In London, you can feel the weather change. The wind picks up, the leaves change colour and you unpack all your winter clothes. A few weeks later your face has a permanent face freeze from the cold weather—the “chill factor” as it is most commonly called.
Ah, yes. The difference in temperature can be felt throughout your body all the way to your bones. You have this fake smile on your face, not because you are a snob or because you are a super happy person. You have this face because it is simply frozen that way. Once you enter a restaurant you slowly begin to melt and your face takes back its normal position. You can then start to peel off the mountains of clothes you have on, as the restaurant is so overheated you think you are in a sauna. Once you have feelings in your own fingers, you suddenly remember you have a child. You look down at this poor little innocent face that is now tomato red from being overheated. Quickly you undress this poor child while all the other patrons look at you as if you are the worst parent in the world.
In Qatar, you feel the change in temperature too, but it’s different—it’s very different. You go from being warm to hot, to very hot, to stick-your-head-in-an-oven-while-in-a-sauna-and-turn-on-the-hair-dryer hot. On the up side you never have to unpack your winter clothes here, you use the same clothes all year round, the difference is the amount of showers you take daily and how comfortable you are with sweat trickling down your body.
It happens here too, you also get the face freeze. But this face is caused by the sun blaring in your face, the humidity making you sweat more than you thought was humanly possible and when you step outside—wait for it—the heat hits you in the face like the iron in a Tom and Jerry cartoon.
You seek shelter; you walk as fast as possible from your car to the mall, dragging a little person behind you, “Mummy, I cannot walk, my legs are on fire!” Superhero mum to the rescue! You pick them up and carry them the rest of the way. Finally you are inside the mall, you peel off this little person to reveal the most attractive sweat patch to the world. Your beautifully ironed dress is now all wriggly and wet. All the other mums are looking at you and smiling. Are they showing support as they have been through this or are they thinking, “Gosh you look a mess!”? All you can do is try and smile back, take a deep breath and start to cool off.
Your face starts to change slowly from this crazy smile with all teeth showing, to the human face you know and love. You look down at your child to make sure they haven’t self-combusted from the heat and they let out the strangest thing you could ever expect at that moment, “Mummy, I’m cold!” It takes every part of your body, mind and soul to respond as calmly as possible. “Here is your cardigan sweetheart,” while you are thinking to yourself, “WHAT! ARE YOU MAD! IT’S A MILLION DEGREES OUTSIDE! HOW ARE YOU COLD?!”
NotSoFreeMum has grown up in London and is a true Londoner. She moved to Qatar with her family over three years ago. It was hard at first, but now has settled in nicely and calls Qatar her home. For more snippets of her life check out notsofreemum.blogspot.qa