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Anyone living in Dubai/Abu Dhabi/Gulf States? - Page 4

post #61 of 142
Hi, I've lived in the UAE for 12 yrs now. I grew up in tree-hugging Northern California .

To answer your questions, 1 Colorado Momma, I think that Abu Dhabi would be a better fit for you. It's quieter and you can always escape city life by camping in the Liwa Desert, watch the stars in clear night sky, etc. Having said that, there's a cycling group that I see on various afternoons in Dubai. As well as several British running/drinking groups (they're called Hash Harriers and end their fun runs with an evening at the bar). There's a mountaineering group that does weekend camping and climbing trips to Ras Al Khaimah.

The weather in the UAE is quite inhospitable from March-October. Not only is it hot (from 35C in the shade upwards to 49C), but humidity can reach up to 85% from June to October. It's humid even at day break, 4.30am!

There are at least 2 organic supermarkets in Dubai, an organic weekly veg box scheme available to residents of Arabian Ranches gated community in Dubai, 1 organic supermarket in Abu Dhabi, and a ton of UAE-grown organic produce at really good prices for sale at the Abu Dhabi and Union/Emirates Co-op supermarkets.

There are recycling schemes, but these are mostly located within childrens' schools, both gov't and private, and occasional collection point in the loading bays of the major shopping centers in Dubai.

I have friends who compost here. The management at Dubai Garden Center (a gardening store) conducts composting workshops.

There are people here using and selling modern cloth diapers/nappies (MCNs) and ring slings. I attend a nappycino and a breast-feeding group.

The gov't maternity hospitals in Abu Dhabi and Dubai prefer to conduct natural deliveries with 2 midwives present and little interference from the OB. They are also making great strides towards getting the UN Baby Friendly accreditation and have trained many lactation consultants. I delivered a baby at Al Wasl maternity hospital in Dubai in 2008 and the midwife helped me initiate breast feeding while the umbilical cord was still attached! They still have a ways to go towards accepting things like husband cutting the umbilical cord or labour/delivery in birth pools, but it's a great start.

The ruling family in Sharjah financially supports a group called Breast Feeding Friends through the Sharjah Supreme Family Council; an American friend living in Sharjah volunteers her time by answering phone calls from people seeking breast-feeding advice. They publish and distribute booklets in Arabic/English and host IBLC training courses.
post #62 of 142
Wow! Thank you for the wonderful reply. It is so hard to conceive of 100+ degrees AND high humidity in a desert! You had so much wonderful information. Can I ask what it is that you do in the UAE? 12 years is such a long time to be somewhere with such a difficult climate (especially when compared to northern Cali!).
post #63 of 142
Alrighty, we're on our way to Abu Dhabi!!!

DH leaves on April 30th, starts the process for our papers right away, and we should be able to join him a couple of weeks later.

I have a million jumbled questions!

1-What neighborhoods should we be looking at? Are there any particular neighborhoods where American/British/Australian expats tend to live? Are there any neighborhoods where homeschoolers tend to live?

2-Are Internet connections generally stable? I do some work over the Internet and need to be sure I'll have access whenever I need it. If not, what do people do about it?

3-I keep hearing and reading how expensive rent is. We've lived in NYC, so I'm wondering, are rents in Abu Dhabi comparable? What can we expect to pay for a 3 bedroom apartment? What about in a building with a pool/gym?

4-Someone told my husband that the thing to do these days is live in Dubai, where rents have come way down. Is that really doable as a commute if he works in Abu Dhabi? Tell me why, as a homeschooling mom, I might prefer to live in one over the other?

We're excited and nervous all wrapped up together. We're going as permanent transfers, not with an expat package, so we're feeling a little less "cushioned" as it were. Still, my husband was born and raised in Lebanon and I've lived in Egypt and Mexico, so I don't think we're going into it with unrealistic expectations.

Tell me what to expect!!!

