Is it just me, or does life as an expat feel more like a rollercoaster ride than it did at home? I find that many weeks out here can swing from dire to brilliant in a matter of minutes.
And this week was no exception.
Luckily, as I discussed in my last post, my time in Doha has taught me to become quite good at sitting tight and riding these things out.
It was Saturday. I’d started to pack for my imminent work trip to Nepal, and Rich was tidying the flat in preparation for an evening of Christmas drinks and games with friends. He was bending down to put something in a drawer, and snap…something pulled in his back again and he fell to the floor in agony. Cue 45 worried minutes while I tried (unsuccessfully) to help him to get comfortable and waited for an ambulance to arrive. In true Doha style, the ambulance crew had got lost trying to find us, and then ended up in the tower behind the flat rather than my townhouse. However, several phone calls later and they were here and tending to the patient. Despite this initial hiccup, from the moment they arrived, until the point when I took Rich home from the hospital four days later, all I could think about was how lucky we are to have access to a great quality private medical service out here, which is provided by our employers as a standard benefit.
I felt a lot of love for Al Ahli for looking after my man…but never more so than when he finally left!
With Richy holed up in his hospital bed waiting for further direction from his surgeon, and my flights to Nepal cancelled, there was nothing for me to do but head into work. It was here, at my desk on my lunch break that I learned about the atrocities in Sydney, and then later in the week, in Peshawar. Horrified by the scenes on my screen in front of me, deeply saddened by the stories I was reading, and rapidly losing faith in humanity by the second, the only thing that succeeded in cheering me were the stories about the thousands of people uniting in resistance to this evil.
The #illridewithyou campaign which helped to prevent a consequential Islamophobic backlash; the shock and anger at what had taken place which was expressed across all forms of media and social media; it all made me realise that in times of fear, terror and sadness the global community will always come together for good.
Speaking of communities uniting for good, the international community of Qatar came together today to celebrate Qatar National Day, a national holiday held every year on December 18th to commemorate the day in 1878, when Sheikh Jassim, the founder of the State of Qatar, succeeded his father, Sheikh Mohammed Bin Al Thani, as the ruler of the country, and led the country towards unity. There was a festival-like spirit in the air, and the goodwill that we saw expressed by groups of Qataris and expats alike got me thinking that no matter where you live in the world, pride in your ‘home’ country is innate.
With Rich finally out of hospital having been given the go-ahead to fly back to London on Saturday to visit an orthopaedic specialist, we
walked hobbled slowly downstairs to give away the box of National Day goodies I had been gifted at work to someone who would really appreciate them….
Having found a grateful recipient, we stopped for lunch at our favourite little cafe on The Pearl, Alison Nelson’s Chocolate Bar, where we were greeted warmly by the friendly staff. As always, they were extra generous and we left with our pockets full of treats.
As night set in, we headed to the edge of our island to watch the stunning fireworks that lit up the sky behind the city.
All in all, despite the shaky start, it was an excellent end to the week.
3 things I particularly appreciated this week:
1. Homemade blueberry and strawberry American pancakes on a sunny winter’s morning
2. The beautiful sunsets I saw from my new seat in the office which looks out over the Corniche
3. The orange sunrises that peeped through my curtains every morning, tempting me to slope groggily out of bed. Just look at those reflections in the marina below my window!
What made you thankful this week?