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A brief history: life overseas

Bali, Indonesia

Since I started making my little weekly vlogs on You Tube there have been a lot of comments and questions about my life in Dubai, what it’s like living overseas, how I ended up here, etc.

I’m not entirely sure how I would address these questions and give you an insight without a) getting emotional because like, OMG so much has happened and b) boring you to actual tears over what would surely be a day long video, so I thought a little blog post would be better.

As many of you know, I’m from Ireland originally and so is my husband. We met many moons ago and got married in Ireland, although we were living in Leeds at the time. We moved to Leeds for new work opportunities a year before and although it was exciting for us initially (hello Superdrug), we decided to up sticks and move to Singapore a month after the wedding! At the time, moving to Singapore was probably the most exciting thing I had ever done. We had no idea what to expect when we got off the 12 hour flight, so when we were promptly greeted by a solid wall of humidity, blazing heat and streets that looked like downtown Los Angeles, you can imagine it was a bit of a shock 🙂

We lived in Singapore for two years and really enjoyed it, although the pace of life was frenetic. Coming from the West of Ireland where you’d be hard pressed to find a petrol station open after 6pm, Singapore was like a non-stop 24 hour city. Everything was open and busy all the time; the malls, the MRT, food courts – all chocca, all day, every day.

Orchard Road, Singapore

When it wasn’t gasping-for-breath hot, humid and sticky, it was pissing it down with thunder and lightening of cinematic proportions (I spent many an hour under our kitchen table) – the weather was pretty damn amazing. When I think of Singapore now however, I think of food. Oh my god, the food. I have never eaten so well and for so little during the time that we spent there. One of our favourite things to do was to go to one of the local food courts in Changi Village for Chicken Rice (me), a Fish Head Curry (Adrian) and Tiger Beer, which would set us back 10 Singapore Dollars (about two euro!)

Changi food court

We traveled a lot during our two years in Singapore, notching up visits to different parts of Indonesia, Thailand, Malaysia, Australia and Hong Kong. Flights were incredibly cheap and it was the done thing to just hop on a flight for a long weekend somewhere, although we always seemed to come back more knackered than before we left because of our antics. Chronic food poisoning, refusing to pee in holes in the floor (me, of course!) and fighting off wild monkeys to get to a ‘proper’ toilet were all par for the course, along with buying armfuls of knock off DVD’s, riding bullet-ridden trains through paddy fields, coming face to face with spitting cobra’s, heaving at the sight of local ‘dishes’ (sheep intestines, baby turtles, chicken feet, etc) and waking up from afternoon naps covered in tiny black beetles. Hilarious… 🙂

Bandung, Indonesia

Phuket, Thailand

After two years of fun and games, we left tropical, bustling Singapore for the arid, desert landscape of Bahrain, a tiny island in the Arabian Peninsula. Having never been to the Middle East before I was a little shocked when we first arrived. There was sand everywhere, along with incredible buildings, massive malls and huge traditional souks. And the heat, oh my god – it literally took my breath away. We settled in really quickly however, and in no time at all I was taking quick shortcuts across the sand like everyone else 🙂

Manama, Bahrain

Camels, Bahrain

The Bahraini people are incredibly warm and friendly and we made really some good friends during our time there. We also made regular trips in and around the GCC, visiting Dubai and Kuwait to see friends and to have a little break every now and then. Towards the end of our tenure I was heavily pregnant with Charlie and although we had every intention to stay for quite a while, we ended up leaving at the two-year mark for Oman. Ming Ming and Sweetie joined our fam when we were living in Bahrain so of course, we had to pack them up too 🙂

Ming Ming and Sweetie

Things didn’t go to plan in Oman unfortunately and after two weeks we found ourselves on the road to Dubai (I was almost at full term so unable to fly). It was all a bit sudden, and looking back now, I have no idea how we managed to get on with things the way we did (big shout out to Louise here who came to our rescue in so many ways!). You know what they say anyways, when life gives you lemons you chop those bad boys up and make a damn good jug of lemonade! And that’s exactly what we did.

Interestingly, I have no pictures of our brief time in Oman even though it’s probably one of the most beautiful places I have ever been. One of our good friends is living in Muscat however, so we’re hoping to head back for a couple of days after the summer.

