One of the most mind-boggling challenges facing anyone planning a move abroad is simply where to live. Many people want to transport their conventional idea of a comfortable home from their home country to the new country, only to find out that they can’t.
My husband was the first of our family to arrive in Doha and was charged with the daunting task of finding accommodation for us. Soon after arriving, he cornered colleagues and quizzed acquaintances about the best housing options in order to begin his hunt for a house. He had a month to find housing before the company stopped covering the cost of his hotel room.
During one of many heated Skype conversations that took place over the following weeks, he informed me that we should live in a compound. Cue the panic attacks!
The word had negative connotations for me. A prison came to mind, a place where battery hens are kept perhaps, a factory using highly toxic materials, or just somewhere you would go to hide away from the world. It certainly didn’t sound like home.
After some research (which consisted of a couple of internet searches and a conversation with a friend whose friend’s sister had lived on a compound in Abu Dhabi), I slowly began feeling less scared. And so, we took the plunge and opted for an apartment in a large compound.