‘Expat Hooyo’ series: Umm Taymiyya

Our expat mum feature this week is by the lovely Ayan (Umm_Taymiyya). Check out her lovely expat story!

Where do you live? I live in Doha, Qatar.
Where are you from? I’m a Somali from London.

How long have you been an Expat Hooyo? I’ve been an expat hooyo for almost 3 years! It honestly doesn’t feel that long.

Why did you choose to move abroad? It has always been a dream of mine and my husband to live in the Middle East at some point in our lives. This opportunity came about at the perfect time, so with much thought, planning and duaa we made the move.

What’s the best thing about living abroad? Qatar is a family oriented country, the working hours here and Eid/Ramadan times off allow us to spend quality family time together. It’s also made it easier for us to travel. Spontaneous weekend trips to Dubai are the best! Tickets are cheap and it’s only 45mins away by plane. Alhamdulilah it’s also made it easy for us to perform umrah as a family.

What’s the hardest thing about living abroad? The hardest thing, I’m sure every expat can relate, is being away from family. I come from a big family and it has been really hard getting use to not having them physically around. We FaceTime my parents and siblings several times during the day so that makes it a little easier. We make sure to make frequent visits back so we don’t miss out on family events and we’ve also been lucky enough to have family members visit us several times during the year. I now appreciate my family and friends back home that much more because I can’t see them as often as I’d like.

Has it been an easy transition for your child(ren)? My kids were 1 and 2 years old when we made the move, so for them it wasn’t so hard adjusting to life here. We tried to make it as easy for them as possible by joining playgroups so they can make new friends. But alhamdulilah the transition was easier for them than me!

How long do you plan on being an expat? Qatar has been great to us so we have no plans to move back just yet. But who knows what the future holds, we may embark on another life adventure somewhere else.

What have you learnt from this experience? The expat life has been an amazing experience for my family. It’s not at all easy but I’ve learnt that all the challenges that go into moving your family abroad make the experience all the more rewarding and memorable. Alhamdulilah we’ve made beautiful memories here and I’ve learnt so much about myself and have gained so much strength from this experience. I’ve become much more resilient and adaptable, I’m no longer afraid of change. I’ve learnt to step out of my comfort zone and have confidence doing it. I appreciate the good times and expect chaos every now and then.

What advice would you give to other mothers who are looking to move abroad? The internet is full of blogs, articles about expat life in different countries so do your research about the country you wish to relocate to and join forums to ask all the questions you have about schools, cost of living, weather etc. do your research! Also if you can, it would be useful to visit the country you’d like to move to, so you can get an idea of whether or not you’d like it there. Moving abroad won’t be easy! Making a new life overseas will most likely have some hiccups. But with some good, solid planning and a lot of patience you can most definitely make it work.

Follow Ayan on Instagram: Umm_Taymiyya



If you would like to feature on the Expat Hooyo series, fill out the contact form and we’ll get back to you soon!


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