Living now in an Islamic country means we have an entire new culture to respect. One being their laws about alcohol. When comparing to where we have lived, the ability to purchase and drink alcohol has ranged from one end of the spectrum to the other.
We are official residents of Qatar! Every time we have moved to a new country we have had to establish residency in our host country. Obviously every country has its own rules on how to go about it depending on your citizenship, and now we have had a very different experiences as one can imagine.
In Norway, we entered as U.S. citizens, which meant that my husband first had to receive his residency before I could apply for mine. Based off of his employment, I was then entitled to join him in Norway. Every year though I had to go through the renewal process to retain residency though nothing had changed in our personal lives. It was always frustrating because of the amount of documentation that was required, such as copies of passports, documenting dates of our travels outside of Norway, proof of income and proof that I hadn’t received any social benefits. Not to mention that there always seemed to be a back log to process through the citizen service center. Processing times ranged from weeks to months.
If you know me, you know that I like to bake. And I would like to think that I have mastered baking from scratch over the past few years. I find baking to be therapeutic and a good activity to do with a toddler. So, today I decided to bake with my son and found it be quite comical. I had decided to bake the easiest way possible which is to buy a cake mix and add some eggs. Why not from scratch today? Because our temporary accommodations has limited kitchen supplies and sadly, we have yet to stock up on all the food staples such as spices, flour, and oils. We literally have to start from scratch in regards to purchasing food items because we were not allowed to ship any food items to Doha.
A little sense of freedom is the ability to drive yourself somewhere. After a week of being chauffeured around we finally drove through the streets of Doha ourselves. While it seems simple, it is actually quite daunting for many reasons.
The first few days of being an expat are probably the hardest. It is a time of a lot of change and having to rely on others to help you get yourself and your family situated. From the moment we received our assignment, there are flight arrangements to be made, housing decisions, filing for visas, and of course the physical packing up. We are lucky enough that the company took care of all of this, though it is strange for me to have someone else plan almost everything for us. I can only imagine that this is how it would be if I had a personal secretary!
In 2007 my husband and I moved to Oslo, Norway from Cleveland, Ohio. Our plan was to live abroad for only two years. All of a sudden it was 2013, we had a son and we were still living in Oslo. So when we had the chance to move to Copenhagen, Denmark, we were thrilled thinking that it would be similar to Oslo. But Copenhagen wasn’t what we exactly expected and we were ready to move again.
Three days ago we arrived in Doha, Qatar. We are living the crazy expat life now. Through all these changes, we always thought the grass is greener on the other side. What we have learned, is that the grass is greener where you water it.
I usually just share the happier moments, but there are many frustrating, sad, and boring moments in between.
This is my little platform to share with all of you how it is for us living abroad. Enjoy…