InterNations Featured Blog
Natasha: Sand in My Eyes
Please tell us a little bit about yourself. Who you are, where you come from, when you moved to Doha, etc.
I moved to Doha early in 2010 with my husband and four month old daughter. We moved here from Houston, Texas, but are originally from Nova Scotia, Canada.
When and why did you decide to start blogging about your experiences?
I wanted to share bits of our experiences here with friends and family back home – blogging was a great way to do just that. I wrote my first entry shortly after we arrived!
Do you have any favorite blog entries of yours?
I have a few favorites – the funny ones are always the best for me. For example Hot Stones, Anyone? about my comical trip to a local spa with my mother-in-law.
The most popular one by far is the blog I wrote on the different ways of wearing a Ghutra (headpiece wore by Qatari men): Rare Birds...I Mean Ghutras. It gets many hits each day!
Tell us about the ways your new life in Doha differs from that back home. Did you have trouble getting used to the new circumstances? Did you experience culture shock?
The biggest issue right away for me was the heat – it took some getting used to. Moving to a new country can leave you feeling a bit lonely, but luckily there is a strong expat network here & it didn’t take long to find new friends.
The driving in this country is absolutely shocking, and it hasn’t improved much in the time we have been here, unfortunately.
Do you think you were fully prepared for what awaited you in Doha? If you could, would you change some decisions/preparations you made?
I think I was as prepared as I could have been at the time. My new baby took up 99% of my focus so our arrival here is still a little foggy in my mind. All in all, it was a smooth move. We arrived in February, which is a nice time of year, temperature-wise… not so much of a shock. It gave us time to ease in to the crazy hot summer.
Every expat knows that expat life comes with some hilarious anecdotes and funny experiences. Care to share one with us?
Many things happen living abroad that seem upsetting or frustrating at the time, but then looking back on them always brings laughter. Struggling to be understood in another language, trying to get things done alone when you aren’t the right ‘person’ for the job…you deal with them & get used to finding humor in things. It helps!
Which three tips would you like to give future expats before they embark on their new life in Doha?
- Arrive with an open mind and heaps of patience.
- Start out driving and navigating the roads early on Friday mornings (Holy Day). The streets are always empty and it’s a great time to explore.
- Often, you won’t be able to find favorite grocery items easily (boo!), but to ease your frustration, there are many excellent restaurants to choose from for a stellar meal out.
How is the expat community in Doha? Did you have a hard time finding like-minded people or fellow expats?
There are expats from around the world here. There are plenty of websites that encourage meet ups and get-togethers, so it’s easy to reach out to others from your part of the globe. Lucky for me, there is a strong Canadian community in Qatar, and we have attended some fantastic events.
How would you summarize your expat life in Doha in a single, catchy sentence?
“Takin’ it one sandy day at a time.”