Tuesday, 9 September 2014

I've pinched this tag from Rosalyn ( - i've never met her but she's a fellow Doha dweller and I love reading her blog. This is my first blog tag and I guess it answers some of the questions my friends and family ask me so it's useful for me to answer them all in one hit!


1. What’s your name? (None of my friends and family ask me this question, FYI!)


2. Which country do you live in?
Doha, Qatar. Aka the 'sandpit'!

3. Do you live alone or with your family?
I live with two girls that I work with and who I worked with in London, Sara and Jemma

4. How long have you lived there?
It's been a year and a month now - where has the time gone?!

5. Have you ever lived in another country? Which one?
Before moving to the desert, I've lived in England since I was born.

6. How old are you?
Three weeks away from turning 27

7. Why did you decide to move abroad?
I worked for Al Jazeera Sport for three years in London, and they decided to close down the London office and move the entire operation to Doha, Qatar (where our channel has now been re branded as BeIn Sports). I was given the opportunity to move out here and join the Doha team, which I obviously took! I didn't have too much time to make my decision but it's a leap I'm very glad I took.

8. Was it hard do get a residence permit/visas?
My company took care of organising both of the above (although some of the processes involved in obtaining the RP such as the medical and finger printing were a bit tedious). Before moving out to Doha we had to send the company our education certificates and have these notarised by a solicitor, and stamped by the Qatar Embassy in London
, which was time consuming and expensive. I did a blog post on that way back before I moved out here if you want to find out more about my experience with that!

9. What was the worst experience you’ve had there?
Being a 7 hour flight away when I got the call to say that my dad had lung cancer. Being that same 7 hour flight away when he went in for his surgery, and having to wait a day and a half before I could get an exit permit to leave the country to see him because it happened to fall on a weekend when nobody is at work to help to organise these things. That, and ending up in intensive care for 5 nights myself after developing septisemia and pneumonia. It hasn't been the best start to 2014 for me and my family! But we've come through it all x

10. Tells us about a tourist attraction/sightseeing place you like and talk a little bit about it.
I suppose if anyone was coming to visit me, like my mum is in October (hellooo mum) there are a few things I would take her to see and do: Desert safari (dune bashing in a 4x4.. See previous post!), Katara (Doha's cultural village, a lovely sea front walk with some lovely restaurants), the Souq (traditional market with cute restaurants, and a maze of shops selling all sorts of odds and ends), the Villagio mall (the most impressive interior of any mall in Doha - and any mall I have ever seen for that matter! Indoor gondola river, need I say more?) other than these sights, probably all of the 5* hotels because they are just so opulent.

11. Do you speak the local language? Do you think it’s important to learn it?
No, and my Qatari colleague Hani is forever telling me off for being here for a year and only knowing 'hello', 'thank you' and 'finished' (my personal favourite... Khalas!) It is important because it shows you are making an effort in the country you now live in, not because you need to speak it to get by. Everybody speaks English which is a completely ignorant view to have - I would love to be able to speak another language.

12. What do you think about the country you live in? How well do they receive foreigners?
I'm still very undecided, after being here for a year, what I really think about my adopted country. A lot of the time I find it hugely frustrating, but there are elements that I love, and elements I would certainly miss when I leave. I wouldn't say Doha is (and potentially might never be) a tourist destination but foreigners are very accepted here, but possibly because they are so needed. The entire labour work force is made up of foreign workers, there are a huge number of expat teachers and a multitude of other industries operating in Qatar have a vast number of foreign employees, my own industry included.

13. Do you miss your family?
Every single day. I try to phone home on FaceTime every day or text at least. I think this whole experience has made our already close family even closer as we've been through a lot together over the past year despite not being in the same country.

14. What products from your home country do you miss the most?
Cadburys chocolate that tastes like Cadburys chocolate! It's got this peculiar taste to it that just isn't right. Oh and Batiste dry shampoo!!To be honest we can get most things here that you can get in the UK. The thing for me is the consistency of being able to find things in the supermarket - one day they are there, and the next week they aren't, and then it's weeks and weeks before they reappeare, if at all. Mostly I just miss Tesco. You can get whatever you want in Tesco!

15. What are your plans for the future? Do you want to live there forever?
Absolutely not! Doha for me is not a forever place, which is why I want to make the most of being here, as right now I don't know how long my desert adventure will continue for. I have to factor in my job, my relationship, and my own personal life goals, as well as my family, before I can even begin to say what my future plans will be. I certainly wouldn't ever rule out living abroad again after living here though, it's opened up a whole new world for me.

16. What’s something you use everyday where you live that you think your home country should also have?
I would have to agree with Rosalyn and say air con! When I went home for the summer it was a rare week of British summer time and it was unbearable trying to sleep at night without air con. A fan just didn't cut it! One thing I think Doha has that Britain could certainly do with is an ID card system. And banks sending SMS messages to your phone after every transaction - so useful!

17. What suggestions or tips would you give to someone who wants to live in this country?
Be prepared for all of the trials and frustrations that come with working and living out here. Be respectful of the culture - cover up where you need to. Learn a bit more of the language than I have managed to do! Be prepared to make friends outside of your work, it will benefit your life here enormously. Don't mix up your 1 Riyal notes with your 100 Riyal notes... Riyals are not Monopoly money and there is a vast difference between those two blue notes!

18. If you could describe in one word your experience in this country, what would it be?
Bonkers (and hot)

Hope you've enjoyed this post - I quite enjoyed thinking about my experience here from different angles.

If my answers haven't put you off, come for a visit :)




  1. I found it really interesting to read your answers and I totally agree about missing dry shampoo too! I'm sorry to hear about your family's health issues so far this year. It's so hard to be away from people when these things happen but I'm glad to hear everyone is doing well. We should meet up some time if you fancy it? X

    1. Apparently they sell dry shampoo in Dubai, so make sure you stock up on your birthday trip! Ah thank you - was a tough start to the year, its things like that when you really realize just how far away you really are! Would love to meet up - as we're both such foodies maybe we can go to one of our many favourite Doha eateries :) x