Single Life in Doha - A Woman's Perspective
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This means that old-world values, such as gender-segregated schooling environments, are still upheld and considered core to national identity.
Similarly, males are considered the natural head of the family, and Western expats should be prepared for a typically patriarchal society.
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Dress in Qatar While non-Qatari women are not expected to wear the abaya, a black robe-like covering, expat women should dress appropriately when at shopping malls, the souqs, the Corniche and other public areas. This means covering the arms, at least with short sleeves, and wearing dresses, skirts and shorts that come past the knee.
Dressing appropriately in Qatar will also ensure that expat women will avoid being stared at, or attracting other unwelcome attention from men while out in the city men, often far from their wives and families, greatly outnumber women in Doha. Hotels are generally more permissive when it comes to dress, and can be an enclave for expats, but keeping the culture in mind while getting there and away is important.
A good principle for the expat woman is to always have a shawl in one's handbag or car to use for covering up if needing to get out of the car in public unexpectedly, or for unexpectedly chilly air-conditioned interiors.
House help is widely available at a reasonable price — one of the great benefits of living here, particularly for those with young children. As a result, expat women may find infinitely more hours to spend with their family and friends or on hobbies. The transition can be challenging at first when women left at home alone must find ways to fill the time.
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The stylists often have difficulty with this. I did find a Lebanese stylist who's a lot of fun.
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Because of these things, lots of people wait until they go home to get their hair done and to stock up on products. Is there anything that you miss living in Doha? I've learned to live without anything that was a comfort from home.
There are times you crave something food-wise and just do without. They just got pork here last week, which is sold by the store that sells the alcohol, but I don't really care. I miss microbrews; I like a good local beer. Here, you have the tops — Corona, Amstel — no microbrews, but as a result I've lost quite a bit of weight. By the way, this is one of the biggest issues of women in Qatar: Almost every woman I know here has gained weight initially.
It can be relocation and stress, but the food is pretty bread-based if you let it be, so you can gain weight. And eating late can be an issue; Arabs tend to eat later, so if I want to be social with Arab friends, I won't get to eat in the evening on a work day until 9, 10, or even 11, so I eat most of my food earlier, so I'm not eating so late. It took me about two years to lose the weight. Aside from foods, exercise is a problem.
It is not an active culture. People tend to be very sedentary. Workplaces such as my school may have an exercise facility, and some compounds do, but often they're inconvenient. I'd give this advice to any single woman on the planet.
When you have a lot of opportunity to date, it's easy to be flattered by all the attention. The men can be very flattering. For me, because I love who I am already, it doesn't encourage me to lose sight of my objectivity of what this person might be intending. Men back home are not very aggressive, but here you can really be pursued, and sometimes it is very aggressive.
So I know when I am meeting a new person I must be clear: Do I want this person in my life? Do I want to go slow? If you want trouble, you have an opportunity for that. Women who are really attracted to the assholes can find them here, too!
And I've also heard from many people here that it's technically illegal to date, though everyone does it. What has been your best experience in Qatar? I've had some of the most amazing connections to people I've ever had — beautiful conversations. I've almost felt high from having had a soul connection talking with two or three people from all over the planet My favourite thing is the depth of relationships. I miss it when I go home in the summer. I want it to be less "surface" back home. You dive deep into humanity here.
What has been your worst experience in Qatar? I tend to be optimistic, so I've always felt everything is a learning experience. If you let them, bad experiences will teach you so much about yourself. When you are in a comfort zone you set yourself to that zone, and don't grow.
Do you find you're more familiar with wider world affairs, now that you're in Qatar? I've always listened to alternative news; I've never been a corporate news observer.
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So no, I don't see more international news than I did. But here it's much easier to be more internationally aware, e. With experiences like this, you get a real feel for what is in the news.
Is there anything you'd like to add? The ability to travel from Doha is very easy. It's not cheap, but international travel is easier here than it is back in the Midwest.
Women in Qatar | Expat Arrivals
I've visited countries each year. I've had to add pages to my passport! I have more money here. For a teacher back home to say that, they'd probably have to be a drug dealer! In fact, my mom just recently left her teaching job in back home; she's now in Kuwait teaching.
She felt the experience was so positive for me, and the pressures in her district so strong, she made the decision to move. She's 55 and she had been at the same school for 15 years. The money is better and more stable. One thing people should be very aware of — a lot of Westerners — they kind of drag their feet in the sand with regards to everything being so different.
I think it's a more miserable existence when you don't accept and adapt.