Curiosity is the most important trait for making the most of any experience. Curiosity sparks the initial interest and the subsequent action and the adventure that may follow is where life resides.
I’ve been doing my best to stay curious in my first week in Doha and I’ve found the best way to practice that curiosity is to actively ask questions of the people I meet and explore their stories as much as possible. During an RA staff meeting last year I jokingly said that people are my currency (I will occasionally make silly philosophical statements during staff meetings), but that joke has a lot of truth to it. You can either have a life that trades in things or experiences and connections between people are like the dark matter of those experiences: they are the scaffolding for everything that we see before us.
Because Qatar is a country that attracts people from all over the region (Nepal, India, Pakistan, Syria, Bangladesh, etc.), you find a plethora of good stories. The people are very friendly (and sometimes confused at my interest) and the taxi drivers, security guards and students that I have met have been confronted with a restless curiosity.
One quick example. I met the friends of my roommate the other day and one was from India and the other was from Pakistan. I asked the student from Pakistan a lot of questions about how he thought the Pakistani people viewed America and my country’s involvement in the Middle East. I asked both of them how they thought the conflict between their two countries might find some daylight in the future. I really enjoyed hearing their perspectives on these important issues as we went out to hang out, drink tea, play poker and get food.
The other day, I watched a man give a presentation called “The Internet is My Religion” where he said something incredibly powerful: “Humanity connected is God”. Whatever God may be, I think we all know the power of connected people. I hope my curiosity continues to spark an exploration into that power.