In a slight departure from my ‘Weekly Wanderings’ post, I have decided to write about my ‘Weekly Wonderings’ this week. I’ve been in quite a reflective mood, and as a result, what’s been in my head has probably been far more interesting than where I have been!
As yesterday was Thanksgiving, it is not surprising that my mind turned to all the things I’m currently thankful for – which revived my appreciation for some of the everyday things I would usually take for granted, such as a cup of tea under a blanket on my balcony, a good old catch-up on Skype with my younger brother and starting the preparations for my friend Donna’s baby shower this weekend. It also got me thinking how far I’ve come since this time last year – when I was without a job and wondering where life would take me next!
Us desert dwellers have also been thankful for the rain this week as the skies opened up for the first time since April – a sign that winter is well and truly upon us. I’m sure a few fervent prayers from the Emir helped things on their way.
Rich and I headed to the cinema earlier in the week to watch the new Hunger Games film (much as I found with the books, this one is a little more disappointing than the last two) and we were reminded just how different the cinema experience is out here in the Middle East. It made me think about the extent to which culture is a factor in determining your behaviour. It’s not uncommon out here for people to talk the whole way through the film, to answer their phones and even bring young children in with them (Rich had to complain to the manager this last time as a baby cried the whole way through the film and it was so difficult to concentrate – us Brits much prefer absolute silence it seems!). As a result, the cinema feels like less of a treat and more of a ‘come along because there’s nothing better to do’ kind of an experience. At the Novo Cinema just down the road from us on The Pearl, they even have a valet service at the door so you can simply rock up 2 minutes before the film is about to begin without much pre-planning or thought.
Just a few days later, my question about culture and behaviour was answered – according to this research that was released this week, due to cultural differences, the work and life habits of Qataris and expats are extremely different in all kinds of ways.
On Tuesday, a friend I hadn’t seen in a while came round to my flat for a catch-up, and she asked for my advice on starting a blog. I was unhesitating in my enthusiasm – blogging is absolutely the best new ‘hobby’ I’ve ever taken up, and it’s starting to open up so many opportunities for me. But it did make me realise that there are many different reasons that people decide to start blogging in the first place. I read a great article summarising 15 of these reasons recently which I think anyone considering setting up a blog (or even people who are a bit further into their blogging journey) should read to give them the impetus they need to get going.
Sharing blog ideas and talking about life as an expat with my friend got me thinking about how important it is for us to be there for each other out here, in a place that can sometimes feel like quite an unforgiving environment. I have seen so much written recently about the need for women to be more supportive of each other rather than pulling each other apart – from Reese Witherspoon sticking up for Renee Zellweger following all the abuse she has received about the recent change to her looks, to this excellent article from Anastasia which questions why women can’t simply get along. It’s clear that some strong women are fighting back against this nasty trend of degrading other women for your own gain. For all you bloggers that have received cutting comments from other women, this article from the Blogging ME team should make you feel less alone.
I finished my working week on a positive note, having started to organise a very exciting business trip (more on this in due course!) and looking forward to a weekend full of fun in front of me.
What’s got you thinking this week?