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Lifestyle, Travel

Reasons to try out the Expat Life

Most times, I get this questions from family, friends and even acquaintances; Do you like living abroad? How is life as an expatriate?

While living as an expat can make you feel homesick at times, I am excited of the opportunities I have had and is still having as an expatriate.There are numerous reasons why people like the expat life but these are my top five reasons;

Knowledge gained: Usually, there is a difference in the way of life between your home country and your destination country. Moving to a new country gives you an opportunity to learn a lot. You get to learn about a new culture and history, sometimes you may have to learn a new language. Learning new things can be challenging, but it’s worth it in the end. The knowledge you gain is different from what you might read in a book or on the internet.

Opportunity to travel: Expat life also affords you the opportunity to travel. Despite having to travel out of your home country, the quest to explore your destination country makes you to travel internally a lot, and with time, you find yourself traveling to other countries to explore them. You get to travel and visit places that you will never forget. I love traveling, and I’m also grateful that living as an expatriate has given me the opportunity to experience it.

Culture sharing: I feel blessed to have friends from various nationalities,and this also gives me the opportunity to experience their culture even when i am yet to visit their countries. I get to eat their food, learn their cultures as they also eat my food and learn about my culture. The vast cultures I have now experienced is something I may not have experienced if I didn’t leave  my country.

Explore: Life is an adventure. Being able to explore is one of the reasons I like the expat life. You get to see, live and familiarize with a culture that was initially unfamiliar to you. Also while exploring, you tend to personally experience a culture which most times is different from the perceptions you may have formed by relying on the media.

Self development: In the process of learning and experiencing these cultures, you realize that you have developed. You are no longer the same person you were when you first left your country because you now see life differently. Maturity also comes in along the way, and you also realize that you can cope with some circumstances life throws at you without relying on your family and friends back home. Expat life also give some people a fresh start to life.

If you are thinking of making that move to live as an expat, and need a little push, I hope this post gives you that push 😉

 

xx,

Stella.

Lifestyle

Expat Life: Making Friends Abroad

Most times when you talk about expat life, all people think about is the exotic lifestyle they believe you are living (to an extent, this may be true). As an expat, you are fortunate to visit places/ countries you may not have thought you would visit. You get to learn about cultures, food and ways of life different from what you have been used to, and get to see life outside the box that the media limits you to. Also get to make friends from various nationalities.

Despite all these listed above, what you may not be prepared for is the effect of Expat life on Friendships. Whether you have lived in a country for a long time or moving to a new country, this still gets to affect you, and I will explain myself better in two subheadings;

Lived as an Expat for a long time

If you have lived in a country for a long while, you get to adapt to the country and it starts to feel like home. Part of what makes it feel like home to you are the friends you make, and usually you find yourself making friends with your fellow expats (you also need the locals) because you believe you share something in common, and they understand better what it means to leave your family and friends back home to chase your dream.

After making such friends, the day you usually dread is when your friend breaks the news to you that they are moving to another country. You start to wonder how to go on friendship search again, who to call for coffee mornings, who to gist with and share new discoveries about the city. At this moment that feeling you had the first time you moved to that city/ country creeps back in …how do I adapt to this city?

Moving to a new country

On the other hand, for those moving to a new city, while you are excited about your new adventure, you get to ask questions about the best schools, places to live etc., and usually don’t think about making friends. But the truth is that outside your family or whoever you moved with, friends make transition to a new environment easier. But at this stage of life (also for your kids), making friends is not that easy. The older we get, the more we get interested in other things like career and family, while friends are usually not priorities. This also applies to expat life, and usually affects the accompanying partner more because the working partner get to make friends from the professional network.

Whether you find yourself in any of the groups above, these are five ways to make friends as an expat:

Live in Expat community: As stated in my previous post, this goes a long way to help expatriates adapt to a new environment. Not only are they more accessible for questions you would have, they might in the long run end up being your friends.

Get to know your colleagues: Although I usually say “do not mix business with pleasure”, but people do get to make their friends from their working environment. Since you usually spend a reasonable time of the day with them, with time you get to know them better, and the end up being friends.

Register for a class or club: While you use the classes (for example, yoga, swimming etc.) as a hobby or as an opportunity to get busy, fit or learn something new, it is also a way that expats end up making new friends.

