Modestlywrapped shares her experiences along with tips & advice on moving abroad. It’s the best decision she’s ever made, and we need to know why.
Be honest. Have you ever daydreamed and ambitiously vowed to move abroad one day?
Does the dream still painfully linger on your mind and pull on your heartstrings?
But what happened?
Has it been overshadowed with fears? The fear of a wrong choice. The fear of not being the right time? Because yes, moving abroad sure is a big deal— and can most definitely be a tough adjustment. But through it all, it builds resilience. Courage. And best of all, experience.
‘How’ doesn’t seem to be the major factor anymore, more so ‘why’. A valid reason to muster up the courage to make your decision. A popular answer people answer with is they ‘want more’, but more of what?
What is UK, one of the most attractive and diverse countries. Which people from all over the world wish to migrate to, exactly lacking?
It’s not the materialistic luxuries. Peace, positivity, more value, everything UK and its politics will never let you have.
Halal Guide speaks to Modestlywrapped, a business teacher who moved to Dubai, the largest city in the United Arab Emirates, in hopes of building a better quality of life. It’s a bold move she has always wanted to accomplish and finally has with her family. Imagine stepping out the classroom doors, having the great Burj Khalifa as part of the wondrous view, the golden sun shining, feeling warm, content and appeased. This is the beautiful reality for Modestlywrapped, a British fashion blogger living in Dubai!
In this Q&A, Modestlywrapped shares golden tips with Halal Guide about her journey to making the life changing decision. The British modest fashion blogger provides an insight to how moving overseas has helped her appreciate and enjoy her professional field by establishing a good rapport with people and students from different nationalities and backgrounds.
Read on to find out how she’s making her dreams come true in a foreign country and why she absolutely loves living under the Dubai sunshine.
- An exotic escape from Brexit and its consequences.
After a year of vigorously pitching, researching and planning ideas, locations and networking with other expats in Dubai, the last and final straw for the couple to decide to finally pack their bags and leave was the Brexit result. It was the perfect opportunity to run. Away from the chaos majority Britain had voted to be thrown in to. She narrated, “when the result came out that morning, that the UK had voted to leave the EU, my husband just turned to me and said let’s go. We’re done.” The teacher explained how she felt ‘disconnected’ from the country she was born and raised in and outraged by the media’s support for the right-wing agendas. “I felt very disconnected from the country that I was born in, that I was raised in, my nationality, and I felt like it was very conflicting with who I am as a person now. Although it wasn’t everybody, the vote was like a 51 to 49 percent vote. But the fact that is the majority did vote that, and the media were very much for leaving Brexit - the negativity. I just felt like we weren’t wanted anymore. That is what pushed us to making this life changing decision.
- Be prepared. It’s not an easy process to get through.
As expected, it was a hectic and long process. To establish and settle into a fixed routine took some stressful time despite how sophisticated and advanced Dubai is portrayed, Modestlywrapped states, “There are still elements of it which are still disorganised. It’s neither easy, nor logical. I’m sure anybody who moves here would agree.”
It has been six weeks since the family had moved to Dubai and they have finally started to establish a routine, moreover, they only received their visas last week. The lack of a systematic procedure was indeed a struggle. She shares, “As teachers, our whole lives are a timetable, so we appreciate and like our routine a lot. So as soon as you get in to routine, you start to get happier.”
- In Dubai, your job is valued.
She’s a wife. A mother of two toddlers. And for 12 years now, a teacher to many.
It’s a career path she never intended for the long-term however, had chosen to settle with due to its stability and convenience working around her children’s timetable and school holidays. She also pursued the career in Dubai in hope it might be different and to her relief, it was, “It is different. It is a lot easier than the UK is; the kids are a lot better behaved, it is different so I’m glad I made that decision.”
Another vital point Modestlywrapped addressed is the salary. She believes in Dubai, they are paid their worth. She elaborated, “we earn a salary that is representative of the effort we put in to our job role so, we were respected in our job role. Our kids are at our schools as well, we see them the minute we finish at 3:15, and then actually go out and do stuff which would just never happen in the UK because we’d never have the time! I used to do an hour and a half commute home - just to pick the kids up and get home! I do not miss that!”
Here in Dubai, her responsibilities as a mother and teacher are not nearly as exhausting as it had been in the UK.
- A healthy family life is possible, and very much appreciated.
Let’s just let her say it all.
“One of the biggest impacts that moving out here has had is we spend a lot of time together as a family, so much so, that we irritate each other now which didn’t really happen before! And I feel like we see each other a lot more now than we did then. So as a family, we spend a lot of time together.
Weekends are just filled with stuff to do, there’s just so much stuff to do here, it’s just ridiculous! Today is actually the first time where I’ve genuinely sat here and thought ‘I absolutely love living here’ as it’s taken a long time to get to that point because you’re just so ingrained in the move and trying to get things organised and making sure everyone’s settled.
