It’s the time of year again in expat life, three months to go before summer holidays, and that will see another year of expatriation complete. As the recession is still flailing here in Qatar, there are people leaving all the time and most people that aren’t coming back in September, have a vague idea at this stage.
But time is a teacher and after four moves in seven years, you begin to read the clues, and there are always clues. So here are the five fool proof ways of knowing that your friends are planning to bid you adieu, sooner than you might think.
- They suddenly appear happy. A joie de vivre comes over those knowing their set for home, or at least set to leave Qatar. All the frustration and irritation that surrounded them for the past four year you knew them, seems to have left and is replaced with an acceptance of what life is like in Qatar.
- Whilst browsing through a second hand goods website, you spot their sofa on it for sale! When approached they may deny or lie and say they are downsizing, which you know to be untrue because they only have one sofa! Plants are usually the first to go though, nobody wants to be bin them and nobody is going to buy a whole heap of plants in June in Qatar, so be aware of friends flogging Bougainvillea’s in April.
- They start to get minor procedures done. A mole removed, hammer toes straightened, that bone in your nose that hasn’t been right since you were thirteen, they all get seen to in your final stint in Qatar and why not. A GP visit in Ireland can be sixty euro, compared to 10 here and if you have healthcare it’s easier to get a mole removed in Qatar than it is to wait for like five and half years when you called as a public outpatient at home, cos, let’s face it, nobody with a mortgage and a couple of kids can afford VHI at home.
- If you find your friend suddenly starts to boast about the seating in her Honda or how the trampoline is still so bouncy despite looking a train wreck, she may be trying to flog these to you subconsciously. Also if she stops complaining about her maid, the one she complained regularly about for the past three years, this is another sign, be on your guard, you may her house with a Honda, a battered trampoline and a Sri Lankan housemaid if you don’t watch for the signs.
- Barbequing, Desert trips, Dune buggying, Dhow day trips and a host of water sports suddenly become of interest to your friend who used to spend weekends in the Mall eating from Pizza Express. That bucket list that everyone has in their head when they arrive in Doha is usually still there, items unticked when they’re about to leave, so the pressure is on to drive as far into the desert as possible and take photos alongside, sand, camels, sand and more sand for the mantelpiece at home.
The only thing that certain in expat life is change and as sure as camels are camels, someone you know well will not be back in September, so if none of your friends are displaying any of the five signs above, it could be you!