Thanks
post #64 of 142
Congrats! Gear up for the heat...it's blisteringly wonderful!
We live in Dubai and Al Ain...well DH has two places for his work because he works out of both AND commutes to Abu Dhabi all the time. We live mostly in Al Ain though. I love it here! Al Ain is a little more than an hour to both Dubai and Abu Dhabi and I finder it a lot nicer here than either of those cities- less traffic, pollution, construction, and more trees. It's definitely quieter with not much of the stuff that draws people to the metropolises of Dubai and Abu Dhabi, but I think it'll be nice for our soon-to-grow family- and Dubai and Abu Dhabi are really just a short trip away. We visit often.

1-What neighborhoods should we be looking at? Are there any particular neighborhoods where American/British/Australian expats tend to live? Are there any neighborhoods where homeschoolers tend to live?

Hmmm...I'm not so sure about neighbourhoods in Abu Dhabi. There is an internet forum of expat women here in the UAE, lots of them in Abu Dhabi, that you might ask that on.

2-Are Internet connections generally stable? I do some work over the Internet and need to be sure I'll have access whenever I need it. If not, what do people do about it?
Internet here is very stable and fast, we also find it a lot cheaper than what we have paid living elsewhere. What kind of work do you do over the internet? (sorry I'm nosy and also going to work from home in the next couple of years ) One thing to be aware of is that there is strict censoring of some stuff on the internet mostly "adult" content, but some sites like Flickr you can't access unless you run a program like Hotspot shield. Also, if you plan to use skype, make sure you have it downloaded on your computer before you get here because it is also blocked (government owns all communication systems and doesn't like to lose money, hence skype is banned). BUT you can use it if you already have it on your computer or can get the install from somewhere else without downloading it. We use it all the time.

3-I keep hearing and reading how expensive rent is. We've lived in NYC, so I'm wondering, are rents in Abu Dhabi comparable? What can we expect to pay for a 3 bedroom apartment? What about in a building with a pool/gym?

Rents in Abu Dhabi are ridiculously expensive! AND it's impossible to find a nice place there right now...will you be set up with housing at all or have someone help you find a place? We were originally going to live in AD, but couldn't find a decent place for a decent price. Honestly...it's tough. We know other people that commute from Al Ain to Abu Dhabi because of this. Rents in Dubai are generally much, much cheaper and there are more places to choose from- I think you'll get more bang for your buck there for sure. One thing to be aware of if you are not getting support from your employer when finding a place is that many places require that you pay for a year's rent up front in either one or two "checks". That's just the way they roll here. There are some places that don't have this requirement, but if you can't pay in one or two checks it will seriously narrow your options. Usually your employer will have a system to help you deal with this.

4-Someone told my husband that the thing to do these days is live in Dubai, where rents have come way down. Is that really doable as a commute if he works in Abu Dhabi? Tell me why, as a homeschooling mom, I might prefer to live in one over the other?

Hmm...well I generally like Dubai better as a city. It's bigger than Abu Dhabi and has more "stuff". Abu Dhabi really isn't that big of a city. I think Dubai may have a few more opportunities for your kids, depending on their ages. Things like sports, art or dance classes, homeschool groups etc. There's just more variety of everything in Dubai. I find it really easy to spend a ton of money in Dubai without realising it, though...one reason why I like living in Al Ain. Life is simpler and cheaper. I really don't know anything about homeschooling here- this might be another good question for the expat woman forum. As for the commute- it'll be a long one. My dh commutes A LOT between Al Ain, Dubai and Abu Dhabi and it's pretty tiring for him. One reason we like Al Ain is that coming into the city and getting home, he doesn't have the massive, time-consuming traffic jams to deal with like in Abu Dhabi and Dubai.

We're excited and nervous all wrapped up together. We're going as permanent transfers, not with an expat package, so we're feeling a little less "cushioned" as it were. Still, my husband was born and raised in Lebanon and I've lived in Egypt and Mexico, so I don't think we're going into it with unrealistic expectations.

Tell me what to expect!!!


