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.
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.
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.