Tag Archives: middle east

Social Creatures

One of the great things about living in a compound is that you get to meet lots of new people and socialising becomes incredibly easy and simply, I guess you can call it socialising for those too lazy to live in the real world!

Socialising Made Easy!  Social Animal.

It may all sound rather hippyish, but living in a compound as part of a community has tremendous advantages, especially when you have a very sociable 4 year old, and her parents are equally as sociable too.

This evening we had a couple of people round for pizza and garlic bread (diet went right out of the window tonight), there were three kids and a few grown ups, it was a great way to end the day.

The day started rather early, earlier than usual but a little later than what it will be starting on Sunday. I dropped Cathy off at school at 6:30 and off she went to do her finger prints etc etc. When things are organised properly, it’s amazing what can be achieved with relative ease, by 7:30 she was on her way back to school to continue her day.

Katja had another play date this morning which for the second day in a row allowed me to crack on with a bunch of stuff I had to do – I collected her at 12 and went home, a little later I collected Cathy and we did some shopping. In some ways, this is the sort of routine I am referring to as part of settling down, leading what can be deemed as a normal(ish) day.

As I was walking to pick Katja up, I could really feel the sun burning, it is only a maximum of a couple of hundred yards from home but you can really feel it. I must admit I felt very guilty even thinking about having a moan about the heat. I think the only people allowed to moan about the heat are those who have to work in it, those who have transport without air con and go to stinking hot accommodation. I have no right to even contemplate moaning about how hot it is, I get to work in an air conditioned property and drive an air conditioned vehicle.

The rest of the week is looking relatively quiet as far as plans are concerned, we decided that rather than going out blind looking for places, we will decide where to go first and head in that direction rather than driving aimlessly, there’s loads to discover here. On Saturday we are popping in to the rugby club, Kati is interested in rugby and I would like to encourage her to do it as it is such a great sport!


Meet the Teacher!

All good things have to come to an end, in this case it’s Katja’s summer holidays which are very quickly coming to an end! As a schoolboy, I remember so clearly the end of the summer holidays, the beginning of term used to feel darkness which became lighter and lighter as the holidays approached!

Back to School for Katja! HAPPY FACE LOLZ

So, today was meet the teacher day at Qatar Academy, it is basically an opportunity for kids to meet their new teacher and to familiarise themselves with their new environment, particularly important for kids who just like Katja are newbies in this particular school.

She has three lovely teachers, yes, you read correctly, three! One is the main teacher, one is an assistant and the third one is an Arabic support teacher who will also be teaching Arabic, currently, I think there are 19 kids in her class. The classroom is bright and nicely decorated with lots of resources at hand, there are plenty of activities and toys of every description, of course, Katja had to go and find the anatomically correct dolls and start commenting on the various bits and pieces….bless her. Meet the teacher days are also an opportunity for parents to meet the teacher too and to find out about various things happening etc, etc. In our case it is a bit simpler as Cathy works in the same school so we already know a lot of stuff about routines etc, etc, etc. I was handed a form to fill in which really took me back to my schooldays, I’m not sure if I passed or failed, however, one thing I can say is that my handwriting is appalling, it was never good to start off with but as I am becoming more mature (I am trying to avoid the word older!) it seems to have become worse, I guess I hardly ever do any writing other than on a computer which doesn’t help a great deal. I am hoping that because they probably won’t understand my handwriting I may not have failed! OK, in fairness it was a simple(ish) form with lots of hard questions such as discipline procedures at home, educational targets and what’s the meaning of life!

Cathy’s also meeting parents today, however, shes doing it as a teacher, all the hard work from the past few weeks culminating in an impressive display for parents and a welcoming environment for her new students.

Then as part of our new routine we are off shopping for the week and to finish the day we’ll meet up with friends in the club house for a bite to eat and a swim, not a bad way to end the day, week, summer holidays!


Second Weekend in Qatar

Thursday being our new Friday and having weekends made up of Friday and Saturday will take some time to get used to, but like everything else, it is all part of adjusting to a new country, a new lifestyle and of course, a new and most interesting culture. Last weekend which was actually our first weekend in Qatar was taken up mostly by running around sorting stuff for Katja’s birthday party which meant that we had no time to explore our new surroundings etc etc.

Settling into a Routine

One of the important parts of settling in is to get into some sort of routine, at least this works for us. Part one was unpacking and setting up home, this was soon followed by having a set of wheels and then settling into some sort of routine, by the way, having a routine and being stuck in a rut are two very different things!

So, what’s our routine? well, just like anywhere else in the world, shopping is a necessary evil, I hate it with passion but hey, it’s one of those things that just has to be done. While we are on our honeymoon period with Qatar I must admit I don’t mind it all that much, however, I am sure that in time I will soon grow to seriously dislike it as I do in all other countries we have lived in. After school finished I will pick Cathy up and we will then go shopping. We have our shopping list ready so it shouldn’t be all that bad – The whole point of doing the shopping today is to get it out of the way, done and dusted, then tomorrow we can go out and explore this fascinating country….. after we have cleaned the apartment of course!

