The Truth of Expat Living a “beautiful Lie”.

If you read my last blog, “moving abroad solo”, there are tips for you to note. But today, I’m not keen of blogging nit and nag on tips. It about humanity, true life and lies as an expat. It’s been 6 years since I was last in Dubai, I still remember the day that I took my final flight out of the city with no return date. Since then, I haven’t been back, it was the best 2 years stint of my career life.

May 2018, I arrived in a very humid Dubai with no clue of what to expect. The only thing I knew then was that it was going to be hot and this I tell you, no matter how much you psych yourself up on how hot and humid Dubai is going to be as the way it is.

I have friends from who have been living here for more than 5 years. I can’t say that I am going thru a culture shock but after spending almost 1 year in the glamorous city of Dubai, it did kind of ruin many expat in some ways.

I am missing a lot of things that are considered normal in Dubai but totally unnecessary to the rest of the world. Yes, the rich city of Dubai spoiled us big time. On the other hand, I am also enjoying bits and bods that are not found in Dubai.

I also was hit with the same phraseology that every visitor, friends, families, I seem to host comes out with. “OMG, you’ve got it good out here,” and “You’re never coming home, are you?”

To them, expat life was like that perfectly curated Instagram feed. But It was their misconceptions that curated this perfect life are the “Dubai-an” and not “Expatriate-ology”.

These are the honest comments that forced me to ponder over common misconceptions.

  1. First 2 perfectly common questions when you meet someone for the first time are “where are you from?” and “what do you do?”
  2. 30%-55% job offers are randomly picked, just for the trial or stepping stone. And for few of them, they want to feel how is life living in Dubai.
  3. 80% expat are bonded with 3 or more credit cards just to survive day-to-day cost of living. As such, they can blend in with high-end lifestyle.
  4. 45%-80% expat earnings, is just enough for their food, transport and pocket money. The remaining salary, slapping on credit cards payment.
  5. Renting rooms are relatively expensive for expat who arrived with families. But to those single’s, they are happy with tiny shared accommodation.
  6. 50% of their earnings, dispatch back home country, and they ended with debts.
  7. The cost of living and standards in Dubai is very high (in terms of facilities). Needless, most of the Dubai people are quite hard to please as they’re used to a high standard of facilities.

Being an expat in Dubai has its perks. There’s a reason we make up the majority of the population. But it’s not all plain sailing. We’re away from close family and friends, and the friends you do make tend to leave after a while. Most of us are only here for the short-term. We’re here to aim for something bigger and better.

The internet today is full of rants and articles about how social media has bred a generation obsessed with making life look perfect. But the day I became an expat, is the kind of life, reflecting you today. Dubai did not beg for you to stay in the place, in fact — is your choice. If you choose to stay, live well. By curating this beautiful lie, where most of “expatriate-ology” call the “perfect” life, to be honest, is brutally sad.

It all begin and ends in your mind. So, start own it! Is your life. Don’t settle on beautiful lie.

Originally published at on April 24, 2019.




I traveled the world but found myself in the Middle East. Passionate about writing and coffee lover

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Fizza Hassan

Fizza Hassan

I traveled the world but found myself in the Middle East. Passionate about writing and coffee lover

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