I’m not a fan of relocation companies.

I think when you’ve moved as often as we have you tend to be very skeptical about people who promise “stress free moves”.

When QHomes approached me about working with them, it’s fair to say I was a little frosty. I still have very raw memories of our relocation consultant in Calgary. She appeared to be about twelve years old and had never left Alberta. As she began to counsel G and I with our three very small children on what to expect from an International move, our little people crawled over our sleep deprived jet-lagged bodies. She began to list the best clubs to hit in Calgary.

“I haven’t been to a nightclub since 1998” I sad in a monotone voice.

I swore after a botched visa application, and a series of unsuitable rental properties, that it was just easier to do it ourselves. And we did.

When I met with the team at QHomes we immediately did the Doha thing. Where are you from? How long have you been here? What brought you here? And then the stories came. Stranded at the airport on arrival. Lost in a cab with no idea of which landmarks were where? Bed bugs, leaking ceilings, remnants of the last tenant’s leftovers in the refrigerator. I looked at their faces as they each told their moving disasters.

“So you’ve all basically come together in solidarity over your joint moving tragedies?”

“Exactly” they smiled “we know what can go wrong”.

But it was Nicole, the GM at QHomes who won the prize.

“My husband found out on the Sunday that he’d got the job here, we were in New Zealand at the time. They then told him he needed to be at a meeting in Doha by Thursday.”

I nodded away furiously, she could have been telling my story.

Why is it always like that? There’s something about international recruitment where the decision making process seems to take a decade, but once it’s done, it has to happen right now. Hussle people, run run run. It’s like waiting for a late bus that eventually arrives just as you decide to start searching for that thing that’s right at the bottom of your bag. As you’re stuffing everything back in, the fact that you’ve been organized for hours suddenly doesn’t matter – you’re panicked, rushed, quickly get on the bus, get on the bus!

“So he went off to Doha ahead of me and I stayed home with the our little girl. When I eventually got here I realized I really had no idea. I wasn’t sure of the rules about clothing or how much I had to cover up, so there I was wearing a long sleeved winter cardigan in the middle of summer. My husband was really busy with his new job so after he’d picked us up, he took us straight to our apartment, handed over some cash, and then went back to the office. Because he’d arrived on his own he’d chosen a great apartment for a bachelor but maybe not the best location for a family. I wandered down the street in search of food and found a shawarma shop, oh it smelt so good.”

I winced, I could see where the story was going.

“The food poisoning didn’t come straight away, but by the next day I was in real trouble. The only place I could get comfortable was in the bath, so I set the bathroom sink up with toys and food for my daughter. Thankfully she can’t remember any of it.”

I immediately warmed to Nicole. She was smiling, shaking her head.

When she explained that she had put together an ebook for expats who were new to Doha, I asked if I could put it in my sidebar. At least once a week I have an enquiry from someone who’s moving to Doha. Will I be able to bring my Gran’s hot chili sauce? Do you think my labradoodle will be able to handle the heat? If you were me would you pack white jeans or just stick to linen? I’m serious.

The truth is, no-one can promise you a stress free move. I currently have the equivalent of a bucket of water in my kitchen ceiling. I know it’s the equivalent of a bucket because two men arrive at the house, remove the ceiling tiles, and empty the water on a regular basis. Our air-conditioner is leaking and no-one seems to be able to fix it. Doha is not unique, I could be telling the same story from any of our postings. The only thing you can guarantee about a move is that there will be something that goes wrong, a surprise, and if you know it and are ready for it, you’ll be fine.

What I can promise you, is that QHomes understand what it’s like to make an International move and they’ll be there every step of the way while you do it. If you need maintenance they can help, if you need to find a property they can help, if you need assistance with documentation, they can help.

So do QHomes pass the sponsored post test? Would I use them? Definitely. Would I recommend them to you. Absolutely.

And if you’re like me and like to waste time looking at other people’s compounds and villas in Doha, have a squizz over here.

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