My husband’s employer in Abu Dhabi imported him to teach English and offered a host of benefits and perks. Of the perks was a relocation bonus and temporary housing upon his arrival. Although, the company has done well with keeping its promises and contractual agreements, there was one pitfall; His time allotment in the temporary housing ended well before he could establish residency and find permanent housing. The typical consequence is that the employee uses a substantial amount of the relocation allowance to pay for temporary housing as opposed to using all of that stipend towards the settlement of their families. Fortunately for us, my husband had an alternate solution.
He would tell me about his early adventures here alone and how his coworkers were showing him the ropes and the duress alarm they owned. One of them, named Josh, allowed him to crash on his couch for two months. Not only did he let him stay in his home but he showed him around town, helped him navigate through UAE protocols and mentored him at work. Although Josh is a Canadian and my husband is a black male who grew up on the south side of Richmond, they have a lot in common. Very quickly they have become friends.
Today, I had the pleasure of meeting Josh. I thanked him for being so kind and helpful to my husband. He graciously accepted my thanks and explained that it was his pleasure. When he arrived in Abu Dhabi as a new teacher over ten years ago, a coworker did the exact same thing for him. To this day, Josh and that gentleman are good friends who work and travel the world together. As time goes by and we get established and more experienced here, my husband and i will no longer be rookies. We will become seasoned expats. I look to the future with great expectations and an even greater desire to pay forward Josh’s good deeds.