A fond farewell…

… to too many friends.

My muscles ache, my head is fuzzy, a tiny gremlin is camped out behind my eyes hitting them with a miniature hammer, and yet I do not feel like my wallet has been violated.

Must have been a house party.

But more than that, it was one of four leaving parties I have been to in the past two weeks, and it clashed with a fifth.

The season of moving on is definitely upon us and I have been saying farewell to friends who are heading off for another expat adventure, or who are finally celebrating a return home.

Lucky gits.

The transitory nature of Doha first hit me after many of the friends I had made in the first eight months or so of living in this dusty city of expats all left within a few weeks of each other.

(Apart from a minor tantrum and attempting to steal their passports I think I handled it quite well…)

After getting over my abandonment issues with astonishing ease I realised that there were other good people here and went out to meet them.

And now they’re all leaving.


Doha is a place where most people plan to spend one or two years. It is not a city that breeds long-term commitments to a new way of life. Maybe it’s the heat, or the fact that if you stay here too long you forget how doors work, or start thinking navigating via five star hotels is totally normal.

Maybe it is the fact that, after a while, you kind of wish it would snow in March (or at all) an that water falling from the sky wasn’t such an unusual event it filled your Facebook and Twitter feeds whenever it happens.

Whatever it is, even people who stay longer than 24 months tend to be planning their departure way before it actually happens.

In a way it reminds me of the first few weeks of university, where a group of strangers are thrown together into a totally alien world and so forge fierce friendships.

A few of these will last and last, some of my closest friends are those I met in Durham and I hope in five years I will be able to say the same about people I have met here.

People leaving is a constant part of life here, and new people arrive fresh off the boat and you want to put them at their ease and offer them the help that was extended to you when you first arrived.

Having said that, I can understand why people who have been here five or six years, and so have been through cycle after cycle of friendships, start to lose interest in meeting new people.

Or making the effort to leave the house.

Even I have stopped trying to remember people’s names if they are here for less than six months. Which is pretty mean but a lot of my head space is already taken up with the dates of everyone else’s leaving parties.

There are some positives in having the majority of your friends abandon you every 12 months. I have a vast number of sofas and air beds all over the world upon which I can crash, and I can now understand American despite the fact that they use crazy words for things.

Mostly though, I wish people would stay put long enough for me to be the one leaving. I’m sure it is much more fun from the other side.

I went to Doha and all I got were friends for life....

I went to Doha and all I got were friends for life….

A quick PS

For some reason WordPress suggested the tags “War on Terrorism,” “War and Conflict,” and “Musical Ensemble” for this post. The reasons for this remain unclear but apologies if this has some kind of unforeseen political message or fabulous West End production values….


2 thoughts on “A fond farewell…

  1. Couldn’t have said it better myself. Expat life wears on you but after a while you’ll get the hang of the casual goodbye. A form of self preservation!

  2. Great thoughts, Flip! Doha is what you make it, and it is always fun to read the stories that this place helps you write!

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