Expat life in Abu Dhabi pre-covid-19

So true it’s not always sweet and rosy on the other side of the fence but if you are lucky you will have often taste the sweet life than the lemon sour on your taste buds. Definitely the UAE particularly Abu Dhabi gave us a huge opportunity and a different kind of life that we didn’t experienced in our own backyard.

It is now finished and just reminiscing the good life we had while we are there pre-covid times. Unfortunately for those newcomers in times of pandemic they may find it very hard nowadays to even feel the life unless of course you want to risk getting sick if you do the way people do before the pandemic. There’s a lot of job losses and businesses closing here and there. On and off lockdown and non stop quarantining of people.

Let’s face the reality… I may not be able to see these places above. Travelling is banned overseas (well for us NZr’s & most countries) and it may take a year or so before we even get back to normal outside of our boundary. We definitely do not want to risk it.

No more lavish buffets, eat all you can and shop till you drop when there’s a big sale which is almost every public holiday or special events! End of those days we are so feeling carefree. FYI, foods (restaurants & hotels) and branded products are so much cheaper in the UAE or some part of Middle East and yes including Saudi Arabia… and may I add even GOLD. Even now they introduced 5% vat in the UAE for all goods and services, it’s still cheap as compared to prices in the West, South and most part of Europe. Correct me if I am wrong!

Seafoods galore & Hotpot nonstop

No more ladies night (50% are mom’s like me who sometimes enjoy the night out and the hubbies are the ones taking care of the children for once! Fact, most hotel bars are decent and caters to all women with free sushi and drinks to lure them). No more beautiful events to be held in the posh hotels and parks (Fact, you can even get 50% discount to these posh hotels by buying in groupon and other discount coupons!)

What I am saying is… I truly treasured the times we were in Abu Dhabi as an expat family. I will never forget the high and lows. These were good memories that will last a lifetime as we may never have this again.

Now back to our home country New Zealand, facing the reality now of having the pandemic all over the world and the market crashing down… I can also say we are lucky just in time to be HOME. NZ is still not open for other countries which I approve of to minimize the risk though on the other end our economy is suffering… but ALL countries are anyway so we just have to bear with it and try to be patient. Health is wealth!

Take care everyone!

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Be patient in this new world

“We could never learn to be brave and patient, if there were only joy in the world”  by Hellen Keller

This is in response to the WOTD: Patient

The quote is so true isn’t it?

We learn from our mistakes.  If there’s a will there’s a way.  No pain no gain and so many other sayings.  This pandemic teaches us so many things in our lives.  How to be strong in these tough times.  How some of us become like a master chef or baker in our household without relying too much upon in takeaways or fast foods?  How to pray for our beloved safety and well being.  How to be kind to one another.  How to be tolerant about things we cannot control and accepted how it is.  Otherwise, you will only be miserable if you cannot accept defeat.  Life is in constant change.  We are facing a new life.  Be patient.

Be patient things quotes

There is always a reason for everything and yes there are some positive outcomes of this world problem.  We learn how to be more hygienic or overdoing it at times just to protect our loved ones.  Our world started to heal from the pollution and the birds and other animals profited from it too.  If you love traveling like me, another positive outcome is you are now seatmate free as the seat in the middle will now be vacant for each passengers safety.  New Zealand is now on alert level 2 which means “almost” back to normal (apart from social distancing, proper good hygiene, and “being kind” as what the PM always telling on her media interviews. The tourism industry is now being pushed forward after being dormant for so long.  We just have to support and discover our own backyard deepest corners.  Besides, we have a beautiful country!

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We hope of a safer tomorrow.  Wishing a covid-19 free world sooner than later.  Let’s be patient. It will come.

PS:  Please also support my other blog site as per this link >> Life and Wonders.  I have transferred some of my older posts in there as it was the first chapter of my new life being an ex-pat in the Middle East (The UAE).  There you can see how it was living in that world and you will be surprised.  Nevertheless, you can still see some of the remaining post here dated from mid-2015 up to early 2019.  FYI.  Thank You!

 

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Different FUN challenges to inspire you

This is in response to Cee’s Fun Foto Challenge as per the below words. Please click each word per photo to go to the link, BUT first finish this read, like or comment that would be great! 😉 Sorry, some word challenges are a bit late but it’s better to be late than never right? This also highlights my past travel and those photos that I am wanting to visit again in person if possible.  If not at least I have them in the archives of my past experiences and will remember always in my heart.

Vibrant Colours 

 

BaguioPH, vinneve

Visited this place two years ago in Baguio, Philippines.  I was captivated at their simple way of living and the vibrant colour of their houses.

