On a Personal Note: Change

How's your week going?  This weekend will be a big celebration throughout the Middle East.  It's going to be Eid Al-Fitr or plain  Eid, marking the end of Ramadan.  Fasting during the day will be over during this usual three-day holiday.  Festive lights illuminate throughout the city at night, shops busy with ongoing  sale, gift giving, and huge feasts as families gather.   Most of the expats given the long non-working holiday, usually jet off somewhere for a short break.  

“Man cannot discover new oceans unless he has the courage
 to lose sight of the shore.” -Andre Gide

Much as I look forward to the coming days of relaxation, I had to undergo through boring tasks of documentation so that I may be able to return back to the country after the holidays.    The last two days had been spent running around sorting out my visa.   Poor hubs, queue after queue for the last 3 days to get it done during a period of fasting.

When my visa changed from an employee to a housewife,  I couldn't believe that the workaholic transformation of myself into a housewife is actually happening.  
In order to stay in the UAE, one has to be under a sponsorship from a family member (usually a husband), an employer or as an entrepreneur. I've been living here for the last 9 years as a working resident. Unlike living in any other country,  there is no naturalization for expats, nor change in citizenship for foreigners unless by marriage to a local. The expats/ foreigners are granted a residence visa which has to be renewed every two years. It didn't really affect me much before because living under an employment visa allows one certain flexibility, like travelling mostly anywhere in the gulf without much restriction. Whereas now, being a housewife, I can't travel anywhere in the gulf region without my husband present with me.  I can't get an apartment under my name or sign bank checks for that anymore.  It's relinquishing power.  A feeling of dependence.  Being an independent woman, it is a big adjustment.  A bit humbling in fact.   

On the other hand, it's also a way of giving up control, of learning to adjust to a new way of life. I'm blessed to have a husband who's allowing me to take some time off to pursue my passion.  On a lighter note, I'm excited. I'm going to stay for the next three weeks in France.  Visiting  in-laws and family and spending a laid back time with the Hubs in the french countryside.   I look forward to having a cup of coffee with their elderly neighbor and painting outdoors at the family's potager while the Hubs go para-motoring. Now I have to get back to packing..

What was a major change in your life you have faced?
When you think about it, what ripple effect did it cause to be where you are right now?





  1. Enjoy the end of Ramadan celebration! I'm sure it's nice to be able to eat normally now!

    Have fun in France, too!

    Big change in my life was moving to Cincinnati, away from my family. The good news, was that I got involved with a wonderful critique group which has helped me grow as a writer.

  2. Thanks Sherry. It's amazing, isn't it? - how life works out allowing us to grow and become better at what we do, eventually leading us to happiness despite all the hurdles at first. Thanks for sharing and so happy for you.

  3. Wow! I ended up teary-eyed after reading your blog. It is very timely and it kinda struck my heart. Enlightening! It's almost 4 months since I arrived in Doha. My patience is tested. I became more matured and adaptable to change. Thanks Arni.

  4. Hi Anntonette, I remember the first 3 months are the hardest. Getting adjusted and acclimatized.I had a culture shock when I first arrived in the Middle East. After a while it gets better though the first two years, we were thinking about migrating somewhere else. Then the place sort of became home on the 3rd year. This place brought out the best in me. I realized how much patience and tolerance I have :)