We’ve been in Dubai almost two years now and we like it a lot. It’s a very cosmopolitan city which has its good points and its bad points, like any other place in the world. Life is not difficult here, although the cost of living is getting higher all the time. We plan to stay here for few more years at least, but who knows? Maybe we’ll still be here 20 years from now 🙂

JBR, Dubai

Looking back over the last few years, I think I enjoyed living in Bahrain the most, which is funny because pre Charlie I would probably never have said that. The pace of life is exactly my speed now that I have him and it’s a really great place to raise a family.

When people find out how long we have been overseas they are often surprised and ask us do we miss home and so on. The honest answer is no, not really. Aside from the fact that I love living overseas, we’ve been away so long now that the Middle East has become our home. I love the hot weather, the great food, the mix of cultures and the fact that Dubai is so safe and modern, plus I have made some great friends here.

I hope that answers some of the questions that were put to me, although I know I didn’t go into great detail! If you have any more just let me know.

Tomorrow the blog will return to it’s usual makeup/weekly vlog schedule 🙂

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  • Reply Dee

    Absolutely loved this post! If I manage to fit in half of your travelling over the next couple of years I’ll be a happy woman!

    June 27, 2014 at 12:45 pm
  • Reply idahama

    Thank you so much for the post simone… Some of your instances are similar to mine. After one month of being married — my husband and i moved to india! lol i’ve been a resident of the UAE from the age of 21. I love it here xoxoxo

    June 27, 2014 at 1:14 pm
  • Reply Louise @

    I love this post, I learnt a lot about it. Although I have a differing view on lemons – when life gives us lemons, I say pass the tequila. Missing you and see you soon x

    June 27, 2014 at 1:27 pm
  • Reply Bella

    We asked, you answered: brilliant , Simone! I just knew you were a girl after my own heart when I saw your first vlog ;). What wonderful adventures. I have travelled pretty widely, but only lived in Europe and the UK (I am from South Africa and my husband is Dutch). I am fascinated by Dubai (esp after your vlogs, they should make you Minister of Tourism or something haha) and I think that I shall fly Emirates and arrange a stopover next time I head to Cape Town!
    I alos think it’s great for Charlie to grow up “international”, though I guess he’s a native really, isn’t he? Our kids are 7 and 5 already and we try to take them to a different country each holiday. We would also love to intsill a spirit of travel, curiosity and adventure in them.

    June 27, 2014 at 2:03 pm
  • Reply Liza

    Hey Simone, such a great post, amazing travel/life experience! Are u thinking of a meet up for Dubai subscribers anytime?

    June 27, 2014 at 3:06 pm
  • Reply Elisabeth

    Oooh what a great post Simone! I find it so interesting to listen to how people wound up living overseas. I always get so jealous when I see your pics of the beautiful weather, however I guess you’re right when you say there are pro’s and con’s of living anywhere in this world!

    Hope you’re enjoying your weekend Simone 🙂

    Lis x

    June 27, 2014 at 4:06 pm
  • Reply Niamh McNally

    I know I’m PMSing all over the place but I think my *sob* is justified when I think back on the rollercoaster of the last three years in particular! I totally welled up when you mentioned the whole Oman thing and I remembered you so close to term and as calm (externally) as you like! So proud of you bird. X

    June 27, 2014 at 5:00 pm
  • Reply Andy

    Great post!
    I love your weekly blogs and your blog. It always nice to have a little insight on the background of the people you follow 🙂
    Also, I’m a French-Canadian who’s been living in England for a bit more than 3 years now and it’s always nice to hear about other people finding a home away from home by choice!
    Keep up your great work 🙂

    Andy X

    June 28, 2014 at 8:01 am
  • Reply Sara

    great post, very informative 🙂 I love travelling as well, and have lived abroad myself for a few years. My question to you would be: was it difficult to find work in each country? I’m very interested to know!
    xxx sara

    June 28, 2014 at 12:39 pm
  • Reply Whitney

    Thank you for this post! I love reading about life from an ex-pats point of view. I’ve always wanted to live outside of the US, and give my daughter that experience too 🙂

    June 30, 2014 at 6:51 pm
  • Reply Filipa

    Thanks for the post Simone. I am too no my way to embark on some overseas adventure and feeling excited and terrified about it! But keeping an open mind will surely get me through it!
    Loving your post more by the day.
    Filipa xx

    July 2, 2014 at 3:53 pm
  • Reply Susan

    Just found your blog and LOVE it! Are you guys English teachers?

    July 22, 2014 at 7:59 pm
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