My Dream, My Doha
Doha for me is where my dream to live overseas turned into a reality. I have always believed I was born to live in warm country and from a young age been drawn to the Middle East. I started to visit Dubai and Qatar about 12 years ago when my friend worked for the Ritz and I loved it. For many reasons my plans to teach abroad never came to fruition but all that changed in February 2014 on a dark, wet, miserable, gloomy Tuesday. After a tough day at work I said to my equally fed up husband ‘let’s apply for jobs overseas’. He looked at me like I was crazy (Greg will admit he isn’t very adventurous) and I thought no more of it until a few days later when he told me he’d written a CV and filled in application forms for Qatar, Dubai and Spain. I was gob smacked but over the moon. Fast forward 3 months and we had both resigned from our jobs in the UK and secured jobs in Doha, two months after that we had sold our house and we were on a plane. It was like a whirlwind but I was so excited and even though Greg was pretty terrified we knew it was the best thing for us both.
My main memory is of landing and being driven along the Corniche and pointing out things to Greg I remembered from previous visits, being in awe at how much development had taken place. I also remember waking up the next morning and looking out of our apartment window to the view of West Bay, the view we had looked at so many times online was now on our door step. Goose bump time!
Life here is good; very good. I think Doha is a bit of a marmite place but we feel very settled. We are both happy in our jobs, we have a fantastic home, we get to travel regularly and on weekends we get to go to the desert, the mangroves, eat at 5* hotels, grab a 6QR shawarma, go to the Souk, watch world class tennis, laze by the pool……the list goes on.
My Blog, My Doha
Doha is also where I developed my confidence enough to start a blog. I have always loved food ( I am by nature very greedy) and in the UK we ate out quite a bit but nothing on the scale as we do here. I often found myself recommending places to eat and following other bloggers such as Pinay Flying High, Life on the Wedge, Quest and Mark, Follow your Sunshine, Lemon and Mint and Boulangerry among others, but never felt I knew enough to write my own.
However, with technical support and encouragement from Greg, in May 2015 I got my site up and running, ventured into the (sometimes scary) world of social media and started to write about places we ate. I am keen to highlight that I am not a food critic, I cannot suggest that a dish would be improved by the addition of some rare spice or an extra dash of truffle oil, I am not always able pick out flavours – but I do love reading the reviews of people who can. For me it’s about the whole experience. Was it easy to get a reservation? How comfy were the chairs? What was the ambiance like? Was the food well presented / cooked/ flavoured? Was the service good? How much did it cost? And, more importantly, would I go back / recommend it to others? My reviews all follow this theme. I also write my blog so I remember where I have eaten, a record of our foodie exploits! I was a bit embarrassed the first time I clicked the ‘publish’ button. Was my English terrible? …….had I repeated myself? …..would a friend ( or even worse an English teacher colleague) read it and think it was rubbish?……to be honest those doubts are still there at times but many people tell me they like my reviews as I write like I speak and it’s just me!
We have lived in Doha for 18 months now and have no plans to move on just yet. If and when we do move to pastures new Doha will always be special to me as the place where I realised my dreams and lived a fantastic life with Greg. My main issue is if I do move on what will happen to Doha Dinners, something I didn’t consider when I chose the name!