Word of the Day: Relax
I finally made it to Qatar! The flight was 14 hours long and although I’ve been on much longer flights before, I was mentally unprepared for this one. Around the 6 hour mark I got a serious case of cabin fever and a minor panic attack that I had to talk myself out of…something along the lines of “Beyoncé doesn’t freak out on planes, get yourself together” is what I kept saying. This is why the word of the day is ‘relax’. Adjusting to a different culture, climate, work day and overall home takes a strange toll on your mind/body so I find myself taking a lot of deep breaths and doing what I can in the moment to calm down.
There was a pretty quick turn around from finding out about the trip to Qatar to getting on a plane and arriving here. I scrambled during the week to get my life together to spend 2 months in the middle east. The stress was worth it, the city is so beautiful! The hotel is the nicest one I’ve ever stayed at, it’s connected to a giant mall with familiar stores and anything you could need, including the biggest grocery store ever (called a “hyper market”). The views are insane whether it’s from the gym, pool, or the rooftop executive lounge (which only certain guests have access to)–so fancy but just know the tab is all on the company I work for! Speaking of fancy, the breakfast spread is off the chain! They have so many options and manage to integrate other culture’s breakfast foods also. I’ve found dishes that my mom makes on special occasions being served here along with some unfamiliar foods that I plan on trying.
The hotel isn’t the only thing that speaks to the mix of cultures, it seems like the entire city is really diverse. It’s strange not being a minority but there doesn’t even seem to be a minority here. I have seen people from all over the world so far: The Philippines, India, Africa, America, Jordan, Germany, England…the list goes on. With the variety of people comes a variety of languages which is really awesome. One night here, I went to the Souq Waqif and was looking for the ladies restroom and a man who spoke Arabic, English and Urdu successfully directed me there. Being able to understand all three was neat and actually finding the bathroom was even better.
The Souq Waqif is an outdoor market with a ton of restaurants, it’s an overall bazaar-like area. It is ideal for people watching and shopping for little trinkets. Smoking hookah (called “shisha” here) is very common, all the restaurants offer it and almost everyone is enjoying shisha while eating dinner. There is also an animal market at this souq, I was surprised to see toucans, sugar gliders, kittens, puppies and so many other animals. It’s most likely illegal in some sense considering the animals probably end up dying… which is why I don’t think I could go back to that area of the souq, it’s heartbreaking.
After most of the jet lag had subsided and everyone was able to get settled in we focused on work. I felt myself getting anxious again and then to a point where I could not catch my breath so this idea of relaxing myself has come into play many times already…that plus a little help from loved ones goes a very very long way.