Living alone in Dubai

Jenny Hewett gives up life with the folks for the real world

Last word, The Knowledge

Something has been weighing on my shoulders since the clock ticked 2012. While most of you may be carefully considering your new year’s resolutions, I have bigger fish to fry. You see, I’m being kicked out of the nest. Or rather, the nest is leaving me. For the past three and a half years that I’ve lived in Dubai, I’ve been lucky enough to live under the wing of my incredibly generous (and equally party-prone!) parents. Sickeningly enough, day-to-day headaches such as paying rent, DEWA, Salik and doing the groceries are not things I have been bothered with. Thus, in three years I have been able to afford 12 amazing holidays. But that’s all about to change as the folks (who are old hands at this expat thing) are setting off for greener, more tropical pastures, and we will begin the next exciting chapter of our respective lives: me here in Dubai and them in Jakarta.

One great positive that I will take from being booted from our home is the opportunity to rediscover the city – in the same way that most of you have – and make it in Dubai on my own. Gaining back my independence has definitely been a high point of this pseudo family break-up (did I mention my sister, her husband and their two dogs are also being displaced?), but moving house definitely still comes with its fair share of ups and downs. For starters, downgrading from a spacious villa to an apartment the size of my current bedroom is one I will definitely have to grow accustomed to.

Having lived on my own before, I have found that Dubai is a little different when it comes to apartment-hunting. On a flat go-see I organised a couple of weeks ago, I discovered that there seems to be a severe stove deficit in the area I am keen on. Either that or the city is being overtaken by baking-mad ‘oven-nappers’. It is beyond me why anyone would choose to take an oven with them when they move home – but on the flipside, it amuses me greatly to type ‘with oven’ under keywords in my one-bedder search on Dubizzle.

On another note, it’s lucky that I now have my own wheels, as I’ve discovered that most Dubai real estate agents are effectively immobile, and upon viewing require me to pick them up and drop them at the nearest metro station afterwards. On the plus side, I have now memorised every roundabout and traffic light in my soon-to-be ’hood and will be able to direct lost taxi drivers in a heartbeat.

I would be lying if I said I’m not a little apprehensive about the move, but I am excited to come home to a space that is mine in Dubai. And hey, Bali is just eight hours away – and I plan to waste no time in getting there for a visit. That’s if I can afford it.

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