Life in Abu Dhabi

So in previous posts you’ve seen and read a bit about My Abu Dhabi Life, but what about other people’s Abu Dhabi lives? I spoke to a few residents of the city to find out what they think about life in Abu Dhabi…

Keith originates from Alaska, USA and has previously lived in the region, both in Abu Dhabi from 2005 – 2006 and in Dubai until 2010  before returning home to Alaska. He has been back in Abu Dhabi for around five months now.

Keith
Keith

What were you most concerned about before you moved to Abu Dhabi?

Having lived here before I knew what I was getting into, so my biggest concerns revolved around where I would live and whether I could get on an ice hockey team with the Abu Dhabi Hockey League. Fortunately I did get on a team and I live in a great place right next to the ice rink.

What did you find hardest when you first arrived in Abu Dhabi?

Getting acclimated to the heat. Even though I’ve lived in the UAE before I was overwhelmed by the heat and humidity.
If I could do the move again I would try to ship more things from home, having furniture from home really does make the transition easier. Also I would not choose to come in July when it’s so hot!

What advice would you give for someone considering a move here?

Definitely come. It’s safe and modern and a tremendous opportunity to meet people from all over the world. When you leave here you won’t be the same person you were and that’s a good thing.
And if you do come get a washing machine AND a dryer – those washer/dryer combos don’t work!
As a returnee my best advice would be savour your time here, enjoy the experience and try every new thing that comes your way.
…And get a dryer.

What’s your favourite thing about living in Abu Dhabi?

The city is much better than I remember it – it still has the charm and relaxed lifestyle from before but it’s grown into a much more sophisticated city. Also the weather most of the year and the proximity to so many other destinations. Abu Dhabi is such a good jumping off point to so many places in the world. One of the best things about living here is vast travel opportunities.

What do you miss most from home?

The worst thing about being away from home is definitely being so far away from family and friends. After family it’s definitely the food I miss: Alaskan salmon, halibut, and moose chili. Yum.

Is Abu Dhabi what you expected it would be?

It’s so much better than I remember it. It still has the charm and relaxed lifestyle I remember but it’s grown into a much more sophisticated city.

What is your favourite restaurant in Abu Dhabi?

Peppermill.  I love Indian food and every time I go there the service is excellent and the food is always fabulous.

In your opinion, where is the best Lebanese food in Abu Dhabi?

For me it’s Zyara in the Al Jazeera residential tower near the intersection of Zayed the first and 3rd street. It’s a small ‘mom and pop’ kind of place but the dining experience is fantastic.

Simone is from Australia and has lived in Abu Dhabi for just under five years and before moving here, had to look at a world map to find out where it was!

Simone
Simone

What did you find hardest when you first arrived in Abu Dhabi?

Negotiating the roads, dodging fast moving cars and interpreting directions with no street names!

What advice would you give for someone considering a move here?

Definitely to get out and about when you arrive, join sports clubs and groups to meet new friends and explore the city!

What’s your favourite thing about living in Abu Dhabi?  

All the great stuff there is to do here, you can keep yourself very busy every weekend with a new adventure! Abu Dhabi has been so great for us to experience so many cultures from the region and the world. Our little girl has friends from all over the world and is learning two languages at nursery school, and I know she wouldn’t have the same experience back home so we are treasuring our time here that these experiences bring all of us. Our little one has also seen so much of the world already which outweighs the negative side of being away from family and friends.

Is Abu Dhabi what you expected it would be? If not, why not?

Yes and no, it is a lot more modern and forward thinking than I had expected, although there is still a lot of the ‘old’, which gives it character and charm.

What is your favourite restaurant in Abu Dhabi?

There are so many to choose from! We recently had brunch at Koi at The Collection, St. Regis Saadiyat – since I am in love with Asian food at the moment I would go back there in a heartbeat!

In your opinion, where is the best Lebanese food in Abu Dhabi?

My husband would say Lebanese Flower, he would move in if I let him. Every guest we have stay gets a visit there at least once when he is choosing where we eat!

Jason originates from Canada, but calls Abu Dhabi home having lived in the city for two years now.  Having also lived in both Saudi Arabia and Bahrain previously, the move to Abu Dhabi was a confident one for him with no real initial concerns and he found everything to be easily accessible on his doorstep when he arrived.

Jason
Jason and football team mates

What advice would you give for someone considering a move here?

Until you settle in, expenses can be higher than usual so plan a generous budget with the expectation you might go six to eight weeks before getting a full salary.
Abu Dhabi is a growing city that has amenities for all types of lifestyles and a friendly accommodating local community so it’s easy to find your feet here.

What’s your favourite thing about living in Abu Dhabi?

It has a nice balance of activities available and has excellent access to great vacation destinations. I enjoy playing football, running, going to the cinema and having dinner out with friends – there are so many good restaurants to choose from!

In your opinion, where is the best Lebanese food in Abu Dhabi?

I’m fond of Lebanese Mill on Najda street as it has great prices, service and delicious food for lunch.

Shirley comes from the UK and has lived in Abu Dhabi for six years after having planned to come out for just one year!

What did you find hardest when you first arrived in Abu Dhabi?

Definitely the bureaucracy of getting visas, phone and internet connected with Etisalat and so on – it’s not the same as home and just seemed so cumbersome.

What advice would you give for someone considering a move here?

Be open-minded – if it’s not like home – it doesn’t mean it’s wrong! Embrace and enjoy the differences. Hang out with positive people – don’t get dragged down by moaners who only see the negatives. It’s a great place and there are far more positives than negatives. In six months’ time it will all be like second nature and you will totally understand how things work and you’ll have forgotten the initial challenges.
Once you’re here it’s hard to leave as everyday life is so easy – there just aren’t the same struggles as you face at home.

What’s your favourite thing about living in Abu Dhabi?

It would have to be the weather and meeting like-minded people. Also the safety of the country is a huge plus. Moving out here is like starting a clean piece of paper – you can write your own script.

What is your favourite restaurant in Abu Dhabi?

This is hard as there are so many to choose from – I really like Teatro as it has a good selection for different palates.

In your opinion, where is the best Lebanese food in Abu Dhabi?

I really like Costellos. It’s great value and is frequented predominantly by locals – so it must be good!

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