Back To The United States From Dubai
|Now that people
have stopped asking when we’re “moving back home” to the US, we’re
actually considering it. We’ve just started our fourth and last year in
Dubai. We know we want to move but the question is, where?
I know many expats, those with limited contracts, facing the same question.
On to another country, another adventure, treating Dubai as just one stop
in a lifetime spent overseas? Or do we move back to the US, settle
down, buy a house?
This is our
second time living overseas - we spent two years in S. Korea and Japan
- and it probably won’t be our last. We were living on Okinawa when
our older daughter was born and decided to return to the US. I was
homesick and wanted to be closer to my family and friends. Perhaps
our destination, a small mid-Western town, wasn’t the best choice because
within two months we were ready to go abroad again.
city people and spent that year wishing we were somewhere else.
4Escape - The International Lifestyles Search Engine
4Escape is a search engine that searches our network of websites each of
which shares a common theme: International relocation, living ? investing
overseas, overseas jobs, embassies, maps, international real estate, asset
protection, articles about how to live ? invest overseas, Caribbean properties
and lifestyles, overseas retirement, offshore investments, our yacht broker
portal, our house swap portal, articles on overseas employment, international
vacation rentals, international vacation packages, travel resources,
every embassy in the world, maps of the world, our three very popular eZines
. . . and, as they are fond to say, a great deal more.
When I think
about moving back to the US, part of me is afraid we’ll regret our decision,
that it will be like our year in Ohio, starved for adventure. I tell myself,
and my husband, that it will be different if we move to a city-New York,
Boston, DC, Chicago. We’ll still be able to travel. I know we’ll
have to make certain concessions, almost certainly money related.Dubai
offers great perks for lucky expats:tax-free income, free housing,
free private education, and annual vacation money.
is centrally located for travel to Europe, Asia, Africa. Travel from
the US will be more difficult and almost certainly more expensive.
have to give up some things, living in the US would have definite advantages.
First, we’d be closer to family and friends. This has become more of an
issue as my daughters get older. My oldest, Annie, is nearly five and she’s
particularly interested in family. She wants to talk to them, see them,
know about them. Visiting our family for a couple of weeks every (or every
other) summer no longer seems enough. I want my daughters to know their
grandparents, aunts, uncles, cousins. The feeling of love and safety that
comes from extended family, from tradition.
of this extended family, but only nominally.
|Since we live
so far away, people have started to forget about us.Family and friends
get pregnant, sick, divorced, move and we find out about it months later.
We’re out of the loop. I don’t blame them really. We’ve been gone
for four years. It’s easy to forget.
that’s related to this is a sense of identity. I was reading something
about “third culture kids” (children who don’t identify with their
country of nationality or their country of residence). This applies to
my girls. Although they’re American, neither girl was born there.
The confusion arises when someone asks the popular question “Where are
you from?” Annie was born in Japan, lived in the US for one year and has
been in Dubai for three years.She tells people she’s from New York, although
she’s never lived there. That’s where I’m from and where my mother still
lives.At first I thought her answer was funny, but I realize she needs
to place herself somewhere.She needs some identification. Last year she
was working out the idea of nationality and continually asked what she
was (American), what language we speak (English, not American). She also
needed to label other people.
In Dubai, 80%
of the population are expats, so most people are from somewhere else.
is fantastic, but being an American abroad can be dangerous these days.
For a while my husband and I told strangers we were from Ireland, not a
complete lie since we’re both of Irish descent. We felt it was safer if
people didn’t know we were Americans, especially people we’d be unlikely
to see again. This backfired a few weeks ago.Annie and I were taking a
taxi home and the driver asked where we were from. I said, “Ireland,” and
Annie said, “Mom, why are you lying? You know we’re from New York
because we’re American because our family is American.” I met
the driver’s eyes in the rear-view mirror and smiled, embarrassed. From
now on we’ll have to tell the truth and take our chances. This is another
drawback to living overseas. A good portion of the world hates America.
Most people make a distinction between the country and its citizens, but
what about those crazy few? I hate feeling like I have to hide my nationality.
Although Dubai’s a fairly safe place, I wouldn’t feel comfortable wearing
an American flag t-shirt.
From America Magazine - The Magazine To Read To If You Want To Move Overseas
|- Began Summer
1998 - Now with almost a half million subscribers, out eZine is the resource
that expats, and wantabe expats turn to for information. Our archives
now have thousands of articles and each month we publish another issue
to a growing audience of international readers. Over 100 people a
day subscribe to our eZine. We've been interviewed and referenced
by the Wall Street Journal, CNN, The Washington Post, London Talk Show
Radio, C-Span, BBC Click Online, Yahoo Magazine, the New York Times, and
countless other media sources. Featuring International Lifestyles
~ Overseas Jobs ~ Expat Resources ~ Offshore Investments ~ Overseas
Retirement - Second Passports ~ Disappearing Acts ~ Offshore eCommerce
~ Unique Travel ~ Iconoclastic Views ~ Personal Accounts ~ Views From Afar
~ Two things have ushered us into a world without borders... the end of
the cold war and the advent of the world wide web of global communications
? commerce. Ten years and over one hundred issues! We're just
getting started - Gilly Rich - Editor
|With two little
girls to think about, it simply isn’t worth the risk. In America, you’re
American. You don’t have to think about it, or more importantly - hide
to living overseas is job related. It can be difficult to find a
job in the US again. It’s much easier to interview someone who’s
already in the States, than to fly someone in from overseas. With such
competition for jobs, this might be an easy way to weed someone out.
In academia, my husband’s profession, jobs only open up at certain times
of the year, so this makes it even more difficult. On the other hand, once
you’ve lived overseas, you’re much more marketable for overseas jobs.
You’ve already proven yourself.
There are other
reasons, probably more peculiar to Dubai, why I want to move back.
I miss certain American conveniences. For example, being able to
find anything you need. Dubai’s pretty good in that respect, but
some things are mind-numbing, like how every pharmacy could be out of contact
lens solution, for months. There’s also the shortage of “culture”
(theater, opera, art films, concerts) and the limited offerings at book
shops, video and music stores. It’s fine for mainstream items, but
anything slightly obscure you have to order from Amazon. There’s
also the censorship. Films are edited (often very badly) and
magazines have nudity blacked out with magic marker. Some books and videos
will never make it to Dubai. Whenever we visit the US, we’re awed
by the selection of videos to rent, films to see, books to buy or borrow
(no English-language libraries in Dubai). I miss these things.
Not overwhelmingly so, but a little bit each day.
One thing that
does grate on me almost daily, and a big reason why I couldn’t live in
Dubai indefinitely, is the heat. We have six months of mind-blowing
heat, 100+ F during the day and humid. It’s tolerable, of course. Dubai’s
a city of indoor AC life. The winter months (Dec-Mar) are lovely but it
never gets cold enough for me. I miss snow, rain, chilly mornings, crisp
I know that
I’ll miss Dubai, all its glitz and diversity. Miss talking to people from
twenty different countries on a daily basis. Miss the energy, the excitement
of a city that’s still building itself. We’ll be gone by the time the Burj
Dubai (the world’s tallest building) and The World and Palm Islands
(man-made islands shaped like the continents and palm trees) are completed,
or when the scores of other outrageous projects meant to lure tourists
are done. And, if we do move back to the US, we’ll miss that rush
we get from living in a foreign place. We’ll miss our friends here
and the easy lifestyle. We’ll miss it all but not enough to make
Maura Click Here
To read Maura's
earlier article on Dubai Click
To Magazine Index
Index ~ United
Arab Emirates Index ~