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How to be a happy expat

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After 10 years living in the UAE, some of that time happy, some miserable and the rest just about everything in between, I finally feel qualified to write this piece.

The answer to the question "How to be a happy expat"? Stop complaining about where you are (and find a way to laugh about the things you don't understand). When you find fault with your current situation just because you can, just because it's not what you are used to or were brought up in, you won't be happy. You'll be expecting the place that you are in to do something for you – something you've already decided it can't – and placing your full happiness at some future date, when you are in a different place.

And this doesn't go for the laborer supporting his family back in Bangladesh, or the nanny from the Philippines, or the taxi driver from Kenya, or any one of the multitudes of people who are here out of necessity rather than choice. This goes for the rest of us. The privileged…

That time when home feels more strange than away

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There are a million great things that have come into my life ever since I left Canada for the UAE more than 10 years ago – a trip I thought might last a year or two, tops.

I've been aware that the experience has altered me totally and completely for most of the time to varying degrees. (I often liken those first few months to having my personality disintegrate, and then the rest of the year as me rebuilding it into something I could vaguely recognise. It's something else, leaving one life and building a whole other one for yourself.)

For a long time time I've felt as if I have feet in both the Middle East and Canada, but at the same time, nowhere and everywhere. I try not to wonder what would have happened if I didn't leave, because it goes nowhere, and anyway, generally I've decided the million and one crazy-cool experiences I've had, the financial gains, the career advancements and let's not forgot the array of friends make up for any stability I forsook…

I feel like Avengers: Infinity War is getting enough press but Burj Khalifa

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Tadweer is recycling in Abu Dhabi: Be still my heart!

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Two days ago I saw two men putting what looked to be recyclables into a dumpster just like the one above, in the parking lot outside the Park Rotana, and I thought, hmmm. Then I spotted two of the same bin outside my apartment and literally, my heart soared.

I still don't know anything about the bins, other than that they are there and I am happy about it, but believe me, I'm looking into it.

I want to lose my heavy baggage next trip with this $1,000 Travelmate robot suitcase

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Wouldn't it be fun to walk through the airport with one of these "fully autonomous" Travelmate suitcases, which cost US$1,000 (Dh3,672) and come with a removable four-hour battery that can also be used to recharge any mobile device. There is also a fingerprint lock system, a built-in scale and a GPS to locate it if the absolute worst happens and your flight lands at 3am at Abu Dhabi International Airport and your suitcase is MIA and you have to line up at that little kiosk when you are so tired you can barely see. 
Of course I have also begun to envision scenarios where this robotic suitcase turns on you and refuses to stop at Duty Free, or some similar, or you run out of juice and it just refuses to move, like those petulant three-year-olds I always see slowly killing their parents at airport security. And I question: is it really fully autonomous? If that were true, couldn't it just flat out refuse to make the trip with you, or start spitting your clothes out as s…

Image of the day: Instagram bait galore in the INDEX Dubai's Off the Wall feature

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I've been seeing these all over Instagram lately and now, Dubai. It's worth a trip to the 28th INDEX Dubai, on at the Dubai World Trade Centre until Thursday March 29, for lots of reasons. But one is to get a shot like this in the Off The Wall feature. 

The side-ways room was created by Dubai-based interior designer Sharon Jutla and features furniture and décor worth an estimated Dh1.4 million from US designer Jonathan Adler.

Overheard in Abu Dhabi at #MediaMondaysUAE – #ToroToroAD edition

"Please don't take my picture. My image is worth money."