Were you planning on moving from Dubai? Perhaps the hilarious Morgan Carver Richard might persuade you to decide differently...
22 August 2016| Last updated on 31 March 2019
Upon landing on the golden sands of Dubai after moving, every one of us was and is quite happy to adapt to the spoiled lifestyle we're offered in this awe-inspiring place.
It's a lifestyle that regularly includes brunches, 7 star hotels, beach or pool weekends, drivers taxiing us around, home help, and a mani-pedi at a 5 star beauty salon. Not forgetting the fact our shopping bags get packed for us, while our cars are being cleaned in the car park.
The problem is however, while we all happily adapt to this new and luxurious lifestyle until it becomes the 'norm' for us, we often forget just how fortunate we are living in Dubai. It's not until you leave that you realise just how good you've got it.
No one has realised this as much as Morgan Carver Richard. The former flight attendant and mum of three lived in Dubai for four years, before returning to the United States earlier this year... And luckily for us, she's been chronicling her UAE withdrawals in a video series for our entertainment.
From the inability to find halloumi in her local store, to being left bewildered at a hotel without valet, to having to pump her own gas, Morgan's shock at repatriating is something that a lot of people will be able to relate to, between all of the laughs, shocks and tears!
If you haven't seen her videos yet, you must watch the below!
Be honest... What was your initial reaction to the news that you were moving back to Phoenix, and away from Dubai?
My initial reaction was mixed...I was happy for my husband because he had been offered his dream job and could live in his home town, but I didn't want to leave my life and community in Dubai. I knew that it wouldn't be easy for me but I also knew that I had to figure it out how to be supportive for my husband.
Was Dubai your only stint as an expat? Have you ever lived anywhere else?
Dubai was my only expat experience, but I have lived in different places in the US. I lived in Phoenix once before for a few months, I grew up in South Carolina, and I lived in Nashville for one year. I was a flight attendant before I married my husband so I had experienced hotels and overnights all over the US and a few in Canada and Mexico (how I picked up the travel bug).
SEE ALSO: Chat with other expats on our bustling forum for women
Why did you move to Dubai to begin with, four years ago?
We moved to Dubai when my husband got a job at Emirates (he's a pilot). At the time, there wasn't a lot of hiring at major airlines so we decided to look outside the US because we weren't happy with the employment situation at the time. We went for the interview in Dubai and I fell in love with the city.
What's the one thing you complained about the most while living in Dubai, but miss the most now you're back in the USA?
I complained a lot about the cost of American groceries. But now that I'm back in the US, American food is so cheap and all I want is less choice (too many cereal choices on one aisle) and more produce and great bread. Meal planning and grocery shopping was a lot more simple in Dubai. I can get lost and overstimulated easily now and I end up buying junk or stuff that I can't use to make a well-balanced meal.
A still from one of Morgan's videos.
What advice would you give anyone considering leaving the UAE?
The advice I would give someone considering leaving the UAE is to really sit down and consider what your daily life will be like where you plan to move. Make a list of all of the things you love in Dubai and all of the things you love where you want to move. Also make a list of things you don't love.
If you decide to leave, understand how time-consuming and expensive it is to move. It took months for me to prepare to leave (2 to be exact) and months to get settled in here (my container didn't arrive until 6 weeks after I was here so we had a TV, a couch, and IKEA plates). For anyone planning to go back to the US, remember how the credit system works in the US. I hadn't obtained any credit in the US while living in Dubai and when I started any new service (rent, utilities, car, cell phone, internet, car insurance, etc), each pulled my credit. Because I hadn't been adding accounts while I was an expat, my credit was severely impacted just from establishing new services that we needed.
Because I left Dubai before my husband, I had to put all of these accounts in my name, so if you're part of a pair (husband and wife), go together and split the impact of establishing new services. Also remember that all of these things have high deposits. Also, don't leave your pets behind, if you're considering leaving, plan ahead that they will go with you, you can take them as extra cargo for a small fee.
Have you faced any criticism for your videos yet? Sometimes sarcasm doesn't translate.
I have faced some harsh criticism for the videos but it's only been about 1% of the feedback so I've honestly started to ignore it because if someone is name calling and using harsh language, I won't read what they have to say. Negative feedback is always welcome as long as it's not nasty.
Following how popular your videos have bcome, do you think you'll continue your repatriation series?
I fully intend to continue with the repatriation videos. I have a few other series sets as well but the expat life ones are the most popular. I think I will try to mix them up a little (I made one specifically about the questions that people ask) and provide a more well-rounded and fuller experience for people watching them.
The video ideas also came from the ideas I was writing down for the book I'm writing about it. I want to commit a good part of my time to that as well to make sure there are other outlets other than the videos. But the entire idea in general will keep going as long as people enjoy watching them and reading about them!
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Are there any aspects of life in Phoenix that you're glad to see again?
I've tried to find the positive bits of my new city, I really have...I think the one thing that stands out is that moving back made it possible to transfer to Arizona State University so I can finish my degree. I think if I find a neighborhood to live in where I feel like I'm part of a community again, I will definitely have a better experience. I am overjoyed though seeing my husband living out his career aspirations and enjoying everyday of his new job.
What was your reaction to going viral online?
I woke up one morning and the videos were being shared like crazy. At first I was shocked, I really thought a few people might chuckle and get on with it, but it really resonated with so many people. It's honestly been amazing, I now feel more comfortable with my feelings about repatriating, knowing that there are so many people who have had, or are having the same feelings and experiences.
What else can we look forward to seeing from you?
"What do you mean you cut your own grass?"
"Okay, so you don't deliver? They don't deliver... Nobody delivers! You have to drive to get your own food!"
"I can't go to brunch today... I have to fold all of my own laundry... *cries*... I just want my maid back!"
Are there any aspects of life in Dubai that you miss dearly after repatriating? Let us know in the comments below!