My husband’s contract was not renewed and given 2 weeks to repatriate back to Canada. For three of these fourteen days, I was in India. During these three days in India I resigned from my job at the American School of Doha (ASD) and started the logistics of our travel plans from the date we were to leave Qatar.
Yes, we had to leave Qatar at the end of the two weeks – but there was a problem – we already had trips booked and paid for that departed from Qatar in mid April and mid June. Because of this, our dates to return to Canada were very different than the booked Qatar Airways one-way return tickets paid for us as per contract agreement when a contract is not renewed. Our solution to this was a call to Qatar Airways to change the dates on our provided tickets to when we were ready to fly from Qatar to Canada – not when his company told us to! Thankfully, that all worked out…..
This is just a SMALL glimpse into the behind the scenes logistical nightmare we were suddenly thrust into. Bending of the rules to help us was not on the table. It didn’t matter what was happening in our lives, what plans we had made or how shocking this was to us. We had to leave Qatar on a specific date – and that was that. Michael and I learned very quickly how to work around the rules.
Upon my return, my first priority was to sell what couldn’t be put in a shipping container – meaning anything alive and/or didn’t pass North American standards. This meant selling the aquarium, 5 beta fish, plants and vehicles, of course accompanied by a financial hit.
Selling my fish was more difficult than I had expected. I’m an animal lover and become quite attached to my pets – even fish! The Beta’s especially had their own personalities and knew when feeding time was! Thankfully, all my fish went to coworkers at ASD, so I knew they would be well taken care of!
Selling the outdoor plants was a lot of work because we removed them from their expensive ceramic pots into less expensive plastic pots so we could ship the ceramic pots to Canada. Most of these plants I cared for during our four years in this villa. One cactus I grew from a tiny plant into this large, thriving entity!!
My indoor plants all started from cuttings that I rooted in water to grow into thriving plants!
Most of my plants went to my ASD coworkers too, so I knew they too would be well cared for!
Selling our vehicles was a huge job that Michael handled. We couldn’t take them to Canada because they didn’t pass North American emissions tests. He posted them on Qatar Living, a free classified site. Michael was soon inundated daily with calls inquiring about our X-Terra and X-Trail. This involved viewings and for more serious buyers a trip to a mechanic for inspection. The X-Terra sold immediately as it was a 2008 model and we were the third owners, so our price was reasonable. The X-Trail took almost the two full weeks to sell because this was a 2015 – brand new off the lot – with a 5 year warranty and all service work done as scheduled. Eventually, the right person came along willing to pay just below our best price.
Along with this selling was sorting, organizing, packing and trying to find someone to take care of our pets in Qatar while we traveled for two months before returning to Qatar for one day to pick them up then we all of fly to Canada together! I arranged the export process to be taken care of by Qatar Vet North. This veterinary clinic was invaluable for us over the years with caring for our pets. Marlow, my 14 year old Toy Manchester Terrier whom I brought with me from Canada, became very sick in her old age and died in my arms there. Qatar Vet North’s help and support of having our two cats, Bob and Georgie and our dog Pooh Bear ready for export when we travel to Canada was amazing. Ashley, Dr. Kate…..you’re forever in my heart….
As the days passed everything started to come together. Here are pictures of the first floor of our villa. Furnished housing was provided as part of the deal to come to Qatar, so we pushed all the furniture to one side and started organizing our personal belongs to be packed by the shippers for the container to Canada. Can you spot Bob, our cat?
Georgie and Bob finding places to relax as we humans do all the work!
Then two days before we were scheduled to leave, the packers and shipping container arrived. We bought the shipping container to keep all of our items in when it arrives in Nova Scotia, Canada – because we don’t have a home to unpack into yet!
Dave, a coworker of Michael, asked if he could ship some of his goods back to Canada in our container – filling the remaining one quarter we didn’t fill. That was a nice win-win because Michael and I were also taking financial hits along the way because of the sudden repatriation, so getting some extra money for the storage space was nice!
And just like that – everything of ours was gone! All we had left were 3 suitcases, one small carry on suitcase, one satchel, a guitar and three crates for the pets for their journey to Canada!
There was so much more that happened – logistical paperwork with leaving as well as other difficulties that are too complicated to blog about – at this time. These were the real stressors – the politics – of unexpected departure…..
Another emotional stressor was having to resign suddenly from my beloved job at the American School of Doha. This was very shocking for me, and extremely emotional. I was away on Spring Break when Michael discovered we were leaving Qatar. I didn’t return to work on my return to Qatar because there was just too much to do. I did return to work for one day only to sign my resignation papers, clean out my locker and say my goodbyes.
During our final days in Qatar, we wanted to visit the newly opened National Museum, go to Souq Waqif, take a dhow boat cruise and say our goodbyes!
As well, I walked around the compound taking pictures of everyday life within it’s walls. The compound was the employee housing – therefore filled with Michael’s co-workers, his friends. Our friends.