39 Signs You’ve Been Living In Abu Dhabi for Too Long

I’ve lived in Abu Dhabi now for 2 years. That’s just enough time to realize all the things you love to hate and hate to love about a place. I feel blessed to call this place my home for the time being. And when I go back to the U.S. now to visit family, I’m shocked to realized how much I’ve changed. Here are “a few” things I’ve learned about living here that I wanted to share with you all. But, keep in mind, this is mostly my perspective as an American, a wife, and a female. Enjoy 🙂

39 (originally 25) Signs You’ve Been Living in Abu Dhabi for Too Long

  1. You know that stop signs are purely for suggestion, turn signals are completely optional, speed bumps are more like hills, and you want to flip someone the bird at least once a week but can’t because it’s illegal.
  2. You’ve gotten sunburned before…in December.
  3. Because of this, you wear sunscreen year round.
  4. You’re friends are jealous because you post beach pictures all year long.
    "Fauv Mini Camel by Amira Rahim at www.amirarahim.com
    “Fauv Camel Mini”  by Amira Rahim
  5. You’ve looked up at least once because you thought someone was spitting on you, and then realized it was just the sky trying to rain.
  6. You can’t get anything done between 1-4:30 because businesses close down for afternoon break.
  7. You know that finding a parking space in most places is a gift from God and you wiggle in your seat when you find one. Or…you just do what the locals do and create your own.
  8. You or someone you know drives a Land Cruiser or Nissan Patrol.
  9. You no longer double take when you see a Corvette, Masserati, or Bently. But you will stop for Ferraris, Maclarens, Lambourginis, or a beautiful vintage piece.
  10. You’ve gotten used to the creepy guys that stare at you like you’re from out of space.
  11. You have an umbrella that serves no other purpose other than sun protection.
  12. You’ve cancelled plans just because it was too hot outside and didn’t feel like being slapped in the face by the humidity.
  13. You’ve ordered ridiculous things like toilet paper, a case of water, ice cream and more to be delivered to your doorstep and you’re not ashamed, even if the store is in your building.
  14. You brunch, lunch, and coffee morning with the best of them, and always looking for the next restaurant to spend a leisure afternoon.
  15. You know there’s no such thing as customer service here, and that no matter how many times someone says “Yes, Madammmmm,” in a sing-song tone, you still struggle to place an order, remedy a mishap, or file a complaint.
  16. You’ve switched 5-6 lanes in moving traffic and didn’t feel like a complete douche.
  17. You swear your family back home has never tasted a proper shawarma, falafel, baklava, or hummus.
  18. You’ve gained at least 15-20 lbs (see the above) and have no idea how to drop it.
  19. You’re constantly planning your next getaway, vacation, or exotic trip.
  20. You know that hiring help is perfectly necessary, and wouldn’t dare live without your nanny, housekeeper, or live-in maid.
  21. You say things like “Khalas” and “Inshallah” because no other phrase seems to express what you’re feeling.
  22. You know that most things are negotiable. Nothing happens on time. And “official” rules and regulations change regularly.
  23. You give friends directions to your house by citing the nearest mall, landmark, or GPS coordinates because there are no real addresses here.
  24. You’ve had so much things shipped to your home that you’re starting to feel like a cartel.
  25. You go to Dubai for shopping, good food, and fun on a regular basis.
  26. You’ve drank 14karat gold at Emirates Palace.
  27. You know how to order in broken English when necessary (i.e. “same same”, “special full”, “big big one”, etc.)
  28. You have friends from places you’ve never heard of until several years ago.
  29. You look forward to cloudy days.
  30. You own at least one expensive pair of shades and don’t sweat it because you wear them all year long.
  31. You know that if you search hard enough, anything can be delivered to your door. Even Pinkberry.
  32. You’ve ridden a camel, smoked shisha, got a henna tattoo, and attempted to belly dance at least once.
  33. You expect everything to be open until midnight. And know that during Ramadan the city never sleeps.
  34. You’ve had ongoing construction in every single neighborhood you’ve ever lived in. 
  35. You’ve seen a sandstorm and said several prayers because you were sure this would be your last day on earth.
  36. You live in a high rise apartment over-looking the city and you’re not rich.
  37. You’ve pulled up to a store or establishment in your car, placed the order, and then waited for the guy to bring it to your car door, like a boss!
  38. You know to buy perfumes to take back home to your family and keep some for yourself.
  39. You’ve made some of the best friends in your life and can’t imagine ever leaving!

What else would you add to this list?

Blog of artist Amira Rahim

Current Mood

 

 

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I’ve been on this minimalist kick for the past 48 hours. Partly because my back has been unsettled since I’ve been visiting family and in unfamiliar mattress territory, and decided to sleep on the carpeted floor. And, partly because I love me some black and white, neutral spaces with lots of sunlight. These pictures just took me away.

How do these images make you feel? Would you ever sleep on the floor? Eat on the floor? Live this minimal?