I think you two sound like you won't be in for any big shocks (culturally and climate-wise) having lived in Lebanon and Egypt etc. People can drive like maniacs here- recklessly and at super high speeds...that drove me crazy for a while, but it's not unlike many other places in the world. And now I'm a bit of a maniac myself . I think you'll find it much more pleasant living here than in Egypt- I spent a couple months there and didn't like it one bit. But that's personal preference I suppose. I find the juxtaposition of extravagant wealth (locals) and poverty (immigrant labourers) strange and unsettling. I LOVE how culturally diverse it is here- it really is great. Emiratis (locals or nationals, as they are called here) are pretty insular and are really a small portion of the population here and though they're friendly enough, you'll mostly find yourself "hanging with" other expats from all over the world. One thing I really like about living here is the ease of travel to other places (Europe, India, Asia, Africa)- it's kind of like being smack in the middle of the world.
Good luck!
post #65 of 142
Quote:
Originally Posted by 1ColoradoMomma View Post
Wow! Thank you for the wonderful reply. It is so hard to conceive of 100+ degrees AND high humidity in a desert! You had so much wonderful information.
It is a bit humid in Dubai and Abu Dhabi, but I wouldn't say it's "high" humidity. Not like in India or South East Asia or similar climates. I spent a lot of time living in Asia where I would say they have "high humidity"- like you walk outside and are drenched from head to toe in about 5 minutes. Laundry takes forever to line-dry (days and days) and everything has a spongy texture. It's not like that here at all. I find it pretty dry. My husband and I can go out running in the evenings of a hot, hot day and our sweat dries right off our bodies! I like that. It's a lot drier if you go in from the coast- Al Ain isn't really humid at all, for example.
post #66 of 142
Quote:
Originally Posted by 1ColoradoMomma View Post
Wow! Thank you for the wonderful reply. It is so hard to conceive of 100+ degrees AND high humidity in a desert! You had so much wonderful information. Can I ask what it is that you do in the UAE? 12 years is such a long time to be somewhere with such a difficult climate (especially when compared to northern Cali!).
While in the UAE, I've lived near the coast where it gets quite humid. As Expat Mama pointed out, Al Ain is located much farther inland and has more of a true desert climate. In fact, the ruling family of Abu Dhabi has traditionally relocated to their homes in Al Ain for the summer season to escape the summer heat and humidity.

I'm an educated house-wife! Initially I stayed at home to care for my husband's parents, completed a degree, did a bunch of volunteer stints and an internship at a fashion mag, helped DH change his career and set up a new business, and now I am finally a mama
post #67 of 142
Expat Mama: Thanks for all your insights. I have installed Hotspot Shield and Skype, so I'm all set I love that you can watch US TV and listen to radio stations through the hotspot toolbar.

I am a managing editor for a site called DailySource--it's an aggregator of US news handpicked by our staff of editors. I hope working US hours in UAE is doable, though I think it'll be nice for their morning to be my afternoon/evening--no more getting up early to start work . Also, I work weekends and was starting to get bummed about not having weekend time to hang out with DH and the kids--but UAE will take care of that too--working Sat and Sun will no longer mean missing out on the entire weekend, LOL.

You've given us more to think about with the addition of Al Ain as an option. It would be nice for DH to have a slightly less stressful commute if he has to commute at all. But I also think you're right about Dubai being better for the homeschool stuff. We do have help finding a place from the company, so we've decided to look all three places and just see what feels right when we're there.

I have one other question (work-related): Once we find a place and want to set up Internet access, do they set you up relatively quickly, or does it take days/weeks to get online?
post #68 of 142

Currently in the UAE

What a fun surprise to find this thread. We are currently in the UAE outside of Dubai and Abu Dhabi in the oasis town of Al Ain. We have a daughter 13 and son who just turned 12. They LOVE it. Tons to do. They are as busy as they want to be and the Arts programs here are spectacular. My daughter prefers to go into Dubai for the bookstores and my son was happy to find out that Build-a-Bear just opened a new store at the Dubai Marina Mall. It is very easy to get around - with or without a car. Sometimes when we have driven into Dubai we have just parked and then taken a taxi around in town because it is so easy to catch a taxi and very inexpensive. We have yet to try the new metro but it looks great and we hear it is very easy to use.

