I guess, the simple answer is that I've never felt at 'home' here. Our decision to move to Doha was made purely on economic grounds: to save up and leave once enough had been saved.
Enough? How much is enough? Tolstoy's, 'How much land does a man need' is the reality of expat life caught between the current global economic situation and self-imposed standards.
Friends who know me, know my bi-polar love affair with Doha. I love this place when I can step out, garden, go for long walks or run in the park. BUT, escape is all I can think of when the summer sun starts scorching my spirits.
Lucky for you, I'm writing this post in April of 2016. Doha recorded its wettest March this year. We've had rain almost every weekend. I know. I know. Had I still been living in London, I would've whacked myself for being so happy about the rain. I've changed, you see. Or at least, my perspective. The first week here, in 2009, I would pull the curtains back to reveal a cerulean sky everyday. Everyday, it was the same clean blue canvas and not a threat of a cloud to spoil our BBQ plans.
"Let's go to the beach." I would announce every weekend. The children had not turned, yet. I was still boss. They listened to my ideas and actually enjoyed following them through. They will revolt in about a year. But, we enjoyed many sunny days on the beautiful beaches of Doha in that first year we moved here. The husband and I still do with friends, whenever we can. The children grew up and we grew 'uncool'.
(note: a character in a T.V. drama I was watching used 'cerulean' to describe the colour of the sky and the other one said, "You must be a writer." I decided, then and there, that Doha sky will forever be cerulean from now on -- in all my posts)
Ego trip aside, the sky here never fails to impress me: day or night.
The moon, whether it's high in the sky when it's a slice of silver or hanging low on the horizon, full and swollen, has never been this beautiful in any sky in any place I've called home, Dehradun or London. You have to see it to believe it. Sadly, my camera does not capture the night sky, so I will leave it to your imagination.
I can, however, share some shots of a rising sun that I took about 30 km south of Doha, at Regency Camp on the 5th of March 2016.
Long walks and not so long jogs and runs (with Danielle) in Aspire Park make the winter months in Doha a real treat.
Doha feels like home now. It's still not home, but it's starting to feel like it. Strangely, it's the things we hadn't planned to save up for that have turned this transient address into a home I'm happy to come back to. Pottering in the back yard, yoga, reading, writing, cooking for family, sharing with friends, blogging, going for long walks and (till two months ago) teaching have all conspired to drive me from the over-active, over-worked, over-stressed mother of two to my more gentle-paced self of today. For this, I'm grateful to Doha. Its slow pace has made me mindful of the wealth I truly want to amass. Perhaps, it's not about amassing at all. I had it wrong all these years. I'm beginning to feel that it's all about unburdening, dissipating the unnecessary to find the real me.
"We are slowing down,but waking up.We are producing less,but learning more.We are doing less,and experiencing more."
says William Martin in 'The Sage's Tao Te Ching.'
A handful of harvest from my yard this week: Mulberries (grown in pots). These jewels are tart and juicy.
I have time in the mornings to stand in my back yard, sip adrak wali chai (ginger masala tea) to witness the tug-o-war that goes on between me and the birds to see who gets to the mulberries first. I eat mine discreetly after washing them, of course. They nibble on them on stalks and leave stains on the floor tiles as evidence-- fearlessly!
If you have time, come over and have tea in my back yard with me:)