Tuesday, November 22, 2011

The Last of our Eid Posts

Ahhhh.... I am enjoying a much-needed evening of ME time. Jeff was gone in Florence, Italy for a conference for 5 days. He is now officially MYP certified, which means a lot in the world of international schools, but sadly, not so much in Ontario schools. The first of many, many, many discrepancies. But I digress...

Kaiya and I held the fort pretty well, but oh, were we happy to see daddy again. Last night, Kaiya spent over an hour in full concentration making him three different cards to welcome him home. She dictated to me what to write (in dot style), and then she traced each and every letter perfectly. I'm in awe of her developing mind and focus. Then she asked me for a plate, which she traced, and then drew a hilarious face inside of. (Apparently she learned this skill from the "Mickey Mouse Clubhouse," one of her favourite TV shows here.) She wasn't initially impressed by his gifts of string bracelets and a purple leather belt. Thank God he bought the little Pinocchio whistle in the airport! And then, she asked him to tell her the Pinocchio story over and over again as she fell asleep with him snuggled in beside her in her bed.

Life can be so good and sweet and simple when you're three years old.

I have so many thoughts to report and share, but I am well overdue for our last Eid post. So the deeper (and not so deep) thoughts will have to wait for now. I uploaded these photos over a week ago. It's time to get them out to you!

Our last two big events during Eid were seeing the light show and fireworks at Katara, and joining some of my college colleagues on a dhow trip. The fireworks happened Wednesday night; the dhow trip Thursday night. But I'm going to choose to believe the opposite. Because really, the fireworks were an absolutely perfect end to a busy, fun-filled week. So let's just pretend that that's what happened, okay? Because truth be told, we were kind of burned out by the time we went on the dhow trip (shhhh! Don't tell!)

The Dhow Trip
A dhow is a traditional, wooden boat, used in the past for fishing and pearl diving, but mostly used now for tourism. Last weekend, while Jeff was away, Kaiya and I went to the first dhow exhibition at Katara, and let me tell you, these boats can be a thing of beauty, with intricately carved wood benches covered in beautifully designed cushions.

During our Eid week, Chad, another newbie at the college I've bonded with, kindly invited our family to join his and a few others on a dhow cruise hosted by Qatar International Adventures. The cruise we chose took us past Doha's fantastic West Bay skyline and to Al Safliya island, including "watersports" (a couple of jet skis and a banana boat), and a BBQ dinner. By Doha standards, it was cool and windy that day, and I was feeling particularly wimpy, so I chose to stay on board, apart from my brief motorboat ride to the island (which is a bare stretch of hard sand). But as you'll see below, Kaiya and Jeff were a little more adventurous.

The dhow had two levels. This is up on top. Kaiya kept singing the theme song for "Jake and the Neverland Pirates" while she "steered" our ship.

The banana boat was very popular. Even though it was still on the dhow, no one could wait to get on!

Another dhow with the West Bay in the background.

No fear whatsoever. She was all smiles the whole time.

Seriously... LOOK at that smile! Have you ever seen anyone happier?

I had to include this... she just looks so "old" here...

Jeff took a number of sunset pictures. This was his favourite one.

The Katara Fireworks

Our grand finale to the week... you're all still playing along with me, right? ... was the light show and firework display at Katara. We have been to Katara more times now than I can remember, more than Souq Waqif, which I thought would for sure be our favourite haunt (it still has potential to be, mind you.) Katara never disappoints. Every single time we have gone, we have been amazed. The beautiful buildings, the stone walkways, the beach, the merchants, the pockets of live music and dance, the amazing and expensive restaurants placed in and amongst the cheap but equally good "street" vendors.... this is what I dream Qatar will one day have more of. These give me my necessary and regular cultural fix. Mmmhm!

For four nights in a row, there were Eid celebrations at Katara. We managed to just squeeze them in on their last night. And by chance, we also managed to meet up with Dave and Tracie and Honour. The lightshow was  impressive. Two screens were set up, depicting the history of Qatar. It was all in Arabic, so we couldn't really understand a thing, but the pictures gave us an idea. At the same time, there were different coloured laser lights shooting out and up into the sky. This show was then followed by 30 minutes of fireworks, all set to soul-stirring music. The fireworks were amazing... a bit much, really! Think of the "grand finale" of fireworks in Canada... this was 30 minutes of grand finale.

We all stood on a bench, with a fantastic view of the night show. As the show went on in front of my eyes, I got to feeling sentimental, remembering the last time we watched fireworks with friends. It was this past Canada Day, one of our favourite family memories of all time. We ended the evening at Fort George with Rose, Nathan, Sue and Brent. On my desk in my office, I have the picture of all of us, looking extremely Canadian with our Canada t-shirts and our Tim Horton's cups in our hands. Kaiya was so mind-blown by all the events of the day and the fireworks at night ... she was a complete chatterbox. "This is such amazing!!!" she kept repeating again and again. She told us that it was the best day of her whole life.

I stood at Katara with the Giesbrechts, remembering that night, feeling the music around me, watching the lights explode in front of me, and when I saw the sets of three orange fireworks, each shooting off in different directions, I got teary-eyed. Here we are, having left many of you, firing off in our own, unique direction. And though it was time for us to go and follow the path we've been given, I wonder about you daily and the paths you are on. I have been impressed, once again in our time here, by how large and how very small our beautiful world is, all at the same time. We are no longer a part of your daily lives, your comings and goings, and yet at any time we wish, we can tap in, connect, and be a part of your path for a little while. This life is so rich and so fragile, and I'm so thankful for this opportunity to drink it deeply.

It was a wonderful night.

Enjoying the light show

Jeff's favourite... it's so sparkly!

The 30-minute grand finale

We have another great week and weekend of activities lined up, including a female-only Wanasa night at the college for me tomorrow. And in three weeks and three days, we'll be Ontario-bound, home for Christmas to see the ones we love the most.

Life is good.


Suzanne said...

Kathy, I had to choke back the tears in this one. That day is definitely one of my favourite memories of this past summer. I will forever quote Kaiya with "such amazing!" I love you and can not wait to see you again. Thanks for the fantastic post.

Rose said...

I'm definitely full-out crying. Miss you!