We haven't even scratched the surface on all the things to do here let alone take short excursions in the region.

If you arrive with all of your documents attested by the state department and about 30 passport pictures you will have a much easier time - but everyone is very nice and very helpful - it can just take time to get settled in. Most expats I have spoken with say they feel sort of settled in around 6 months.

Would love to connect with other moms in the area and also happy to answer any questions anyone might have about moving over here with kids.
post #69 of 142
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post #70 of 142
So I thought an update is in order. We arrived in Abu Dhabi at the beginning of June and have been having a blast! We hooked up with the Abu Dhabi homeschoolers right away--it turns out they're much better organized and far more active than the Dubai group. We were immediately welcomed and taken in and continue making new friends every week. And we decided to settle in Abu Dhabi after all. Or just outside of it, anyway-- we found the villas at Al Reef to be reasonably priced and not too far from the Corniche if you take the new Yas Island expressway. Much closer than living in either Dubai or Al Ain for sure. DH will have a 30 min commute at most, and we can get into town quickly for impromptu homeschoolers activities.

We will move into our villa in a few days. It can't happen soon enough! Long term hotel living gets old quickly.

All in all we're pretty happy with moving here--the kids love it and we're having a blast. Thanks to everyone for the great advice and suggestions!
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post #71 of 142
Wow! I have no idea why I didn't think to check out the Mothering boards for others like who live in UAE! We moved there (right now DS and I are in the states) the end of last year and I have been desperately trying to find the AD homeschooler group! Not to mention a group of families to hang out with that are of like minds We are settled into a villa in Khalifa A just off the island and will be there for about three years or so.Feel free to pm me info on anything regarding AD homeschool. I am figuring we will buy some materials here this summer to bring back with us. So glad to have found a couple of people here!
post #72 of 142
Quote:
Originally Posted by purplebluesky View Post
Wow! I have no idea why I didn't think to check out the Mothering boards for others like who live in UAE! We moved there (right now DS and I are in the states) the end of last year and I have been desperately trying to find the AD homeschooler group! Not to mention a group of families to hang out with that are of like minds We are settled into a villa in Khalifa A just off the island and will be there for about three years or so.Feel free to pm me info on anything regarding AD homeschool. I am figuring we will buy some materials here this summer to bring back with us. So glad to have found a couple of people here!
Hi Purpleblue! The homeschool group is about 30 families strong I've only met a few families since most are gone for the summer.

The yahoo group is http://ca.groups.yahoo.com/group/Int...Dhabi_Emirate/ --tell them Laura sent you!

And I'll pm you my mobile number.

We're in Al Reef, which is just past the airport, so just a few minutes from you. Though some of the other homeschoolers live on the island, and most of the activities are there, a bunch of them live in Khalifa and Mohammed Bin Zayed City.

How old is your DS? My kids are: DS 8, DD almost 6 and DS 2.5.

When will you be back?
post #73 of 142
Yay! DS will be three first part of August. We will be back after Ramadan...with MIL in tow... I have no problem driving to HS activities wherever they are - and would be happy to have groups at our house too. We took a Kindermusik class last spring and the teacher said she might be interested in teaching a small group of homeschoolers at someones house if there is enough interest. I will pm you other info and am very happy to meet you!
post #74 of 142
Hi Mommas-

I have a UAE question. DH is a hospital finance exec and we would LOVE to go to Dubai and soak up some culture while our kids are young-ish and don't care where they live.

Problem is we are a transracial family, DH, oldest DD and I are white and our DS and other DD are black. Additionally, they have some slight special needs. DS has mild cerebral palsy in which he may "stick out" when walking (he's just a babe now), DD is tube fed.

