Like us on Facebook

Follow us on Google Plus

Dubai Expat Interviews – Gail Potter

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

Tell us a little about yourself
I am originally from Blackburn- I moved to Kuwait in 1996 and escaped to Dubai in 2001 so have been in the Middle East for 15 years- I only planned to move to the Middle East for a year but seem to have got stuck! I have worked for Marks & Spencer, ExpatWoman and JUMP Media in my time in Dubai in events, PR and marketing. I am lucky enough to now own my own agency- Potter Communications. I have just hit 40, am single and living in The Greens- which I love!

When did you move to Dubai and what brought you here?
I was working for a retail company in the UK and they sent me to do a year’s secondment in Kuwait to open new stores for them. After the year was up I wanted to stay a bit longer due to the nice tax free salary so I got a job with Marks & Spencer. I worked for them for 9 years during which they moved me to Dubai and I have been here ever since.

Have you been an expat elsewhere and if so, where?
Yes, Kuwait- much prefer Dubai though!

The best advice you were given to prepare you for life in Dubai
Say yes to everything! In the context of being invited to things- you will never know if it’s your cup of tea or not unless you go!

What surprised you most about Dubai?
That it could be quite lonely- Kuwait was a very close knit expat community and you had an instant readymade circle of friends purely because you were an expat but Dubai is a much bigger, bustlier place so it was harder to meet people at first- you have to make an effort. Once you make that effort though you can make friends for life of all different nationalities and have some amazing times!

If money were no object, where would you most like to live in Dubai?
Arabian Ranches- the villas there are so lovely and the whole community is very peaceful- I have never lived in a villa whilst out here so I do have villa envy!

Your favorite Arabic word or phrase you have learned so far
Kally Walli! It’s a mix of Hindi and Arabic- means never mind or forget it! Just love the sound of it!

Your least favorite word or phrase you have adopted since moving to Dubai
I think it’s more of a hand gesture- the pinched together fingers meaning wait- I hate it being used at me but I use it too! It’s one of those cross cultural signs that works here once you know what it means that is!

What has been your best experience in Dubai to date?
There are so many to choose from- Dubai really is an amazing place with amazing events! My most recent one was a sail out on a yacht from Dubai Marina for a hen do- the boat and scenery was totally amazing- that’s just one of many experiences that I could mention! We are totally spoilt for choice here and get the chance to do things every week you wouldn’t normally do in a lifetime!

Where do you hope to spend your next holiday?
There are so many places I want to go- New York in the winter, Australia again, the lake palaces of India, Singapore and everywhere in between! We are so lucky living here that we are halfway to a lot of places and that Dubai is such a hub for flights making far flung places accessible.

Who is the person you most miss when you are in Dubai?
My family- even though it’s been 15 years and I should be used to it I still get home sick for them- I go home twice a year and they come and visit here and we Skype a lot.

What is your favourite restaurant in Dubai?
The Rib Room, Emirates Towers- their Beef Wellington melts in your mouth and the truffle mash potato is divine!

What grocery item do you most miss from your home country?
There used to be so much- Paxo Sage & Onion Stuffing, Bisto Gravy Granules- but you can get all of these here now! I don’t put in any request anymore to visitors or come back with suitcases full of weird things! I suppose would have to say Marks & Spencer Prawn & Mayo sandwiches- triple pack 🙂

When friends and family visit you in Dubai where will you absolutely take them?
I always take them to the Creek- we do all the fancy things like the bars and restaurants and Wild Wadi etc. but I think it’s nice to show them the old areas. We would park outside the British Embassy, walk down the creek and check out the boats that are moored, wander through the old souq area, have a fresh juice at the café there and then hire an abra for a one hour sail up and down the creek- nip over to the spice and gold souk if we have time too! Really nice afternoon or evening out!

– – – – – – – – –

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).

Leave a Reply

Meet the team

Move One in the community

More Video Guides