About

Who is this person?

My name is Sophie and I recently moved from Sydney to Dubai. I was born in East Melbourne, Australia and went to 5 different schools (2 in Colac, 2 in Geelong and 1 in Melbourne), and met my husband in Sydney. We lived in Melbourne for several years, then in 2001 we moved to Amsterdam.

In 2007 we moved back to Australia and lived in Sydney.

We got itchy feet again and moved to Dubai for our 2nd expat experience in 2008.

This blog is a story of that journey.

Me!

Me!

Interests

My interests include international politics (Political Science grad), fashion, reading, movies, modern design, animals and nature, and finally travel (no kidding).

Political Heroes

Mahatma Ghandi. Maybe if I knew more about the Dalai Lama I would include him here too. At the moment I am focussing on learning about the Middle East and discovering living in a country outside the western democratic model.

Books

Its hard to say what my favourite books are but recently I have loved ‘How to Lose Friends and Alienate People‘ by Tony Young.

I’m also a huge fan of ‘Kitchen Confidential‘ by Anthony Bourdain, whom I once had the pleasure of meeting in Melbourne. Anthony was speaking at a venue that had a really good jazz band, so I booked them for my engagement party a few weeks later.

Right now I am reading: Eternal Iran: Continuity and Chaos, byPatrick Clawson and Michael Rubin.

Movies

My favourite films are Unbreakable, Black Hawk Down, Apocalypse Now, Blade Runner, The Godfather movies, Crouching Tiger Hidden Dragon, Boogie Nights and Fight Club.

My favourite Directors are Ridley Scott and Francis Ford Coppola.

Design

I’m a big fan of Arne Jacobsen who designed one of my favourite hotels – the SAS Hotel in Copenhagen, as well as the classic Egg, Swan, Series 7 and Ant chairs.

Swan Chair by Arne Jacobsen (image from www.bonluxat.com)

Swan Chair by Arne Jacobsen

My favourite countries for design are the Netherlands, Denmark, Italy and Spain. I get all excited by Gaudi when I’m in Barcelona too.

Animals and Nature

Fascinating in all its forms. I am particularly fond of cats – big and small. Originally a dog person, I now have 2 Burmese cats (aka ‘the dog cat’) that have travelled the world with us.

Travel

My favourite hotel is the Negresco, Nice.

My favourite club is the Royal Sydney Yacht Squadron, because of the view and because I met and married my husband there (albeit on different days).

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16 responses to “About

  1. Very Interesting blog , very detailed write ups about Dubai.
    Is there an email address we can write to contact the author ?

  2. Hello, thanks for your comment. If you leave an email address here I would be happy to get in touch with you.

    If you prefer I can remove the address after I collect it, and then it will not be published on the blog.

    Kind regards,
    Sophie

  3. Hello Sophie,

    If it’s not too much trouble I’d like to get in touch with you as i’m about to move to dubai and i could really really use someone giving me a little bit of advice( i’m also trying to find housing in the greens)

    thank you very much!
    alina

  4. Hi Alina,

    Sure! I’d be happy to get in touch with you and help you out with any questions you might have. You can connect to me on facebook. My name is Sophie Grant and there is a picture of me – I have blonde short hair and dark-rimmed glasses.

    Alternatively you can send me your email address by replying to this message and I will send you an private email. You email address will no be published on the blog. I can pick it up through the admin page and then delete it before publishing.

  5. Hello Sophie!

    I study translation in Austria and my work for this semester includes to find good blogs of expatriates and so I came across yours. I find Dubai very interesting and I really like your writing style! Just one question: do you update your blog regularly? This would be very good for me!

    Best regards Nina

    • Hi Nina,

      Thanks for your kind comments! I try to update my blog regularly but it doesn’t always happen daily. You will be interested to know that the vet I refer to in my blogs is Austrian. He has taken amazing care of my cat Mozzle here in Dubai.

      What does your translation project involve?

