Angela Habibi– a short story from Qatar.

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In the summer of 2001 I boarded a near-empty Qatar Airways flight to Doha. Reuniting with my family who’d recently moved there for my father’s new job, it was my first time living abroad.

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The residential blocks of the college were little more than a series of gray dormitory complexes, networks of small simple rooms set around a communal lounge and kitchen. ‘‘It doesn’t look like much but it’s actually pretty cosy’’ said Scott in an almost apologetic tone as we stood outside my new room.

I’ve made a mistake I thought flatly, my suitcases slumped at the door like nervous creatures reluctant to go in. When I first moved to Doha I’d shacked up with my family in the luxury of Beverly Hills Gardens. A beautiful expat compound with a pool, fully fitted gym and squash courts; life had been pretty sweet.

But now, having settled into a teaching job at a local language institute, the time was right to strike out alone and claim some independence. Luckily my decision was made a whole lot easier by my employer’s offer of free lodgings within the college itself.

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