Archives for the month of: January, 2013

“When you know you know”

I hated that saying, I didn’t understand it, and married couples couldn’t quite explain it except to say “when you know you know – you’ll know when you feel it”. Discussions were always circular and frustrating.

Friends nodded in agreement with the frustration, and we fumbled through relationships. And then it happened to my oldest friend (an extremely sweet love story, but not mine to tell), and she nodded in agreement – “it is true – when you know you know!”.

Relationships aren’t easy. Firstly, you have to meet someone and venture through the interesting dating experience. Then you have to have time, and want to spend that time with that other person. Sometimes things are really hard, harder than they should be. Sometimes people make mistakes, and sometimes things just don’t work out. And you walk away, feeling slightly damaged before bouncing back, whether or not you were the breaker or the breakee.

And then you meet someone, and things aren’t so hard anymore. Things seem to fall in place and you’re scared because things feel too easy. You’re not used to this – why are there no struggles? Everything is simpler. How long will it last?

It slowly sinks in – this is how it’s meant to be. Yes, of course there are disagreements, but you would never do anything to intentionally hurt the other. The arguments are talked through and resolved, you spend the right amount of time together and apart. You start to see a future.

And that’s how it happened. It shouldn’t be hard early on. Yes, be willing to discuss, argue, and fight for the other person. Learn from past experiences. Know when to walk away. But most importantly, know when you have something worth holding onto and never letting go.

Typical, hubby has decided to blog now too:

http://obravenewworlddotorg.wordpress.com/

Let the competition begin!

After my brief visit to Doha in November I was almost certain I was not going to drive here. The roads are a scary place, full of large, white 4WDs, fluid lanes on the roundabout, constant honking, and a stop-anywhere attitude.

You have to get a car here, there aren’t really any other options. So, I tried getting a driver who kindly charged me the equivalent of £10 each way to and from work (and I thought the tube was expensive!). To cut costs I’ve tried getting a licensed Karwa taxi. The problem is, there aren’t that many of them, and the drivers are all new arrivals who have absolutely no idea where you want to go. But at least I’m cutting costs, despite the 30 minute wait this morning.

Walking is a completely different experience here. It’s not the done thing. Footpaths disappear suddenly so you end up walking through dust or on the road. But it’s the cars, the men, the random men…

The flash their lights. They toot. They creepily slow and cruise along beside you. You shake your head. They look at you strangely. You look confused and turn away. Anywhere else it would look like they were trying to pick up working girls, and that’s a little how we’re left feeling (are we wearing something inappropriate?), a little harassed. But they are just unlicensed taxis, trying to pick up business – it’s illegal for them to do so, and it’s illegal for you to use them.

It looks like getting a car and driving myself is the best option. In preparation I’ve been looking up some ‘road rules’:

Rules of the Road by Rochester (from Qatar Living)

[Remember, your lives are in the hands of God: Have No Fear!]
Ten Top Tips for driving in the Gulf

1. Keep to your lane!

Landcruisers, BMWs and Mercedes may use the fast lane.

All other cars should keep to the right.

2. On entering a round-about, remember God preserves the Pure in Heart.
Just drive straight in and He will protect you.

3. The right lane of a round-about is reserved for taxis to drop off passengers.

4. Double parking on round-abouts is only permitted if vendors are selling National Flags or watermelons.

5. Take the right hand lane if you are turning left, and vice versa.

6. If ‘other’ types of car use the fast lane, flash your headlights and they will get out of the way. Failing this, a gentle nudge to the bumper will do the trick.

7. Red traffic lights mean Stop! Green means Go!
* [Landcruisers and pickups are exempt from this rule.]

8. Always stay back at least ten inches from the car in front of you.
* [Landcruisers and pickups are exempt from this rule.]

9. Children sitting on the driver’s lap need not use a safety belt.

10. Use your horn frequently to signal “Have a Nice Day, Brothers!”

I will always wear my seatbelt. (“Make it click!”)

Wish me luck…!

Sunday’s used to be a day of lazing around, sleeping in, and doing fun things. Now Sunday is the start of the working week. And not just the start of the week, a 5.30am wake up to the week.

I’ve never been known (btw, Kiwi’s pronounce this as ‘knowen’) as a morning person, but waking up at 5.30am, and thinking about what people are doing in the UK (2.30am) – probably sleeping or still out partying. And it hurts.

On the upside, home time is 2pm, and there’s no mucking around. Everyone is ready to go for about the last hour of work, standing by the door at 1.55, and not a soul is left on the grounds except security by 2.05pm.