You take the kids around places and let them run around free, people will engage with them instead of throwing filthy looks about saying to ‘control your kids,’ they’ll actually encourage them to carry on running around. In restaurants they’re brilliant with kids, there’s always activities for them to do, the waiters and waitresses engage with them. It’s just that family lifestyle that is really valued over here.”
- Not a single regret.
Modestlywrapped has no regrets. England has become her past. Home-sickness is an unfamiliar feeling for her but, with the great Burj Khalifa as her daily view, is it really surprising?
“There has not been one moment I have regretted leaving England. I can honestly say, not one moment I have thought I want to go home. Not at all. The reasons we decided to move was so that we can have a better family life, we can spend more time together, so that we earned a salary that was representative of the effort we put in to our job role, so we were respected in our job role. Every single reason we aimed to move here has been fulfilled, or is in the process of being fulfilled. There’s not one thing we underestimated, or that we didn’t see coming, just nothing like that. Everything that we thought we would get, we are getting. It’s lived up to those expectations. Obviously there have been struggles, but they’re small struggles not really worth moaning about.”
- Not ranked as the most practicing Muslim environment, but most definitely, the perfect balance.
Dubai is of course, a Muslim country and the most visited Islamic country in the world, but maybe because it’s not as conservative as you think. It’s the perfect country with the right amount of balance and mix when leaving a country such as the UK.
Many Muslims fantasise about the Adhaan echoing melodiously across the streets and reaching the windows of their homes. Having the words of the Quran played in the distant to keep us God conscious throughout the day with the strong smell of Bakhoor everywhere you go. But Modestlywrapped reveals, the country doesn’t quite live up to those expectations however, could work to your advantage as she logically reflects.
“In terms of how it helped with my religious values, if I’m honest, I wanted it to have more of an influence, and I think it will eventually. It’s not the most Muslim country I have ever seen or that I imagined it to be. There are 95% expats and 5% Emiratis, so I spend my day with Brits - a lot with the British kids, there are a lot of Muslim kids as well but all staff are pretty much British. If you want that extremely Muslim lifestyle, I suppose this isn’t it.
But, it gives you a really good blend. For me, it works well, because I’m British, I’m a revert, and I want a bit of both. I want a bit of the traditional Muslim culture, but I don’t want it too far removed from my own culture – it’s a good blend. So, it works nicely.”
The teacher delves deeper into her identity, “I do want to it have an impact on my religion and faith - positively. Dubai might not be the perfect place, but it can only be better and easier to be Muslim here than in the UK where it can be very difficult. You can eat everything and pray everywhere. I’m normal here, I fit in here, I tick all the boxes of an expat, I’m Muslim, I’m British, that’s basically everybody who’s here, so it nice to feel that you are the norm. Because in the UK it felt like I was no longer the norm.”
- The media has it all wrong.
We see it every day, everywhere. Muslims from the Middle East being displayed on the news in the most ferocious ways possible. It hasn’t changed in a decade and most likely never will in Western Media. And it’s incredible how this has played a significant role in stopping many from travelling to the Middle East, but Modestlywrapped knew better. The blogger turned a blind eye to the stereotypes being reinforced regularly in the Western Media of Muslims based in the Middle East and instead, reached out to people herself to network and interact. And she advises you do the same; ignore the media and “ignore absolutely everything that you’ve ever read.”
“I did not listen to anything in the media whatsoever about the Middle East or Muslims or anything – none of that. Because I know better. I knew that the way Dubai was being portrayed particularly at the moment in the UK media, was not how it was. I knew people out here, I knew people who had been out here, so I just knew that was not the case. So, none of that had an impact on me. It didn’t concern me. People live out here and they’re not Muslim, and they survive, they’ve been here for years. So, I’m sure a Muslim can survive.”
“There are obviously things you need to take in to consideration like traditional aspects, but well, it’s nothing like how the Daily Mail say it is. There are places I’ve been to and it is segregated between men and women, especially government buildings. People are expected to cover up there in terms of their shoulders and their knees, but that’s what I do anyway so it has no impact on me. I haven’t got a problem in being segregated in those areas. It’s the laws of the country – if that’s your culture and your laws, I will go with it, I’m not going to think I know better, I’m not that arrogant. There’s none of the stereotypes, it’s just fake news.”
- Feeding your wanderlust becomes much easier
The UAE’s location is arguably one of the best in the world for travel – situated between Europe, Central Asia, Africa, and in the hub of the Middle East. Once you’ve reached the UAE, there are so many places that are only one cheap flight away. And Modestlywrapped has her list of trips ready!
