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Dubai Expat Interview – Annabelle Potter

This week’s Into-yous features British expat Annabelle Potter.

Tell us a little about yourself
I am 27 years old, brunette and outgoing, working in HR and enjoy a sideline in promotions and events – my showgirl nature allows me to vent this part of my personality and make some money at the same time! I have worked in many fields in my career to date, such as being a policewoman and a qualified dental nurse, and I am famous for getting itchy feet and globetrotting or taking on new challenges with ease and guts.

When did you move to Dubai and what brought you here?
I followed the Dubai dream in May 2011. I worked for five years in the UK for a very reputable company but wanted a change in scenery. I have no regrets, but I made a bad choice when I came out with the job, and it made me have to take control and change industries. Luckily, I did this and now have a fantastic job during the week and have an
incredible social life through the promotional work.

Have you been an expat elsewhere and if so, where?
My father was in the armed forces when we were growing up, so a move internationally was always inevitable. My family are very well traveled in general, so travel and overseas life have been common place. My mother was a hostess, my father a pilot and I have family in Dubai and Istanbul – it would be safe to say that I’ve been used to moving around to see family.

The best advice you were given to prepare you for life in Dubai
Do your research. Dubai is a fantastic place, full of glamour and opportunity. Its all about ‘who you know’. Don’t be seduced by broken promises by employers, or spending all your money on partying, I love living here, but it is very easy to get sucked into a financially demanding lifestyle which you cannot support.

What surprised you most about Dubai?
The incredibly strong social scene and how small Dubai is. Everyone knows everyone. This is amazing, but can be a bit awkward at times! People will always invite you out with them even if they’ve only met you once. Its a great vibe and means that you gain confidence to talk to whoever, whenever.

What area do you live in?
When I moved to Dubai, I live in Umm Suqiem 2 in a large villa with family. It was a lovely area, more traditional and walking distance to the Burj Al Arab and Madinat. Then I moved in with my friend Heather to Jumeirah Lakes Towers, on the Sheikh Zayed Road opposite the Marina. It is a nice convenient place to live on a budget. We like it.

If money were no object, where would you most like to live in Dubai?
I love the thought of living on the Palm, maybe in a Signature Villa – but then again I adore Downtown. I love the Old Town and the character and charm this area provides. I just prefer being close to the hubbub.

Your favorite Arabic word or phrase you have learned so far
‘La’ which means ‘No’. I love hearing locals in heavy conversation saying ‘Lalalalalala’ The extent of my Arabic is limited
unfortunately. Maybe I should make this my New Years’ resolution.

Your least favorite word or phrase you have adopted since moving to Dubai
‘Leave it with me’ – people do things in their own time here and never have the answers you want when you want them. So I’ve noticed I say this a lot now to buy me more time! Never got away with that in London!

What has been your best experience in Dubai to date?
The Rugby 7’s in December. It was the most incredible weekend of my life in Dubai. Amazing people, amazing play and amazing weather and men in shorts. Need I say more.

Where do you hope to spend your next holiday?
Well I am back to the UK for Christmas, if that counts, but I have a trip to Ireland for a wedding in April planned and I’m heading to Thailand for another wedding in 2013 – which will probably extend into a 2-3 week holiday! May fit in a road trip to Oman and a holiday to Goa into the mix somewhere.

Who is the person you most miss when you are in Dubai?
Probably my father. Of course I miss all of my family, but I’ve missed my father’s advice and presence. Its only when you don’t really have someone here imposing advice on you and giving you guidance – you feel a bit lost at times!

What is your favorite restaurant in Dubai?
My most frequented restaurant is Bob’s Diner. Its a 50’s inspired burger place in JBR – its completely tacky and cheap – but great after a night out or for a quick bite and a loud, bantery meal with mates before heading out.

What grocery item do you most miss from your home country?
Things don’t taste the same here. I don’t care what people say. Obviously I miss pork. Even the pork you get here tastes different. I’m a carb girl, I miss crumpets, Warburtons Seeded Batch and Yorkshire Tea. MMMMmmmmmm

When friends and family visit you in Dubai where will you absolutely take them?
I’ve had friends stay, we went to Karama to shop for ‘designer’ goods – its another side to Dubai, and the Burj Khalifa and Madinat just have to be done!

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The team at Expat Echo Dubai would like to feature you in our Into-yous section

Please complete our 5 minute interview and submit your answers along with a profile picture (in JPEG format).

One Response to “Dubai Expat Interview – Annabelle Potter”

  1. Partab says:

    Hi Anna,

    Thanks for the info and advise on your profile ….. I am british and will be moving to Dubai in March and I share a same passion as you is promotional work and luv meeting people.

    I will be working full time in IT but would like to get into promotional side …. just for fun.

    hope you will be able to guide me.

    thanks in advance


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