15. May, 2017

When you realise life is getting easier by Nicki Allman

When you realise life is getting easier by Nicki Allman

Recently something struck me. It struck me how much easier life is getting. The challenges appear to be less and less. Let me explain. We’ve been here over nine months now and had been in China the two years prior to that. We’d got used to finding answers to questions about our daily needs then we moved country.

Initially in China we had no idea where to food shop, where to buy toiletries or household goods. We had no idea where to buy footwear or clothing and were thinking how on earth we were going to survive without our shipping (it took six months to arrive). Birthday cards and presents; where to get them? Where to go for the doctors or dentist? How to get around? How to make ourselves understood with not being able to speak the local language? How to get in touch with people back home and in other countries without WiFi or even data? Everything there seemed to be one challenge after another. We had arrived quite a few days before other ‘newbies’ so we needed to find this out with little help and we needed to find it out quickly. There were some there at the same time and they helped as much as they could which we were immensely grateful for. Once the other ‘newbies’ arrived it all became a little easier as we were taken to different places to be shown things and purchase things. Once we’d worked out where things were we were able to find things much easier. Life became much easier working out transport and getting to and from places.

However, we soon found that we didn’t really have to think about what to do to buy something and where to go. When our daughter went to a birthday event we knew how to find presents and cards at the local plazas and malls. For our holiday we knew exactly where to go to get what we needed. We needed new carryon luggage so headed off to a little store we’d got to know and purchased two fantastic Wenger cases for a big discount, and even conversed a little in very basic Mandarin. We realised that even though many things were still challenging and not as straight forward as in the UK, life had become so much easier. We also knew that because of Chinese New Year (everything shut down for approximately 15/21 days as many Chinese people head off back to their provinces) we had left it too late to order for an online delivery. This was something we made note of for future reference. We realised that we hadn’t really got much in terms of summer wear for holiday. Online delivery wouldn’t arrive and many stores are still stacked full of winter clothing, so we went to the local tailors with a top we already had. I was measured up and seven new tops were ready in a couple of days so much cheaper than buying in the UK and made to measure too.

And then we made our next international move; the challenges reappeared when we moved to Qatar. However, we were able to rely on our recent experiences and how we dealt with them…oh and learnt from them! Getting around in Doha has been much simpler than it was on our first exploit as expats. Finding where to go and purchase things we needed, basics like shopping, clothing that was appropriate to where we now lived, vets for our two rescue dogs, and the way to deal with the furnace of temperatures! China was hot in the summer but nothing like Doha! Second time round we were much quicker at asking for help and advice; about where to go shop and how to get a car to get around.