Same City, Different View
I stand on the balcony of my twentieth floor apartment, viewing the glittering skyscrapers that feel as if I could reach out and touch their glassy surfaces. I spot the glowing mosque peeking between the buildings, its blend of traditional beauty and modern lighting revealing more about this city than I ever could. I barely rotate my bare feet and stare at the still shoreline bordering a royal family member’s backyards and fleet of yachts. The sleeping water makes me smile. I remember to look down and can’t avoid seeing the less appealing brown patches, a mixture of sandy rubble and construction, scattered with uniform-clad migrant workers, covered in layers of sand, sweat, and strength.
All of these views in just one short breath.
I have been awakened to the complexities of this city; a mixture of beauty, heartbreak, innovation, and energetic hope. A change of scenery, a more central location, a change of attitude makes all the difference.
My third year in Doha has already been crammed with new opportunities, new activities, and new people. Between teaching, yoga, writing, and travel planning, I can’t seem to take a breath (and I’m not complaining)!
Just the other day someone described Doha as “the land of opportunity.” As a kid raised on an American military base and brainwashed with images of a waving U.S. flag upon hearing this phrase, and especially in light of recent controversial migrant workers’ rights in Qatar, my first instinct was to scoff. But I kept thinking about it. She was absolutely right. Once I finally leave Doha someday, I will have been an MYP Humanities teacher, a yoga teacher, a practiced writer, a conference and workshop presenter, a Press Team director, a rock/folk band singer, a wannabe hip hop dancer, and if I had time to be a choir singer I would, among other roles. I will have perspective on cultures, religions, teaching philosophies, and social justice issues that I wouldn’t have experienced otherwise.
Doha will never lack confusion, controversy, and complexity. But with these three frustrations comes a constant flow of change. Change comes in waves whether positive or negative, but the constant movement makes constant way for improvement. Turns out Doha and I have this in common.
Sometimes you don’t need a new place, just a new view.