 

[Source: Pinterest]

Things to Do During the Day When You’re Alone

What an ambiguously strange title that is? But, that’s all I could come up with that made sense for this.

These last few weeks have been a colossal ball of business, art business that is. Thanks to so many orders coming through in the last few weeks (thanks ya’ll!), I’ve been out of the studio most of the time driving around the city getting prints made, works framed, and then seeing them off to their forever homes. But like every high, there is an equal low.

I’ve been spending much of my time completely alone, as the mister is off working and many of my friends here only socialize on the weekends due to their own jobs. As a self-employed creative, artrepreneur, many of you can relate, most of the time is spent doing things completely alone. Usually it doesn’t bother me, and it is a necessary part of my profession, painter. But with commissions to finish and orders to fulfill, my creative time has been limited. Maybe it’s the time of year, I always get nostalgic around fall and just want to be close to home. Maybe it’s the fact that I haven’t seen my mom and siblings for 10 months. Boo frickity hoo. I don’t want to throw myself a pity party, so today I thought of several fun things to do when completely alone in the day:

 

sketch

Sketching is a great way to work on creative ideas that I can’t put to the canvas just yet. Lately I’ve been exploring figures and looking forward to incorporating them into my abstract work.

Read. The other day, I was determined to sit by the Corniche beach, get some fresh air, and catch up on some good reads. Lately, I’ve been reading Gone Girl (the movie was so good, I needed more), A Place of Yes (Bethenny Frankel is the real deal), and now recently Art, Inc. by Lisa Congdon. Would love to get some more recommendations, so what are you guys reading?

Listen to TED Talks. Ever notice how the time goes by when you’re listening to good TED talks in procession? And then there’s that added bonus of feeling like you’re actually back in college and your brain is still capable of soaking up new information. Feels good. The last really good TED talk I heard was by “Pico Iyer: The art of stillness.” Give it a go.

Visit unfamiliar places. I’ve been meaning to go to the Abu Dhabi Cultural Foundation. It’s the closest thing to a museum in the capital, and I love to learn about the ways and cultures from the past. So, looking forward to this.

Pamper yourself. Baths are great. And no one says baths can only be at night. I also like to light some essential oil blends in a diffuser and keep my apartment smelling fresh. And sometimes, you just need a trip to the mall and buy those things you’ve been meaning to get. Pampering is especially nice alone, so take advantage of the free time if you can!

Get your shit together. This may not be that fun, but sometimes it’s nice to get some organizing done around the house. In addition to laundry and things, there are other ways I’d like to get organized. Mainly, organizing my photos and files on my Mac. Since I got this laptop in March, it’s been great, almost too great. Because the moment I save or upload something here, it’s off into the mysterious cloud or neverland, and I can’t figure out how to see all of it at once and purge the unnecessary.

 

I really like this quote, and it’s something I’ve deliberately adopted this year. When you treat each day like you mean to wake up, then you have a lot more control over your mood. We’re all human right? We will have those days. Hoping to stay present and enjoy this moment while I can.

Peace and Blessings,

Amira

Typical Weekend in AD

The weekend finally came after a long week of painting, art classes, and general life crap.

Started with dinner out at P. F. Changs.

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I love love love Asian food. Thai, Chinese, Japanese are my favorites in that order. So this was a happy start to the weekend.

Yesterday we went to go see Maleficent, which was hands down the greatest Disney movie ever.

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Angelina Jolie was absolutely stunning. Her performance, as always, blew me away. Love her movies and this one was a nice addition!

I spent the rest of the afternoon staring at the art on Nando’s walls instead of finishing my food.

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This wasn’t even half of the amazing art collection at the restaurant chain. Very impressed and this just inspires me to keep chasing my dream of being a full-time artist. Anything can happen!

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Finally, I did this illustration last night before bed. Every time I get henna done I’m inspired to incorporate the delicate designs into my art somehow. This illustration is called “I Bet the Bees Play in Her Hair” and marries my love for curly Afros with black and white illustration.

What are you guys up to this weekend? Any new inspirations?

Random Musings Post-Four Months in Abu Dhabi

1. I do get homesick. Often. I’m particularly missing a proper Jersey slice of pizza, orange leaves, and rain.

2. I’m living in a sandbox and yet I am not getting nearly as much sunshine as I would like. Hopefully that will change in a few more weeks.

3. It actually does get cooler here and 100+ degree weather is not a permanent form of torture. Amazing, how your body adjusts and suddenly low 90s is quite agreeable provided the humidity is in check.

4. Camel milk is actually not that bad. In fact, I think today I realized I like it better than cows milk, which never liked me anyway. Camel milk is also more nutritious.

5. My painting is going well. My sanity on the other hand, questionable. My emotions are getting the best of me lately, and being a perfectionist and self-critic doesn’t help the case.

Oh and check out my latest painting at http://www.facebook.com/amirarahimart :))