Expat Life in Qatar

From 330 Days of Sunshine to 330 Days of Rain.

August 19, 2016
Friday Brunch at Toro Toro Doha, Pinayflyinghigh.com-5

So yes, we’ve moved from Doha to London and the title may be a bit of an exaggeration but you get the gist. We’ve moved from the desert to a greener pasture (quite literally) and I couldn’t be more excited about it. Frankly though, I don’t mind the rain. I’ve had numerous sunshiny days from the Philippines and the Middle East which could last this lifetime and next for me so I say, bring on the rain! Although it hasn’t rained yet since we’ve arrived but I know it’s coming.

The move wasn’t a surprise as we’ve been planning to get out of the Middle East as soon as 2016 started. We don’t really care where we’ll end up as our main point basically was to get out of the region. Why? Plainly because we needed the change. We’ve been in the Middle East for almost a decade and we both think that a change would do us good. Neither of us wants to go back to our own countries to settle (lol) so we thought we’ll work something out somewhere else.

Taste of Hakkasan, Hakkasan Doha - PinayFlyingHigh.com

No more dining in super fancy restaurants.

We started our immigration procedure to Canada however that didn’t go well, then we started preparing our papers to move to Australia but somehow, something was stopping us to finalize it. And then while on a holiday in Greece as we’re watching the news about BREXIT, The Greek Mister received a call from a headhunter in London telling him that someone’s interested to hire him. He had a Skype interview and 2 days later, he got the job offer. To say that we were ecstatic is the understatement of the year. We were over the moon!

I don’t really know why we never considered London as a city to move to before, somehow it slipped our minds that there might be an opportunity for my husband there as well. It’s most probably because there are so many British in the Middle East that we somehow think that they’re running away from the place. Well as they say, one’s lost is another’s gain. I’m sure that they have some valid reasons why they’ve moved to the Middle East and I’d like to think that we do have some valid reasons too as to why we think that moving to London is the best decision we’ve ever made. But you know what? I don’t really care what other people thinks, we KNOW that this is good for us.

I never really enjoyed my time in Doha, there I said it. It might come as a surprise to a lot of people if you’re going to base it on my blog posts and photos that I share on social media but what you’re all seeing is my attempt to make me feel better about my stay in Doha. I did a good job hiding my unhappiness really, specially hiding it from The Greek Mister who was also extremely surprised when I told him what I really feel about Doha. I never complained to him, actually I never voiced out my concern to anyone. I kept it to myself because complaining about it will not change anything.

Ramadanak Tent, Grand Hyatt Doha, PinayFlyingHigh.com

No more casually walking into a 5 star hotel lobby for coffee.

I think even I fooled myself. I did such a good job hiding what I truly felt about Doha that I was even able to fool myself into thinking that everything’s fine. I wanted to be supportive to The Greek Mister whose job was the sole reason why we moved to Doha in the first place. I didn’t want him to think that the move made me miserable as I don’t want to put more burden on him because I know that he wasn’t very happy with the move as well.

Every time he complains (he’s Greek, complaining is a hobby) I try to tell him all the good things about staying in Doha which ultimately boils down to the fact that he has a good job while someone else in the other side of the world would do anything to have it. He never knew that whenever I give him a pep talk, it was also for myself. I needed that reminder everyday.

pool and beach access, St Regis Doha, Pinayflyinghigh.com-9

No more fancy pool days.

I hid my feelings so well that the only time I realized that I’ve been harboring all these emotions towards Doha was when Polly of Follow Your Sunshine hosted a Qatar blogger link-up and the topic was what Doha means to you. I couldn’t be bothered writing a new post about it so I just linked a totally random blog post to it.

As I went through all the other bloggers’ post about what Doha meant to them, I realized that what they’re feeling about Doha was the exact same feeling I’ve had towards Dubai when I was still living there but I will never ever feel the same way towards Doha.

I think that was the turning point for me. I remember reading all the entries and feeling more and more miserable. I was happy for all of the bloggers who can say so many good things about their life in Doha while I was feeling so miserable because I can’t even write a coherent sentence about it. That was February 2016 and it was also the time when I finally told The Greek Mister that we need to get out of Doha.

Picnic brunch at The Lagoon, Ritz Carlton Doha, Pinayflyinghigh.com-2

No more expensive boozey Friday brunches.

Don’t get me wrong, my unhappiness was self-inflicted. It has nothing to do with Doha specifically. It was my own fault why I was miserable. I left a good job in Dubai where I stayed for 7 years and transferred to Doha as a housewife. Well yeah, I have this blog which I think did pretty well but I realized that it was just another way for me to mask my real feelings towards Doha.

I didn’t want to be a housewife completely so I exhausted all my effort and time on this blog because I want to be able to say that I did something good during my stay in Doha. I attended events, met people and created friendships through this blog and I will be forever thankful for that.

