This is the sixth in a series of repeated posts (e.g. published elsewhere before) from outside of China, detailing the start of my expatriate life. There will always be a post a day about China so if you’re not interested in other material – you can stop reading now.
After 6 months I get a promotion. I am given a considerable pay rise and now qualify for holiday pay and relocation from the UK, I phone the UK and have my stuff stuck on a ship a couple of days later. Unfortunately, I have to give up my wonderful apartment and sort my own out.
This is when I realise I have not been paying enough attention, because not only are apartments insanely expensive (more than the pay rise) but you have to cough up a year’s rent in advance. The company will lend me 6 months of this, which is not enough when you have spent everything else you have earned on beer.
I weep a little, and my colleagues snigger a lot. A friend of mine lets me sleep on their sofa for 2 months so that I can save enough to pay the rent. They are a wonderful couple who not only tolerate me, but let me drink their booze and cook me breakfast every day and give me a lift to work too. Their home is beautiful, a massive four bedroom villa secured at a very low price, 5 years before, so that their home costs less a year than my poxy apartment will. I’m happy for them nonetheless they have pets and things, whereas I have a CD collection and this will fit in the apartment (just).
So I find a nice unfurnished apartment in Al Barsha, behind the Mall of the Emirates (which is officially the largest mall outside of North America when I move in, when I move out Dubai Mall is now the largest mall in the world and the Mall of the Emirates seems a little pokey in comparison), it is in the middle of a building site which works all night. I don’t care though, I can sleep through a nuclear holocaust, my then partner cannot but I forget this when I sign the lease.
I am still waiting for all the stuff to turn up from the UK so I buy an inflatable mattress and shower curtains to cover the window. She is not impressed…
As you may have gathered working in Dubai was a wonderful experience for me, the job was actually interesting and varied. I moved on from product training to soft skills, where I spend much of my time handing out varying levels of abuse to sales people who though very keen didn’t appear to have the basic skills to survive. They take this pretty well though and I enjoy a reasonable amount of personal popularity in the Enterprise team despite my occasional rampage through someone’s feelings.
I get to go on the Enterprise division’s team building day in Ras Al Khaimah (one of the other Emirates) and am the only non-Enterprise employee to be invited, which makes me feel loved. Until I go…