Archives for category: Relocation

Courtesy of Internations

New Zealand places 6th and Qatar 54th in the line up of the best destinations for expats out of 64 countries included in the survey. In summary, Qatar is described as “peaceful but boring” with limited social activities available, takes longer to settle into the culture, working hours can be long (although I don’t find this to be the case!), and costs can be high and not reflected in quality. New Zealand is great for families, easy to settle into, good work-life balance, but expensive.

Qatar:

New Zealand:

See the full list here

Note that this is based on a survey of Internations members, so will be impacted by how popular the site is in those countries. Pinch of salt ‘n all that.

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Inserting myself into a new country and culture has had its ups and downs. Here’s to the good stuff!

1.       Lifestyle

Life in Qatar feels similar to life in New Zealand. You can live a sleepy life or you can hunt out loads of weird and wonderful things to do. Take up opportunities as they arise, say yes more often, and just try it. I’ve seen far more sport, classical music, ballet, opera, and Tom Jones than I ever thought I would. There’s more to Qatar than shopping.

2.       Change

SO MUCH CHANGE. Everywhere you look – infrastructure, new buildings, new strategies, systems, processes. Qatar is trying to squeeze what other countries have done over the course of decades, if not centuries, into a few short years. We are pioneers in the land of change.

3.       Culture

I am fortunate in this land flooded with expats to work with a large percentage of Qataris. It’s amazing to see their passion and keenness to take on new challenges in areas never experienced before. The locals are not afraid of speaking up or complaining directly to Ministers, and expectations of services are high. You soon get used to seeing and recognizing people in abayas, niqabs and thobes, and understanding and respecting their religion and morals attached to those.

4.       New Friendships

Entering into a strange land, knowing only your partner forces you to meet new people. We’re in a strange category of people here; not party-goers, nor parents, we seem to be the lost group. To make new friends you must put yourself out there, go to things when invited, and invite others. We’ve made a few good friends over this last year, and 2014 has brought a fresh batch of arrivals keen to experience all Qatar has to offer!

5.       Tax Free Income

Depending on your tax obligations elsewhere, your salary is your salary, with no one taking a cut before it going into your bank account. And money can mean FUN THINGS. Or GROWN UP THINGS like saving for important life stages. It’s all a bit easier when someone else isn’t taking a giant bite of the pie.

 

Looking forward to more fun experiences and challenges in 2014.

My first year in the Middle East has flown by. While some days it seems I struggle through, the year disappeared far more quickly than expected. What I can say is that I have definitely learnt a thing or two!

 1.       No Expectations

High expectations may only lead to disappointment. Keep an open mind, set your expectations low, and enjoy the highs while learning from the lows.

 2.       Tenure

There are two categories of expats in Qatar – those who will be here a few years maximum, and those that have been here for a long time. When you meet someone who has lived here for two or more years your jaw will drop, then you meet those who have been here over 10 and it astounds you. All the while you’ll just be pushing through to adjust and survive your first year!

 3.       Simple Difficulties

Everything is more difficult than it should be. Need to open a bank account? You need a letter from your sponsor. Need to exchange your driver’s license? Another letter is required. Getting your car serviced? Yeah, that will take weeks. You’ll soon come to understand (and expect) that everything will be slightly harder than it should be. Which leads me to…

 4.       Nothing Quite Works as it Should

As above, this can make life more difficult! Come to expect the unexpected.

 5.       Death Defying Driving

Every outing on the road will be a death defying experience. If you do drive, drive with the attitude that everyone on the road is trying to kill you, that way you will never get too relaxed and will pay attention at all times.

Six months have passed since we signed up to living our lives together. It all happened very quickly: a wedding planned from decision to marry to wedding day within 7 weeks. Crazy? Perhaps. Did we pull it off? With some compromises we did it our way and had a brilliant time.

Wedding

Wedding Day, 2012

Following a wonderful wedding marriage weekend we returned to our separate flats and work on Monday.

I left my job [that I had to quit on my first day to move to Qatar] just before Christmas, and spent my first Christmas with Hubby’s family. And my first with a husband (it still hadn’t clicked that I was in fact married). New Years came and went.

I packed up my life into taking, storing, and ditching/donating piles, and briefly moved in with Hubby and flatmates.

It wasn’t to last long before I disappeared alone to Vegas to surprise a wonderful lay-dee (aka lubbkin) who I hadn’t seen since I left New Zealand’s fair shores. Being the accomplished gambler that I am I doubled my money ($5 into $10), was told I did Vegas wrong, but still came out a winner!

Vegas, Baby

Viva Las Vegas

I returned to the UK, spent a couple of days together with Hubby in the London snow, and then I disappeared again.

Snow Day

London Snow Day

This time I was loaded onto a plane with large suitcases, and with a tearful wave, said goodbye.

I admit, it was a strange introduction to married life, having only spent a few days together before I left. I’m not saying it was easy, nor would I recommend it to anyone else. Some of the most stressful things in life are moving house (and, uh, continents?), relationships, and work – and we were experiencing massive changes in all three at once.

Hubby of course joined me a month later, and we’ve been adjusting to the change from a few nights a week together to EVERY SINGLE DAY. He needs his man time (i.e. Martinis and X-box) and I potter around and do whatever (i.e. nap), leaving him to it.

We’ve travelled to New Zealand, seeing friends and family and have oh-so-much more travel planned in our minds.

Dinners out, new experiences, new friendships. Arguments, discussions, and business cases. Balancing who does what (a much shorter discussion when in a serviced apartment) and who drives when.

And before we knew it, six months of marriage had passed.

It hasn’t always been perfect, but we’re living a pretty privileged life, and so far it’s pretty damn good.

Thank you Hubby, for your tolerance, acceptance, and cooking. For your humour, caring, and cuddles. Here’s to the next six months and beyond!

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!