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Tuesday, October 19, 2021

When it comes to being happy in Qatar, don’t shoot yourself in the foot

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Photo for illustrative purposes only.
Photo for illustrative purposes only.

Tackling a tricky subject, freelance writer and Qatar resident Kirsty Rice recently came up with some tips to help her peers find the ever-elusive expat happiness.

In her latest post on 4 kids, 20 suitcases and a beagle, Rice highlights some of the most common traps that expats in Qatar and elsewhere fall into, which prevent them from turning their frowns upside down. They include:

Making comparisons

Just because “Jane” holds a child’s birthday party at the beach with bouncy castle, doesn’t mean her life is better than yours. Rice writes:

“You’re probably a lot better off than many of those around you. A wise friend of mine recently told me ‘the only time you look in your neighbor’s bowl is to make sure they have enough.’

Using the wrong yardstick

“A lot of people think happiness means being richer and more important,” Rice states.

Photo for illustrative purposes only.
Photo for illustrative purposes only.

But having a driver, a housekeeper and other people to help you through your day doesn’t really make you special.

If expat living has instilled in you misplaced feelings of self-importance, then fight that sentiment by doing something for others. “Get richer in experience and realize just how tiny you are in this enormous world,” Rice urges.

Postponing contentment

Expats may like to plan, but happiness shouldn’t be some far-off goal that you allow yourself once you save up enough money, or your child is old enough to walk, or go to school. “Happiness is right here amongst the chaos,” Rice writes. Seize it while you can.

Keeping the wrong company

Negative people who constantly complain about Qatar and the lifestyle here have a tendency to contagious with their pessimism.

Photo for illustrative purposes only.
Photo for illustrative purposes only.

“We’re all allowed to have a whine, but don’t get caught up in it,” Rice advises.

Taking nostalgia too far

When you miss “home,” are you really remembering it the way it used to be? Or have you forgotten the cold winters, home break-ins and penny pinching you had to do there?

Photo for illustrative purposes only.
Photo for illustrative purposes only.

“The expat grass is proverbially greener,” Rice agrees, but adds, “Enjoy each location for what it is now – your adventure, your choice.”

Read her full guide to expat happiness here. For more on making the most of one’s life abroad, tune into her podcast Two Fat Expats here.

What advice would you add? Thoughts?

73 COMMENTS

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Elizabeth Wardle Walker
Elizabeth Wardle Walker
6 years ago

Very true…don’t try to keep up with the Joneses here…always a recipe for unhappiness. Try and get out and see/do as much as possible, volunteer and go to events that you normally wouldn’t go to…

MIMH
MIMH
6 years ago

Its called alcohol and its way cheaper than therapy or some tired old expat blog, pretending to give us life changing advice….

A_qtr
A_qtr
6 years ago
Reply to  MIMH

Another bored expat wife who red “the secret” and believes she’s an authority on positive living

ShabinaKhatri
ShabinaKhatri
6 years ago
Reply to  A_qtr

Deleting for personal attack.

A_qtr
A_qtr
6 years ago
Reply to  ShabinaKhatri

It wasn’t a personal attack I just said she was bored and reading a few self help books doesn’t make her an authority in positive living

expat viewer
expat viewer
6 years ago

sharing a nice thoughts to ponder… 🙂

Rose Thorne
Rose Thorne
6 years ago

Chirpy sweetness riding on a wave of effortless clichés… Celebrate who you are, you grumpy expat, don’t miss home too much because it’s rat-infested and you may be robbed there, and anyway, decadent beach parties don’t define you, your inner light does. And so it goes.

Yes, I am a bit grumpy myself today. My car is on its last legs. I’ve just compared it to what my neighbour drives and oh, dear… I’ll see if I can compare myself to someone who washes it to feel better. Honestly…

Guest
Guest
6 years ago

Dim down the lights, crank up the volume, close your eyes, and have goosebumps!
Dim down the lights, crank up the volume, close your eyes, and have goosebumps!
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7jMlFXouPk8

Michkey
Michkey
6 years ago

Dim down the lights, crank up the volume, close your eyes, and have goosebumps!

