Day One #Blogflash2013: Laughter

They say that expat life involves two buckets: a sh*t bucket and a money bucket. When the first one outweighs the other, it’s time to move on.  This adage may be why people are shocked when they discover my husband and I have lived in Qatar for seven years. The average stay of a white collar expat in Doha is three years. By this measure we have been here two and a half expat cycles.

What’s our secret? We have another bucket. One for laughing. When our son acts like a demon possessed child at the park, running up and shoving children away what he wants to play with (an action that would have him and us ostracized at any American playground) we reprimand and shake our heads. When the guy in front of us slams on his brakes so he can pop the curb to make up a parking space, we follow suit and pull up next to him. When my single, childless students, still living at home with their parents complain about how busy they are, I point to my protruding belly, ripe with pregnancy number two, and we share a giggle.

Laughter may not change the facts of an aggressive toddler, bad driving, or self indulgence. But a good cackle does make it easier to let go of negativity. The more I laugh, the less I feel personally affronted by whatever obstacle is in my way.

Though he has a temper like the Incredible Hulk (and the introverted non-Hulk personality to match) my husband can laugh at himself after he’s had a chance to cool off. The reason I married him is because he would show me, in off beat moments, how my actions, words, or phrases, sounded to him. Through imitation, he made me laugh.

I even joined a standup comedy troupe to share the stories of our multi-ethnic family’s adventures in a racially defined society. After a few years with the group, I made a short documentary about the intersection of humor and culture called Laughing with an Accent.

Have a laugh. Or two or more. You need them to get through life, expat or otherwise.

*This post is part of a month long challenge to post everyday. Learn more from host Terri Giuliano Long.

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Does Laughter Have an Accent?

A few weeks ago I shared the trailer for my first short documentary about comics in the Arabian country of Qatar. The comedians and the shows are the most multicultural places in the small country. Expats and locals, people from all ages and backgrounds come together several times a month to poke fun at the foibles that often drive us apart during the regular work week.

I’ve been a part of this group for nearly two years. Making the film helped me learn more about standup comedy and the ins/outs of how to tell a story in a new medium.

See what you think of Laughing with an Accent. Are these guys funny, no matter where you’re from?

I loved the break from writing so much I’ll definitely be making another short film soon. Stay tuned!

An enlargeable map of the State of Qatar
An enlargeable map of the State of Qatar (Photo credit: Wikipedia)


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Wordless Wednesday: Laughing with an Accent

I wanted to take a break from writing but I was still interested in telling stories. And the place where I live, Doha, Qatar, is a constant source of inspiration for experimentation.

Is humor universal? Can comics in the Middle East be funny—considering the censorship and social taboos?

These are the questions I explore in my first  short documentary, Laughing with an Accent, about the Qatar based group, Stand Up Comedy Qatar or SUCQ, as they refer to themselves.

Check out the trailer below and subscribe to my YouTube channel to be the first to know about the film…



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