I obsessed on this blog for the entire duration of my stay in Doha. I focused on getting projects and sending out proposals to every brands who’d possibly work with me. Working 6 days a week and 12 hours a day. I realized now that I did all that because I wanted to validate my existence in Doha. I wanted to look back to it and remember something that I’ve done really good and I was determined that this blog would be that “something”. I did a pretty good job if you ask me. Whatever this blog is right now, I only have Doha to thank for.

But if I’m completely being honest, I’d rather have a real corporate job and have this blog as a hobby (which is how I started in the first place anyway) rather than having my blog as my full-time job.

Songkran Festival, Grand Hyatt Doha PinayFlyingHigh.com-29

Some days were better than the others definitely.

I think more than the place itself, I was more miserable because I wasn’t doing anything really worthwhile. Worthwhile in a sense that if I stop doing what I’m doing, someone will look for me. I think having a corporate job is exactly that. If you don’t go to work one day, surely your boss will call you and ask you where the hell you are. I didn’t write anything on this blog for 2 weeks and nobody asked where I was. So yes, there’s a difference.

I was born to work I think. I have nothing against the housewives but I guess, it just wasn’t for me. I had this blog when I was working full time in Dubai and enjoyed it more then than I do now. I do like the corporate structure – having a demanding boss, having colleagues to talk to when I feel like bitching about my boss, having a fixed timing and fixed salary.

You’re probably asking why I didn’t get a job in Doha then? Honestly, I tried but because of my third-world country passport, the salary is too low for such a stressful 6-day a week and 14-hour work shift. None of the companies I applied to considered my Dubai experience, they only saw my passport and they already have a number to give me. Sucks, right? I think that if I worked in Doha with that salary, it would make me more miserable than I already was.

Pool and beach access Intercontinental Doha PinayFlyingHigh.com-33

What’s in store for me now? A LOT!

Whenever someone tells me they’re enjoying life in Doha, I always feel happy for them – partly jealous as well because I desperately want to feel the same way but I just couldn’t get myself around it. I only have myself to blame though because I never gave Doha a chance. I tried to mask what I was feeling instead of dealing with it upfront. But how do you deal with it?

Do I regret moving to Doha? Not at all. I was happy to be given the opportunity to live there and was also quite pleased that I was able to form my own opinion about it with a first-hand experience. I know that not everything you see in the media is true and I can tell ignorant people to f*ck off if they say anything bad about this region while never having to set foot there. Would I live there again? Possibly not at this time but I won’t say never.

Now that we’ve moved to London, I feel free. I plan to go back to work and just the thought of it makes me so very excited. I can’t work for the first three months though for visa reasons but I’m already looking at job opportunities right now. I seriously can’t wait to go back to work.

I won’t be abandoning this blog, never. I’ll continue on writing about my shenanigans in London but probably shorter than this one. (Lol) I hope you’ll continue on following me?

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16 Comments

  • Reply elena nikolova October 24, 2016 at 21:28

    Oh, that is such an excellent post. As someone who is moving from UK ( North) to Doha and is Greek I find it fascinating and glad to stumple upon your page. I really hope I like Doha since we are moving for the Mister. I also have a blog which is a full time job and I definitely enjoy it and looking forward to a new change of scenery. We really wanted to get out of the UK so it’s an opportunity to explore a different world. I am not sure how I feel about the passport thing and the cultural change but I guess we will find out.

    I wish you all the best in London, I love the UK and we will be back for sure. It’s a nice place to live and the greenery (minus the rain) is beautiful. 🙂

    • Reply Pinay Flying High October 24, 2016 at 21:59

      Geia sou Elena! That’s so funny! Our lives are kind of intertwined a bit. Lol.

      I wish you all the best in Doha. Do contact me when you’re already there, I can connect you with some other bloggers in Doha. 🙂

  • Reply vinneve September 2, 2016 at 13:09

    I do agree with you 100% as I am feeling the same way unfortunately, haha!
    I am happy for U having to find a new place to call home 🙂 I hope someday I can do the same.
    I have a similar situation like you. From a full time working mom with high paying job to a housewife living in AD now.
    Goodluck to your new endeavour and so I won’t miss your update anymore will subscribe from now on! 🙂
    It’s been awhile since you last checked my blog so if you have time please do so hehehe 🙂 Cheers!
    vinneve recently posted…Novotel in Switzerland North & SouthMy Profile

    • Reply Pinay Flying High September 7, 2016 at 19:48

      The transition is really hard for some while others breeze through it. I’m one of the former.
      Hopefully you’d be able to overcome it too. 🙂

  • Reply Tanja (the Red phone box travels) August 26, 2016 at 13:25

    enjoy London!
    Tanja (the Red phone box travels) recently posted…What has travel taught me?(#TravelLinkup)My Profile

    • Reply Pinay Flying High September 7, 2016 at 20:30

      Thank you Tanja.
      By the way, I tried to leave comments on your site but it’s not letting me. 🙁

  • Reply Joy Caasi August 22, 2016 at 07:54

    In some ways, I do feel you. There would be days that I really hate Dubai but then again, the city unleashed the creative side of me. I’m happy to know you’re in London now tho! I will connect you with a friend (he’s a head hunter) and I think you will definitely find a place to use all this blogging gigs. 🙂 happy for you ate Noemi!