After shopping we’ll pop across to the club house and have a bite to eat then go for a swim. We have always had bar Friday, this entailed meeting up with friends, have a few beers and some food. Here, it is bar Thursday (not quite the same ring to it but I am sure we’ll get there in the end), this entails meeting friends, having a bit to eat over a couple of glasses of fresh cold water (remember, no alcohol in the club house) then followed by a swim, not too shabby at all really! A little anecdote for you! Our bar Friday routine has been so ingrained in Kati’s mind that when she was learning the days of the week, allegedly, she corrected the teacher when it came to Friday, Kati said: “it’s not Friday Miss, it’s Bar day!”

This morning I am having a bit of a catching up morning, Kati’s gone for a play date with one of the girls in the compound, they are both of a similar age and will be in the same class at school together. Kati gets to play, I get to catch up on things, win win situation! When Cathy finishes school today Kati will go for a quick medical check up for school, weight, height all the usual stuff and then on Sunday 7th September, Kati starts school (yes, it does feel strange saying that, the Sunday bit, not the starting school part).

What’s on the agenda for the weekend? camel crossing

We’ll head out for a drive tomorrow, Kati is desperate to see some camels so we’ll head out into the “countryside” or desert without going off road of course as we are in a hire car. Jeremy Clarkson (I think it was him) referred to hire cars as the best 4 x 4 ever made, however, we won’t be doing that as I don’t want to lose our deposit! As from October there’s a place that does camel races so we’ll definitely be going to that, Kati will love it, no doubt! As the weather is still quite warm, we are looking for things to do that involve being close to air con or in an air conditioned environment. We really can’t wait to go and explore when it cools down a bit, probably in 4 to 6 weeks more or less. When we come back we have an invite to go to one of the other teacher’s houses for refreshments, rumor has it there’ll be beer, of the real variety! One of the (many) things we like here is that things seem to start early and finish early. We have our tea at around 17:30 and end up going to bed at around 21:00 hrs, this suits us just fine. When Kati starts school it will definitely be early nights for her. I’ll be taking the girls to school at 06:15, classes start at 07:00 and Kati this year will be finishing at 12:00; Cathy finishes at 15:00. So, if you think about timings, we will be getting up at around 05:00 which is not an issue at all for us as we are early birds anyway.

Saturday we are off looking at cars, we can’t do a great deal until we have our RP (Resident’s Permit) but at least we want to identify what to buy; this is usually the real fun bit. Then after that I chatted with someone on Twitter and we’ll arrange to meet up with him, it will be nice to meet someone who isn’t a teacher!




Katja in Qatar

From a very early age we realised Katja would absolutely thrive being part of a community, was saw this as she took her first steps in Bulgaria and being part of AAS (Anglo American School), this continued during our year in Spain in which she made friends with some amazingly nice people (I won’t add names as I am worried about missing people out but you know who you are) and now we are seeing her thriving in Qatar.

One of the big problems Katja faced in Spain was that she wasn’t part of one thing or another. She was traveling (along with Cathy) the best part of 100 miles per day. They would leave home at 7 am and return home circa 6 pm, 5 pm on an early day. Not only was Kati extremely tired after the best part of 11 hours out but also missed out in making friends her own age in the village yet at the same time was too far from her school friends to be able to have play dates etc etc. As I said above, due to her outgoing and sociable personality, she made some amazing friends in Monda, even if they were a little bit older than her………OK, quite a bit older…………….OK, OK, a lot older!

So, what has today consisted of?

Cathy went to school as usual, Kati was in a very mellow sort of mood and played happily by herself so I got on with a few things I had to do. We (I) opted for not going out for the sake of going out as we were going out for tea. After Cathy had signed the contract for her new job here, she was assigned a buddy, someone who she can get more info from and bounce ideas from. Lou (Cathy’s buddy) lives in the same compound as us and has two boys slightly older than Kati. She very kindly invited us over for tea so we had a lovely meal while Kati played with the boys and had fun. After tea we went across the road to the club house and enjoyed the rest of the evening chatting to people and having a nice swim. Now, this is where it gets interesting for Kati (and for us too for that matter). A lot of people go across to the club house, it is a great opportunity to socialise and meet new people, within seconds of Kati jumping in the pool she was playing with loads of kids who also live in the compound. To say she had a blast is an understatement. This is very much what she needed, to mix with kids her own age, to be a kid and not to be expected to behave like a mini adult at all times.

IMG_20140824_193100We are firm believers that in this environment Kati will thrive, not just from an educational point of view but as a person. Talking with so many people who have been here several years and have kids slightly older than Kati, they all seem to say the same thing; this is a fabulous environment for kids to grow up in and how their kids have thrived in all aspects of life.

As I said yesterday, we are all growing up together, just because you’re an adult, it doesn’t mean you ever stop growing up!