MY HOME IN QATAR

Qatar To­day looks at two ex­pa­tri­ates from every­day life, one who has lived here for a sig­nif­i­cant amount of time and another who has just made Doha his home, for their take on life in this city.

Qatar Today - - CULTURE > QT TAKE - STE­FAN CRAITA

Nostal­gia

Doha's pop­u­la­tion was around 700,000 when I ar­rived in the coun­try. At that time, be­ing stuck in traf­fic meant that you are 30 me­tres away from the traf­fic light, while get­ting across town was a 30-minute drive. There was no D-Ring Road, no fly­overs or high­ways. I vividly re­mem­ber how West Bay was a mas­sive con­struc­tion site with dozens of sky­scrapers be­ing built the same time, giv­ing the im­pres­sion it was pre­par­ing it­self for some­thing big. The city is in a race against time to be­come the cos­mopoli­tan emi­rate of the Mid­dle East with a fo­cus on sports, ed­u­ca­tion and cul­ture. But the things I miss the most are the un­con­gested roads, the low rents and the green round­abouts.

Chang­ing be­fore my eyes

In the past seven years I wit­nessed the rise of a new Doha. One by one, projects reached com­ple­tion. The Mu­seum of Is­lamic Art, which opened in 2008, was the new sig­na­ture land­mark on Doha's Cor­niche. I was very im­pressed with the ar­chi­tec­ture and the beau­ti­ful col­lec­tions of Is­lamic art, tex­tiles, rugs, and all other ar­ti­facts. I still feel the same kind of awe to­day as I did when I first walked into its enor­mous lobby. This was fol­lowed by the in­au­gu­ra­tion of other ma­jor land­marks – The Pearl, Katara, MIA Park, Qatar Na­tional Con­ven­tion Cen­ter and Ha­mad In­ter­na­tional Air­port and more.

Mak­ing mem­o­ries

I used to spend most of my free time ei­ther in the Souq, strolling on the Cor­niche or ex­plor­ing new places out­side the city lim­its with my friends. I also got the op­por­tu­nity to meet fa­mous sports per­son­al­i­ties from my coun­try, Ro­ma­nia, here in Doha: Na­dia Co­maneci, Ilie Nas­tase and Ghe­o­rghe Hagi. A fond mem­ory that I al­ways gladly re­call is ar­riv­ing back to Doha at 20*C from a freez­ing -15*C in my coun­try. Shift­ing from be­low 0 cloth­ing to shorts and t-shirt in less than 24 hours is a great feel­ing.

Grow­ing with Qatar

Over the last few years, I grew both per­son­ally and pro­fes­sion­ally. I learnt that pa­tience and a good sense of hu­mour are must-have skills for any­one de­cid­ing to live in this coun­try and that liv­ing in Qatar will make you more adapt­able to any sit­u­a­tion that life throws at you. I made many friends with peo­ple of dif­fer­ent na­tion­al­i­ties and walks of life. I am proud to say I have friends from more than 30 coun­tries. I have to men­tion that Qatar, com­pared with other coun­tries, does pro­vide an ex­pat with ex­tra ben­e­fits as an em­ployee when it comes to re­mu­ner­a­tion. It helps a lot when you know that you can af­ford much of ev­ery­thing that al­lows you to live a stress-free life­style.

Mar­ket­ing Man­ager, Volk­swa­gen Qatar, Q-Auto Been in Doha since: March 2007 (seven years)

IN THE SEVEN YEARS THAT I SPENT

HERE, I WAS PRIV­I­LEGED TO BE ABLE TO TASTE A WIDE RANGE OF

DE­LI­CIOUS ARA­BIC AND ASIAN FOODS WHICH I PROB­A­BLY NEVER WOULD HAVE FOUND IN

MY HOME TOWN.

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