Join groups: There are various groups for like minds, find a group that suits you. With time, and several meet-ups, people usually end up making friends. I personally met some beautiful people through the moms group in Muscat.

Attend events: People usually make reference to this as a means to make friends. Personally, I don’t see how meeting someone randomly in an event makes the person a friend. Unless you keep meeting the person in various events, then that I understand 🙂

Finally, while trying to make friends, do not be in a rush, do not force it, do not be worried when things don’t go your way. You can also have fun being by yourself 🙂

 

xx,

Stella.

Lifestyle, Travel

Tips on starting the Expat Life

Are you thinking of making an adventurous move, like living as an expat?, then this post is for you.

At a time in most people’s life, you feel like exploring other countries. Sometime, this decision may come as a result of cross posting in your company, needing better pay, trying out a new career, going through a devastating break-up and needing a fresh start, marriage, studies, trying to see life outside the box of the media etc.

Whatever your reason might be, you find out sometimes that after the excitement that you are moving wears down, the fear of uncertainty sets in (which is normal). As an expat that have lived in countries in  Africa, Europe, Middle East and presently in North America, these are my advice on steps to take to reduce the fear of uncertainty;

Research on your destination country: This definitely is going to be my first point because I failed to do this when we moved to Oman, and this made adaptation a bit longer for me. When my hubby informed me that we would be moving to Oman, I remember I hadn’t heard that name before but I felt if I could easily adapt to life in the UK then it was going to be easy, but that was not true.

I had to learn to adapt to almost everything including weather,  different days of the weekend etc., but now I’m so in love with Oman 🙂 Enough about me, all I’m trying to say is get to know your country of destination, research! research!!research!!!, email bloggers based in such countries and ask questions.

Make Plans: Decide on what you would do in your destination country. For instance, if you are going for a new job, ask questions from your prospective employer and make plans. Is your rent, health insurance etc. going to be covered in your monthly income? If you have kids, would their fees be paid by your company or would you pay for that personally? Would your monthly income really sustain you?, because the worst place to be stranded is in a foreign land.

I have met some people that get excited when they hear the amount they would be paid (maybe comparing it to their own currency), but when they get to their destination country, they realize they can’t survive on it. If you are satisfied with your findings and plans, then it is time to decide on what you would do with your properties (you may decide to ship, sell or keep them).

Get the news out: It is now time to inform those that officially need to know (of course you don’t need to inform the media house 🙂 ), like your boss, tax man, family, friends, etc. Then sort your utility bills and current tenancy agreement (if you are renting) etc. It’s now time for goodbye party!!! (I hate goodbyes 🙁 )

Obey the Laws: When you get to your destination, obey your host country. Come in with the right visa, make sure you researched on what is allowed and what is not allowed. Sometimes what may be Okay to do (e.g drinking alcohol) in your own country may be prohibited in your host country. They cannot change their laws for you, there is always an option for you to leave or not going there in the first place.

Make friends. Be prepared to miss your family and friends back home on some events you would have really wanted them to witness. Friends are the people that would help you adapt to your new country (I have a lot to talk on this which I would further discuss in my next post). You would need the expat community, they have been where you are now, so they know how best to advice you. It is also better to get a house around where expats live or join expat communities like Internations.

Explore: This is one of the reasons I love expat life because the knowledge you gain is immeasurable. Try to visit places within your host country, and get to know them better. Learn about their history and culture. Language may be a barrier sometimes, but with the right friends, you can always learn how to cope with the difference. Do not limit yourself to what you see on your screen, go out!

 

With these in place, you are ready for your new adventure, have fun exploring.

xx,

Stella.

Lifestyle

Happy to be back

It’s really been a while, and I must admit that I did miss this little space of mine.

A lot has happened during my hiatus. They were exciting and actually got me busy and carried away that I couldn’t come back to this my little space 😉

There were lots of travelling (which would pop up in my posts from time to time), we welcomed a new addition to the family, and I am now based in Canada.

 

 

So much has been going on this short while right? 🙂 Don’t worry, Oman is still like home to me, and I will be visiting.

Watch out for regular updates because I’m back!!!

xx,

Stella.

