Lady Anne: Lady & Her Sweet Escapes
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Please tell us a little bit about yourself. Who you are, where you come from, when you moved to Dubai, etc.
My name is Lady Anne. I am a Filipino expatriate in Dubai, a dedicated Laboratory Technologist and a passionate blogger. I left the Philippines and moved to the UAE 5 years ago as I was seeking for personal growth.
When and why did you decide to start blogging about your experiences?
I created Lady and her Sweet Escapes mid-2012 for my friends who often ask for travel tips, directions and restaurant suggestions. Having a personal blog that they can access 24/7 is the most convenient way of sharing my thoughts and experiences.
Do you have any favorite blog entries of yours? Please add the URL link as well.
The posts that have been sources of useful information for both expats and tourists are my favorites. As I often consider myself a tourist on weekends, I shared a DIY city tour using the Dubai Metro red and green lines. I also blogged about the must-do Abra ride in Dubai Creek and the must-see Dubai Fountain at the foot of Burj Khalifa.
My entry about Dubai Miracle Garden is also one of my favorites. It is a post that unexpectedly went viral. It received an overwhelming response from my readers and greatly increased my blog’s traffic.
Tell us about the ways your new life in Dubai differs from that back home. Did you have trouble getting used to the new circumstances? Did you experience culture shock?
Back in the Philippines, I was timid and very dependent to my parents. Dubai gave me the personal growth that I was searching for.
I did experience culture shock during my first Ramadan in the country. Not eating and drinking in public during daytime is really difficult, especially when the weather is scorching hot. Other than that, I never had a hard time adjusting as I was willing to embrace the changes. I have always felt that living and working here is such a blessing.
Do you think you were fully prepared for what awaited you in Dubai? If you could, would you change some decisions/preparations you made?
I can say that I came prepared. Before my flight, I bought a guide book which I read from cover to cover! I also asked for advices from my cousins who were already expatriates in Dubai. I somehow knew the culture, tradition and the lifestyle.
If I there’s one thing that I could change, I should have honed my cooking skills before I started the expat life. Learning how to prepare decent meals could have saved me from fast food and fry-ups on my first few months!
Every expat knows that expat life comes with some hilarious anecdotes and funny experiences. Care to share one with us?
One Ramadan morning, a friend and I have to go to the mall to purchase an important item. On our way, the hot and humid weather made us very thirsty. Since eating and drinking in public is prohibited, we bought food and drinks at the supermarket, went to the wash room and pretended that we need to pee. I consumed a sandwich and cola inside the toilet cubicle! Really gross, but I went out happy and full!
Which three tips would you like to give future expats before they embark on their new life in Dubai?
- Research is a definitely must! Read guide books, forums and blogs before moving in. Once you get an overview, you’ll know what to pack and what to expect. Dubai may be cosmopolitan, but it is has Islamic culture and traditions that should be respected.
- Indecent clothes and public display of affection is strictly prohibited. Dubai is a fast-paced city of glitz and glamour. You can go with the flow, but knowing your priorities and sticking to your goals will keep you on the right track. Living with a better salary in a tax-free country, in this material world, can easily make someone go ballistic on lavish treats. It is important to be money-wise; wait for shopping festivals and watch out for discount coupons.
- Life in Dubai can be crazy and fast. It can totally change who you are and your outlook in life. That is why it is vital to surround yourself with people who can help you, not break you.
How is the expat community in Dubai? Did you have a hard time finding like-minded people or fellow expats?
I guess I’m one of the lucky few who started the expat life with a strong emotional support from relatives and close friends.
Since expatriates make up more than half of city’s total population, I interact with people of different cultures and personalities every day. It’s not easy, but I’m happy to say that expatriates in Dubai have high respect for one another.
How would you summarize your expat life in Dubai in a single, catchy sentence?
My expat life in Dubai is fun, fast-paced and full of life-learning experiences.