We received lots of questions and concerns about our move to Dubai, and I’ve answered some of the most Frequently Asked Questions here.

  • Is Christmas celebrated out here?

Although the UAE is predominantly a Muslim country, Dubai is home to people from all over the world. According to BBC, 80% of people living in Dubai are expats (short for “expatriate” – people who live outside their native country). I have yet to see a Santa Claus at the huge malls over here but that doesn’t mean that he doesn’t make appearances at other places around the city!

Decorations at Carre Four at Mall of the Emirates
Decorations at Carre Four at Mall of the Emirates
a toy tree in the Toys R Us at Festival City Mall
a toy tree in the Toys R Us at Festival City Mall

There are lots of different Christmas events happening where kids can meet Santa and even see “snow” fall. There are Christmas trees for sale along with ornaments and stockings. The photo above is our little countdown sign that we bought out here. Isn’t it adorable? And a few stores even play Christmas music! That’s great for me because I love holiday songs, and I don’t have my KOST 103.5 to hear Christmas music 24/7! 😦 I need to work on a Christmas playlist on iTunes and play it nonstop.

As for our Christmas plans, right now we’re thinking about making a nice dinner for Christmas Eve and then taking Micah to meet the penguins at the Penguin Encounter at Ski Dubai. We’re still tossing around ideas of what we’re going to do though. Unfortunately, since Anthony is still on probation for his job, we can’t ask for vacation time so we can’t surprise our families on Christmas. Hopefully next year we can be home for Christmas! It’s my favorite time of the year, and 10 days before my birthday! 🙂

Christmas advertisements inside the Ikea in Festival City
Christmas advertisements inside the Ikea in Festival City
  • Do I have to cover my hair/cover up when I go out?

I imagined that I would have to live in the desert and be doomed to wear pants and long sleeved shirts all day, every day and have to go out and buy a new wardrobe to accommodate these new rules. In fact, it’s really only asked that shoulders and knees are covered. There are signs outside of major shopping areas requesting that “respectful” clothing be worn. I still wear the same dresses I wore back home; although most of them are just above my knees, they’re not scandalously short or anything. Before we left I bought a couple light sweaters and a few pretty scarves that I just wrap around my shoulders. But I’ve seen women walk around in all states of dress and undress. Women with tiny skirts and tank tops have walked by police officers and security guards, and I’ve never seen them stopped or ridiculed for what they’re wearing. You don’t get kicked out of a store or thrown in jail if you’re showing your legs. I don’t think that dressing modestly is an insulting request, and I don’t mind it at all. If I did, I wouldn’t live here. 🙂

FYI, many of the women I see wearing the traditional all-black gowns and head coverings wear the most beautiful, impeccable makeup. And lots of them have the most glamorous shoes and crazy expensive purses – I’m talking Gucci, Chanel, and Prada! So fancy. I hated the sequel to the Sex and the City movie, but I can’t help but be reminded of it when I see these women wearing their couture and fashionable accessories. Props to them!

  • What language is spoken out here?

We haven’t encountered anyone yet who doesn’t speak English. Everyone just speaks it with different accents. 🙂 Thankfully, we don’t have a problem communicating with people.

  • What exactly is Anthony doing out here? Does he enjoy his work?

If you’re going to uproot your entire life and move across the world, it better be for something that you love doing. In our case, thankfully, Anthony loves it. He’s part of the design team for Dubai Parks & Resorts, and, in 2016, he’ll see some of his work be brought to life. The two biggest projects that he’s working on are a theme park called motion gate – it’s like Universal Studios because it incorporates different movies into rides and attractions. For motiongate, Sony movies will be made into attractions. For the kids, there are planned attractions for the SmurfsCloudy With a Chance of Meatballs, and Hotel Transylvania. Anthony was crazy excited to see that one of his favorite movies, Ghostbusters, will also have an attraction or two. Underworld and Zombieland will be highlighted as well.

The other big project is Bollywood Parks, a theme park about, yep, Bollywood movies.

There’s a preliminary website for Dubai Parks where they explain the projects.

From the Dubai Parks website
From the Dubai Parks website

All in all, it’s really exciting work, and we still can’t believe that we live out here and Anthony gets to be part of it.

These are just a few of the questions and concerns that Anthony & I continue to receive as we live out here. Please let me know if there’s anything else you’d like me to cover here. 🙂


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