I don't mind stares, we get that everyday living in the southern US! I just can't deal with outright contempt towards special needs or transracial families.
post #75 of 142
Quote:
Originally Posted by vxclayborn View Post
Hi Mommas-

I have a UAE question. DH is a hospital finance exec and we would LOVE to go to Dubai and soak up some culture while our kids are young-ish and don't care where they live.

Problem is we are a transracial family, DH, oldest DD and I are white and our DS and other DD are black. Additionally, they have some slight special needs. DS has mild cerebral palsy in which he may "stick out" when walking (he's just a babe now), DD is tube fed.

I don't mind stares, we get that everyday living in the southern US! I just can't deal with outright contempt towards special needs or transracial families.
I don't have experience to tell you about, and have only been here since June, but I didn't want to leave your question unanswered. I will say that transracial couples and families are common here, since it's so international.

I hope that helps a little
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post #76 of 142
I cant say for sure...but the interracical issue will be less an issue than your childrens disabilities. Its school and services where you will experience this. They dont mainstreame and most of the schools attended by expats are private with no services. I worked with an autism center in Bahrain, set up by a member of the Royal family because her child had zero options. Still, it wasnt heavily funded and they struggle. I would do a lot of research before you go. I rarely saw anyone with disabilities in my years there.

I am in Germany now and even ehre I have an AMerican friend who has a daughter with Downs. She cant attend "regular" school and there are no services in the private schools. They have opted to end their assignment early and return to the states.

Dont be discouraged! Just do your research......
post #77 of 142
Thanks for the replies ladies. I'm actually more concerned about race issues, so that news is a relief. I just couldn't imagine being on the receiving end of hateful gestures/disgust because we are a bunch of blondies with two sweet brown babies.

DH's current contract here in the states is for two more years, and our *hope* is that we won't need services at that time as both have tested with completely normal cognition despite alcohol/drug exposure and extreme prematurity!

We just have to make sure they can both test out of PT. I'm a speech pathologist so our language and feeding therapy travels!
post #78 of 142
My experience is in line with what Laura and LukesMum said, on both counts. I certainly can't imagine you getting any flack for being an interracial family - certainly no more than anywhere else in the world, and most likely a lot less than in some places.
post #79 of 142
Quick update, now that I understand so much better what the homeschool "scene" is here

There are two major homeschool organizations in the UAE. One is the Abu Dhabi Homeschoolers Association, which has members in Abu Dhabi and Al Ain. The two groups have individual park days and other activities, but do quite a few field trips together each year. Information about them can be found at the new ADHSA Web site, abudhabihomeschoolers.org. They also have a yahoo group at http://ca.groups.yahoo.com/group/Int...Dhabi_Emirate/.

The other group is made up of mostly people who live in Dubai, but encompasses all the northern Emirates. This one is called the Northern Emirates Homeschool Association and can be found here: http://uaehomeschool.wordpress.com/. I believe they also have a yahoo group, though I'm not sure of its address.

ADHSA and NEHA also sometimes have activities together. The homeschool community is growing by leaps and bounds, and both groups are quite active, with regular park days and monthly field trips.

I hope this will help newcomers to the UAE who wish to homeschool!
post #80 of 142
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by donnaintheuae View Post

Quote:
Originally Posted by LauraNView Post
Also, donnaintheuae--I seem to have missed the link to the Natural Parenting group, but I am so excited to hear there is such a thing...
The natural parenting group address is: http://health.groups.yahoo.com/group..._parenting_ME/

Sorry, can't help really with the unschooling questions as it isn't something I have looked into as my son is only 2. I have spoke to a couple of women whose children are not attending school and they never mentioned any difficulties (apart from the usual anyway.....) or having to register or the like.

Good luck to those considerine a move, it sure is a big upheaval!

Hi, we may be moving to Kuwait very soon. Anyone know if the yahoo natural parenting group cited above is still active. I just checked and there has been no activity in the past seven days. In would sure be nice to know other crunchy moms there.
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