Living the Confused Expatriate Life

Has it Been Five Years Already? – My thoughts on what I’ve learned as I hit five years of expat living in Qatar.

Living the Confused Expatriate Life
Has It Been Five Years Already?
By: Ms. Hala

On June 30th, 2012, I landed in Qatar thinking I knew what to expect. I had never lived in another city in America before, let alone another country so… of course, I was wrong! I thought I was only going to be expat living for a year, a year and a half tops. Of course, I was wrong. I thought I was going to make a dollar out of 15 cents, gold out of dirt, something out of nothing. Of course, I was wrong.

 

It has been five years –FIVE YEARS– since I got off that plane and was hit by the summer’s humid air, freaked out when the cold water taps were boiling hot and learning to sleep with the AC on full blast. I have learned to expect the unexpected and struggled through those last five years to make something out of myself.

 

Along this journey, I’ve made life long friends, laughed my heart out and experienced things I don’t think I would have staying at home, or anywhere else in the world for that matter. I’ve said it once and I’ll say it again, the world is so grand but our bubble is so small. If I learned anything, anything at all, from being living the expat life, it’s to go beyond the bubble, even for just a moment and live a little in this grand world. Despite it all, for the things I’ve learned, it’s so worth it.

 

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“Qatar” – image courtesy of @ftmalthani

Qatar has an odd charm to it, flaws and all. The expat life here is not perfect but it’s a blessing to experience. As I start packing, not knowing how much longer I’m staying in Qatar (more on that later), I’m at peace. Alhamdulillah, I worked hard, surrounded myself with good people, ate some delicious food and discovered as much of the region as I could.

 

My time in Qatar will always be unforgettable. I can’t image having the experiences I’ve had else where. I’ll always pray for God to continue blessing this beautiful nation and the people within it that make it up it’s beauty. Qatar may be small but mighty and come to think of it, so am I.

Treat Yourself on Your Birthday!

When my family called me from back home to wish me a happy birthday, I was either on the plane or half asleep on the beach. We got to talking about how we don’t treat ourselves enough and how happy they were that I was treating myself with this trip to Muscat, Oman.
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I had a pattern of always working or studying on my birthday. Moving to Qatar and celebrating my first birthday alone in the midst of the roughest year of my adult life put a lot of things in perspective.

I started treating myself as often as possible, especially on my birthday. Every year, I’ve taken my birthday off from work (paid or otherwise) to enjoy a spa day, shopping spree, fancy meals, complete utter laziness and this year, headed on my first semi solo trip.

I took a short trip to Muscat, Oman where the first two days was spent between getting pampered or sitting on a private beach basking in the glory that God created. When my gal pals landed, we head off to a full day of sight seeing villages, beaches, sink holes and canyon walk/climb. When the hell have I ever freaking walk up a canyon peeps? That was exhausting so we ended our long weekend on the beach and a birthday cake filled lunch before we said “ma elsalama Oman”.
Treat yourself peeps because you deserve it… Alhamdulillah.
I promise my Italy rants are coming up as well as my birthday weekend in Oman to follow soon after. =)

Spokeo.com = WTF!

What a way to start 2011… getting word that personal information that I’ve never posted or permitted to be posted on the internet is somehow out there for the public to see. At least this one website tried to post information about me that is either incorrect, close to correct or without any permission for it to access such information.

A friend of mine posted on Facebook about Spokeo.com, a website that supposedly gathers all your information from social media and puts it all together in a form of a phonebook. However, if you never intended to have your address, phone number, FICO credit score and income out there to the world… yes and for under $3 a month, a stalker can have immediate access to even more of your private information!! WTF?! I know I never permitted this site to access or post my information on it’s site!

How to remove yourself?

  1. Go to the website, Spokeo.com
  2. Search for yourself, start with your full name
  3. Once over the initial shock of all the information they have on you, copy the URL address
  4. Click the “See More” button that should be at the bottom right
  5. At the bottom of the page, click the “privacy” link, DO NOT PURCHASE ACCESS
  6. Follow the instructions to have yourself removed
  7. Once done, make sure your information is infact removed by searching for yourself again
  8. Share this information with your friends

Also, make sure you do not give permission for any website you’re with to share your information with third parties. For example, under your privacy settings on Facebook, make sure it doesn’t share your information with other websites or applications. Always clear out applications and websites that you don’t use from being connected to your Facebook or Twitter. If you do this at least once a month, you should have your information as private as possible. A better way to protect yourself is to NOT POST YOUR PRIVATE INFORMATION ANYWHERE! I can’t tell you how many times I have to remind people to remove their address and phone numbers from their Facebook page!

Until next time, Happy New Year! May this be your year to shine! =)