Friday 27 February 2015

I'm an expat wife and I don't have a maid

Sorry if it appears I'm letting the side down, but that's just how I roll.

In 2011 when our expat life started in South Africa I went from full time job and studying for a degree and 3 kids at home, plus a disabled child and running a youth football club to being a stay at home mum.

4 years on we've moved to Dubai and the kids have left home. I only got my Emirates ID this week, we still don't have a car, although that should change tomorrow and I'm waiting for my bank card to arrive, we've been here since December 19th 2014 and only 4 weeks in our house having lived in a hotel.

We don't have a maid, although we do have a gardener and that's only because it's so hot here. We had a gardener in South Africa as again it was too hot and clearing up after mowing the lawn was hard work in the heat.

We don't send out the laundry, We don't get taxi's everywhere and I certainly won't be getting a maid even if I have a full time job.

Why not?

Well I guess I don't fit the traditional expat mould. I'm not a lady who lunches, I like walking and swimming as exercise and with the beach on our doorstep there's no need to go to the gym.

Today hubby and I lounged around the house all morning catching up with trashy TV and I painted my toe nails, we then walked 4km each way along the beach and back, sat and read books, had a bag of chips on the sea front, then I did the ironing while hubby grouted the kitchen floor, then we walked the dog to our local store to buy dinner.

It's 8.30pm on a Friday night, tomorrow we'll go fetch our new car and probably pop to Global Village for a look round. On Sunday hubby will be back at work from 8am till 5pm and after I've applied for my new driving licence and done a bit of shopping I'll catch the bus home (not a taxi) send off a few job application forms online and get the dinner ready.

Contrary to popular belief one doesn't make a fortune as an expat and many expats will back me up on that, well the ones I've made friends with. We are maintaining a house in the UK and paying a mortgage. The salaries may be tax free in Dubai, but the cost of renting is on par with the centre of London. There are UK boarding school fees to be paid, air fares for the youngest to visit during school holidays, accommodation and car hire to pay for in the UK when visiting, plus all the other associated costs. And don't forget our adult kids have birthdays, christmas and 'can we borrow some money for a deposit/rent/air fare to visit you'

Even if we did have a maid, sent out laundry, got taxi's everywhere, I'm not sure where everyone thinks the money would then come from to pay for my lunches, gym membership and endless bottles of gin.

Sorry if my life as an expat of volunteering full time, doing my own cleaning and ironing, breaks your illusions of expat life. But I've never fitted any mould and I don't intend to change now.


  1. This post really made me smile: It reflects your personality, how I got to see you through the blog & social media so well.

    1. thank you Monika, I've recently hooked up with an expat group with a similar take on life, it's fab, there aren't many that 'get us expats'