Hello everybody! I’m back with another expat blogger interview. Yes! I found Jaina at Time Well Spent through another blog and I immediately liked her site because it didn’t look like a lot of blogs I had been seeing lately, floating around the Internet. Seriously.
Her individuality was further confirmed when I saw her photos.
Jaina is originally from London in the UK and is currently living in Bahrain – a tiny island in the Middle East. So, that is another reason why I find Jaina’s blog so interesting. Who wouldn’t want to know what life in Bahrain is like, right? Here she is:
// What other countries have you lived in and which ones do you want to live in next, if any?
The UK has been the one and only country I’ve lived in before moving to Bahrain. The first, and so far, only big move I’ve taken. I don’t know where I’d like to live next, but after making this one move to Bahrain, I feel like I’d be able to take up living (almost) anywhere!
// What do you like (and/or don’t like) about living abroad?
This is the fickle part of the answer – but it’s sort of cool, isn’t it? Come on, I can’t be the only expat who gets a weird thrill out of answering the question “So where do you live?” and then going through where they’re currently living and why. The other non-fickle part of the answer is that, as corny as it sounds, it’s been interesting just living somewhere else. Experiencing how another country is to live in. It just gives you that different perspective. Something I think is lost on many in the West. Oh and not forgetting the weather. Summer is a bit of a nightmare, when temperatures can be 45ºC (113ºF) some days. But this brutal summer lasts, maybe, 4-5 months of the year. The rest of the year the weather is nigh on perfect. No more winter clothes!
// What do you find most different about living abroad?
Driving on the other side of the road took a little getting used to! There were many a clipped curb. I could see my SO grimacing in the passenger seat every time. Then there’s the sheer amount of people there are to do things for you. Labor is cheap. So we have the ironing done for us. Someone washes the car once a week. Last year when my brother was visiting, the lining of his suitcase tore apart. It would have cost his a few pounds and maybe a week to get that done in the UK. In Bahrain? 300fils (£0.80) and 24 hours was all they needed. Talking of money – getting used to that has been fun. In the beginning, I was constantly converting back to British Pounds just so I could get a feel for how much things cost.
// What do you miss about home (besides family and friends)?
The ability to just say “let’s go to the theatre/cinema/wander around London/go to a bar”. Bahrain’s a tiny island. It fits within the M25 in the UK. The majority of the population lives in the capital city, Manama, which is an even tinier section in the northern most part of the island. There’s not a whole lot to do here. The major past times include shopping and going out to eat. Yes there’s cinema, but I’m a bit of a film freak – some films are often censored here, and for this reason I just can’t bring myself to see anything in the cinema. Well, unless it’s an animated Pixar/DreamWorks film! There’s not much in the way of theatre or on-stage entertainment. I used to love seeing on-stage productions, comedy acts, gigs, you name it, in London. They’re few and far between in Bahrain. And then there are the bars. There are some nice bars here. But alcohol is inordinately expensive. There’s never usually a good range of drinks. So it’s a once every now and then thing we do, rather than regularly. Saying all of this, bit by bit, Bahrain is beginning to build up its events slowly. So maybe one day I won’t miss this aspect of living in London anymore.
// Is there something you feel you have gained since becoming an expat?
For my whole life I never dreamt of moving out of London let alone the UK. I imagined I’d spend my whole life in that one city, and I was happy about that. Moving to Bahrain has given me a sense of confidence I guess I didn’t have back then. Knowing that I am now currently living in a whole other country, quite comfortably is refreshing. It’s given me that boost, knowing that if I had to move to another country, I’d be able to do it as well. Without batting an eyelash.
// What’s a day-in-the-life of you, look like?
Sadly, not all that interesting! I’m a at-home remote worker. Any typical working day (Monday – Friday) is spent in the spare bedroom, working from 10:30am – 7pm. After which I usually push myself to the gym, which is only a few floors above me in the apartment building. Followed by dinner and then bed. It’s not a glamorous life! Weekends are a bit more interesting, sometimes. We’ve spent a day on Al Dar Island, a tiny little spit of land with a beach, villas and bar/restaurant, gone go-karting at the brilliant track in Sakhir, spent evenings that go well into the wee hours of the mornings just sitting on our balcony sipping drinks with friends.
// Are there any expat or travel bloggers you particularly enjoy? Who? Why?
Aside from you, of course, Lani! I’ve not actually delved to deep into expat bloggers. I’ll gladly take some recommendations though! Send me your way!
// What’s a question you wish interviewers would ask, but never have? (Then answer the question :))
What was the reaction of your friends and family after you told them you were moving to another country? For me there were mixed reactions. Everything from “Where’s Bahrain?” to excitement and happiness as well as concern. Warranted concern, I guess, due to Bahrain being in the Middle East and the Middle East is never painted in a great light on the media. It’s funny how the reaction of those around you can really effect how you see your move. Though I never did lose that ecstatically excited feeling for that long.