Total Pageviews

Saturday, 20 August 2011

The One Where We Moved to Qatar!!

When you first arrive at a new place, regardless of your level of confidence, you will always feel vulnerable. New faces. New personalities. New surroundings. Everything around you is a constant picture of uncertainty and the unknown. You instantly become aware of your own imperfections and idiosyncrasies, and wonder if anyone else is aware or if you are being judged.

Well no need to wonder. You are being judged! That may seem like a rather paranoid statement, but just like you are making first judgements, however subconscious, you can guarantee the people around you are too. They too are feeling insecure with the new faces, new personalities and new surroundings.

Right now I am feeling all these things and more.


We moved to Qatar.

So let me tell you how we got here!

After having an enjoyable, albeit, chaotic and busy summer, we had reached the packing stage. With that came the unpacking and repacking stage too. Way too much luggage and we had never flown emirates before so we had no idea as to how strict they were on weight. Let me tell you now, they are strict!!!!! It took a little persuasion and cunning to get through with 22kg extra plus the 4 pieces of hand luggage of about 25kgs over too!!!! We just scraped by, a little convincing and I expect my tear stained face at the check in didn't warrant any confrontation either!

Saying goodbye to my Dad and Val was hard.It always is! It was fabulous that Val was able to come to the airport this time too. Jason had gone earlier with the luggage and my Dad had come back for us. Of course it is hard going to a new place, the constant changes. But we chose this life and I wouldn’t change it. But Dad and Val are my security. Knowing they are always there gives me the emotional strength to do what we do and the fact my Dad has such faith in Jason as a husband, a father and a teacher strengthens my faith in him too.

So we were finally on the plane. A very nice plane too! Lots of room and really comfy. But we are the wobbly table family and if anyone will sit by anything that is broken then I am sure it will always be us! Yep, we were sat under a drippy head locker, a few engineers and the cabin crew supervisor later we finally took to the skies! As with most scheduled flights of this length, they give out things for the children, whether it colouring books, teddies, bags etc. Our children got a colouring book and crayons, however the children around us got that and a puppet. Now I realise in the grand scheme of things it is only a puppet. But when the kids saw others getting something they hadn’t then I had to ask. To which the lady said she didn’t have enough and was being fair to everyone. Hmmmmmmm, pretty sure she wasn’t as she was giving different things to different kids. When the supervisor checked on us (because of the leak) I let her know what had happened. A few minutes later the lady came back with a bag from business class for the kids and a rather snippy dig that now she was treating us differently to the other kids!!!! There was really no need. We hadn’t been asked to be treated differently - just the same as everyone else! I was ready for an all out strop at 35,000 feet, until, obviously she had calmed down, she came to apologise for the way she had spoken to me. So I just left her with a gentle reminder that all children have to be treated the same and there was really no reason for her to speak to me like that.

The rest of the flight - plain sailing!

You must also be aware that this was also Grace's 5th birthday. So with the normal stress and chaos of travelling, let alone moving country, we also had gifts and happy birthdays to do!! Grace donned her princess dress all the way to Qatar, where she must have looked like Disney royalty as we came though arrivals! The staff were fabulous with her. She had a birthday cake and pictures taken - even on the connecting flight where time was very short, they made up a tray of cakes and chocolate for her and even more Polaroid’s.

By now it was about 3.30am on Friday.

The head and his wife collected us from the airport and took us to our apartment. Only problem being it wasn’t 'our' apartment. We, as are many other staff, are in temporary accommodation. Exhausted and overwhelmed we just went along and finally got into bed just after 5.30am. The kids had been awake for over 19 hours by this point. By 11am we were up again to get sorted to get some groceries. Later in the afternoon we began to panic about how long we would be here. As a mom and a wife, my primary job is to settle my family. I couldn’t do this. Once again we were living out of a suitcase. We met with the HR manager that evening to talk about the problems. And with that conversation we knew instantly she was really doing everything she could and was making absolute sure that we were comfortable and gave us a few options. I actually felt quite bad for her, not only must she be swamped with work with everyone arriving; she is also fasting for Ramadan and then must be getting complaints about where people are living. She is definitely in the right job - approachable, helpful and damn good at what she does!! And very sympathetic and patient with us and our questions!!! Soon we should be able to move and settle in to our proper home and then it will all be fine - in the meantime the place we are in really is very nice!

In the evening all the staff were invited to dinner. The Iftar meal. It is Ramadan here at the moment. This was all paid for by the school. What a wonderful welcome. The food was divine! We went down to reception to wait for the school transport to pick us up and this is where we met all those new faces for the first time.

WOW!!!!!!! How terrified was I? I was always the type of person that could walk into any room and not be fazed, not anymore. At this point I just wanted to go back to our room! But we didn’t and I am glad we didn’t. We met some great people. From all walks of life. This is maybe one of the reasons I love this. You get to meet, talk and socialise with people that maybe you wouldn’t normally. It really broadens your mind. I think there are some people here we could really get along with. In fact I have already met a Pakistani woman who is prepared to swap Nihari for carrot cake - quite a result in less than 24 hours!

Things are quite different here to that in Saudi. The people are different and there is a lot more of them. A lot to cope with. But I am sure we will. The kids got to see the school this morning and our bank accounts are sorted. hopefully tomorrow we will have our car back too!

We are all exhausted. We are all emotional. We are all definitely overwhelmed. But some time, a little patience, a good night's sleep and our own place to settle down in will soon fix all of that. And I have to remember that. I have to remember that first impressions should never be the lasting impression and that all these people around us are feeling just as insecure and vulnerable as we are right now. But it is sometimes good to feel like that. It is good for the soul. And it is definitely good to remember we are not on our own. This is going to be great. This is going to be fabulous. Our life is one big adventure and we are making sure we make the most of every second of it. I just must remind myself not to rush these things, there is time, we are here for the next two years.

Hello sunshine. Hello Qatar. We can't wait to see what is in store for us here!

1 comment:

  1. I enjoyed reading this. Your style makes it easy to visualize and share in the experience. I also enjoy your philosophical take on things. You have grown so much! May you be blessed in Qatar.