39 Signs You've Been Living In Abu Dhabi for Too Long

I've lived in Abu Dhabi now for 2 years. That's just enough time to realize all the things you love to hate and hate to love about a place. I feel blessed to call this place my home for the time being. And when I go back to the U.S. now to visit family, I'm shocked to realized how much I've changed. Here are "a few" things I've learned about living here that I wanted to share with you all. But, keep in mind, this is mostly my perspective as an American, a wife, and a female. Enjoy :)

39 (originally 25) Signs You've Been Living in Abu Dhabi for Too Long


  • You’re friends are jealous because you post beach pictures all year long.
  • You’ve looked up at least once because you thought someone was spitting on you, and then realized it was just the sky trying to rain.
  • You can’t get anything done between 1-4:30 because businesses close down for afternoon break.
  • You know that finding a parking space in most places is a gift from God and you wiggle in your seat when you find one. Or…you just do what the locals do and create your own.
  • You or someone you know drives a Land Cruiser or Nissan Patrol.
  • You no longer double take when you see a Corvette, Masserati, or Bently. But you will stop for Ferraris, Maclarens, Lambourginis, or a beautiful vintage piece.
  • You’ve gotten used to the creepy guys that stare at you like you’re from out of space.
  • You have an umbrella that serves no other purpose other than sun protection.
  • You’ve cancelled plans just because it was too hot outside and didn’t feel like being slapped in the face by the humidity.
  • You’ve ordered ridiculous things like toilet paper, a case of water, ice cream and more to be delivered to your doorstep and you’re not ashamed, even if the store is in your building.
  • You brunch, lunch, and coffee morning with the best of them, and always looking for the next restaurant to spend a leisure afternoon.
  • You know there’s no such thing as customer service here, and that no matter how many times someone says “Yes, Madammmmm,” in a sing-song tone, you still struggle to place an order, remedy a mishap, or file a complaint.
  • You’ve switched 5-6 lanes in moving traffic and didn’t feel like a complete douche.
  • You swear your family back home has never tasted a proper shawarma, falafel, baklava, or hummus.
  • You’ve gained at least 15-20 lbs (see the above) and have no idea how to drop it.
  • You’re constantly planning your next getaway, vacation, or exotic trip.
  • You know that hiring help is perfectly necessary, and wouldn’t dare live without your nanny, housekeeper, or live-in maid.
  • You say things like “Khalas” and “Inshallah” because no other phrase seems to express what you're feeling.
  • You know that most things are negotiable. Nothing happens on time. And "official" rules and regulations change regularly.
  • You give friends directions to your house by citing the nearest mall, landmark, or GPS coordinates because there are no real addresses here.
  • You’ve had so much things shipped to your home that you’re starting to feel like a cartel.
  • You go to Dubai for shopping, good food, and fun on a regular basis.


  • You’ve drank 14karat gold at Emirates Palace.
  • You know how to order in broken English when necessary (i.e. “same same”, “special full”, “big big one”, etc.)
  • You have friends from places you’ve never heard of until several years ago.
  • You look forward to cloudy days.
  • You own at least one expensive pair of shades and don’t sweat it because you wear them all year long.


  • You know that if you search hard enough, anything can be delivered to your door. Even Pinkberry.
  • You’ve ridden a camel, smoked shisha, got a henna tattoo, and attempted to belly dance at least once.
  • You expect everything to be open until midnight. And know that during Ramadan the city never sleeps.
  • You’ve had ongoing construction in every single neighborhood you’ve ever lived in. 
  • You’ve seen a sandstorm and said several prayers because you were sure this would be your last day on earth.
  • You live in a high rise apartment over-looking the city and you're not rich.


  • You’ve pulled up to a store or establishment in your car, placed the order, and then waited for the guy to bring it to your car door, like a boss!
  • You know to buy perfumes to take back home to your family and keep some for yourself.
  • You’ve made some of the best friends in your life and can’t imagine ever leaving!

What else would you add to this list?