Then I get home, and realise that actually, people are still potentially at home sleeping, enjoying brunch, or recovering from the night before.

But you know what, Friday morning I get to do nothing. Absolutely nothing as nothing opens until at least midday.

Thursday is my Friday. Sunday is my Monday. I’ll get used to it.

But I’m not sure 5.30am will ever stop hurting.

Here’s how my last few months went:
October – Got international job offer and decided to get married
November – Planned move and wedding
December – Got married
January – Moved out of my flat, went to Vegas (husband free), stayed with hubby on return, and then left hubby to move to Qatar

Needless to say, we haven’t really had time to be ‘married’.

We’ve never lived together, and I don’t count those few days bunking in the boys’ bachelor pad. We got married, and I left. Don’t think I’m cruel, nor feel sorry for husband, I chose to go to Vegas, and hubby will be shortly following me to Qatar.

In the meantime, we have Skype (phone calls only). The internet connection in the hotel is unreliable, the time zones can make things tricky, and we spend a lot of the time discussing what life will be like when we’re together. Living together.

It’s not easy, describing apartments, locations, and what it’s really like. Over Skype you cannot smell the spices in the market, see the colour of the ocean, and feel the sun on your face.

Nor can we see each other (lack of technology at one end!).

But we have Skype, and I’m glad we at least have that.

Temuera Morrison, Tim Tams and BBQ Shapes.

Sometimes a few familiar items can make you feel less lonely in a strange city.

My family gave me the freedom to be what I wanted to be, to do what I was interested in, and to find my own way. They provided me alcohol in my teenage years; and I never abused it. They expected me to go to university, but I chose what I wanted to do. In that way, their expectations were quite low, providing I stayed within the unwritten moral line.

Now I’m in the Middle East, where family expectations are very different. One of the first things I am often asked is ‘Are you here with your family?’ ‘How many children?’, when I say none, they respond saying ‘Soon! Insha’Alla’ (God willing).

The traditional dress (abaya (cloak), niqab (veil)) intrigues me, having never been in a heavily Islamic setting before. Some women try to gently rebel, while still within the bounds of conformity, by showing some hair, or wearing bright colours that are just visible, and who would throw their abaya off as soon as they travel overseas.

However, others cannot, due to the family they come from. They are expected to cover their faces, to cover their bodies, some even when in their own home. Some can only be free from this coverage in their own bedroom. Even if they were to travel elsewhere, they must follow tradition.

I am not questioning the tradition nor passing judgment as some women have said they like to wear it and feel more comfortable when doing so, but I am questioning if I had been brought up in this environment, would I continue to conform as an adult? Or would I rebel, go my separate way, but perhaps risk losing everything I have ever known?

I will never have to find out, and I am thankful that my family is accepting of my choices.

I’ve recently moved countries and appear to have a lot more time on my hands these days, and Elly suggested I try blogging. So far I have one reader, thanks Miss Elly!

You may not know me, but hey, that’s what’s this is about. Each year I try to recap what happened, but I’ve been a tad delayed this year (with the moving countries ‘n all that). 2012 turned out to be a spectacular year. So, here’s a summary, or, as I like to call it, my brag book. (Now, don’t get me wrong, I’m not normally this proud, but seriously, it was pretty amazing!).

I had a great time travelling: I froze in Iceland, Bognor Regis and Sweden, and failed to snowboard at a music festival in Austria. I went back in time on the Isle of Wight, and went from lying on the beach one day to wearing a coat in north France the next. I consumed gelato in Italy, meandered through Dusseldorf and hunted street art in Berlin. I celebrated a 30th in France, had a spa break in Norfolk, a work trip to Doha, and a romantic weekend in Paris.

I saw my parents and brother for the first time since leaving New Zealand when they came to visit in the UK. We quickly slipped back into family ways and enjoyed the sights of London and Wales, but especially the Chelsea Flower Show, amazing food, and Matilda the Musical.

We were told at work we needed to find a new job as our organisation was going through a massive restructure. So, I went out and I got a new job. Then, before I started, I got offered an even better one overseas that I never thought I would.

But most importantly, I got married to the most amazing man that I was led to through a range of decisions in my past. Oh, getting married may not sound that unusual, but I never wanted to get married, and then I met hubby, but that is probably a story for another day. The fact is, we’d talked about it, then the job offer came through, and next thing you know we’re walking down the [registry office] aisle 5 weeks later.

Then came Christmas, then 2013, and next thing you know I get whisked away to my new home in Doha, Qatar.

Welcome to the desert, it sure is going to be an interesting ride!