1 year ago when I came to Doha I was full of hope and excitement. Being an expat was a dream I had since college. It sounded so cool to experience new cultures and learn new ways of doing business while teaching my ways to co-workers from strictly different backgrounds. It almost sounded like a paid vacation! It's a vacation alright but for a very different reason.
In Qatar you don't get to experience the Qatari culture because they are so secluded, you rather experience a mixture of Arab, Indian and Filipino culture. Everyone is deliberately rude. Everyone reflects their frustration and disappointment at all times. Except for the waiters and waitresses who greet you in the most fake manner possible. You know when people are on a diet, they give themselves a cheat day on the weekends as if the calories don't count. People here are always on a cheat day. Due to lack of entertainment activities people just eat out their boredom.
There is no middle ground. Things are either very luxurious and expensive or very low quality and still expensive. This holds true for housing, food, clothing and anything else you can think of. It also applies for the talent. As if someone handpicked the least educated and least open to growth people from each country and assembled a team of ultimate failures. There are of course some super smart, well educated people but they get frustrated quickly and leave at the first chance.
Personally I feel like I have trapped myself here. I'm dating someone who has been happily living here for 11 years and has no intention to leave. My job is boring and frustrating but the pay is good so are the hours. Unless the circumstances push me, I don't see myself making a change and spoil my comfort.
At work, I basically am a one-man-show; I write ad copies and press releases, I develop media plans, communication strategies and event ideas but I always finish by 6 pm. So, I really cannot complain. But its one hell of a lonely office. I'm used to having good friends at work who make the office more homey thus turn the long hours of overtime into long hours of fun. Now, I don't even have 1 person to talk to. It only engage in necessary conversations regarding the work. Sitting silently all day on your desk is a very suffocating task for me.
There is a big difference between friends and acquaintances. The biggest problem of my expat experience is that I have quite a few acquaintances but I don't have many friends. So, it's been a very lonely year for me. I literally spent 1/3 of my year on Facetime talking to my real friends in Turkey. Though its hard to sustain that long distance relationship. You just miss out on too many things in their life and its impossible for them to fathom yours. This isolation is going to drive me crazy at some point.
So, the desert sucks. Its dusty, boring and lonely. My only consolation is that my partner is my best friend and its a good thing to have since we are hoping to spend a lifetime together. Ohh, and he is funny.