[Read Part 1]
I haven’t done one of these living in Qatar posts for a while but I figured I’ve been here long enough to write a proper update as opposed to little snippets in other posts. Dearest hubby, my editor, proof reader, and biggest fan all rolled into one, suggested I hold off until the summer but this post is long enough as it is!
As I’ve chosen to completely ignore his advice, he’s decided to create his own blog soon (and by soon, he means never) so keep an eye out for that.
Ever since I can remember I’ve hated winter and winter has hated me. Hubby admitted he thought one more winter in the UK would’ve killed me and he’s not exaggerating, I thought the same.
Thankfully, winter in Qatar is more like a spring day in England (not that we have many of those anymore), where the sun’s out but it’s still a little nippy. Qatar’s 2016 winter broke records as it was the coldest winter in 50 years and in some places, temperatures dropped to -1°C. I survived it with just one blanket. One blanket! I can’t believe this and neither would you if you had ever seen the blanket-hogging-4-pairs-of-socks-donning-forever-grumpy-Yeti version of me. At first I couldn’t understand the hype leading up to the cold, there was me dressed in my ‘summer’ clothes while everyone else was muffled up in gloves and woolly hats. But now that it’s 38°C in April, I totally understand that the only time to pull off winter clothing would be during a typical December day of 18°C.
Oh, here’s something that was new: too much rain in Qatar is like too much snow in the UK. Everything stops functioning. I don’t mind rain or snow, but I do hate being housebound because of the weather and I hate the idea of a flooded home. I never considered packing wellies for Qatar (how remiss of me) so when it rained, I stayed indoors with my cosy blanky and watched compilations:
I remember when we first got here we were super excited that everything is halal. We’re still thankful for this because going to the supermarket and picking up whatever you fancy is a luxury. Doing the same in Sainsbury’s this January really wasn’t an option and for the first time I noticed how I take grocery shopping for granted.
But…we discovered pretty quickly that we don’t like eating out. No-one else we know has this problem so I’m putting it down to that fact that we are sooooo spoilt thanks to Wilmslow Road and all the places we used to eat from in Oldham. Nothing here matches up to that and whenever we get excited about eating at a new place, we are forever comparing it to back home. I can count our favourite places on one hand: good old Nandos, a Mongolian place called Attila Grill, and a little tea place nearby which does fairly decent burgers and shawarmas.
On the plus side, we love home cooked food! Everything here tastes miles better and the banter we have in our kitchen is the best part of our day, alhamdullilah.
We haven’t explored Qatar much recently (by we, I mean just little old me – Hubby is always exploring with his friends) so there are still so many places I wish to see and add to the blog. But my favourite place by far is MIA museum and park. Whenever I miss the feel of grass, the sight of greenery, and that smell of trees (yes, I notice these things now that I essentially live in a desert), I always go to MIA park. I’ve already wrote about how inspirational the museum itself is but every new visit continues to move me and I always kick myself for not taking a writing pad with me. Another bonus is that the Souq is just across the road and I get to see the camels, horses, and occasionally a traditional dance.
Who else is excited about Ramadan? I am super glad that work hours are reduced for the month. How difficult is Ramadan in England though?
I don’t really know what to expect this year. I have spent Ramadan away from family when I was at uni so I know that opening and closing your fast alone is the most depressing thing ever. But this won’t be the same because the whole country will be in Ramadan mode. How insane is that?
I hope I can make some time to update you on how our Ramadan goes, maybe I will complete a little series of Ramadan posts. But for now, this is the end of my update. See you on the next one.