“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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