Add to Technorati Favorites expat Abu Dhabi Dispatches: Finally!!!

Thursday, February 18, 2010

Finally!!!

I have lived here in Abu Dhabi for exactly a year and a half and a funny thing happened to me yesterday while running around doing some errands. I was just driving down the road listening to the radio when a strong deja vu thought crashed into my head from nowhere. I realized I was in a totally comfortable state. At ease with my situation and surroundings. I felt at home, whatever that is.


You see, before I made the moved here I researched many expat sites on the internet about what to expect when one moves from the Homeland to a different country and culture. Most of what I read said that there are three phases of adjustment. I read that that it takes more than a year to get acclimated to living in a new country and as an adventurer, I thought that was way too pessimistic. How hard could it be? I was wrong.


The first six months is the excitement of being in a new place. Everything is good as adrenaline provides the optimism that masks the not so good aspects of the new culture. One is still in a tourist frame of mind and all the sites the new country is famous for are visited. 


The second six months are the train wreck. What was amusingly exotic is now depressingly annoying as one finally realizes they are going to be here for awhile. The traffic, the people, the customs, the culture all tend to be a bother This leads to social withdrawal, homesickness and despair at the feeling of being trapped. Why did I come here, it would have been so much easier to stay at home.


The third six months, the phase I have just completed, is the awakening and acclimation part. Differences from my home country no longer bother me. I embrace, appreciate and feel very fortunate to live in a multi-cultural environment. I work and interact with folks from all over the world on a daily basis and it has taught this US Yankee that all people have the same hopes, dreams and expectations from life. My own life is enriched because of this. I have no regrets. 

The epiphany I experienced yesterday made me realize that I no longer feel like a stranger or outsider here. When I thought more about it, I am no longer stressed about the differences between my life I had back in the United States and Abu Dhabi. In fact, I have no urge to return to live in my home country anytime soon. I will someday, and it is nice to know I have a choice, but for now I like it out here in the world!


The parking situation still sucks in the City, I don't think I will ever get used to that

16 comments:

anna-lou said...

I like the way you approach the life, you're so helpfull with me, it means a lot ! We have a lot in common :) Can't wait to be meet you and discover Abu Dhabi !

Neil Roberts said...

Ace, I only one month ahead of you and can relate to everything you said. ...and I live right in the middle of the sodding parking problem - biggest headache in my life right now I reckon!

Ace said...

@Neil...I feel your pain about the parking situation, That keeps me from going to the city as much as I should. I get real stressed about that. The journey is not too bad but the destination sucks!

@Anna-lou, Thanks for your comment, I have much more to say to you, I will send you an email and photos tomorrow. OK?

Siddiq said...

yes, same experiance as me.

Early excitement would fade aweay after six month, then boring, frustrating and fed up,

Solution is we have to Balance the Life

Ace said...

Siddiq,
I am glad to hear I am not alone in my experiences.

We all have one life and it is up to us to make the best of it.

Good and bad both make for the "spice of life"!

Dave said...

Ace, I can relate to everything you say. It is a rollercoaster ride but only for a while.

A Blessing in Tragedy said...

Wow... and just when I thought you wrote decently... Hippie crap.

Freud would have LOVED you. He'd have probably blamed everything on your dad though... that bastard! (freud, not your dad)

Dubai Photo Story said...

Wow... extremely accurate! i went through that same set of phases... except it was several Ramadans earlier!!

Misalyn said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Misalyn said...

wonderful thoughts Ace...I have gone through all of those...been here for more than 5 years and I must say that it is really a roller coaster ride, it is quite different though because am here in Al Ain, some emaratis especially the ones living in Al Wagan are totally different from the others....i mean culture and tradition wise.

My 1st year here in UAE was too difficult for me to bear because of being away from my comfort zone. Nowadays, i still complain and moan about anything and everything but is just a way of destressing especially with the 'huge' amount of stress that I am getting being a nurse in this country with diversified manner of healthcare.

Ace said...

@ Dave: the big roller coaster hills seem over...for now! Even though I feel more comfortable here, my motto is still "Nothing's Easy!". I still think you need to start blogging again ;)!

@ABIT, As for my hippie talk, I "experimented" some in my younger days....a flashback perhaps?
Freud also said "Sometimes a cigar is just a cigar". He also had a lot of bad things to say about America. Not very original, that guy.

@Dubai Photo Story: Thanks for the comment, you must be really settled in by now! Great blog by the way, it is on my follow list.

@Misalyn: I think you do have it tougher due to your location and profession. The more Western trappings of AD and Dubai provide a "softer landing" here. It's OK to bitch about things if it makes you feel better, I do it all the time!
Keep up your good work. I am sure it is appreciated.

九份 said...

喜樂的心是健康良藥,憂傷的靈使骨枯乾。........................................

Ace said...

喜樂的心是健康良藥,憂傷的靈使骨枯乾。........................................

Translates to....


Joy's heart is healthy medicine, a broken spirit makes marrow stem.

trish said...

restaurantsinabudhabi.blogspot.com

Ace said...

Trish, sorry I am not a "foodie". I find it boring hearing about food and restaurants all the time.

I have noticed that a lot of women have an obsession (maybe a bit sexual)with foods. I don't get that!

You would get a lot of blog traffic if you wrote about that subject, I guarantee!

Stephen8 said...

Nice blog. I had fun reading this. And it is easy to understand. Nice going.

Al Raha Beach