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7jMlFXouPk8

Martha AKL
Martha AKL
6 years ago

I Love living in Doha,❤️

A_qtr
A_qtr
6 years ago
Reply to  Martha AKL

How dare you break rank … Redem yourself immediately and say something nasty

MIMH
MIMH
6 years ago
Reply to  A_qtr

Don’t worry, we’ve barred her from every bar in Doha and we will send her on an expat rehabiliation course entitled, “Dissing the locals 101” or “How to complain about your host country without ever leaving”

aerofoiler
aerofoiler
6 years ago
Reply to  MIMH

Hahaha

sicti
sicti
6 years ago

Another useless article. Thank you DN.

Pete
Pete
6 years ago
Reply to  sicti

Not useless enough for you not to read…..

The Reporter
The Reporter
6 years ago

My home summers are lovely. It rains – and my garden bursts into a blaze of colour and lush green grass. The winters are cold, and wet, but if I put on the right clothing I can still go out of the house. In short, no matter what the season I can take a walk outside of my house every day. So given that for six months of the year it’s impossible to spend more than 5 minutes outside in the Qatar sunshine, I would say that my memories of my home country aren’t skewed. Am I moaning or simply stating why this article is a complete load of codswallop?

GuestyFGS
GuestyFGS
6 years ago

If expats are pining for home comfort’s so much, why don’t they shuffle off back

The Reporter
The Reporter
6 years ago
Reply to  GuestyFGS

Because in the context of an entire working career it’s worth the pain to be in Qatar short term to earn enough dosh to set yourself up for life.

Teddy
Teddy
6 years ago
Reply to  GuestyFGS

I guess its also hard to understand why a country that has so much money is still third world in so many ways. There is so much potential! That’s what is frustrating for an expat at times.

Simon
Simon
6 years ago
Reply to  Teddy

Yes, that and the fact that the host country bigs itself up into something that it most emphatically is not, simply because it has wealth.

jalong
jalong
6 years ago
Reply to  GuestyFGS

Because an exit permit is required to leave the country and many employers aren’t willing to give them.

Doha News(ish?)
Doha News(ish?)
6 years ago

What a terrible article that comes across to me as an advert for this woman’s blog. I think that you need to drop the News bit DN??

MIMH
MIMH
6 years ago

One of the big problems in places like the Middle East is the recognised condition of “Bored Expat Wives Syndrome”. It was usually cured by vast quantities of G&Ts while complaining about the hired help. However with the advent of blogging there is a new avenue for us to be enthralled with their new found freedom to express. They all seem to think they are “journalists” now….

ShabinaKhatri
ShabinaKhatri
6 years ago
Reply to  MIMH

Neither of these comments have anything to do with the content of the article. And MIMH, it’s sexist to assume any woman with an opinion is a ‘bored expat housewife.’

jalong
jalong
6 years ago
Reply to  ShabinaKhatri

MIMH didn’t criticize “any woman with an opinion”, just the well-to-do, know-it-all housewives (there don’t seem to be many househusbands about) with blogs. It would be nice if Doha News could promote the blog of, say, a housemaid but they’re too busy literally slaving away to be able to write one–assuming they even have access to a computer.

MIMH
MIMH
6 years ago
Reply to  jalong

Thank you for explaining my point. The over whelming majority of people that publise such blogs in western newspapers and Doha News happen to be women, its not sexist to say that it is just a fact.
In interest of balance it would be good if Doha News could give free publicity to a man who lives in the Gulf and writes his own blog. (Probably too many of them complaining about their wives and how they moan about not being happy…..)

Tom2013
Tom2013
6 years ago
Reply to  ShabinaKhatri

You are correct although I do not believe MIMH meant that (I can see how you saw it that way).

Doha News(ish?)
Doha News(ish?)
6 years ago
Reply to  ShabinaKhatri

It is directly related to the content of the article. You have a link to her website. So therefore my coment about it being an advert stands. As i have metioned in response to other queires, this should either be a article about different bloggers in and around Doha or the fact Kirsty is shockingly the only blogger in Qatar leading the way. That to me would be a local news story… not ctrl-v…

