This week marked our six year Dohaversary. Six years we’ve been living in Doha, shuttling back to the UK every summer.
We arrived in the sweaty August heat in 2016 with a three year old and an eighteen month old, with new school starting and navigating life. Fast forward six years later and we arrived home in the sweaty August heat, with a nine year old, a seven year old and a three year old, also ready to start navigating school life.
It’s been a rollercoaster of emotions this last two years. With COVID and lockdowns, buying a new house, where we got the keys with funky personalised keyring and became owners WITHOUT stepping foot inside. Moving the boys schools. Nearly leaving Doha. Friends arriving, friends leaving. The World Cup coming.
The uncertainty of life, knowing we are not permanent residents, tempered with the work-life balance we are able to achieve.
Having gone from “Qatar?? Where’s that?!” or “How is living in Dubai?” to the world knowing all about Doha due to the World Cup.
Moving house here. Four times. Finding our tribe.
And life is still a rollercoaster
Every time we settle, we’re certain we know what’s happening, something changes. A school move, a friend leaves, we move house, COVID.
It’s taken (a lot) of time for me to deal with this rollercoaster. To come to terms with the difference in my childhood where everything was the same, all of the time, to my children having to ride this crazy train with us. Yet, as I have come to realise over the last six years in Doha, this is a blessing.
To have the friends we have been able to meet and make. The safe lifestyle where my children can forge independence with their and head out by themselves, with their friends, like my childhood. And while there may be instances that I am complaining (heavily) about the dust, the heat, or other niggles in Qatar, this is still very much home.
BUT this is the first year that I’ve realised that heading back to the UK also felt like coming home, so much so I worried about coming back to Doha.
We’re ten days back into the hothouse of life here.
And yes. I am hot. I am sweaty. And I do not step outside unless I absolutely have too.
But this feels like home as well. For me, the boys and my husband.
We’ve jumped back into life here feet first and are rolling with the punches. And as amazing as the UK was this summer, and as much as it felt like home, it’s good to know that living here feels the same.
I’d like to think I’m just lucky having two places I do feel at home at. That I know wherever we may be we will be home.
After all, maybe it’s just a case of home is where the heart is. And mine is with the men in my life.