Q’s Jeddah is one of the newest blogs about Jeddah and Jeddah Blog was fortunate enough to interview the assertive and informed author of Q’s Jeddah, Qurratulain Sikander, better known to her friends as ‘Annie’.
“As you can see from the introduction of my blog, it is basically for new arrivals in Jeddah, and in some cases old inhabitants who are unaware of the various places to go in Jeddah.” says Qurratulain. “I kind of got tired of hearing people say...such and such is available back home...but not here...and sadly due to the language difference, people do miss out on going out and exploring. My aim of starting this blog was to help people out in finding places for specific needs...based on my personal experience that's it...thus, Q's Jeddah was born!”
In answer to whether she has only recent entered the world of blogging, Qurratulain replies, “I have been blogging for ages! It became a fascination in college, later a hobby...and now I think I would term Q’s Jeddah as social service. Also, I linked it to Facebook, as it has proved to be the most effective mode of networking, and acquiring readers for my blog. I would mention though, that Q’s Jeddah is still a relevantly new blog, which I just started a few months back, so it still has lots of topics yet to be covered.”
I wanted to know a little more about Qurratulain’s background and how she came to live in and learn so much about Jeddah. I discovered that she has been associated with Jeddah for all of her life. She goes on to describe her childhood in this city over 2 decades ago.
“I came to Jeddah with my parents in 1981, when I was around 2 months old. We settled in nicely in the Azizia District, which used to be one of the few places which were actually populated at that time. There was nothing on Tahlia, or Rawdah or Faisailiya. People lived either in Azizia, or in Balad, near the port. I spent my childhood years here, having fond memories of going to the beaches, roaming in Balad, and visiting ‘Toy Land’. My father had several friends from university here, so a nice social circle was formed for us to bond and not to miss Pakistan much. After completing Middle School, I moved to Lahore for High School, College and finally University, while still keeping my ahkama (residential permit). Since my father was still here, we used to come to Jeddah every few months, and of course Summer, Winter and Eid holidays. You can literally say that we were still living here. After my masters, I got married, and surprisingly my husband was posted in Al Khobar. So what I had assumed as the end of my stays in Jeddah continued. I stayed in Khobar for 1.5 years and then fate brought me back to Jeddah and I have been here since. So to total it up, I have been in Jeddah Approximately 28-29 years.”
I wanted to know how Qurratulain feels about expats who are disappointed with the lack of facilities here or those who have not ventured out much from their homes to learn about this vast city.
“Jeddah is a wonderful city, and has a lot to offer,” Qurratulain insists. “You just have to stop comparing it with back home, because if every place was the same, what’s the fun in it? I want the readers to realize that Jeddah is waiting to be explored.
Qurratulain advises expats living in Jeddah, “Sometimes, being away from home and loved ones can actually pull you down and make you not go out. However, just give yourself a little push, and don't shy away from exploring because of the language barrier. The locals are actually very friendly, and always willing to help. But of course, a word of caution; as with any city in the world, as a woman you should always take certain precautions when going out, like go out in groups in the evening, and when out, always let your husband know where you are. But of course this is something basic that you would do anywhere in the world for self-security, not only here in Jeddah.”
We at Jeddah Blog welcome blogs such as Q's Jeddah which not only impart much-needed information on activities and facilities in Jeddah, but also aims to improve the quality of life for expats and nationals alike.