Lifestyle

Oman Tech Awards Nominee

First of all, I’ll have to clean the dusts, molds and cobwebs that must have accumulated on my blog site due to the fact that it’s been a year since I last posted on this site …Gosh!!! I can’t believe it’s been One Year!!!

I have been busy with a project that has been taking up my time, and then when coupled with work, mother & wife duties (hahaha!!!), something had to suffer neglect, and that was my blog (Sobs)… it started with days, then weeks, months and now a year. I missed this my little space, and I’m glad to be back. Everything on my dashboard looks new to me, guess I have some learning to do again …lol

It was a surprise to me when I got an email from my web designer, informing me that my blog was entered for the Oman Tech Awards, and it has been nominated as a winning website. I had no knowledge about the awards, but I was happy that it was entered, and the organizers after going through my blog, found it worthy to be nominated.

OTA Award Winner- nijaexpertwife

This blog was created to let my family and friends back home know what I have been up to in Oman, but with time, I realized I was no longer writing for just family and friends, but for people around the world …I was not able to make it to the award ceremony, but do appreciate this recent recognition.

I would also want to use this opportunity to thank all of you for the emails, I am so sorry that I couldn’t reply some emails due to time schedule … I missed you all.

 

xx,

Stella.

 

 

Food, Lifestyle

Shang Palace

If you are a lover of Chinese cuisines like me, and if you also find yourself in Dubai, then Shang Palace is a place for you.

Two weeks ago, I got that taste of Chinese cuisine that I have missed for a while. For some reasons (I don’t know if it’s my taste buds), I have not really gotten that satisfaction here in Muscat. If anyone can suggest a very good Chinese restaurant here, that would be be great!

Shang Palace is located  in the Shangri-la Dubai Hotel on Sheikh Zayed Road.

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The Dim Sum Dice game was going on for a discount on meals while we were there, but we didn’t give it a try (All I wanted at that moment was food!!! )

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Their food tasted real good as a Chinese dish should taste, their staff was friendly and attentive …and our dessert was complimentary because it was our Wedding Anniversary (winks).

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It was not just the restaurant that gave us a treat for our Anniversary …The hotel (Shangri-La Dubai) also surprised us with this delicious chocolate cake and room upgrade (I actually forgot to get a picture of the room) for our Anniversary.

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It was a nice experience, and we would definitely be coming back when next we visit Dubai.

 

xx,

Stella.

 

Lifestyle

Braids Again!!!

Hmmm! This year seems to be in a hurry …I can’t believe we are already wrapping up the first week in March.

I would like to start this post by making reference to my previous post on braiding and fixing salon, and the innumerable emails I have received with respect to it. I’m glad a reasonable number of people benefitted from that post, but sadly the lady that braids there is no longer in Muscat, she is now based in Salalah (as at the last time we communicated).

Since she left, I resorted back to traveling to Dubai to make my hair (sad, I know) … I was just recently introduced to another lady that makes hair (but this time not in a salon), she has weaved my hair once and it was really nice.

Anyway when hubby suggested a getaway weekend in Dubai, I jumped at it because I was already considering making box braids. I like making braids in salons that have more than one braiding stylist (as found in most places including Dubai) because it takes lesser time when you have 4 or 5 people pulling your hair at the same time (Ouch! I can guess your imagination right now).

When listing the reasons I love visiting Dubai, hair braiding is definitely one of them …I made box braid yesterday. Although my scalp still hurts, I’m already loving it, and can’t wait to style it the way I want.

braids post

Despite the fact that braiding takes a longer time to make when compared to other hairstyles like weave, I still look forward to braiding my hair because;

  1. It is a protective hairstyle;

  2. It is easy to maintain;

  3. It can be rocked in different styles;

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Photo credit: natural belle

 

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Photo credit: Bella Naija

 

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Photo credit: Headquarters for hair

 

xx,

Stella.

Lifestyle, Reviews/Giveaways

The Winner!!!

Thank You to all those that entered for the Free Gift draw, our winner has emerged.

Congratulations!!!  Nigel, you won the “Free Gift: The Entertainer 2015”. I just discovered today is also your birthday. Happy Birthday!!! …what a good surprise!