    • Reply Pinay Flying High September 7, 2016 at 20:34

      Thank you very much Joy.
      I never felt the same way when I was in Dubai, most possibly because I was working in Dubai then. I’m not going to make the same mistake here in London, I’m definitely ready and too excited to go back to work. :p I’ll reply to your message re: CV. 🙂

  • Reply PINAYSKATTEBASSE August 20, 2016 at 12:29

    It’s sad reading the part “they look at my passport and gave me a number”. I wonder when we’ll ever be seen as competent as others?
    PINAYSKATTEBASSE recently posted…Copenhagen – Bubbly man & ::Trøffelsvin::My Profile

    • Reply Pinay Flying High September 7, 2016 at 21:07

      The saddest part of it all is, we think it’s normal. In Dubai and Doha, your passport sets your social and professional status. Unfortunately.

  • Reply Photo cache August 20, 2016 at 05:43

    Best wishes on your adventure. I am sure that with the varied culturally enriching activities and sights and sounds that are new to you, you would be more inspired to live the life you always wanted but did not get in Doha. All the best. Hopefully you’ll find time in between the theater and the restaurants to blog.
    Photo cache recently posted…Cancun: A Lazy Blue MorningMy Profile

    • Reply Pinay Flying High September 7, 2016 at 21:08

      Hahaha thank you very much. So far so good. I feel like a bird freed out of the cage. :p

  • Reply trainswestcan2espano August 19, 2016 at 15:13

    Noemi: you are due for a surprise. I mean why- will I have no more exotic meals to consider?
    London can be all seasons in a day, you have landed during a reaL SUMMER.
    In 1990 my first experience was late April and five days of sunshine before venturing onto the continent and navigating around from Netherlands to Switzerland and Rome before returning to Paris. 3 days later as we were leaving it rained. ” Paris wept on our departure”.
    Only one other day in that 7 weeks visit was spoiled by rain and cold wind, the last Friday, 9th June.
    Now cost of living. London can be expensive certainly in the City- Westminster area. For a plain take away meal of cheese, fruit and biscuit it cost me 2pds 8 shillings then, for about the same quantity out in the country I paid only 85 pence. Country pubs are a fantastic resource for meals, although not all a la carte.
    The west country, Worcester, Hereford, Gloucester is well worth a visit.
    Brian

    • Reply Pinay Flying High September 7, 2016 at 21:09

      The Greek Mister and I both can’t wait to explore much of London and beyond. We’re loving it here! 🙂

  • Reply Jeanette August 19, 2016 at 14:52

    I can kind of relate. My husband’s career has moved us from San Francisco to Houston. The possibility of moving overseas is very real. I haven’t worked in 4 years. I quit my job and career in Chicago to move with him to SF. I knew we only had 2 yrs there, so I never really looked for work. Now, we’re going on 2yrs (this week) in Houston. Again, haven’t really thought about working again much. Every once in awhile it pops in my head. But, at this point, I’m so much happier not working and I loved my career. However, I love my stress free life more. My husband comes home to a happy wife, a stress free wife, a clean home and dinner ready. I’ve started to call myself a Lady of Leisure and I love it! I know I have a good thing. But, it did take me awhile to adjust to Houston from San Francisco. I was so in love with SF. I still am. We got engaged and married in SF. But, We’ve bought our 1st home in Houston. It’s starting to feel like home. When I really hated living in Houston in thy beginning, I definitely told my husband. I even made it a point to cut off all my hair, like a spoiled brat, to prove how much I hated the heat in Texas. When friends would ask, so how do you like Houston? Like a snob, I would reply, well, it’s not San Francisco! And I think that lasted about a good year of me refusing to embrace Houston. But, after year 1, we bought our house. I started to make my own friends (not husband’s work colleagues or their wives) and really focus on my blog. It took a year, but ask me now going on year 2, I say, Houston, is home for now and I’m going to make the most of it.

    • Reply Pinay Flying High September 7, 2016 at 21:11

      I tried really hard to at least enjoy it in Doha however unfortunately, no matter what I do – never worked. The change from Doha to London is so drastic – weather, lifestyle and rules – but we’re embracing it! 🙂

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