Why I love living in Abu Dhabi

For those readers who don’t know, I am an Australian girl living in Abu Dhabi. I should say woman but woman sounds so much older, so I am sticking with girl! 

I have been living and working in Abu Dhabi for just over 14 months. The hubster and I moved over there for a number of reasons, but mainly because hubs received a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to work over there for at least three years. We had built a new house in Perth, but weighing it all up, we realised the costs of uplifting our life would be far outweighed by the salaries both him and I would make. (Abu Dhabi is a tax-free country). This was added along with the fact that it would be a new adventure for us, we had no major responsibilities such as children to consider and our first impression of the city was that it would be quite livable.

So, we rented out our house and made the big venture to the Middle East. There was a lot to do. I needed to secure work, we needed to fill out a lot of paper work, get our licenses, find a house to live, get cars, make the house a home and fly our gorgeous German Short-Haired Pointer, Cookie over.

The hubster and I thought the timing for this opportunity was perfect. He and I were both looking at dead-end jobs, realising that after some years in both of our organisations we had no other opportunities in the company.

I was fortunate to land an interview the second day that I arrived in Abu Dhabi and within six weeks, after all paper-work was finalised, I secured a job with a title higher than my previous one, finally achieving my dream of becoming a Marketing Manager.

As a matter of fact, most things went smoothly. My visa and our residency went smoothly, Cookie’s transfer went smoothly, we found a house that was perfect for us and we started to feel at home in our new country.

It was not until last December when I revisited Australia that I realised I had fallen in love with living in Abu Dhabi. Why you may ask? I mean, everyone talks about Australia being a lucky country. I wish to highlight that I do not take anything away from Australia – its lifestyle and opportunities are second-to-none, but what Abu Dhabi offers is based on their culture and is not for everyone.

Abu Dhabi is a Muslim country and it is a new country. It is focussed on offering opportunities to Westerners as much as its own nationals in order to provide a tourist hub for people all over the world. Because of its culture and beliefs, along with its future vision and money, the country has a feeling of prosperity. It is like a rich teenager living in the modern world. It offers bling in every single attraction. There is the fastest, the tallest, the biggest, the best of everything. The architecture of its buildings is beyond belief.

But more than that, because of its culture, Abu Dhabi offers a feeling a safety and security unmatched by any other country I have been to. Crime does happen, but when going out, you can be sure that it will be a fun time. There is no fear of brawling. Firstly, people need to be over the age of 21 to drink and therefore are a little more mature and secondly, it is harder to purchase alcohol than it is in Australia and other countries. There is a zero tolerance on drinking and driving. Expats face deportation if they are found drunk and disorderly in public or drinking and driving.

There is a wonderful feeling of family first in Abu Dhabi. Fridays are put aside for religion. Shops do not open until 4pm and the Friday brunch for families is a huge celebration in every restaurant in Abu Dhabi. The food in Abu Dhabi is also amazing, with many cuisines and sometimes very strange but wonderful meals such a camel! Centres for children’s activities are spread throughout the country, particularly in shopping malls.

The main roads are six to seven lanes wide and there is a maximum speed limit of 140km an hour on these roads. All trucks will travel on the right side of the road and traffic flows very easily.

The month of Ramadan whereby the Muslims will fast for the month is a time for great celebration when the fast is broken every night by an Iftar. This is a time for looking inward, to become a better person. Muslims throughout Abu Dhabi attempt to live by the strict rules their religion abides by and Westerners are asked to respect this time for them. I actually joined my Muslim colleagues in their fast last year and will do this again this year.

There are a lot of exciting tourist attractions in Abu Dhabi. Some of my favourites at Emirates Palace, Ferrari World, the Grand Mosque, Abu Dhabi Marina, the Heritage Village, the Corniche beach and the falcon hospital. We are also one hours drive away from Dubai which has its own set of attractions and activities.

Since living in Abu Dhabi, the hubster and I taken part in a number of activities including beach volleyball, golf, water-skiing, scuba-diving, kayaking, sand bashing. We have also travelled to places we would never have dreamed of such as Jordan, Bahrain and Oman.

I am looking forward to going back to Abu Dhabi. My time there is not yet over, but we must start looking for our next opportunity soon. I wonder what the future will hold for us.