  6. So pleased to read that others appreciate your writing skills as much as I do!

    We are getting used to Alice and its people – bit of a culture shock but we can handle it.

    I’m enjoying my job now that I can achieve a few things and am getting to know the staff – both cultures.

    I had to inject a couple of 9ish y o children with the old cilicaine penicillin in the bum yesterday – I was more nervous than they were – in the end they were excellent and I praised them up to the hilt.

    Our new cleaner from the community didn’t turn up at all today. Very often its a different work ethic cos things just come up! Ho hum!

    We are now enabled to receive emails and pathology results on line!!!!! Getting very sophisticated. It’s been available for ages but its the continuity of anything that seems to be a problem.

    The eucalypts here are stunning Ghost Gums and their foliage is much softer in appearance than the usual southern australian ones.

    AND the dogs all look the same – must be a limited gene pool. Their ears are so tall – not long – tall! Camp dogs – some are friendly. All have right of way like the cows in India. This is dog dreaming country.

    You must be in cat dreaming country – Mozzle thinks so anyway. Is Miss Kell excited to have Mozzle well again – has she bashed him up yet?

    Glad to hear you are managing ok. We all are too, so far although of course the super is greatly depleted for the moment – hence the work, but its fun.

    Lots of Love Liz

  7. hi sophie,
    for my translation project I have to look at different expat and translation blogs all over the world and write a kind of online magazine until the end of this semester. I write about everything what´s in those blogs and concentrate on the things that interest me.Your blog is REALLY interesting and I love to read it 🙂
    Nina from Austria

  8. Hi Sophie, Wow, you have an exciting life traveling the world. I have been looking for a blog site from a female who lives in Dubai. I have so many questions about the place that I was hoping you could help me with some answers. My husband is looking for a job in Dubai and we are thinking of moving the whole family there for 2 years. I have heard it is very hot there, we are christians and I would prefer my children to go to a chirstian school, and one of my children suffers from asthma. Are there any christian schools there and how is the health system. I had breast cancer 3 years ago and want to keep up my breast screening. Is there a good womens health system available. I want to move there because I am looking for change but I have concerns for my children. Can you give my any info, I would really appreciate an Australian’s point of view.
    Cheers Terri Mc

    • Hi,

      Would be very happy to help you out with some answers on these. I split up your points and made some comments. Let me know your thoughts on the answers?

      1. Your husband is looking for a job in Dubai. The first thing I thought when I read that is ‘Why?’ I’d love to know what industry your husband is in so I can give some advice on what regions are good in the Middle East. While Dubai has been an automatic choice for people wanting to move to the Mid-East. But with recent economic developments that is no longer the case.

      You want to relocate with family for 2 years. That’s a good duration target for any relocation to the MidEast I would think. Also, because the MidEast is full of one income expatriate families it caters very well to following spouses (this time its you) and children.

      I have heard it is very hot there,
      It’s hotter than you can imagine. Unless you have lived in a desert before that is (Vegas, and places like that). On the flip side the milder months are absolute perfect heaven where you will never (NEVER) eat inside and sit outside under the black desert sky with the brillaint stars and drink wine and chat with your friends while the kids run around between each other’s houses in complete safety.

      We are Christians: There are hundreds of thousands of Christians living in the UAE. I am not Christian myself but I think there are probably plenty of churches, schools and communities associated with that.

      One of my children suffers from asthma. So do I. I can say the UAE is by far the single best environment you could have for asthma. Because of the weather – either hot and humid which is great for asthma – or dry and warm which is fine too – I rarely needed medication while there.

      The health system: Everyone will give you a different answer on this one, depending on what countries they have lived in. I will say I think it’s not as good as Australia (but really, name one country that is!) but significantly better than the Dutch health system(sorry Dutchies). You have a choice of private clinics which are predominantly Indian doctors (and I had one excellent Indian doctor while I was there and I have a family background in Health so I’m not completely ignorant in this area). You can also go to the government run hospitals which look like something out of a dereliction programme on the outside but are run to the highest western standards and are often staffed by prestigious western hospital trained Emirati doctors. These doctors are as good as anything you will find anywhere in the world. There are also plenty of female doctors amongst the Emiratis if you prefer a female.

