So it is Christmas and London is decorated, Angel is decorated, my office is decorated, but my house is not. Why? Because of course, as per usual, the marketing industry is trying to earn every last cent of revenue for the year and get as much done as possible before 2011 comes to a close. In my case, that means heading off to Qatar for a week on Saturday to kick off a project we've been waiting to do since June. WHERE you ask? I had the same question myself.
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Qatar is a tiny little kingdom near the UAE and alongside Saudi Arabia. My project there is confidential, but essentially we will be helping to define the nation's cultural legacy. No pressure then.
So I'm giving up my weekend and all of next week to immerse myself in Qatari culture and business. I'm already facing challenges as I begin to think about what to pack! Qatar, like most Gulf states, has a completely different attitude towards women and how they should dress, act, etc. As a Westerner entering their culture, it's on me to conform and not to challenge their societal norms (even if they are at odds with my own culture). I found this really helpful post on Lonely Planet, written by an Arab woman, outlining how to dress and act in business situations, but I still feel a bit anxious. I think that until I get there, see the lay of the land, it will all be very up in the air and slightly stressful. But that's okay - the whole reason for me moving abroad was for the challenge and excitement of doing new things, widening my experiences, and this is penultimate! Especially since I get to fly Business Class roundtrip - my first time ever!!! SO THRILLED.
I'll try to blog here and there while I'm in Doha and I get a minute spare, even if it's just some photos. I'm back next Friday evening and go straight to my Christmas party, after which I will just be SO READY for Christmas and going home to the US it won't even be funny.