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Dubai Expat Interview – Mina Liccione

mina-liccione-headlinerThis week’s Into-yous features American expat Mina Liccione

Tell us a little about yourself:
I’m a performing artist, comedian and arts professor. I co-founded Dubomedy Arts and the Clowns Who Care Project alongside my now husband Ali Al Sayed.

When did you move to Dubai and what brought you here:
In the summer of 2007 I was booked to perform in a far way place called the United Arab Emirates that I hadn’t heard of. Little did I know those two and a half weeks of performing and teaching would be life changing. Everyone I met said the same thing, ”we need to laugh more”… ”I wish there was some comedy here”… ”you should start a comedy and dance school.” I took a leap of faith and decided to return to Dubai in 2008 armed with tap shoes, jokes, a clown nose, many years of experience and a dream to build something meaningful.

Have you been an expat elsewhere and if so, where?
I have toured the world performing and teaching however, the UAE is the only country other than the USA that I have lived in.

The best advice you were given to prepare you for life in Dubai:
Stay humble and grateful in the midst of all the glitz and glamour. Always wear sunscreen.

What surprised you most about Dubai?
Camel beauty pageants and races! I had never heard of them before. Also, upon moving here I thought I knew what ”heat” and ’hot” meant. I was wrong.

What area do you live in?
Jumeriah Lake Towers

If money were no object, where would you most like to live in Dubai?
Why a villa in Jumeriah opposite the beach of course!

Your favourite Arabic word or phrase you have learned so far:
For love, habibi. For the spirit, mashallah and inshallah. For humor, masmaa! This is why….

Me: What does the word ”masmaa” mean?
My husband: can’t hear you..
Me (louder): What does the word ”masmaa” mean?
My husband: I can’t hear you
Me (really loud and slow): What does the word ”masmaa” translate to???
My husband: Mina!!! It means ”I can’t hear you!”

Talk about a real life Laurel & Hardy moment!

Your least favourite word or phrase you have adopted since moving to Dubai:
My least favorite words are McDonald’s, KFC and Burger King. I had hoped not to hear them as often once I left the USA.

What has been your best experience in Dubai to date?
My big fat ArabItalian wedding.

Where do you hope to spend your next holiday?
Greece! Great people, great art, great FOOD.

Who is the person you most miss when you are in Dubai?
My Mom, Dad and brother.

What is your favourite restaurant in Dubai?
I have many but my current favorite is Sim Sim. They specialize in home-made Levant cuisine and the service is simply fantastic.

What grocery item do you most miss from your home country?
Escarole for making Italian beans and greens!

When friends and family visit you in Dubai where will you absolutely take them?
Old Dubai, the gold souk and the fountains at Dubai Mall.


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).

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