      I had breast cancer 3 years ago and want to keep up my breast screening.

      The UAE launched a health initiative a few months ago specifically targeting breast cancer detection and treatment amongst UAE women. If you type in a few key words and Dubai or UAE you might find something on the internet about it. If you can find anything let me know and I’ll take a look for you.

      I want to move there because I am looking for change but I have concerns for my children. It’s kind of funny because after I spent some time in the Middle East I realised that the only thing that would keep me there would be if I had kids. It’s a really inspiring thing to see children from all cultures playing happily together, and the way it brings parents in touch with parents of other cultures together is very enriching.

      I love the Arabs. I found them to be well-educated, intelligent, thoughful and kind. I wish the rest of the world would treat each other as well as they do. Your children have nothing to lose by being raised in this environment. Nevertheless, the Emiratis themselves complain about the quality of their education system compared to the West. How old are your kids? If they are young i think you need to be vigilant about making sure they are meeting developmental targets in terms of ABCs arithmetic etc.

  9. Hi Sophie,

    Long time reader, first time writer!

    Now you are back in Amsterdam are you going to change the title of your blog?

    Geoff

  10. Hi Sophie, Thank you so much for responding to my questions. My husband works in construction (Civil) and I have two boys (twins – 7yrs) and my daughter is 9. I too think that this would be an excellent opportunity for them to meet and live with other children from different countries and cultures. I have another question for you if you don’t mind, we have a family dog and we really want to take her with us, do you know if dogs are accepted in the expat community, we are going to be renting. She will obviously (because of the heat) be an inside dog. I would hopefully walk her at night around the park/complex.

    • If he is working in construction I would be very interested to hear his view of the state of the construction market. Has he also looked at Abu Dhabi (a good city though much higher rental prices), Qatar and Saudi Arabia?

      If you go anywhere in the MidEast you will need to keep an eye of the quality of your children’s education. Australians generally assume that paying a large amount of money will automatically entitle you to adequate quality programmes. You need to be vigilant I think.

      The dog: we brought our 2 cats in and out of Dubai using SnoopyPets who are import-export specialists. They are not the cheapest option but I have had excellent service and peace of mind from them, both times. Let me know if you want their contract details. You will have no problem importing your dog. Expats import and export their dogs all the time in Dubai (that’s why businesses like Snoopy Pets exist). Have you spoken to your local vet about preparing your dogs tests, immunisations and certifications? It’s a formal and lenghty process so you need to get onto early (months in advance) and follow it through. It’s not difficult though.

      Regarding accommodation: If you are bringing your furniture with you (which I assume you are) then you will rent an unfurnished place. Unfurnished accom only rarely has restrictions on dogs. These places are easy to avoid when looking for accomm.

      If you rent furnished there might be more restriction on you because of the possibiliy of damage to furniture. You would need to negotiate something directly with the landlord.

  11. Sophie, thanks again for your info. As I find out more from the company that my husband is possibly working for I will let you know where he is going to be based. Would you mind sending me more info on the SnoopyPets company. On the matter of furniture who did you use to take your gear over to Dubai, and how much roughly does it cost?

  12. Hi again, Happy New Year!! Thanks again for the info. Yes I would like info about SnoopyPets. And which company did you use for transporting your furniture, do you recommend them? Roughly how much does it cost? We are considering storing our furniture, renting out our house and buying second hand furniture or renting a place already with furniture. Finding somewhere that will allow our dog will be the hardest thing I guess. I husband will be over in Dubai for a couple of months before I take the kids over. He will have everything set up before we get there. How are your cats enjoying the cold weather? I tried to find you on FaceBook last night but had no luck. Is your site Sophie Grant? Mine is Terri McNamara although I don’t go on very often. I enjoyed reading your replies, thanks again. Terri

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