Thursday, September 01, 2011

It's been two weeks.

I have learned...
  • that using drivers and nannies is not as overwhelming as I thought it was back in Canada. Drivers: call number, give directions and time, hop in car when it arrives, get driven! Nannies: call up friend's trusted nanny, arrange days and time, welcome her when she arrives, leave for work, call once or twice, arrive home and say good-bye. It's different, to be sure, and something I'm not completely comfortable with yet, but it works. Not so difficult.
  • that you can dust, but you will never get rid of the dust. This is the desert, after all. And everything, including my skin, including the back of my throat and my nasal cavities, is covered in a fine layer of sandy dust. I am hoping I get used to this. Until then, I am hoping to soon find a good allergy medication.
  • that CNA-Q (my employer) ROCKS. Orientation impressed me so stinking much, I could talk about it for days. In fact, the only reason I haven't blogged about it is that I don't know how to condense all of the interesting information I learned, and I'm afraid of totally boring you. But I could have listened to our dean tell stories all day. The history, the Qatari culture, the college's plans for the future... I was completely enthralled.
  • that I may never come to understand the English our Sri Lankan driver speaks. In fact, there are so many Englishes I don't understand represented in this country that I'm sometimes embarrassed to call myself an ESL teacher. Surely I should be able to understand more than just Asian and Latin accents!
  • that bananas ripen really quickly in this country. I'm going to be making a lot of banana muffins.
  • that our villa may never get totally fixed. And if something does get fixed, more than likely something else will break. All I can say is, thank goodness we have three showers in this villa, and functioning a/c in all our most-used rooms.
  • that being sponsored by the Qatar Foundation also ROCKS. They are slowly taking over this country (well, our section of the city, anyways). And their list of staff perks and discounts is unending.
  • that listening to too much Mumford and Sons is dangerous right now. I invariably start imagining myself with all my friends, beer in hand, arms locked around each other, bodies swaying as we belt out the lyrics to the songs. Not that this has ever in the history of Kathy actually happened, but wouldn't it be a beautiful scene? I also imagine it happening at the Feathery. Could we all go there at Christmas and make this a reality? 'Cause I tear up every time I imagine it.                                            

We went to Hyatt Plaza, another mall. Thankfully, this one wasn't as big. But the food court was packed. It's Eid, after all, and there was some kind of show or something that was going to happen (we left before we found out what it was.) There were the most Qataris we had seen in one place. Thobes and abayas were everywhere. Eid is a bit like Christmas to us: a time for family, gifts, new clothes, special foods. All the little girls had beautiful dresses on, and henna covering their hands and arms. It was an amazing sight. My favourite was a Qatari family, mom in black abaya, dad in white thobe, little girls in beautiful dresses, and two young sons with bright orange t-shirts that read: "My dad is cooler than your dad." Man, I wish we had gotten a picture of that one!

As you look at the pictures, please make sure to look at what is behind each of us. We're trying to -discretely- give you a sense for the national dress and the locals.

The mall we went to today was in the Aspire Zone, the area of Doha which hosted the 2006 Asian Games. Help me out Darren & Larissa... what is that tower? The "Aspire Tower"?? 

This is what Starbuck's Coffee looks like here. I have not yet figured out the cream situation in this country. But I had better soon. I need my cream! 

In the very busy food court. At the far end is a stage set up for we-don't-know-what. But there were lots of excited kids waiting in line.

Using our 3-year old as a prop to take pictures of the locals. :)

The "Jungle Zone." Most malls here have some sort of amusement/play area set up for kids. Jeff and Kaiya played here while I shopped at Giant, a store quite reminiscent of Walmart...


We were taken to the Education city clubhouse, a wonderful place that we get free access to, with a beautiful pool, fitness center, exercise classes, steam rooms, saunas, jacuzzis... you get the picture. We're being spoiled. But the most memorable part of the day was our 2-minute walk in the heat to Lulu Express, the grocery store next door. No one walks in this heat, and as cars passed by us, I leaned into Honour and said, "You know what they're thinking: 'Crazy people. They must be new here.'" We did actually see one expat in running shoes, walking along the road. One lonely expat.

The pool at the Education City clubhouse. Not too shabby... and I hear they have BBQs in the pavilion on the left every Friday.

The security building by the gate to the clubhouse. Everything is gated in this country, and there are tons of security guards everywhere.

A bridge leading from the Ed. City housing over to the clubhouse. We thought the whole area was quite pretty.

The walk to Lulu Express. Do you see the heat radiating? And the sweat percolating?

Yay for air conditioning!

And a totally random sign inside the Lulu. Check out the small red part of the signage.

By the way, I was going to post about a couple of grocery store experiences, but my friend Tracie did a stellar job of that, so let me just refer you to her post here. Let's just say that between finding Megamart and Lulu Express... I was lost but now am found. Even my old-fashioned oats! And every kind of flour and sugar under the sun! The only thing I absolutely can't find here is natural laundry detergent, but the search will continue.

In the future, I hope to post up a nice wordy post that gives you the lay of the land. What's going on in terms of our schedules, Kaiya's care, and how the adjustment is going. 'Cause you've been asking. But we visit the souq tomorrow, and something tells me there might be some sweet pictures to post from that visit. We'll see.


Suzanne said...

This all looks so great! I love your posts.

Anonymous said...

I dontknow,how you will get use to our GREY live ,where you have to drive your car,and no nanny ? Mom

Anonymous said...

Wow, it really has been two weeks hasn't it. I'm glad you're being treated well. If you don't find that laundrey detergent, I have a recipe for one...

lots of love to all of you!

Larissa said...

"I don't know how to condense all of the interesting information I learned, and I'm afraid of totally boring you."
Ha ha - I bet even if you tried to bore us, your faithful readers would be hanging on every word.

Larissa said...

Oh, and I'm glad you were able to include a nanny in her "pajamas" in the background of one of the pictures. It's an important part of the culture too.

Anonymous said...

Miss you guys! Amazing pictures as always Jeff! Hope you guys are feeling better. Labour Day ended and so did the summer weather. Cool rainy fall type days this past week. Sweater weather. I will try to wish some your way. Lots of Love, Ericka