It’s been four months since we left Manila and relocated here in Dubai. I honestly have zero expectations about what Dubai is like. I’m the type who would rather experience than expect as to not get disappointed. When my husband broke the news to me that his new role would require us to move to Dubai instead of Singapore, I was equally eager to get to know this cosmopolitan city that we now call home (at least for two years). I didn’t research nor did due diligence (something I always do when we travel) on what the country offers. All I know is that it’s a beautiful place embodying luxury living with beautiful modern architecture and first-world problems.
First month feels
Our first month in Dubai was somewhere between a vacation and a we-didn’t-really-leave kind of feeling. I say this because we lived in a hotel for a month as we look for the perfect home for us. We didn’t leave our hotel room for the first two weeks (self-quarantine post flight) and this was pretty easy for us since we came from Manila (which was still on community quarantine from the time we left) and we were busy with the kids’ online distance learning and my husband had to catch up with his work. We were living the suite life quite literally but I was also doing a bit of chores such as laundry and cooking (we order groceries online) and cleaning up (our housekeeper only comes twice a week to clean). There’s no much of an experience except that we’ve developed a routine of waking up to eat breakfast, school/work, working out and some quality time at night. Repeat for four weeks and that’s pretty much it.
Since we wake up at 6 in the morning to have breakfast, we were literally the only people in the hotel’s restaurant. This is my usual plate– usually plant based with a side of fruits.
I’ve been doing daily devotions since this book was given to me by @caradeocampo. A lot of you are interested to get a copy of this book so I asked Cara where to purchase and she said its available at Saddleback Church in Sta. Rosa Laguna. Reading this daily has kept me grounded and relatively calm throughout this transition in our lives. It also helps that we’re confined in our hotel room for the first half of our first month here so we’re not rushed into joining the outside world.
If you follow me on Instagram then you’ve probably seen my stories of me and my kids working out. This started because they are too lazy (and have found so many reasons) not to do PE. But since their teacher requires they record themselves doing PE with Joe. So to encourage them, I always join them in their PE class.
My husband brought the Xbox in his luggage since he knows we’ll be staying in most of the time for our first month in Dubai.
I don’t know if avocados are all year round here but it’s been 4 months and I still get the best avocados I’ve tried in my life! If you talk to my younger self and told her she’ll love avocados so much that at this point of her life she’ll eat it daily I’m pretty sure young Jackie won’t believe you! Hahaha. And yet here I am having at least half a portion of avocado on almost all my daily meals. This is what lunch is mostly like during our hotel stay. Easy, no fuss, no brainer dishes I can whip up easily. Yum.
Meanwhile, I tried to keep updates on my social media so I still created content. Most of the time I use my Huawei P40 PRO to shoot because it has amazing camera (Leica lens baby!) which gives quality photos and videos. But there are times that I use my Fujifilm XT20 so here’s my usual setup. XT20 mounted with 56mm f1.2 lens and my Benro tripod safely supporting it. I bought all my gadgets (Fujifilm XT20, 35mm and 52mm lenses, Benro tripod, Osmo Pocket) and other accessories at Henry’s Camera. I’ve been a customer since 2015 when I purchased my Fuji XA2 camera. Always impressed with their customer service (super reliable) and guaranteed authentic products. Hopefully I won’t need any gadget while we’re here otherwise I’d have to look for a reliable store like Henry’s!
We also discovered Talabat during our first two weeks. We were excited to try Chowking one dinner time and was please with how the fried chicken tasted. Ironically, we can’t even remember the last time we had Chowking when we were in Manila. ?
Hello outside world
So after two weeks staying in our hotel, we walked around The Beach at JBR. It’s so refreshing to be able to be outside we honestly didn’t mind if we’re wearing a mask.
During our stay at Jumeriah Beach Residences we walked around The Beach for a few times. There’s a lot of restaurants in the area and a few retail stores as well. Police patrolling the area would approach those who put their mask down while talking and ask people to keep a distance when walking. It’s such a delight to see how (at least majority if not) everyone would follow these pandemic protocols making it easier for my anxious mind to stay calm. I gotta admit it’s not easy to go out and live life like how it was pre-pandemic but Dubai being a disciplined city has eventually made me feel comfortable being around people again.
Our first take on Mc Donalds. Here’s a bit of trivia not that you’re asking but every time we’re in a different country, my husband and I would search a popular fast food chain (usually Mc Donalds) and would try an item that’s not locally available in Manila. So for Dubai we tired this chicken wrap and it was good.
Palm trees lined along old charming infrastructures warrants some time to pause and take it all in. I can’t believe this is home for the next two years.
Snippets from the time we dined out along The Beach. On the left is Juro during our first dine out after 7 months of being in quarantine. We were literally dining out (outside seating of the restaurant) even through the restaurant was well ventilated. Then on the right a week after when we had dinner at another restaurant. There were other customers but social distancing and no contact ordering was implemented. Overall we felt safe during both experience as staff were very mindful of how they served us. It gave us a sense of safety though we’re still vigilant every time we go out.
Our first mall experience was at the Mall of the Emirates. It’s such a beautiful mall but I gotta say our first visit got me so anxious because I’ve never been to a mall with quite a number of people walking around. So not used to it anymore hahaha. But then again security guards were extra vigilant and would call out those who forget to put back their mask. Plus almost every corner offers hand sanitation areas so that’s comforting to know.
Mall of the Emirates has huge bathrooms. I kinda almost got lost but quickly found my way to the full length mirror to take this shot. I love that it has ample space so there’s no excuse not to distance yourself form other people. I was actually hesitant to enter the mall that day because I thought my shorts were too short since I’ve read some articles about UAE and dress code but was surprised to see this city being open to people dressing up differently. I even saw a girl wearing shorts where her butt cheeks were literally out ?. I guess there are areas in Dubai that require modestly covering up your body such as temples and other tourist/public places and I respect that. Which is why I’ve been asking my husband where we’ll go so I can properly dress up for the place. So far we haven’t been anywhere else aside from a few tourist spots which I’ll share more in the upcoming blog posts.
Okay so for the first few times we were out in public I had anxiety because I’m not used to it and I’m afraid to get the virus. So I would always monitor myself and use this oximeter I got back in Manila (hello Lazada, I miss you huhuhu). Thankfully my oxygen level is almost always at 100. Whew!
Our first month isn’t as exciting as most of you would’ve anticipated. We spent the first half literally staying our hotel room and the other half running errands and preparing to move to our home. But I’m grateful that we were able to spend some time at the beach during our stay at Jumeriah Beach Residences. I guess it was the highlight of our first month here in Dubai.
Sharing more about our first three months in our home here in Dubai on another post. Do you have any recommendations as to what to see and what to do while we’re here? Let me know!
You can also follow me on Instagram at www.instagram.com/gojackiego as I do daily updates there. See you online!