With regards to the article… i agree with Jen and The Reporter below. Thumbs up…

Kirsty Rice 4kids20suitcases
Reply to  MIMH

Wow! And you don’t think this comment is remotely sexist? Not even the fact that you’ve used the term “expat wife”. I think you might be surprised to see how many women are now the primary earners in expat partnerships, you’re right though, they’re definitely not the majority. I don’t call myself a journalist, but I do work as a freelance writer, I get paid for the work I’m commissioned to write. I’m also making my way through a Media Comm degree as well as being the co-founder of a community organisation here and running a weekly podcast. My husband works full time so in-between all of the above I’m the one who gets our four children to school and sits on the bleachers at softball practice. I understand that all of the above may seem fruitless, perhaps even pointless and mundane, trust me it is. The fact that you are choosing to remain anonymous while leaving particularly scathing remarks about women is really interesting to me. Maybe you should blog about it? I’d love to read a post about your motivation of returning to a post three times in a day to give your running commentary. I’m enthralled by your freedom to express.

Tom2013
Tom2013
6 years ago

Your argument is not logical. Example: 50 Shades of Grey is immensely popular with women and its sales are driven by women. Women who comment on various news sites (HufffPost, Womens Day,etc) that they wished their hubbies would act more like Mr Grey and rough ’em a bit in bed. We all know 50 SOG its not a flowers and candy romance. In addition, due your own due diligence on the net but the most popular adult actors – popular among women – are the men who are rough and pull hair, spank, etc. Therefore, based upon 50 SOG, the popularity of the rough actors among women, as well as my personal experience, I can state that the overwhelming majority of females enjoy being dominated in bed. Am I a sexist? These are the facts. Are facts sexist?

Yacine
Yacine
6 years ago
Reply to  Tom2013

What a strange comparison!

Tom2013
Tom2013
6 years ago
Reply to  Yacine

Please explain what is strange.

Yacine
Yacine
6 years ago
Reply to  Tom2013

Can you explain the analogy between what Kirst Rice said and the story of the 50 Shades of Grey?

MIMH
MIMH
6 years ago

It seems you are very upset. Watch some French and Saunders to cheer you up.

http://videos.jimmyr.com/fr/french_saunders/french_saunders_expatriate_wives_lg.php

Kirsty Rice 4kids20suitcases
Reply to  MIMH

I’m not upset, I’ve just been having a chat about you with a few friends who tell me you spend quite a bit of time hanging out here. I believe you’re one of the most prolific DN commenters. I’m guessing you’re not working. I’ve seen the French and Saunders clip – it’s hysterical. I’ve also written about it, and I’ve even talked about it in a podcast which is just outrageous isn’t it – a bored expat wife with an opinion. Next I’ll be spending my day on news sites leaving inflammatory comments all day. Excuse me while I get back to my gin.

Doha News(ish?)
Doha News(ish?)
6 years ago

So you’re also paid for the articles you write? Again fair play to you, happy you’re doing what you want to do. My problem is with DN not you or your article.

There are plenty of bloggers or tweeters or the ilk in and around Doha. Without mention of these then for me this is just an advert for your blog that i don’t expect from a local news website. Now if your telling me you are the only blogger then that should be the story “solo blogger leading the way in deciphering the way of life in Qatar”. Once again a lack of investigation and research into a news article with potential (ctrl-v).

Kirsty Rice 4kids20suitcases

Fair enough, I understand your point, this is a news site and DN wrote a post about a post. It’s not unusual for a news site to do that now though. DN news gave me credit for the article, they have to do that. Anything of mine that has been re-shared always has a link to my blog e.g.. London Telegraph, New York Times, Huff Post etc. It’s common courtesy. Thanks for your reply

ShabinaKhatri
ShabinaKhatri
6 years ago

Deleting the rest of this thread, because it’s devolving. Sad 🙁

ShabinaKhatri
ShabinaKhatri
6 years ago

We regularly feature other people’s blog posts. Not sure why this one rubbed you the wrong way, but you are certainly entitled to your opinion.

Pete
Pete
6 years ago

Don’t worry Kirsty. MIMH has a tendency to be not only sexist but racist….he/she can’t help it.

Scarletti
Scarletti
6 years ago

it seems the author has bridged the gap between the glass half full optimism and ‘total head in the sand’ … must be this weeks storms 🙂

Teddy
Teddy
6 years ago

I think everyone that came to Doha knew it wouldn’t be “as good” as home. There is no denying that but don’t most people have a broader plan in why they are here? Otherwise, its not worth it. You aren’t getting anything out of it…. there’s my “self-help/therapy/advice” for the day 😀

Deepak Babu
Deepak Babu
6 years ago

ugghh optimistic article. Lynch her, ye villagers!!!! Get the pitchforks.