Upwards

View to the top

AklZOO.sky, vinneve

Nice warm weather with a cool breeze surrounded us with lots of tall trees in Auckland Zoo (will post about this next time).  My son wants to come back here once we can go back to normal life or half of it as some say life will never be the same again… (sigh!) very sad indeed.

Tea time in Abu Dhabi

teatimeAD, vinneve

Those were the happy go lucky days. A time to indulge your sweet tooth and meet your happy friends making your life happier!

WestAKLSky, vinneve

And finally a view of the sky outside my house.  It somehow tells me that Life is still beautiful and more to look forward to the next day.  Do not be gloomy as what’s happening in the world right now.  Have faith and there’s hope!  See below (better late than never!) 🙂

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CovideasterEggs, vinneve

I hope you like these photos.  You may also join the word or photo challenge as per those links to Cee’s blogsite.  The more the merrier!  Cheers!!

 

 

 

 

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Hotel review: Novotel Lakeside, Queenstown NZ

the backside of hotel fronting the lake, vinnevefoto

This hotel serves as a second home to us almost every year visiting Queenstown since living in New Zealand and before we left last 2015. Now back home, of course, we visited first our favorite place & stayed in this hotel. It’s good for families though we saw a lot of groups filling up a big tourist bus. The hotel is fronting the lake, playgrounds & the Park. If you are keen to walk thru this Park there’s a way to Botanical Park so it’s a long walk indeed but full of beautiful nature and fresh air.

Restaurant, Parks and the Lake, vinneve foto

The bedroom and the views.

NovotelLakesideQtwn, vinnevefoto

Balcony viewNovotel, vinneve

Just a walking distance to a lot of tourist spots and restaurants.  It can get pricey so better book early as comes peak seasons this hotel can get full. If you are a member of Accor like we do they give you free welcome drinks and can enjoy it beside the fireplace.

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QtwnGondola, vinnevefoto

I have so many photos but I cannot put it all in as I need to save my space for later.  So this is it for now.  Thanks for reading and checking out my blog, appreciated.  Cheers!!

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Destination: Queenstown, Nz

On top QTWN, vinnevefoto

This is one of my fave City here in New Zealand. Even before we left in 2015 to be an expats in Abu Dhabi, we often travel to this awesome City every year since I started flying domestic. It’s stunning sceneries is something special plus there’s a lot of outdoor activities for families & single people too!

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On the way to Queenstown, vinneve

Queenstown is known as the “Adventure capital of the World” there’s a lot of activities here for adrenaline junkies, all types of indoor & outdoor activities & wholesome family adventure too for somebody like us whose not into “too much” thrill coz we have a child to take care of while we’re having fun!

Here are just a few activities that we either partake in or passing by for a snapshot opportunity.  Please note there are some more activities not on this list.

1. Playground just around the hotel.

near Queenstown Park, vinnevefoto

2. Visit Queenstown Park fronting the lake.

Maori carving, vinnevefoto

3. Join the gold diggers literally speaking! 😂 it’s in Arrowtown. If any luck you will get a wee bit of flakes and to let you know this is the same water that Gollum in LOTR had been seen fishing.

Arrowtown river, vinnevefoto

4. Visiting Arrowtown Lake District Museum. It may be smaller than any other museums you are used to but it’s full of “goldmine” history etc. and you can soak up the village history after just a few minutes’ walk.

ArrowtownMiningtown, vinnevefoto

5. Bungy Jumping actually originated in Vanuatu as part of their ritual perhaps thousands of years ago, but Nz is the Country who made it famous. AJ Hackett established the very first bungy site in Queenstown.

BungeeJumpingNZ, vinnevefoto

6. Gondolas & Luge. Families favorite! Rugged biking as well are held on top of this mountain.

Gondolas&Luge, vinnevefoto

7. Skydiving (indoor & outdoor) & Paragliding. If you’re afraid to do it alone there’s always a tandem guide to help or be with you!

ParaglidingNZ, vinnevefoto

8. Going through the Park showing kiwi birds & other reptiles.

KiwiBirdlifePark, vinnevefoto

9. Jetboat, Million Dollar Cruise and the oldest Steamship are on this waters. 

Jetboattours, vinnevefoto

10. Or if you aren’t tired enough, there’s always this stairs to make a play who comes first on top! Just like what my men did! 🙂

Around townQTWN, vinnevefoto

Be sure to pack yourselves a comfy shoe, a jacket (depends on the season) & water bottle for some fun and long walks as I may not include a waterfall hiking track on this as we don’t have enough time but it is just a walking distance from all these activities.  Just ask the locals where to find it as I just stumbled on it a few years back with my 6yrs old son and a 67-year-old father!  

I hope I give you some tips that you can use when you travel in stunning Queenstown!  Please comment if you have been here already and tell your story!  Cheers, and wait for my another post… Thanks!

