Hubby has settled in really well. He’s been out there for a week and a half now. His company put him up in a hotel for his first week, and then he found a serviced apartment in a tower block close to his office, which costs just slightly more than his ‘housing allowance’. Unfortunately, the letting company wanted all 3 months’ rent up front (and a month’s deposit), but thankfully he had got to know someone in the finance department at work and they gave him an advance on his wages.
The apartment is on the 14th floor and it’s HUGE! It’s got 2 bedrooms, about 3 bathrooms, and a big lounge/dining area and separate kitchen. I can’t wait to move in, although apparently the bed is really hard, which won’t suit me and my dodgy hip at all! We have it through to the end of April, which means we will have a month or two once I arrive to find a villa to move into.
Anyway he seems really happy. He’s been socialising a fair bit. He can get to the supermarket and mall easily enough (and the suites have a fleet of limos if he needs transport). He’s been down the rugby club, been out for dinner and been to a couple of friends’ houses.
We got him a netbook to take with him, so that he can Skype home, and he’s installed a VPN (Virtual Private Network) onto the netbook which allows your computer to speak directly to a server in the UK when you are online, thereby bypassing any Arabic censorship and tricking the BBC ‘iPlayer’ and similar services into thinking you are dialling in from the UK, as they don’t allow access from foreign countries. So all of this means that he can keep in touch with home easily and watch British TV through his laptop.
I think it’s been a lot easier for him than me, as he’s got a new life to focus on, and he could pretty much walk away from England without having to go to massive lengths to sort things out, as I am here with all the necessary paperwork and contacts etc etc if he needs them. I think it will be much harder for me when I go, as I will be the one closing the door completely on our old life, and sending all of our worldly goods off into a container for 7 or 8 weeks, so I have to be SUPER organised!
I am finding it really hard actually. As well as the horrible feeling of knowing he’s never coming back to this house again, I am getting really stressed about handing my notice in at work (probably more than I should be, but it’s really taking its toll on me – I look like absolute crap and I have a massive coldsore, which is a sure-fire sign I’m run down). I’ve also been tying myself up in knots about what to do about furniture, and I have had a really hard time trying to get us a new bed.
We (well…. I!) decided to get a super kingsize, seeing as we will undoubtedly have the space for it out there. Unfortunately for most British shops, this size is a special order and I have yet to find a single company which can deliver a QUALITY one by March 2nd.
At the moment, I have one on order from The White Company, but even they are not yet sure if they will be able to deliver in time.
I still need a mattress as well – I was going to order a Hypnos one from the factory (which is just down the road from here) but they won’t be able to deliver it until the week commencing February 28th – and I have to have all my stuff in a container by the Wednesday of that week……our house tenancy ends on March 2nd.
I made the mistake of choosing Hypnos as the first bed shop to visit, and ever since then, no other mattress I have tested out has remotely compared! They really are fantastic so I think I am going to have to call them tomorrow and beg them to supply me one on time!
Other than that, I have got a load of our old furniture on eBay right now, which seems to be selling well, and I am trying to work out what furniture we need to buy to fill the new villa. I started a thread on expatwoman.com and got some really good advice (basically, buy as much as you possibly can in England and stock up on massive rugs to fill the big rooms, and lots of things to hang on walls etc too). So, my furniture requirements are:
- Sturdy/good quality
- Easily packable in the container (ideally flat-packed, but this conflicts with the first requirement!)
- Dark wood
- Simple and stylish
- Lots and lots of storage space
My shopping list is:
- 2 wardrobes
- Spare bed for guests
- Massive bed for us
- Bedside tables x2 for each bedroom
- Lots of drawer space for clothes (at least 2 or 3 big chests of drawers)
- Coffee table
- Side tables
- Bookcases (have been advised to get lots of these to make the rooms look cosy)
- Console table/TV unit (especially after seeing the pain my friend in Doha was going through trying to find a tasteful one of these!)
I sent Hubby on an expedition in Doha today, to the Hyatt Plaza Mall to have a look in Homes R Us, which is meant to be one of the better Qatari furniture stores. All I can say is, we’re definitely doing the right thing………words simply cannot describe some of the stuff in the pictures he sent me.
Anyway after basket-dancing over the weekend with a load of solid mango-wood lounge furniture from oakfurnitureland.co.uk I eventually chickened out of buying it, partly because my goods totalled more than £3k and partly because I wasn’t convinced that all the lovely solid wood items I wanted would fit into our container.
I had a look on IKEA’s website last night, and what I think I will do is basically order their entire (!) Hemnes range of lounge and bedroom furniture, all in dark brown. It’s not exactly my first choice, but even with an absolute mountain of stuff in my basket, it came to just under £2k. And it’s flat packed, so I don’t need to worry about it fitting in the container. And if all our furniture is exactly the same style and colour, I can mix and match which stuff goes in what room, so it will be flexible enough to use throughout whichever villa we end up renting, regardless of what size or shape that villa is. It’s a compromise, but I think it’s the way forward.
Tomorrow, I think I am going to hand my notice in at work. I want my last day to be Monday February 28th and I have to give a month’s notice. Basically, any day over the next few days should meet that requirement, but I want to get it over and done with ASAP. I don’t know why I am in such a state about it, but I always find it really hard. Wish me luck!