Chipper fluffypants
Chipper fluffypants
6 years ago

Here’s another excellent article, from the Panarabia Enquirer… http://www.panarabiaenquirer.com/wordpress/new-mum-planning-set-blog-like-minded-new-mums/

Jen
Jen
6 years ago

“Loud screams of joy from across the nation’s parents” (over a blog site for well to do moms and spending money on designer clad babies) I nearly fell off my chair laughing! Thanks for cheering up my day.

Jen
Jen
6 years ago

Hm–I must also say i did not really enjoy the article–not because it is badly written or anything nor even not true, just that it seems like something one would find in a magazine aimed at a certain group. It just seems–narrow in focus–like is this aimed at a certain middle class stay at home women’s group? Probably it’s not meant like that but it comes across like that. I do however generally love Doha news articles.

Rahul
Rahul
6 years ago

I’ve come to the conclusion that the national sport in Qatar is complaining about everything. We complain about the heat, the so-called “3rd world” conditions (visit South Asia or Africa and you will see third world), the traffic and so on. No one is forcing anyone to stay. Move back home if you hate it here so much. Yes the culture is different, it is bureaucratic and it may be boring. And yes it is warm here during the summer/spring. People falsely expect that the culture will be like back home when they move here.

Qatar is safe relative to other countries. The sun shines year around and we never have to worry about snow, rain, earthquakes, floods or hurricanes. Service is great and cheap here. I’m sure very few people here could afford a cleaner back home. We all earn a fantastic tax-free salary. No country is perfect and there are drawbacks, but think of the advantages. Let’s be grateful guys

Simon
Simon
6 years ago
Reply to  Rahul

No, Rahul, I don’t think that’s it. Of course we know that there are many, many places in the world worse than Doha. But, as I note above, I think it is to do with the fact that Qatar likes to act as if it is such a wonderful place, equal or better to the ‘first world’ countries that many of us ‘complainers’ come from, whilst in far too many instances THERE IS NO DELIVERY! (Hundreds, thousands of examples of same are available – on DN, for example, but also from the personal experience of each and every one of us).

It’s the gaps between:

1. the rhetoric and the reality, and

2. the potential and the reality.

(for the academically-minded, search for ‘Parasuram’s gaps’ for more on this).

Roger Melly
Roger Melly
6 years ago
Reply to  Simon

I’m inclined to agree with Simon on this. The problem with Qatar for me is that everything could be done so much better. It’s always disappointing when nothing ever happens the way it should and nothing resembles the marketing hype surrounding it.

I don’t dislike living in Qatar but I do genuinely think it could be so much better with some proper planning and execution.

The best way to get improvements is through acting on constructive criticism not living in denial.

Simon
Simon
6 years ago
Reply to  Roger Melly

The Man off the Telly???!!!

Roger Melly
Roger Melly
6 years ago
Reply to  Simon

Ballcocks!

Rahul
Rahul
6 years ago
Reply to  Simon

Agreed, there is no doubt that much remains need to be improved here

Illusionist's wife
Illusionist's wife
6 years ago
Reply to  Rahul

Service is great and cheap? In which sense? I also wouldn’t say that we all earn fantastic salary, even if it is tax free …

Rahul
Rahul
6 years ago

Food delivery is fast and cheap or free. I can get a Shawarma sandwich delivered to me at 10pm at night whereas back home no one delivers or if they do require a hefty tip. I get my laundry delivered for free. I can even get my car picked up and serviced by my car insurance provider. My morning breakfast costs 3QAR and is delivered by a guy on a bicycle. You can get a car cleaned at the mall for 20QAR while I’m shopping! Service is usually with a smile. Now that’s amazing service!

Rahul
Rahul
6 years ago
Reply to  Rahul

Also yes not everyone earns fantastic tax salaries but it’s all relative to your home country.