“We have the intention of going to Egypt for Christmas. I definitely want to go to Oman, because its literally over the border, it’s not very far. And Abu Dhabi is only 40 mins away! We have the intentions of going to loads of different places. It’s so easy to get around the world from here. And one of the reasons we decided to move here is, so we can travel, so that is the intention. Bali, Malaysia, Singapore, turkey and Jordan, I really want to go to Jordan!”
How very, very lucky.
- Entertainment will raise standards never reached before and sometimes, ignorance can be a real bliss.
There’s a lot to contribute to positivity. One being entertainment. And the western standards and definition of entertainment can differ greatly from other parts of the world, in particularly Muslim dominated countries.
The entertainment in Western society can be all too overwhelmingly toxic and brain damaging. Not an environment you’d want your kids neither yourself to be growing up and immersing yourselves in.
And Islamic friendly entertainment is very limited in the UK, it’ll be a once or twice a year event jam packed to the point it can be no longer enjoyable. And also, ridiculously expensive. We can all relate.
It’s a problem solved for Modestlywrapped since moving to Dubai. She explains laughing, “Over here people are really happy, they got to the beach all the time, they go out for dinner, they meet up with friends, there’s plenty to do! Like if you wanted to drink a cup of tea whilst you were surfing, there would be somewhere to do it! They’ve just catered for everything. Like, nothing surprises me anymore!
It’s such a happy positive place, I know the media will always be very positive with very little negative – I wrote a blogpost on the whole concept of ‘living in a bubble’. But sometimes you just need that. I just got to the point where I’ve heard so much negativity in my life from the media, so I needed this break from it. And I needed that positive spin in life. People have lots of hobbies over here, there’s just lots to do and so it has a massive impact on your lifestyle, it’s a very family orientated country and that keeps people happy.”
- You can save, spend and live it up. All of it!
A constant complaint we hear from everyone in the UK is how fast money goes. Rent is high, tax is high, everything’s expensive and everyone’s in debt or struggling. Also, Theresa May is the Prime Minister.
It’s been made impossible to save and invest. One of Modestlywrapped’s personal goals is to save up, especially since all their savings have been spent during early weeks of settling in. Dubai. Therefore, she advised, “The one thing I would say to anyone thinking about moving out here is, come with money. I’ve seen some people come out here with nothing, with the intention of saving. But you need money to see you through the beginning because that bit is tough.” Pondering back to her situation, she shared further, “we came here out here with savings, and we don’t have any left. But that’s because there’s so much to do at the beginning, so much settling in to do, and so much you need to buy for your house, you need to buy visas for your kids which is very expensive. Everything is just very expensive at first.
Dubai has provided us with so many advantages, its paid us a salary that we are worth so that we can spend the money on our kids, we can do stuff! It’s given our children private education, which we wouldn’t have able to afford in the UK. It’s also given us a work life balance which I never thought we would get. It’s made us get up and do things more, its given us the availability to travel more, and just to buy things we want, things have not been able to afford it in the UK. The number of things it’s provided for us is quite crazy. But also, there are things like the cultural side that are benefiting us. My kids are learning Arabic in school, they’re learning about different cultures, every single kid they’re with is from somewhere different. It’s just so enriching for them. I can’t speak more highly of that.”
- “Don’t convince yourself out of it”
Here is a list of advice Modestlywrapped dedicates to us all:
“Do your research. Think about if this is the place for you. But just do it, make the move! Honestly, don’t think too much about it cos you could convince yourself out of it. It’s a good job I moved with my family because there were a lot of times in the UK just before we left where I could’ve talked myself out of it, because, it was a risk and it was easy to stay put in the situation we were in, but it was so, so worth it. I’d say try and connect with people who are out here. That’s something I did. I tried to find people who worked out here, Moms and other bloggers.”
- You’ll have a story to share
We all want to feel important, it’s human nature. It’s how every amazing movie starts, an old grandma/grandpa narrating their epic childhood and memories, a spectacle only they had witnessed and taken part of, the epic things they have lived through!
It’s only the wisdom and skills gained from seizing the opportunity of going abroad that will leave you with countless of stories and breath-taking moments to remember and share.
‘Leaving a legacy,’ – a concept we all love to fantasise and our risk-taker, Modestlywrapped, has hers all ready and remains busy creating it but not just for her, for her children too:
“I just want to, in ten, twenty, thirty years time to say ‘oh, we lived here and did all this and that and this’, just have loads of stories to tell. I think that’s really important, I want to be an old person who has so many stories to tell about things that they did and experiences that they had, and I want to be able to give those experiences to our kids so that they have those stories, and they have stories that no other kids have or very few do. That they can go university and have amazing stories to tell people about experiences that they have lived through abroad.”
So, guys, what stories will you all live to tell?
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