1991: At age 11, after a colourful life of living in Carrickfergus and Vienna, I started Carrickfergus Grammar School, N-Ireland I attended there for one year until we had news that my Dad had been asked to take up employment in The first university in UAE. This was The UAE University, in Al Ain, a small beautiful Oasis part of Abu Dhabi.

We are a family of 6. My older brother was already in England at university, so it was my Mum, Dad, older sister and younger brother that moved out to the ‘Desert’….

It took quite a bit of adjusting, we had to stay in a villa at the Hilton hotel until our house was ready, at the Hilton we were completely spoiled with buffet breakfasts, lunch and dinner and access to swimming pools, parks and beautiful sunshine on our doorstep…..

Finally the house was ready, we all moved into a marble villa, quite different from the farmhouse style we were used to. We were beginning to get ready to start school, despite the heat, we had to make sure we were culturally correct with the clothing, shoulders covered and below the knees! Not unlike school at home.

We enrolled at an International School, The International School of Cheouifat, a Lebanese system school. We had to sit a test before we could go into our age appropriate classes. We ended up getting put into ‘Special Maths’ it was called, as their level of maths was far superior to ours… Let’s just say, I tried to avoid the extra classes but it didn’t go down well.

The School day lasted from 7.30 to 4 o’clock, long days with long lunch breaks!