Eid Al Fitr 2014

The Eid Al Fitr marks the end of Ramadan or the month of fasting and last night they declared that today is the first day of Eid.

So allow me wish you and your family a blessed Eid.

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Appreciating the Importance of Translation Companies

Everyday on my way to the office I walk pass through various translation companies. I really didn’t understand their importance until I started working in an admin office that functions also as an HR department.

Almost all legal documents here need to be translated in Arabic. For instance, my university degree has to be translated before I can submit it for attestation in the Ministry of Foreign Affairs. When I processed the visa for our nanny, my documents were returned by Philippine embassy because our tenancy or accommodation contract needed to be translated in English.

Since my company is a branch office, we have important legal documents from our head office like power of attorney, trade license and so on. All of these have to be translated into Arabic.

There is indeed a business demand for this service. There is no wonder why there are many translation agencies available here. In the area where I live, there is roughly around 8-10 translation companies.

However, I learned one very importance lesson from our Arabic liaison officer. It is very important to choose a professional translation company. One time our liaison officer was reviewing some old translated documents and he was complaining because the Arabic translation was either wrong or confusing.

So it is very important to choose a translation company that has professional employees who will do the translation to ensure that it is high quality and the translations are correct.

When translating documents, quality is very, very important.

Through the eyes of a child

We had some errands to do in Dubai and I was not keen on driving back and forth from Abu Dhabi . So we decided to stay overnight in one of the budget hotels in Al Barsha area.

The hotel has the exit signs in the corridors every few feet away and the signs are really noticeable. It is for safety reasons for sure in case there’s any emergencies like fire.

Frugal Expat_Exit Sign

My son, who will turn three years old this September, saw this exit sign every time we were in the corridor. He  would then insist that we run and follow the direction of the arrow like the man in the exit sign. Open-mouthed smile

Focusing on my goals

I am not giving up my desire to be an entrepreneur. Now I have even more compelling reasons to materialize this goal.

Sometimes when I am feed up with my work – dealing with the same sort of shit day in and day out, five days a week – I remind myself why I am still keeping my day job.

I need my monthly pay cheque because I still haven’t reached my desired emergency fund and I need to save more for my business funds.

I illustrated the reasons as why I wanted to venture in various businesses. When I am down and wish to leave the corporate workforce, I look at this illustration.


I would like to start a side business while I keeping a full time job. Testing the water as they say. I don’t dream of becoming a filthy rich, just enough to live comfortably and to have more in order to give more.

And most importantly – to live a quality life with my family.

Infographic: Second Passport by Descent (by FreePeopleSearch.org)

I was contacted and given a permission to feature this interesting infographic.

Second Passport, an infographic from FreePeopleSearch.org




Frugal Expat blog is featured in FACT Abu Dhabi Magazine, June 2014 edition


My email yesterday was bombarded with Twitter notice – a tweet where Frugal Expat is mentioned.

Then there’s one more message – an FB link about their interview with some of the city bloggers.

Keen and excited, I hurriedly followed the link.

I remember this publication. They contacted me somewhere in March this year but I was not keen on revealing my real name and submitting my photo.

If you are interested, here’s the link , page 28. Unfortunately, they referred the wrong author’s name in the article. I am not Michelle. Sad smile

Anyway, still many thanks to FACT Abu Dhabi Magazine for mentioning Frugal Expat in their June 2014 edition.

Our flat rental this year

flat-rents-in-abu-dhabi_thumbOur flat is due for renewal this August and to tell you honestly I had been worried about it. Removing the rental cap this year, it means our landlord can hike the rents at any rate. I wrote about it earlier here.

I spoke to one acquaintance last week and we discussed about flat rental cost in Abu Dhabi. She told me that for this year, their flat rental increased by AED 10,000 more.

So last month I had been an annoyance to our ‘nator’. In general ‘nators’ are sort of building in charge. You run to them for any maintenance related issues. They are also referred as the ‘watchman’ because other nators are the ‘eyes and ears’ of the landlords. They watch out those problematic tenants and they somehow ensure the security of the building also.

You can read more about my experience with ‘nator’ here.

Our building nator is also working like the landlord’s secretary. That’s the reason I was chasing him. He is very nice and kind though compared to the nators.

At first the nator told me that the rent would be AED 5,000 more. Then he came back saying he would convince the landlord to keep the same rent.

I can say that we are already settled in our flat, a home that I can call in this foreign land. I am not keen on shifting to new accommodation again. Just a mere thought about it, if ever there’s a need to move again,  is a headache already.

And last week, we finally received our new tenancy contract or rental agreement. I am very happy because the rent is the same. It is really a great relief!

Accommodation is really a major living expense for our family here in Abu Dhabi because we have only housing allowance. I have been praying that my hubby will land a job soon with an employment package that includes 2-bedroom flat.

Housing allowance is incorporated in the monthly salary but flat rentals are either payable in one or two payments. Somehow you have to draw this lump sum amount to be able to rent a flat here in Abu Dhabi.

That’s why some expats take personal loans from the bank to pay the accommodation rent. We are lucky because my housing allowance is given annually on lump sum basis. It is really a big help.