Rosie the Riveting Coffee Drinker


“Can you work over there?” is a question many people ask me.

Well, I could work over here. It is not like there’s a law that states women can’t work. But instead, I spend my time drinking coffee and blowing spit bubbles. And more often than not, I talk about crap that doesn’t really matter so much. It kind of feels like one of those lake amoeba is slowly eating my brain.

This is the deal, the UAE cherry picks our intelligent and talented husbands. And with intelligent and talented husbands typically comes an intelligent and talented wife. Most intelligent and talented people don’t marry losers so it’s kind of a bookend deal but unfortunately, one of the bookends is kind of left hanging because the labor laws aren’t really designed for we expat wives, or better known as trailing spouses, who want to keep our professional resume alive, our brains functioning at high capacity, while providing a part-time relief from mommyhood and the ability to fully immerse ourselves into our new culture. Unfortunately, part-time work even for the most skilled is difficult to navigate and legal innovative outlets are few and far between.

Common overheard joke: When I die I want to come back as an expat wife…..can you hear the punchline drums?

Do I have an awesome life? Yes, I do. I love living in the UAE. You can see it from the pictures I post and the stories I share, but to be honest with you — life is far more than just awesome experiences. I would like to keep my brain function as sharp as possible while possibly giving back to my host country. I have a Masters degree from a Boston University in critical thinking and creative innovation. But somedays, I can feel my brain deteriorating. Although I try hard to use my skills at home; reading, puttering around on the internet, creating groups that help our community, but I feel myself slipping. Whatever I am doing is simply not enough to maintain my skills. And what upsets me most is, I know behind every smart kid is a sharp mother guiding them and providing them with the tools they need to develop a life time of good decisions.

Yes, I realize it is always difficult to live outside of your home country. It is definitely a trade-off. And although we have an enormous amount of perks living here in the UAE, sometimes we are cornered into positions that we know are not good for us. It wasn’t until I became a “foreigner” that I could have a real appreciation for the visa process and for those living and working outside of their home countries. It is not always easy to find our place as expat wives. A place that challenges us, drives us, yet still provides the necessary time at home to keep our expat family operating smoothly in a foreign land.

Until then, I will keep doing what I do. Drinking coffee, creating things to amuse myself and trying hard to curb the deterioration of my brain.

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9 thoughts on “Rosie the Riveting Coffee Drinker

  1. Great summary Gina. I know so many women in the same position you are in. There is definitely a lot of untapped talent here. I try to “keep busy” every day, but yoga classes and coffee mornings just aren’t that exciting to me.

    Do you follow “The Space Abu Dhabi” on Facebook? This morning I attended a talk about market instability in the UAE, a free networking event hosted by a local company. I felt a little out of place not being attached to a particular company and not furiously trying to work everyone in the room to gain business contacts, but at least it gave me something to think about for an hour or so. I’m keeping my eyes open for more opportunities like this to get out and learn something or do something productive.


    1. Lisa, thanks for the comment. Do you follow my FB page? If not, please do because I’m starting an events company specializing in fun events for intelligent women.


      1. Looking for your Facebook page 🙂 very interested in intelligent women groups❤️ can you direct me please? Thx!


  2. Very well said Gina and soooo true.I was about to write something myself on why it seems so impossible for mums who are bright, professional and so able to find decent part time work.Why is the concept of flexi time, job share, working from home etc so difficult. There should be a recruitment agency specifically to meet this demand so it doesnt feel like the talent is wasted and we are just passing time here


  3. Nicely written. You gave words to the feelings of many women here. I do follow your fb page and appreciate what you are doing. I am trying to keep myself busy with my 21 months old and telling myself that I’ll do something once she starts school. Let’s see how it turns out.


  4. I joined one of your groups looking for help in the house (that I will need starting in December as I’m currently expecting). Today while scrolling through facebook I saw an add asking for help for 1 or 2 months some where near by. I was so excited to think that I could offer to help this family during my free time. I dont even want money for it, I’m just bored with the coffee mornings followed by time wasting conversations. Drop kids to school, meet with the other lovely stay at home moms, then too a coffee shop for breakfast and either waste the day shopping for things you do not need or come home to the quietest house in the world and stare at the internet with the hope that something will happen. I dont have anything more to talk about at coffee mornings and I’m actually desperately missing my kids when they go to school.. the few days that one was sick was a complete joy for me. Sad I know, I’m relatively unskilled, though I do have a master’s degree … but yes even with being unskilled my abilities are being wasted. But well, soon another child comes and then maybe things will be less quiet.

    So yea some expat wives need something useful to do. A job would be perfect.. I dont even want pay for it, I wish you could do part time free jobs somewhere just to feel/be useful and a part of society again.


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