x Abu Dhabi, UAEWednesday 26 July 2017

'There's no point in worrying'

This much I know Sheethal Rishi, 27, is a project ­­­ co-ordinator for the British Council UAE.

"I don't really feel like I am in a strange country here," says Sheethal Rishi.

Sheethal Rishi, 27, is a project ­­­ co-ordinator for the British Council UAE. I was born in Chennai, India. I came to Dubai in 2005 after I got married. My husband, Rishi Mohan, has been here for 11 years and he works in advertising. I had a traditional ­arranged marriage: I met him one day in February and got engaged three days later. We were married in April and I arrived in Dubai in May - it was all done in three months.

As a co-ordinator there are different project areas I am involved in, including arts, science and education. On an average day I could be dealing with art contacts, arranging exhibitions or sourcing applications for our awards. Happiness for me depends on the people around me and the love of my friends and family. When I was younger I wanted to be many things - a scientist, a dancer and then a teacher. I realised I was very bad at maths so I don't think I could ever be a scientist.

I enjoy working with my team and the variety in my work. I am not stuck with one project the whole time. The summer months are difficult, when people are away and it's difficult to pin people down and get things done. In my job you have to be extremely organised and be flexible with your working hours. You need to think quickly on your feet and have backup plans, ­because if people don't turn up, I find that you need plan B, C and D. It's a challenge.

What I like most about Dubai is that I have so many friends and family here and that I am so close to home. I don't really feel like I am in a strange country here, although I miss the rain in India and I miss having a garden. But I like the fact that the UAE is quite compact and you're never very far from ­anywhere. I went to school in Chennai and my best memories are from there. I am still in touch with many of my friends from kindergarten through Facebook. The web makes it easier to connect to people.

My perfect day would involve ­arriving at work on time without any hold-ups in traffic, getting all my work done and all the e-mails replied to, leaving work exactly on time and going home or meeting friends. My memories of my pets make me smile. In India I had three German shepherd dogs in the house. I lost the last one just before I came to Dubai and I'd had them for 10 or 12 years. My idea of being happy is going back to India and being in a house with my family and pets.

I'm expecting my first child in ­January. The most important person in my life is my husband. I don't have any regrets. I ­believe very strongly that whatever ­happens, no matter how bad it seems at the time, it happens for the best. I usually get up at 7.30am and commute to work from Deira. It takes me 45 minutes to an hour to drive to our temporary office in Academic City. I go to bed around 10.30pm. I usually skip breakfast but sometimes have a banana and coffee or tea at work. These are very bad habits and it's very different to what happens in India. I love it when I am at home because I tell my mother what I want for breakfast and she still makes it for me. It's always ready, every day. I get ­really pampered when I go home.

If I could change one thing about myself it would be my anger. ­Sometimes I can be very ­short-tempered. I wish I could take things cool and easy. I don't prefer a particular music genre but I like music which is connected to happy memories. Most recently, I was happiest when I got my driving licence. I got it the day before my birthday and it was the fourth time I had gone for it. I was thrilled to bits.

Life would be better if I could have a villa here, rather than an ­apartment, and if I could have a pet in it. When I watch the news, most of the time I get depressed. If you can't do anything about it, there's no point worrying. I really want to visit Scotland. I just want to go cycling and explore.