Never regret. If it’s good, it’s wonderful. If it’s bad, it’s experience.
Out of all the times we have moved houses, towns, cities, countries and even continents, this one seemed to be the one that just dragged on and on, and on! We have known since January that we would be moving, so it has been one massively long countdown!
I know I haven’t written much lately, it hasn’t been due to any other reason other than being tied up with several other projects as well as traveling and oh yes, having most of my stuff packed in boxes and crates!
The move started back in April. In fact, we had everything packed by late March as we weren’t entirely sure when our shipment was being collected from our place in Qatar.
The Qatar Experience
Singing Sand Dunes – Qatar 2014
Qatar is a fascinating country, small (bit of an understatement), but very interesting in many respects. Having said this, it is a place we never really warmed up to (despite the brutal temperatures). In my humble opinion, Qatar can be described as an insignificant soulless patch of sand sticking out from Saudi Arabia. It may be trying to make itself heard by meddling in any possible world affairs including hosting the 2022 World Cup as well as “offering shelter” to “Clock Boy”. If you are unfamiliar with Clock Boy, just Google it! But lets face it, it is a pretty insignificant place! In a similar manner in which the smallest dogs try and make the most noise just to get noticed, Qatar is trying to do the same.
We managed to see most of the sites worth seeing in a short period of time, yes, they are all very interesting and offer a wonderful insight into life as it used to be before mega-wealth hit the country and they all forgot how to do anything for themselves as they brought in foreign work forces to do everything for them. There are numerous places of interest worth visiting but once that is done, then there’s very little left. If you love shopping malls and go from one brunch to the other showing off how much money you have earned/ spent and how wealthy you are, then great. Quite frankly, not our scene. We met a number of interesting people who we have made friends with and look forward to keeping in touch with. But other than that, it is a country which didn’t make a lasting impression and one we could quite easily forget.
Katja had a wonderful first year, she had an amazing teacher and two great assistants. On her second year, she wasn’t quite as lucky. Her class teacher was an inexperienced unapproachable character who was very hard to like. Her teaching assistant was a lovely Spanish lady who made it a bit more bearable for Katja. Katja couldn’t wait to finish the year and start a fresh. She went from loving school to not wanting to go in. Even though there had been numerous complaints about this teacher by a number of parents, sadly nothing was done.
Qatar gave us the opportunity to do interesting things such as several camping trips to the desert which is a magical place. It was a lovely experience to watch the sunrise and the sunset in the Qatari desert, as well as visiting places like the Souq, the singing Sand Dunes, the numerous beaches (unfortunately most of them are full of litter and discarded food from barbecues) as well as the numerous opulent shopping malls. Having a Qatari resident permit also meant that we could obtain a transit visa and drive through Saudi. It was an amazing trip to drive through Qatar, Saudi and into the UAE and visit Abu Dhabi followed by Dubai and then onto Muscat in Oman. By the way, if we were to live in the Middle East again, the only country we would consider is Oman!
Packing up & Leaving
Our lives in boxes!
As I said above, we packed everything in late March and our shipment was collected in mid April. We used a shared container to make it a bit cheaper. The removal guys in Qatar were excellent, very slick and professional. Everything was packed with great care and respect. A couple of days after our shipment was collected I headed off to the UK to train with Cycle Experience and do some cycling training in Schools. During all this I popped into Spain to visit my mother and catch up with friends as well as a chance to warm up a little bit as the UK was pretty chilly! In mid May I returned to Qatar to tie up some loose ends. I made my final exit from the country at the beginning of June and headed off to Bulgaria and then back to the UK to do some more cycling training. Cathy and Katja left Qatar on June 19th and we were all reunited back in the UK.
Whenever we are back in the UK it is always pretty hectic as we try and catch up with as many friends as possible. In the middle of all this we also popped over to South Wales for a week’s holiday too.
Our shipment arrived in the UK nearly three months after it had left Doha. We had to make a quick turnaround as it was being air-freighted to Madagascar so as soon as everything arrived, we checked through the boxes as to what to keep and what to forward and 6 days after it arrived in the UK, it was being collected once again and shipped off to a different continent.
As a family we can say we are glad we did Qatar, it was interesting to see a different part of the world and to explore places most people will never had a chance to see. We are glad to be out of this artificial and fake bubble and rejoin the “normal” world once again!