second after Amnesiac, who skates like someone who spent three years in Doha traffic, cut me up on what we had ironically agreed would be our final lap of the ice rink at Zayed Sports City, the capital’s aptly-named mega complex – I was too busy trying to creatively convey my pain in a PG-friendly way, surrounded as I was by small children.

I don’t think I succeeded.

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