We’ve all been there: upon returning to our home countries, be it for vacation or for good, we immediately start complaining about certain things, because they are not how we want/expect them to be! What seemed completely normal to you before moving to Qatar is now bringing a deep frown to your sun-beaten face, and general anxiety into your life. Uh-oh, looks like living in the Middle East for too long has taken its toll on you!
Here are some of the most common signs that you’ve been spoiled by your life in Qatar!
*Take note that what you read below was written for fun. All sarcasm is intended, and so are the puns. 😉 Also, I’m a pro at ranting, and it shows.
1. You get upset if you can’t find a restaurant serving genuine South Asian / North African / Mediterranean food within a 10km radius from your house.
Like, what the hell? Why does every food outlet sell either a sad local rip-off of a pizza, or a variety of sketchy-looking national dishes? What if I want a kofta? WHAT IF I WANT A SPICY PAPAYA SALAD?! Also, you can’t even prepare your desired meal at home. Firstly, because you have no idea how. Secondly, because half of the ingredients are either not available locally or cost a small fortune. Think: 5$ for a small bottle of fish sauce (true story!).
2. Also, where’s Nobu?
And all the rest of the fancy hotel restaurants. And since when there’s only one restaurant per hotel available, serving an eclectic mix of dishes from everywhere, grandly labeled as “continental food”. If continental food is what you crave, you can find some in your pantry at home.
3. You want to go for a decent brunch only to discover nobody in your town knows what a “brunch” is…
“Is it like when you wake up at 11am and fry some eggs??” – they ask, while you cry inside wondering if you’ll ever have proper food again. Granted, you probably also had no idea what does “brunch” stand for before you moved to Doha. But you know that now, don’t you? So why doesn’t everyone else know that, too? 😉
4. You’re outraged because people suddenly stopped noticing how cute, smart and generally amazing your baby/toddler/preschooler is.
What happened to those countless strangers stopping to talk to your children? Where’s the restaurant staff entertaining them while you eat? What happened to the feeling of privilege BECAUSE you have a kid with you? And why does everyone in this hostile place roll their eyes when your offspring throws a minor tantrum on the supermarket floor? 😉
5. You don’t understand why most shops close at 9pm and people like to stay at home in the evening.
While in Poland, I go to the public swimming pool every week and finish at around 9pm. My way back home always creeps me out so much, because there’s literally NOBODY in the street. Everything is closed, people are at home, my neighborhood turns into a ghost town. Wanna do a quick grocery run at 10pm? Be my guest, if you don’t mind buying your food at a gas station…
6. You realize that 99% of schools in your area follow the same boring local curriculum, and are generally not “fancy” enough.
Like: what do you mean there’s only one IB school in the whole region? And what if you want your kids to follow a Finnish curriculum?? How come most of society decides to send their kids to public schools, where teachers are overtired and underpaid, and facilities lacking?
7. Feeling hot? Turn on the ac! Oh, wait…
Nowhere in the world will you ever find such an abundance of air conditioning units like in the Middle East. Admit it, you got used to easily manipulating the temperature around you and wearing the same outfit at home all year round! What if I told you that you will have to spend your summer cooling down in front of an open refrigerator, because ac might not be a piece of standard house equipment in other parts of the world…?
8. You wonder why the waitress in the only pizza place open after 9pm doesn’t seem overly excited to see you.
You got so used to the amazing Filipino waiting staff that everyone in your home country seems ultra-grumpy in comparison. 😉 You’re considering giving a 1-star review because you didn’t hear a loud & cheerful “Hello, how are you today?!” upon entering. Get off your high horse! 😉
9. You expect your apartment building to have a pool, or at least a small gym.
Like seriously, you can get the fanciest apartment in town, but when you ask about a swimming pool and other facilities, they will look at you like you lost your mind. Quoting one of my favorite books: Inconceivable. 🙂
10. Clouds! Why all the clouds? Where is the sun?? And why is it so COLD?!
Admit it: while in Qatar, you tend to complain about forgetting what a rainy day looks like (I certainly do 😉 ). Boom! Suddenly, rainy days are all you get! And not only that: it’s also windy and foggy and super cold. You don’t know how to be outside if the temperature is below 20’C, so you panic and spend your days on a sofa, covered with a cozy blanket.
11. You’re shocked because you have to get out of your car at the petrol station. 😀 Also, why is petrol so damn expensive?!
On some stations, there’s nobody outside to assist you and you even have to put the petrol in by yourself *gasp*. Also, if you got used to petrol prices in Qatar changing once a month – tough luck. They hike overnight without any warning, only to go back down 2 days later… You end up spending your mornings spying at the petrol stations’ price displays.
12. “What do you mean: I have to pay to use a public toilet?!”
When I first moved to Qatar, I used to carry small notes in my pocket every time I wanted to use a bathroom in a park or shopping mall, because I didn’t believe all of them are actually free of charge! Raise your hand if you’re guilty of the same. 🙂 Now, you expect it to be this way everywhere you go. Tough luck!
13. You get pulled over by the police and end up paying a huge fine, because you forgot that the speed limit inside the city is 50km/h, not 80km/h…
Also, you need to forget about the “Doha style of driving” (which is, in all honesty, not a bad thing at all!) and start obeying traffic rules just like everyone else. 😉
14. Why does such a huge chunk of my salary disappear every month?!
Ah yes, THE INCOME TAX. Forgot what it is? If you’re back to your “old” life outside of the Middle East, you can kiss a big portion of your salary goodbye! Gone are the days when numbers from your employment contract were the very same numbers that showed up on your bank account. And, worst of all, there’s nothing that you can do about it!
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