The Expat Experience

The Big Move to Qatar (Part 2)

[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.

The Cold

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:


The Food

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.

Favourite place

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.

souq waqif
View of the museum from the Souq.
Al-fanar mosque (other than Aspire, this is the other mosque where Friday sermons are in English)
view of corniche
I love this skyline, especially at night…


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. (Click here to read Part 3)


29 thoughts on “The Big Move to Qatar (Part 2)”

  1. These little updates of yours make me want to live in an Arab country again. Sigh. I literally, just last night, wrote about how everyone should count their blessings if they observe Ramadan in a country where the whole country Ramadans. It just tastes different. Fasting in England is hard work. May Allah reward us all in abundance. Here you can attest to this, or you know call me a looney tune. Don’t you think rain smells different abroad? Like after it rains, that earthy smell? Here it smells like chuffin’ slugs when it rains. Used to love rain until I moved to England yano. Anyway. Lovely to hear from thee as ever Zazu 😘

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Haha I cracked up at the chuffin slugs bit. You’re right, rain actually smells like rain here. Aw I really feel for everyone fasting in England. I really struggled these past years since Ramadan has been coinciding with school in June and July. I remember my first year of teaching and I developed tonsillitis and it was Ramadan! You get zero rest in England. I haven’t been on wordpress for so long I need to catch up on your posts ❤ xx

      Liked by 1 person

      1. I’ll catch you up. I’ve spent the last 1.5 months chatting shit lol. There you’re all caught up! Aye it is hard. I was sick on the 1st day of Ramadan for the ladt 2 years. Last year Migraine the year before flu. It was hardcore. And I was working. Like I napped both times and if you know me I don’t sleep during the day at all. I am so glad you notice the difference re rain. Everyone says I am imagining it but trust me. There IS a difference.

        Liked by 1 person

      2. Haha staaahp, I love your posts they always crack me up. I hope you have a better ramadan this year and if not, get yourself out here! Persuade your family to move out, it’s not worth sacrificing your health xx

        Liked by 1 person

  2. Wow the floods there are terrible it seems so many lost their cars too! I loved hearing your thoughts of Qatar and hope you’ll tell us even more of how it is there!!! I do not know a lot about Ramadan other than the fasting and praying so that would be interesting to hear from someone who knows too 😄 . I have to ask an ignorant question.. Tam stated it was hard to fast in England and it was hard work – if you can tell me why? maybe as I am thinking if you can’t eat either way then why is it harder not to eat regardless of where you are? (Sorry I am sure it will be a stupid question to you and Tam) and please know I ask with respect and genuine curiously 🙂

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Yep the damage after the rain is insane. It’s because we don’t really have gutters or a proper drainage system to cope with rainfall seeing as it rarely rains. And it would cost too much to fix it now…Aw that’s not a stupid question at all. You’re right, it’s hard because you can’t eat or drink but the reason it’s harder in England is the days are longer so a fast in England is about 19 hours whereas here (even though it’s twice as hot) we have shorter days and sunset is earlier. This has a knock on effect. We get to eat around 5 and then we have plenty of time to fit all the prayers in as well as rest/sleep or get work done. In the UK, it’s this mad rush of eating at 10pm, running to pray and by the time you’re done praying its 1am and time to eat again to close the next fast. And it’s harder for those who work and have to be up at 6am again. In one my schools it was so hot one summer the fasting children were fainting, so we have another added bonus that everywhere has air con 😊

      Liked by 2 people

      1. Oh wow thanks for answering my question, I had really no idea – and you pray for 3 hours each day after eating? And must you go to a Mosque to pray or is a home environment permissible if you don’t mind answering (if not no need to address) 🙂

        Liked by 1 person

      2. Not 3 hours but by the time you factor in time to get there, get ready etc it does take time. The prayers are longer in England mosques because they read 20 Units whereas here it is 8 so it’s much shorter. The aim is to finish all 30 chapters of the Quran in the month, in prayer. People can choose to read at home as it tends to be quicker that way (women usually read at home so we can get rest in between the cooking lol) but it’s a nicer atmosphere to pray at the mosque. 😊

        Liked by 1 person

      3. That’s so kind and generous of you! I really appreciate you taking the time out to answer my questions-it’s nice to ask a “real” person rather than reading online when it’s questionable as to real answers so many thanks!

        Liked by 1 person

  3. You make me long for the desert again. I was lucky enough to spend time in the Middle East a few years back and fell in love with the sand and heat..the long nights…the food.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. One of the things I also do when traveling to Middle East is eat at a fast food restaurant lol. I’ve been considering a move to the gulf states (Qatar being one of them). However, I find Qatar to be soo small and does not seem like there is much to do. Do you think it’s worth moving there from a more western country?

    Liked by 1 person

    1. You’re right, it is quite small but that’s changing with all the construction taking place so I’m sure the face of Qatar will change rapidly in the next few years. There are things to do it’s just probably not as widely advertised. If you’re worried about it being too tiny (and boring lol), then I’d advise looking into Dubai as there’s a lot more going on there. Personally, I don’t regret moving to Qatar at all and I wouldn’t want to move back to a western country. Even after our time in Qatar ends, I would prefer to stay in another Muslim country. 🙂 You will never know what you like until you try it.

      Liked by 1 person

  5. I really like your blog.. very nice colors & theme. Did you design this website yourself or did you hire someone to do it for you? Plz reply as I’m looking to create my own blog and would like to know where u got this from. thank you


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