The new staff included teachers from all three of Qatar Academy's locations: Doha, Al-Khor (Jeff's location) and Al-Wakra. And after we registered and got our fuzzy purple towels, we stepped outside to be greeted by a bit of this:
I haven't really done any resort-style vacations, so I didn't have a lot to compare this to. I can simply say that it was absolutely breathtaking.
The beach. I dipped my toes in the water, and it was stinking hot! There's a reason most of us stayed by (and IN) the pool:
The view of the Doha skyline:
Looking the other way towards The Pearl development (this entire country is under serious construction):
We got to see aiplanes flying overhead all day (and Kaiya pointed out most of them):
I wasn't sure how we would all fare with spending a day out in 40-something-degree weather, but you know, funny thing, we did just fiiiiiiiiiiiine. Of course, it helped that the pool was not bathwater temperature, but actually a little cool. But I think the best part was just being with people. We met a load of new people, all of us just floating around in the pool, swapping stories of where we're from and how we got here. And we got to spend a lot of time with our old/new friends, Dave and Tracie and Honour. Dave and Tracie have floated their way in and out of our lives through the years, and now here we are, all together in Qatar of all places, with Jeff and Dave teaching the same grades 5-7 students in Al-Khor.
Kaiya loves having new pool friends. More fun people to toss her around in the pool:
And she has a special fondness for Dave (must be something about the name...) Here she's doing the little trick Jasmine taught her, right in Dave's face. Thanks, Jasmine!
Do I look happy to be here?
I know Kaiya sure was. She took a real liking to Honour (although I hear many kids do). When Honour had to go at the end of the day, Kaiya insisted we swim her back to the steps, holding hands, and then she jumped up and gave her a big hug. I love how my girl loves.
At 12:30 we were served a grand buffet lunch. Cold dishes, including salads, hummus, baba ganoush, and other dips I didn't know; hot dishes including chicken, lamb, fish, and beef; and tables full of dessert. Extravagant.
If we had been quick enough, we could have sat in one of the "tents" lining the sides of the banquet hall:
But it wouldn't have been very practical with a 3-year old, I guess.
Here is our actual lunch table. Dave and Tracie and Honour sat with us. The other couple is our neighbours from Lebanon, very kind and friendly people we're slowly getting to know. They have a 7-year old girl and a 9-year old boy, but I believe they were at the dessert table. :) Kaiya spent the afternoon swimming with them.
And one last picture of the resort. Jeff worked hard on this one tonight, merging about 15 photos to bring you this beauty. He wants you to know that it is a 110 megapixel photo. Crazy! I can tell, because it's taking forever to upload. Sadly, the version you see here is much scaled down. But after all that work, it deserves to be posted.
As our Lebanese neighbours drove us home today, Jeff followed the map on his iphone. We're working hard to get a feel for this new place. As he zoomed out, he nudged me and pointed to the map of the world, with the red dot on Qatar. "We're HERE now, Kathy. Right here. We're not there anymore (pointing to Canada)." We both kind of shook our heads in disbelief. Really? Is this really happening? We definitely need more time to get this to sink in.
Tomorrow is Sunday, the beginning of our work week. Jeff has some more orientation before Eid begins, and I'm in for two full days of EFL orientation at the college. Perhaps a couple full days of work will help this new reality set in?