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Dubai Expat Interviews – Sarah Walton

This week’s Into-yous features Australian expat Sarah Walton

Tell us a little about yourself
I am a nearly middle-aged housewife with a housemaid living in Umm Suqeim. I am an ‘Umm Suqeim Jane”. I have two boys, 7 and 4 years old. Our family loves Dubai – we are not even close to ready to going home. I blog about Dubai and travel on my blog The Hedonista.

When did you move to Dubai and what brought you here?
I arrived almost exactly three years ago. One day my husband woke up and looked at me and said “I love Melbourne, but are we going to live our whole life here and die here?” He started looking for expat work. Anywhere

Have you been an expat elsewhere and if so, where?
A few months work in a terrible Pub in London in my twenties – does that count? My Parents worked in Papua New Guinea when I was younger, for about 3 years.

The best advice you were given to prepare you for life in Dubai
“You’ll love it.”

What surprised you most about Dubai?
I thought it was going to be entirely shiny and new. I am constantly amazed by the complexity of the place. Every day I discover something new about it. It’s beautiful, terrible, kooky and conservative all at the same time.

If money were no object, where would you most like to live in Dubai?
Villa on the palm.

Your favorite Arabic word or phrase you have learned so far
Hard to pick between “yalla” and “halas”. I use both all the time. Here, I think they have been accepted into Dubai English (or would that be Dunglish…?)

Your least favorite word or phrase you have adopted since moving to Dubai
“innit?” Bleeding poms

What has been your best experience in Dubai to date?
I love the souks, particularly the spice souk. I look forward to the arrival of visitors – it gives me a chance to take them on the abra between them and meander around all afternoon. I’m also a big fan of Bab al Shams, and I often just take myself out there to think and drink coffee in their beautiful majlis just off the lobby.

Where do you hope to spend your next holiday?
Hope? It’s planned already! That’s the wonderful thing about Dubai – you literally ARE in the middle of the world, and the Summer heat and long holidays gives me a great excuse to book a European holiday. This year it’s a few weeks in Dubrovnik, then in Umbria, with a couple of days at each of Vienna and Budapest.

Who is the person you most miss when you are in Dubai?
People. Mum and Dad of course, and my neighbours and closest friends. Skype is good for keeping in touch, but only the family keep the contact constant. I also miss my cat Pepi, who now lives with my brother and is very, very fat.

What is your favourite restaurant in Dubai?
Too many! You’d have to read my blog to find out the goods and bads – I review restaurants constantly. My best review recently was for Almaz by Momo

What grocery item do you most miss from your home country?
Fresh local fruit and vegetables

When friends and family visit you in Dubai where will you absolutely take them?
The souks. But again, I did a post on this “Dubai in 48 hours”. Dubai is such an incredible city – you cannot possibly sum it up with one site or monument.

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