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W.O.T.D. – Expectation & Worth

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Here I go again… 

It’s been hard for me to write this post as I seemed lost for words and it takes time to tell you, dear readers… I will finally be coming back HOME.  I sure hope it is still “my home” though as I am a bit afraid after about being an ex-pat for more than 3 years without even visiting the place, unlike many other ex-pats.  I have been anywhere except holidaying in my home country isn’t it weird?  It’s because of the tedious flying time of 18 hours straight or cut it in two to Australia 14 hours + Auckland 4 hours = 18 hours. Which is better?  Even going back to my birth country for a holiday is more or less 9 hours away from where we are at the moment (Abu Dhabi) which is really in the middle of  Europe and Asia.  So going to Australasia down under so to say… feels like so far far away!!

WOTD Expectation

What to expect?  I am freaking out actually.  I heard so many stories about ex-pats coming back home realizing it’s NOT the same as before or perhaps WE ARE NOT THE SAME AS BEFORE?.  Even the roads will not be the same as when we left New Zealand in 2015 there are a lot of road works going on and adding some lanes and a tunnel etc.  I’ve read that the almost rural place we go to for Farmers Market and now in demand and becoming posh suburbs that we cannot even afford to buy a small land. Auckland is now one of the most expensive Cities in the World.  Though our place is farther away from the City it is still ridiculously expensive!  Good thing we have a house to come home to.  There’s a scarcity in the housing market.  A big problem indeed.

I think it’s better NO EXPECTATION.  It can save me from whatever fear facing the future.

WOTD Worth

One thing for sure we will try to make this worth it.  My son is growing and need more stability as for the past 3 years or more he has been to 3 different schools.  Yes, it’s hard to say goodbye again.  I cannot say No to being an ex-pat again if this is the only way our family can stay together.  Depends on the next contract of hubby.  Just hoping he will also come home to us for good, that would be great! though not financially.

Now that I finally adjusted to the life here, I will miss a lot of brunches, friends parties, events and celebrations around here.  I surrounded my life with many groups of moms like me in school, in our place, my closes friends and even acquaintances. FYI, I am one of those they call “trailing spouse” so yes I choose not to work (after working almost my whole life in 3 different Countries) so I am the nanny of my own child but unlike with nannies, I have a much better social network. It took me two long years to finally adjusted and accepted the life here and now we have to go for personal reason that cannot wait.

Life is easy here and less stress (except when driving haha!!) and I get used to this somehow that having to begin a new life in NZ seems a bit scary though exciting too, to be honest.  So many things to do and see places perhaps seeing it as an ex-pat.  We have to be re-acquainted to the Country.  I am hoping we can adjust quickly… hopefully!

Anyway… I often read some advice and hopefully,  I can be able to apply it.  Here are the LINK1 and LINK2 if you are curious and have time to read.

Are you an ex-pat who came back home after years of life overseas?  Please tell me your stories and perhaps I can learn from those.  Feel free to give me an advice.  Thanks!

Any ex-pats coming home to New Zealand like me?  Let me know or you can PM me.

Thanks for reading and cheers to the next journey!!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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A dream… a premonition.

This is for the Daily Post: PREMONITION

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Everybody dreams.  

I have a dream a long time ago, in fact, a decade ago perhaps… even before my son came into our lives.  It was a feeling of happiness, wonder and then all of a sudden a feeling of losing something.  In my dream… it was a greyish cloudiest day or night. Hubby and I were checking out some beautiful houses and the road was not easy to navigate as it has a steep hill… up and downslope just like in some Auckland roads and streets.  Found “the one” and I believed I told hubby to stop looking for others as I have found the one I want us to live.  Unfortunately, he didn’t share the idea and told me we better check out other houses though the one that I liked was really “the one” for me.  It was a very vivid dream as if it’s real and up to this day I can still remember it and strange but true… I can still feel what I was feeling at that time.  A feeling of disappointment and wonder.

And yes, it was a PREMONITION, alright of what was to come in the future!

NEW ZEALAND

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Auckland Ferry, vinneve

From our beautiful Auckland City, in the WEST particularly we headed to a BIG adventure of a lifetime in the …

UNITED ARAB EMIRATES, Abu Dhabi – as an ex-pat.

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Abu Dhabi Skyline, vinneve

To live temporarily in my birth Country THE PHILIPPINES, Manila – to try to see the other side of the World and talking about my old childhood to my son which was great but unfortunately, it’s not the same as I thought it would be. Lots of things changed.

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MOA bridge, vinneve

And now going back again to Abu Dhabi and God knows where we going to stay for good this time!  Had talks about living in Switzerland and Australia.  Both, we have the right to live and be happy.  But it seems the premonition lingers up till now.  I guess you better stay tuned and follow me what part of the world we’re going to end up!  Besides, wherever we will be … there will always be some TRAVELLING and ADVENTURE.

