Living in Dubai, UAE
Getting a chance to move to another country for work has always been a dream to most Filipinos. For us, working abroad means having an opportunity to give our families a better life.
To some extent, it’s true. Salary here is a lot higher than what we get back home after all. That is if you’re lucky enough to land a job that at least pay better. Because usually, the starting salary here for let’s say sales, clerk, or servers.. it’s around 1,500 to 2,000 AED. For office staff 2,000 to 2,500 AED. Then of course, it increases every year depending on your performance.
My first few months here, I usually spending my day offs going to places I wanted see. I actually had a list before moving here and I have crossed everything out in a short period of time. I remember seeing the Burj Khalifa on my very first day off. It was just my 3rd day in Dubai. I went there alone by metro, not knowing anything about the place at all. Since the Burj Khalifa is just right beside the Dubai Mall, I went there exploring as well. I even watched the Dubai Mall fountain that night. Amazing.
Then, I went to do the 4×4 sand driving at the Desert Safari, rode a Camel, watch the sunset and had a wonderful dinner with friends while watching an Arabic entertainment in the area.
About a month after, I went to see the Grand Mosque in Abu Dhabi. Oh it was huge. Amazing architecture. One other thing about the Grand Mosque is that the carpet in the main prayer hall is considered to be the world’s largest carpet made by Iran’s Carpet Company and designed by Iranian artist Ali Khaliqi. This carpet measures 5,627 m2 (60,570 sq ft), and was made by around 1,200-1,300 carpet knotters. The weight of this carpet is 35 ton and is predominantly made from wool (originating from New Zealand and Iran). There are 2,268,000,000 knots within the carpet and it took approximately two years to complete
Then back to the Burj Khalifa. But this time, I went up to the observatory which is the 123rd floor of the building, to dine with some good friends.
Basically, my first few months here was more focused on exploring Dubai than work. I mean, I go to work everyday, but it’s not really something that I was passionate about. I was just an assistant. I didn’t even know what being an assistant really means. I have no idea how I got hired as an assistant as it’s not even what I was applying for. Took it though, it was still an opportunity to work abroad, so why not?
When I was done exploring Dubai, I realized I needed to move to another department so I can at least have fun with my job. I love photoshop. So being an assistant to the Executive Sales Manager, one of my duties was to make quotations for all of her clients. Sales people used to send it in excel file with the pictures, prices, descriptions and other details of the products. Until I made some changes and do the quotations on photoshop and make it like a catalog style. Then convert it in PDF before sending them to clients.
They started to notice what I’m doing and some sales executives are even asking me to do the same for them. Until I started making some materials that were being posted on the company’s social media accounts. This was only when the Graphics Designer is swamped with other projects he needed to finish.
Few months later, the entire Social Media Graphics was assigned to me. Of course, that came with salary increases and all.
When I went home for my first annual leave, I was able to take my son to Hong Kong and brought him to Disneyland. The second time, I went to take him to Singapore with my sister. Explored the city and then enjoyed the Universal Studios.
In other words, I’d say that working in Dubai with a little bit of determination to achieve your goals, you actually can give your family a better life. I can now give the childhood experiences that I’ve never had to my son. Being able to give him whatever it is he wants, giving him expensive gifts when he gets a higher ranking in school. Being away from him, that’s basically all I can do. Shower him with everything he needs and sometimes wants.
It’s hard being away from everything and everyone you know, but the smile on my son’s face when I take him to places like that and the things I give him, it’s priceless.
When it comes to the quality of life in a Muslim country, it’s really not that bad. Since Dubai is now an open city, it’s no longer as strict as it is in Saudi Arabia, I’d say. They are even open to other religions as well. Just last Christmas, they set up a Winter Wonder Land with a huge Christmas tree to celebrate the season with us. There are even a lot of grocery stores selling pork, so for people like me who LOVES pork, you won’t be deprived at all.
They have lots and lots of bars and clubs where you can see most ladies wearing sexy clothing. Couples can walk holding hands, side by side. What I’m trying to say is it’s not as bad as what other people are making it to be. So there’s no reason to be scared.
Now when it comes to finding love… don’t waste your time. Lol. “THE ONE”, they ain’t here. People here come and go. They’re always on a contract. And if they’re from 3rd world countries, it’s because they “already” have families back home. They’re here to support them. Mostly. And come on, Tinder? It’s super popular here that almost everyone is actually on it. People there, you know exactly what they are only looking for. If that’s your thing, go for it. If not, don’t bother. You’re just gonna get hurt.