Settling in to real life…

The three months since arriving at post has flown by and all of a sudden it really feels like we have lived here for years. For the past two years life has felt like an array of milestones, each one bringing something different and a new happiness, once X happens than everything will be good, for example;

…once we are married and can apply for a new passport we can book our flights to DXB

…once we get a confirmed moving date then we can start to look for somewhere to live

…once we’re at the airport

…once our ID cards arrive (goodness that was a whole other story, we had to wait over ten weeks!)

…once the ship arrives

Whilst some of these things have made a huge difference to our lives, other than living in a different country, none of them have changed our lives, we are still the same people, just with a tan (my husband) with more freckles (me), and ‘real life’ takes over >insert seamless segue< …one of the first steps on our new journey to start enjoying ‘real life’ in Dubai was to get out and explore our surroundings, and to do so we needed to get ourselves some new wheels.

Most people will tell you in order to have a really good life in Dubai you definitely need a car. The city is spread-out along the coast with one main metro line that runs along Sheikh Zayed Road, the Metro is the complete opposite of London’s tube, not only is it super clean but you can’t get anywhere and everywhere, and whilst the taxi’s are inexpensive nobody wants to get a taxi to the beach!

We had always planned to get a car and with our driving licences in for approval (you can very easily “transfer” your UK driving licence for a UAE one) we headed out to the dealerships to find a car. We opted for a new one rather than buying a used car, unlike the UK cars can be very difficult to sell on after 5+ years and my husband has never bought a brand-new car before, so free from housing costs I encouraged him to treat himself, within reason, of course. Originally we had thought a Pajero was the way to go, every other car seems to be a Pajero out here and they had everything we were looking for, after much research we were close to putting down a deposit when we found the Chevrolet showroom.

I’m not really into cars so followed my husband around the showroom quickly dismissing cars I didn’t like the look of, that was until I saw the TrailBlazer; a new modern shape 4×4, I immediately jumped into the driving seat and could see myself cruising around in it. Much to my delight my husband liked it too and even better news – it was in our price range, just! We met Jack, a fellow Brit car salesman, who talked us through the car and the buying process (pretty similar to the UK, with a few additional steps for Diplomats, of course) and then we headed to the nearest coffee shop to talk through the numbers …and colours and then headed home so I could fire up the spreadsheets and look at the finances whilst Dan scoured the internet for reviews.

Skip forward to a successful test drive, deciding on gunmetal grey with a 50% tint on the windows and a hefty sum of money transferred from the UK (with a very good rate using XE) we are the proud owners of a shiny new wagon …currently awaiting collection as soon as our number plates arrive (because of course we have a few extra hoops to jump through!).

This has definitely been a very exciting part of being a trailing spouse and moving to another country; before leaving the UK, we sold our old cars and after three months of public transport choosing a big new car in a new country felt wonderful. I’ve been warned we won’t have this luxury at many future postings, often you are lumbered with a hand-me-down banger from whoever you are taking over from, so we are holding onto our new-car-smugness for as long as possible.

Super cheesy and slightly car related lesson learned… enjoy the journey on route to all of the milestones, celebrate the good things when they happen BUT don’t just sit around waiting for the final destination, the journey is fun too.

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