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
Oman Travel Guide
2 years ago