The Novelty of Rain

Doha has an annual rainfall of roughly 75 mm per year. You can count the number of times it rains on one hand, possibly two if its been a big year. When it does rain, it doesn’t last for long, but it’s always a BIG event. If you’ve ever watched a movie that included a scene about when the drought broke, you’ll be familiar with the moment where everyone stands outside in the rain rejoicing, children jump through puddles while adults embrace.

It looks a little like that on our compound in Qatar a few times a year.

It began raining here last night and now, roughly fifteen hours later, it’s still going. The little travelers have been outside with umbrellas and gum boots with their faces pointing to the sky while they catch rain drops on their tongue. The novelty is bound to wear off by tomorrow, but at the moment it’s a pretty funny thing to watch. The excitement of rain.

Everything is a novelty when you return home. The accents, the food, the familiar restaurants, the ease of asking someone where something is and having them point you in the right direction to find it. Yesterday I sat in wonder as I watched people at the doctors surgery. Doctors came out to the reception area calling people’s names clearly while they made small talk on their way back to their rooms. My own doctor sat and told me about her own UTI problems, the school concert and her future holiday. I actually started to get tears in my eyes at the beautiful normality of life in Australia.

Don’t get me wrong, health care in Qatar is adequate, but everything is done with a small form of interpretation required on my part. Nurses chat and giggle while speaking a different language, which is fine while you’re standing in the reception area. Although, it can be a little uncomfortable thirty minutes later in the in the doctors room, when you’ve been asked to remove your pants. Not being able to understand what’s being said or giggled at when you’re the only one in the room with their bum on display, can leave you feeling a little self conscious.

When your doctor begins a conversation with “Do you speak French?” it’s possible you may find yourself googling the contents of your prescription when you get home. When his next question is “Do you speak Arabic?” you will be forced to admit that you are a complete dullard when it comes to linguistics, whatever illness you have, you surely deserve it for being so uneducated.

So while the novelty continues I will remember to appreciate it and respect it, until I eventually take it for granted and ignore it.

Until then, just excuse me while I head outside to stand in the rain.

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