I didn’t plan to live nor (especially) settle in Qatar after all my years of wandering around and living in the US, Spain, China, and Russia. I spent that time working as a teacher, backpacking, learning languages, and exploring what the world had to offer. It just happened that one warm and balmy morning in Spain—where I was doing my postgraduate internship—it hit me: why not try the Middle East? I was especially looking to go somewhere that was exotic but not too touristy, somewhere that was yet to be discovered by the crowd. And so I decided on Qatar—I didn’t know much about it and certainly didn’t make any plans. I just scrolled down a feed for job offers, passed an interview, and got an offer. It was all fast, bizarre, blurry, and easy, and it all happened just before my Spanish visa expired and Covid took over.
And I’m glad I chose Qatar because the other option was China and this was all happening in November 2019, a month before it became the epicentre of the Covid-19 outbreak.
“So why are you complaining?” My friends asked. And I already had the list of reasons ready, so I just rattled it off.
A year and a half later and after a job change, I settled more than I planned to, but still not fully. This time, my friends asked, “so why are you staying?”
And it hit me again. Because yes, it had been more than a year. And so I drafted another list in my head with all the pros, while contrasting them with a list of cons to rationalise my stay here.
So, here it is. It is subjective and personal, and please remember that these are only my opinions. And they are contradictory, just like my experience in Qatar so far.