An email has been sent to you on how you would pick up your package. When you receive your package, it would contain two booklets, One is the Entertainer Oman and the other is Entertainer Travel.

On the cover page of Entertainer Oman, you will find your membership number, go to their website and register your book with the membership number. With these, you can download the application on your phone and start enjoying your membership offers (no need to move about with the books or vouchers).

 

See below a Snapshot of the draw result;

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xx,

Stella.

 

 

 

Lifestyle, Reviews/Giveaways

Free Gift: The Entertainer 2015

The month of February is believed to be a month to show some love to loved ones (Although I don’t believe in this, I believe love should be expressed and shown to loved ones everyday), I would like to show some love to my Naija Expat Wife readers in the little way I can. This is my own way of saying ‘Thank You’ for the encouragement I get from you all .

I will be giving out a copy of The Entertainer 2015 for FREE. This 2015 Entertainer Voucher booklet is priced at 29.5 Omani Rials (76 US Dollars), but it is worth 24, 000 Omani Rials (62,000 US Dollars), which is the estimated total you would be saving as stated on their website. It gives you an opportunity to explore Oman with over 450 Buy One get One free offers in Oman covering Dining, Leisure, Health/Fitness, Spa etc. and also over 250 Buy One get One free offers in Hotels across Middle East, Africa, Europe and Asia.

Entertainer

 

While trying to explore Oman, you can use the vouchers in this booklet in various outlets which includes; VOX Cinema, Almouj Gulf Club, Dunkin Donuts, KFC, Pizza Hut, Tim Horton’s, Chili’s, 360 Degrees, Bliss, The Spa, Rumba Lattina, T.G.I.Friday’s, Shang Thai, Just Grilled, Cafe Ceramique, Cake Gallery, Gloria Jean’s Coffee, O’Malley’s, Sports Bar, Cold Stone Creamery, City Cinema, Magic Planet, Dr. Fish etc.

It can also be used in 5 star and 4 star Hotels like; Shangri-La Barr Al Jissah Resort & Spa (Al Bandar & Al Waha), Crowne Plaza Resort Salalah, Movenpick Hotel Jumeirah Lakes Towers, Radisson Royal Hotel Dubai, Sheraton Bahrain Hotel, Sofitel Cairo El Gezirah, Kempinski Hotel Soma Bay, Jordan Valley Marriott Resort & Spa, Le Royal Hotels and Resorts Beirut, Grand Hyatt Doha, Jeddah Marriott Hotel, Intercontinental Carlton Hotel Cannes, Fairmont Jaipur, Marti Instabul Hotel … The list is inexhaustible. It can be used in some hotels in Oman, UAE, Bahrain, Egypt, Jordan, Lebanon, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, Turkey, Czech Republic, Hungary, India, Indonesia, Malaysia, Sri Lanka, Thailand, Vietnam, Maldives, Mauritius, South Africa, Morocco, Kenya.

Terms and conditions on how to use these vouchers are explained in the booklet. The booklet comes with your membership number, and how you can activate your membership. Although I’m yet to start using my vouchers for this year, I’ve used some of their vouchers for previous years, and it was accepted in the outlets they stated for those years.

In order to win this 2015 “The Entertainer”, all you have to do is to write your name and email address below (this would be used to contact the winner). Entry closes on the 19th of February 2015, and the winner would be be selected using randompicker.com, and announced here on the 20th of February 2015.

 

xx,

Stella.

Lifestyle

January Favorite

I am adding something new to my blog posts this year. Towards the end of every month, I’m going to write about my favorite product of the month. This product could be anything, but it would be something which I really enjoyed using in that month.

My favorite product this month is my smoothie maker. It is very affordable and comes with two jugs, thereby making it easy to make smoothie for both I and hubby …”winks”.

Although I am a firm believer of eating my calories (maybe that is why I have never considered any of the juicing dieting options), I do not believe in drinking my calories …this product have and is still useful to me.

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Since I have a bad habit of always taking soda drinks especially after eating, this smoothie maker helped me stay of soda and other sugary drinks. It encouraged me to take in more fruits, and also made me to be sure of the ingredients I am actually drinking.

I am also able to try out various smoothies containing fewer calories … I’ll write the recipe when I finally loose the weight and confirm they work. Hahaha!!!

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xx,

Stella.