Yes loves, I went from one extreme change to another in Q4 of 2019. It was time to move all the way on from Dubai. Don’t get me wrong, I absolutely had the best times in Dubai, from the crazy nightclubs, to the crazy work hours, and meeting people literally from every country on this little planet. I have learned so many life lessons, it was ridiculous. I met some of the most amazing people, became educated in various cultures, and built an even stronger foundation and appreciation of my own culture. It was hard being in Dubai, fucking exhausting some days. So when the end of my contract was coming up, I knew that coming back home to the USA was an option.
I also thought about moving to Sydney, Australia, Amsterdam, and Singapore. Those were actually my first choices based on positions that I have applied for. However my career path and ambition led me back home. Being a project manager has its benefits because it is literally a profession that can give value in all facets of business. My specialty in project management was built into the retail and entertainment business, producing fashion shows, managing facilities in retail commercial spaces, brand marketing and global campaigns, and managing software updates in music services. So I knew that I wanted to bring all of my experience and creativity to my latest position. And by the power of relationship building, manifestation, and meditation, I finally landed my dream job based in Los Angeles.
So I have complied a list of the hardest things you have to deal with moving to a foreign country and moving back. Let’s get started!
Hardest things you deal with leaving the USA
1. Visa paperwork: OMG this process is no joke! First off, I had it super easy because the company I worked for had made arrangements with a relocation services company to assist with my paperwork. I could not imagine doing this without legal counsel. It was still a long process obtaining original documents such as high school transcripts, college transcripts, marriage license, etc. Then once you obtain the originals, you have to get them sealed and certified by the United States government. It’s like a super notary. I must admit, it was cool seeing my documents signed by the Secretary of State. Another challenge was getting my husband’s visa sponsored. In a country like the UAE, its not “normal” for a woman to sponsor her husband. Therefore more verification, longer processing times, and most often appeals for approval.
2. Culture shock: we live in a bubble in the USA to be brutally honest. Yes there is diversity, however can you imagine living in an area that you don’t see or hear anyone speaking English? Honey, let me tell you! When I heard someone speaking English, I would immediately ask them if they were from the states. Especially seeing another black person. There was such a relief when you saw someone who is the same tribe as you. It’s like you are family. You can relate to each other super quick.
3. Storage or no storage: Not only did I have my apartment things, I also had my business items. So I went on a selling rampage. I had 6 weeks to get rid of mostly everything I owned before moving. After everything was said and done, I still had shit in storage for my entire time living abroad. Prepare for that!
4. Debts: I made sure most of my accounts were in decent shape before leaving and cancelled whatever I could prior to leaving. Thank goodness my bank was a military based bank so the cards would work anywhere in the world and it was nothing to transfer money to and fro. The power of technology!
5. Leaving my family: Words cannot describe the pain I felt leaving everyone. And when I arrived in Dubai, I have never felt so alone. I didn’t know anyone at the time and my husband was still in the USA for an extra few months closing out his businesses. I will never forget standing on my balcony looking over at the marina and just feeling alone in such a beautiful place.
Hardest things you deal with coming back to the USA
1. Where to live: My situation was unique, because I basically came back home without a job, or place to stay. I had a good amount of money coming back home to cover my expenses for about a month. Totally not ideal, but I knew I would find another job soon. If I could do it over, I would have had a lot more money, but we made it.
2. Leaving UAE: I cannot tell you how stressful it was leaving the UAE. Not only do you have to have most if not all of your debt cleared, but you have to cancel your labor card, visa, husband’s visa before you leave. I made the grave mistake of starting the process but tried to leave prior to completion and was stopped right at the airport. Frightening! I could not leave until it was cancelled completely.
3. Luggage fees: I sold or donated everything purchased in my apartment prior to leaving. I threw out most of my clothes that I didn’t need because although recycling is a great thing, it was not the easiest thing to do. I even made a rant video about h&m Dubai not accepting clothes like they do in the states. So frustrating when you are carrying a 50 pound bag of clothes in 125 degree heat trying to be good to Mother Earth. So I ended up with 10 pieces of luggage which costs hundreds of dollars. And it was sooo hard traveling with them! I had to pick them all up from the connecting flight in Boston to Philadelphia. I was sweating my ass off grabbing all those pieces and placing them on two separate carts and then trying to put them through to the next check in. Horrible! Didn’t help that I was up a full 24 hrs (clubbing in Dubai for my last night then catching a 16hr flight to Boston).
Overall, I appreciate and respect the process. I am ready and prepared for any hurdle/obstacle moving period that comes my way. My husband asked in our new home in LA if I would ever consider moving out of the country again. I simply said, I know I could handle it if I had the opportunity to again. I know what to expect, curve balls, rollercoasters, and some periods of smooth sailing. But I am at a different place and space in my life and there’s so much we can do. It would help to be in one place for a while.
And that’s just a taste of my experience. There are plenty stories to tell from Dubai that I will have coming up in the next few posts. But if you have any other questions about moving abroad, leave a comment! I would love to help you and even motivate you to expand your horizons and network overseas.
Until the next time…