Illusionist's wife
Illusionist's wife
6 years ago
Reply to  Rahul

True, but you also have to keep in mind what kind of rents you are paying here, what are the costs of living compared to your home country. Sometimes this doesn’t sum up anymore, but not everyone has the chance to leave the country for various reasons …

Illusionist's wife
Illusionist's wife
6 years ago
Reply to  Rahul

Ok, you do have a point in this, but for me personally these are not really services I do require on a regular basis. If I do order food, it sometimes takes up to 1.5hrs, and then you still have to pay a charge for this … I know that service is a personal aspect, hence what you see as great service does not always go conform with what I would call good service …

MIMH
MIMH
6 years ago
Reply to  Rahul

How soon they forget…. do you not remember the great Doha Earthquake of 2013 or the great Floods of Salwa road of 2014? What about the Great Sandstorm of 2015? We lived through all that, reckless driving and dodgy shwarmas so don’t tell us its safe.

MIMH
MIMH
6 years ago

List of things we are desperate for in Qatar.

1. New malls
2. Sand
3. Another blog from a bored housewife, about
settling into your new country
being a new mum in a new country
how to stay happy in your new country
how many new ‘friends’ she has of different colors
how she overcame depression and now loves her adopted country
why can’t I find a maid that works?
DN reporting on said blog

AEC
AEC
6 years ago
Reply to  MIMH

rough day at the office?

DIC
DIC
6 years ago
Reply to  MIMH

Dude, all I ever see when I look at Doha News comments is your useless negativity. Do you get your kicks out of criticizing everyone else?
Get a life.

Pete
Pete
6 years ago
Reply to  DIC

Can’t beliëve I upvoted someone who uses the term “dude”.

bored working mum
bored working mum
6 years ago

Well to do….know it all women??? Oh my some of these guys take the preverbial!!!
Kirsty Rice amongst myself and many other are well educated women with households of many children trying to work for ourselves and re-educate ourselves and make a living for ourselves! We are ever bored housewives with the amount of work needed to keep so many strings to our lives going! Your words of encouragement really incentives us women to work to move from Ray at home mums to making a living for ourselves again and utilise our talents! I hope you set a better example for your daughter one day!

MIMH
MIMH
6 years ago

Talents is the key word here. You may have some talent but the lady who wrote this blog does not, unoriginal, insipid and uninspired. If pointing that out is sexist, then feminism has come a long way to dominate the English language and classify any critisicm of someone who happens to be a woman bored or not as sexist.

Yacine
Yacine
6 years ago
Reply to  MIMH

So because you do not like this article the blogger becomes someone who is not talented? I don’t know why you are being evil today 🙂

AEC
AEC
6 years ago
Reply to  MIMH

you can’t spell “criticism”

MIMH
MIMH
6 years ago
Reply to  AEC

Don’t you be sexist towards me…..

Yacine
Yacine
6 years ago

Not sure why is everyone unhappy with the article. Guys, if you think Qatar is bad then try to make it a good place. Lots of expats are doing all sorts of initiatives and they seem to be happy with it. Many of them are helping the needy, taking care of pets, organizing meetups (for photography, newcomers assistance, and all kinds of topics), discovering the desert and the historical places of Qatar, etc. it is not Qatar’s fault if you cannot find your favorite Whiskey or pork in the mall, and you cannot enjoy snowy weather! Grow up guys, and as the saying goes: Qatar, love it or leave it 🙂

Doha News(ish?)
Doha News(ish?)
6 years ago
Reply to  Yacine

My problem isn’t Qatar or women or finding things to do in Qatar to make it interesting. Thumbs up to that. It’s this woeful advert for a blogger (couldn’t care less if male or female). I want some real local news – if you’re going to do a story on bloggers in Qatar then make an effort to find a number of interesting and different bloggers, not just an advert for your friend or colleagues blog!

Yacine
Yacine
6 years ago

This is not new. DN is not Qatar Tribune or the Peninsula. It is geared more towards light news that are interesting for the community. This means that stories like this one or like the ones about the QTip videos are good to publish, and you can see how much interaction they generate. DN also does some in-depth analyses, mostly when there is an interesting event happening (Villagio) or survey released. If you do not like this kind of articles then you can skip them and read only the “serious” stuff 🙂

Pete
Pete
6 years ago

Can only be the sand that has caused this all this friction.

ShabinaKhatri
ShabinaKhatri
6 years ago

Closing this thread because it’s being hijacked by anonymous trolls. Move it along, people.

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