I am Greek raised by a set of wonderful loving parents, and 2 older sisters. I have been an expat since I was 3 years old. I have lived in the GCC, USA, Europe. But other than that, we were the typical Greek family anywhere we landed! When I grow up and finished my studies. An amazing Greek man found me and we got married in Greece in 2005. Moved into a brand new house with new furniture, just to find ourselves on 2006 to move in the GCC and starting our family.
I landed in Qatar with my husband and daughter at 2011 from Abu Dhabi. Right then and there I felt I found my home. I can not explain it with words you either feel it or not. It had a lot to do with the local people that were excited to welcome us to their culture. Qatar opened its arms and welcome me and my family. I was amazing for people that were not family and speaking a different language than us, to treat us like family.
I very soon came to the realization:
How Greeks think and function as people is the same as Qataris think and function as people.
Right about now you will say “Georgia, sweetie! Wake up and smell the coffee in life.” and I will tell you ’’Yanni let me explain!!!’’
Both nationalities value family and family life, because we live most of our life with our family. Greeks & Qataris even if we get married and have children. We still go to mommy & daddy house for food or to pick up the kids. Moreover, with the economic recession in Greece, a lot of young adults moved back in with there parents because it is cheaper.
Greek moms act the same way as Qatari moms. Do they have the same manual? For example, with both moms, you get fed even if you are full. The trick is that if you do not eat mommy get’s offended. If you eat then she will stop you because no one will married a fat girl!!! Both moms refer to there off-springs as ‘children’ no matter how old they are.
My parents wanted there children to married within there nationality,(within the “clan”) just like Qataries. Greeks marrie other Greeks so they can have Greek babies. Furthermore, they eat your brain to marrie someone nice and kind and when you finally find that person. They get sad and feel that he/she came and toke there baby. Do not get me wrong there are people that (dare) to married outside the Greek nationality, but society still sees them as ‘forenairs’ (Xenos). It takes time to accept a foreigner as one of “Us”!And yes for us Greeks no matter the nationality/passport you are ‘an outsider’ because we Greeks are better than anyone else. Blame our arrogance on Democracy, Politics, Medicine, and other fields that we covered.
Both our cultures believe in the “evil eye” and it’s power and the older generation, even know a spell so you can get rid of it.
When I go out to Wqood to put petrol in my car. I stumble on Greek Products like Mastixa Gum, Mastixa Water, a local company that makes kunafa the way we Greeks eat it Kunafa Younania!!!
At the supper market, I find Greek can tuna, Ice Tea, Feta, Tzatziki, Lentils, Olives, Frozen Greek Pita, Strawberries, Yogurt (in a very competitive price, I might add)
We have a lot of Greek restaurants opening. In the beginning, there was only Mykonos at Intercontinental Hotel. Now there is Santorini in Shangrila Hotel. In Qatar Mall & Doha Festival City Mall we have GRK with Greek street food. Last but not least Luminous cafe at the Four Seasons Hotel. Mastiha Shop at the Pearl.
With Greek style coffee. Finally original Greek salad with NO lettuce !!!
In conclusion, I would like to say that I am not ready to leave Qatar, I am not ready to leave home. It feels good to belong.