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There is always a reason to travel. 

 

 

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Daily Prompt: Complicated & Confused Switzerland vs. New Zealand

via Daily Prompt: Complicated

via Daily Prompt: Confused

Now that our long holidays are over… a piece of advice from some relatives and friends keep on bugging me and it is so hard to choose.  Really it is not that easy!

How can you choose between the HOME you come to love and missing so much and the other ONE that is very similar in looks yet far different in characters, values, and life but family wait?

Yes perhaps some of you who come to really know both Countries will find it hard as well to choose like me.  Both have their own merits and demerits.  It is almost poles apart in geography and I find it is indeed CONFUSING and/or COMPLICATED.

Perhaps I will wait until I get a sign from above?.. WISH.

NEW ZEALAND

SWITZERLAND

So now I leave you the quote below… Up to you if you agree.  Feel free to give some nice comment and let me know how you well know these two beautiful Countries and which one will you choose and why?

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The Door’s Castle

This is in response to The Daily Post:  The Story Behind a Door.

 

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Larnach Castle, Dunedin New Zealand

We were here in June 2014.  Just me and my small buddy which is my son.  Had a great tour around the grounds and the castle but yes in every castle there is a story behind a closed door.  So much history and it’s up to you which version of the story you prefer.

If you like Paranormal then click this LINK to know about what is happening in this beautiful small Castle in  a breathtaking surrounding.

If you just want a normal/ regular tour and history then click this LINK.  Surely you will not be disappointed and perhaps if New Zealand is on your bucket list then you would not want to miss this chance to go to Dunedin and  see for yourself the famous castle.  The more the merrier so you can also enjoy strolling around the grounds with your friends or loved ones. I tell you, there are so many photo ops in this location. Ehem! Peter Jackson? 

If you just want information or other FACTS then click this LINK.  What else? but my favorite Wikipedia.

At the end of the tour… stroll around the garden (top hill) and appreciate the simple beauty outside.

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At the hill, garden, Larnach Castle Dunedin, NZ

 

Thanks for your time!  Until next time 🙂

 

 

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Missing something. It’s just a “phase”.

This is in response to The Daily Post/Prompt: PHASE.

“The honeymoon phase always ends, for everyone.”  by Rose Leslie

It is indeed my true feelings that come and go and I believe some or most Expats all over the World are experiencing the same thing like me.  After all, we are only human.

I have saved this writing under a draft for such a long time and finally dig it out again just in time for this particular theme.  Having a negative feeling is not nice if I put it mildly.  There were times that all I need is a little more push and I will be booking a ticket to my home.  Yes, there is a but… family sticks through thick and thin. This is just a phase… and I will get over it.

“Where we love is home – home that our feet may leave, but not our hearts.”  by Oliver Wendell Holmes

BACK HOME.  Sure I have said before that home is where the heart is.  Perhaps with regards to family life yes it is better that we stick together. But… still something is missing.  Something I left behind that matters.  That I felt suffocated and anxious sometimes thinking it will take so long before I set eyes on them again.  I never felt this way before when I was younger and want to explore the possibilities of making my dreams comes true.  It did come true when I settled in New Zealand.  A place I longed to come back to.  A place where I felt the stronger ME, the better ME and the freedom that comes with it. I miss the natural beauty that surrounds me in all honesty over there.  I miss the car that I have sold a month before coming here in the UAE.  I miss all types of birds that I fed every morning from our back garden, thinking back then that sometimes it annoys me when a particular bird make a noise (Pukeko) in the morning like an early wake-up call when all I want is to sleep in. I miss our big comforting house compare to our apartment hotel we have now though I am not complaining it’s just I am missing those things that I was taking for granted just because it was there.  I miss earning my own money without depending on anyone and I travel when and where I want to within reasons,  I miss talking with my friends that I left behind, though I have new friends here but being an EXPATS they too cannot be too attached so not to hurt so much when one is leaving after the contract ends.  This is the reality of life here being an expat.  I miss the 4 seasons though not as much the long winter months but the colours it brings and the feelings it evokes.  I miss all the wonderful places I have been inside the Country and still not finish exploring it as it was cut short even after staying there for more than a decade and the awesome feeling of being proud of its natural beauty!  I just felt the need to write and confirm this feeling of sadness sometimes.  All expats have this feeling resurrected once in a while I am sure of that.  And someday once it’s all done and dusted, once the responsibilities and future established then we WILL go back home… where our hearts hoping for a better tomorrow!

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New Zealand flag on top, vinneve photo

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Auckland Ferry, NZ, vinneve photo

Up the hill in Dunedin

somewhere in Dunedin,NZ (vinneve photo)

Thanks for your time reading this.  Cheers! 🙂