The Coronavirus situation probably has most of us on lockdown so I thought to share a typical day in the life of an unemployed person living in Doha, Qatar and practicing “social distancing”.
Social Distancing in quotes because I live with family.
Doha is like the heart of Qatar and it’s such a beautiful place with tall buildings and unique architectures. You might have seen some of those in the vlog I shared here on my Instagram but it’s so much more breathtaking in person.
The air is clean, the flowers look vibrant and even the pictures come out better. There are several stores and malls that cater to your every need, the food markets are nothing like I’ve ever seen and there’s probably a park to “relax” everywhere. It’s also very sunny but that won’t be a problem if you come from a high-temperature country.
The vlog highlighted my first time in Qatar, you might check that out here.
I might be here for complicated purposes (long story) but so far, I’d say it IS a country to live in if you value your solitude, privacy and sense of peace. There are also downsides that I’ll share and at the end of this post, you might be able to decide if it’s meant for you.
TYPICAL DAILY ROUTINE
Disclaimer: I’m not employed by any corporation here so I’m always indoors regardless. I also contribute to caring for my sister, who lives with Autism. I’d refer to her as A because “my sister” is just too long.
For starters, the sunrise and sunset times are hard to adjust to. The time zone is GMT+3 and the prayer times are different too. Fajr is around 4:30AM and it’s already a clear morning by around 5:30AM. My body doesn’t get the timing either so I can end up waking as late as 6AM, unless I set an alarm for Fajr. It got better after a few weeks though.
As early as 7AM, I get started on A’s routine, which includes personal grooming and ensuring she takes her medications. There’s meal preparation but my elder mostly takes care of that. We also take care of the laundry and I got to discover that washing machines can not only wash, but rinse AND dry clothes! Weird I’m just finding out but how cool is that?
A jab at small-minded people who still think washers are tools from the Devil to “make women lazy”.
There’s also the frequent dishwashing, which is my least favourite chore. It isn’t half as bad though when there’s a lovely kitchen space to work with. After that, the rest of the day pretty much flies by. I’m either catching up on sleep, reading, learning, on social media or preoccupied with A.
Dhuhr is around 11:45AM and Asr is like 3PM, which is pretty early to me but everything else is too. Sunset and Maghrib is before 6PM and it’s already pitch black by 7.
Sounds like a boring routine, I know but safety is crucial in these times and I’m grateful to be able to avoid crowds and stay safe.
WHAT I DO FOR FUN(OR KEEP MYSELF SANE)
– Read blogs: I’ve been getting motivated to write more blogposts so make sure you catch up on ALL of them!
– Watch YouTube: I enjoy contents from With Love Leena, Jasmine and Dawoud, Simply Jaserah, Zeina Nuhr, Habiba Da Silva etc
– (Re)watch movies, keep up with my current series list: Legacies, Riverdale and Katy Keene.
– Scroll through social media/catch up on conversations
– Watch video tutorials and read docs because I’m trying to learn a new framework! So far, I’ve been lazy but I’ll buckle up soon.
– Spy on little kids in the compound 😂: I feel like I have to explain this so it doesn’t come off as creepy.
Qatar is a Middle-East country, so it’s full of Arabs, Asians and North Africans. One thing they all have in common is their fair skin. My family on the other hand, we are dark-skinned Sub-Saharan Africans and I’m sure you already know what that means.
Islam teaches us to never discriminate based on race, gender or social status so I used to believe Muslims know better. However, my experiences in Saudi Arabia made me know better. Racism is very prevalent in the Middle East and it’s very saddening but that’s just the reality.
Summary of my story is that we have no friends in the compound and it’s difficult to relate to people when the first opinion they form about you MIGHT be due to the colour of your skin. It also doesn’t help that most of the kids are under the age of 13 lol, so I just love watching their innocent selves have play dates with one another.
– Jot down ideas and create content (I’ve not done much of that in a while).
– Gist with my elder sister and random playtimes with A. Honestly, A is such a happy soul to be with when she’s not throwing tantrums or being unnecessarily difficult.
– Grocery shopping: This is actually fun because I get to go out of the house and I’m also keenly fascinated by how fruits are properly organised and sold per Kg. There’s cleaned and packaged meat and chicken and there’s even a fish market in the store!
– Watching a TV show: My sister got me hooked on this show she’s been watching on Dubai One channel, Empire/Imperio, although I stopped watching it already.
– Read Books: I picked up one of my sister’s books, Know My Name by Chanel Miller and I’m also catching up on the In Death series by J D Robb aka Nora Roberts.
– Eat ice-cream: Honestly, this is one reason I’d consider relocating here if I ever get the chance. I’ve tasted different brands and so far, my best is Baskin Robbins Cookies ‘n’ Cream flavour. I really love how little things like these are easily accessible.
– Racism is real, it might be much more subtle here than in Saudi Arabia (shocking, I know) but it’s still there. So you might feel some sense of loneliness at some point.
– Cost of living seem to be more expensive or maybe that’s just the Nigerian kid in me. The internet subscription rates are highly over the top too and that’s one thing that makes me a tad grateful for the internet services back at home lol.
– You NEED a means of transportation. There are car-hailing services but if you prefer not to spend all your money on transportation, you need a ride. The roads are pedestrian-friendly but I doubt anyone can get by without a ride or a “Karwa” taxi. Also, it gets really scorching sometimes.
Other Nice Things
– They have an amazing healthcare system! I visited the Sidra Medicine center and it was very impressive. They also had interesting statues showing the progression of humans from fetus to birth.
I could go and on but that’s pretty much it. I’m missing out a lot on the lovely views and tourist attractions but overall, it’s a pretty great place to live.
Have you ever been to Doha/ live here? I’d love for you to share your experiences with me in the comments!
Also, let me know if Doha is one of your dream destinations!
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