In which Amnesiac turns six, and I give thanks for his almost-effortless transition to expat life.
A while back a family member asked me why there was ‘so much drama’ in my blog posts.
Kid A knows (bien sur; she’s got an answer for everything just now).
She’s learning about story structure in English class – something I don’t think I was ever explicitly taught at school, let alone in Year 4 – so when she writes a tale, she already knows to include a set-up, a conflict and a resolution.
Vintage Amnesiac: he was born distracted
I weave the disparate threads of my experience into stories (complete with conflict, aka drama) because it helps me make sense of things and hopefully gives you a more interesting read.
Because let’s face it, a daily diary would get very repetitive, very quickly:
There’d be traffic, camels, construction, roadworks, dust, queuing for something; Olympic-standard tutting from me as that queue is repeatedly jumped; forgetting to have lunch again; thinking about complaining about the Arctic temperature of the compound pool, before deciding this will make me sound like a whining, over-privileged arse.
In which a surprise visit brings forward my first encounter with the newest member of my family
Writing this blog has been nothing if not educational.
There’s a certain dizzy freedom when I sit down to peck at my keyboard in not knowing if I’ll even be able to articulate the thoughts in my head, let alone if they’ll connect with an audience.
When she can talk, she’ll call me Funny Uncle Little City
Occasionally, a post appears on the screen exactly as it was in my head, and is embraced by readers (such as last month’s realisation that Doha really is my home now).
There’s also been collateral damage: some lovingly hand-crafted posts have landed with all the finesse of a freshly defenestrated watermelon.
And then there are those posts which, as your own harshest critic, you feel are maybe overly sentimental, maybe a tad on the self-indulgent side, but which you publish and be damned anyway, only for them to take off with the reading public like they’ve got a rocket strapped to their arse.
It was about the first time the penny dropped that I’d left my family thousands of miles away: when, just a week or so after arriving in Doha, our extended family back in the UK extended even further with the arrival of my latest niece.
(I say latest; howmanynieceshaveigot.com currently says seven, but I haven’t refreshed it in a day or two.)
There’s the usual stuff in my desk drawer: paper clips, receipts, oh- and the valid, genuine passport of someone I’ve never met… Let’s talk domestic help.
One of the unintended consequences of Opportunity X being put on hold (he wrote, optimistically) is that we’ve committed ourselves to employing a maid to cover the fact that both Mrs LC and I would both be working full time sometime about now.
It’s an unusual solution, granted, but the lack of childcare locally, and family networks as an expat, means it’s also a fairly common solution to a common problem here. Continue reading →
My most topsy turvy week as an expat yet, in which the ground gave way beneath my feet both literally and metaphorically.
There was a…work thing I was going to write about this week in an excited Hey you guys! kind of way, and about how it was great to sign off on something I’ve been working towards for the past few months. I would have thrown in a splash of ‘here’s-a-look-at-the-new-challenges-it-throws-up-in-its-wake’ for good measure.
The famous Qatar U turn
So I’m glad I don’t blog in haste, otherwise I would have had to have followed that post up the day after with a 48-point-type wtf? reverse ferret special when my week came to a screeching halt.
In which Family Little City goes away on holiday and returns…home?
Finally, after six long, dusty months for me and the kids (and nine longer, dustier months for Mrs LC), we left Doha.
OK, so we only left for a week, but you get my point. There was a palpable sense of relief at a change of scenery.
Pretty sure the missing letters are C-H-E
Anywhere with hills, seasons or vegetation would have done, to be honest. One of the reasons we originally accepted Mrs LC’s job offer in the first place is that, geographically at least, Qatar sits at the centre of the world.
And with direct flights to new destinations being added to Qatar Airways’ schedule all the time, there’s basically a huge chunk of this planet (“that you’ve seen none percent of”) available for exploration at four hours’ flying time or less. Continue reading →