Sunday, May 13, 2012

Happy Mother's Day!

Not so much to say tonight. I think I'm coming to the conclusion that blogging (coherently, at least) and working full-time do not mesh so well, at least not for me. This introvert is in need of a lot more quiet time than she's getting! But never fear, I will press on. I miss this space when too much time passes by. And I want very much to keep giving you a window into our world.

I'm mainly here today to share some pictures because I feel it's been a while. We had a quiet Mother's Day today, with take-out, homemade cards, and a little girl who constantly hugged and kissed me and told me that I'm her "best mom."  We also shared many exchanges like this one:

"Mom, could you get me a glass of water?"
"Sure hon.... why are you coming with me?"
"Because it's Mother's Day, and I know I like you a lot."

Did I mention I'm really liking 4?

I'm feeling a little run down today, so the best part of the day (as always, really) was the cuddles. Our non-cuddly, independent baby has become quite a sweet, mushy girl who's a grump in the mornings if she doesn't get ample mommy-cuddle time. YES... you really can train a child!

One of our morning cuddle games lately has been this:
"Mom, you can hug me 67 times."
"Kaiya, you can hug me 1000 times."
(and back, and forth...)
"Mom, you can hug me 1000 million times ago when the dinosaurs were here!!"

And then we move on to kisses.

Googly eyes!!

It's safe to say this mama-bear is feeling pretty snug and warm in her den tonight.

And finally a shout-out to my mom, oh so many miles away...

I've often wished you could be here with us in Qatar, to feel the warm sun, enjoy the private backyards, and especially, to see Kaiya as she grows and changes. We miss you and we love you. Thank you for being such an amazing supporter of us here. I really think you've been our #1 cheerleader, telling us to hang in there and take the long view, even on the tough days. That means a lot. Have a happy and restful Mother's Day.

Have a good night, friends.

Friday, May 04, 2012

May 4 (for lack of a better title)

It's Friday. Thank Allah.

Weekends can be a little treacherous in this desert city. You've heard about our dark villa that sometimes feels like it's sucking the fun-ness out of us as we contemplate all the things we can't walk to. Kathy and I can't seem to remember on Thursday nights that Kaiya still gets up at "get ready for school" timing - even on weekends. We can't seem to find a balance between sitting at home wishing you were all here with us, and doing Doha - big events, big stuff, big plans and being overwhelmed and exhausted by it. The in-between, casual visits and low-key plans are very illusive.

And so began our day.

We had no plans for the morning. We had stayed up too late. Kaiya woke up early. It's stinking hot. Enter the weekend frustration that quickly turns our Fridays sour. Good thing Kath tried something different today.

I had had a really busy week with a couple of late nights. I was exhausted. And so today Kathy took our monkey downstairs for breakfast while I got to sleep until nine. When I finally woke up - rested, it was my turn.

When in doubt, we Epps like to drive. So I suggested a drive. That's all I had to do.

By ten-thirty we were in the truck heading towards Al-Wakra. After a meandering drive we arrived in the small fishing town and Kathy remembered a post by kooki giving directions to the beach there. A few round-abouts and u-turns and we arrived at the most beautiful beach we've seen. Fuwayrit is really nice.  But al-Wakra has a few tricks up its proverbial sleeve, not least being that's it's much closer. (Check out kooki's post for a great description of the beach).

The water was warm and really clear. There was no garbage!!!! The tide was out (but moving in quickly) creating what Kaiya and I called "our own private islands". And it wasn't busy.

Into the water we went. We hadn't planned on swimming (we hadn't planned on anything really), so we didn't have bathing suits. Off came Kaiya's clothes and the fun began. I spun her around in the water as her makeshift underwear-bathing suit precariously held on. Giggles and squeals, a sopping wet four-year-old, wet feet for Kathy and the morning was saved. Water and sun, and the rest of the day couldn't go wrong.

Here are some photos before the clothes came off.

C'mon dad!  Mom's doing the walking far away into the water thing again!

at the edge of her own private island

And for the record, we did see a truck parked on a sandbar that looked a little isolated when we arrived. By the time we left 45 minutes later - it looked like the truck had about 200 meters to go to get back to dry land. The tides are indeed "stealthy".

It turned out to be a fantastic day. The beach was incredible. Less than an hour after we arrived we had to rush off because Kaiya had a birthday party to go to.  Take-out for dinner, and Kaiya's heading to bed right now. A good Friday. Good enough that Kath and Kaiya might head back to our new found favourite beach again tomorrow while I go into work to proctor and mark an entrance exam.


Thursday, May 03, 2012

Delirious Doha Driving

I know I've been driving around the city a lot lately. Trying to furnish an entire villa in the space of one week will do that to a person. Thank God for the timing - my week off. I can't imagine the stress otherwise. There have been multiple trips to Home Centre, Homes R Us, and a one-hour long - I kid you not - scramble along construction-strewn Salwa Road with its long, endless roundabouts, looking for the low-priced, and in the end forgettable Pan Emirates outlet. 

I have seen more of Doha traffic in one week than I normally would care to see in a year. 

So when I came across the list Doha for the Expat, I couldn't help but get a little fixated on the driving-related items. So true, so true....

You know you're in Doha when...
  • You're not surprised to see a goat or Cheetah in the passenger seat.
  • You make left turns from the far right lane. (I have completely lost track of the number of times...)
  • You send friends a map instead of your address
  • You think it perfectly normal to have a picnic in the middle of a roundabout at 11pm. (a bit of a stretch, but I get it)
And the most pertinent:
  • You believe that the definition of a "nanosecond" is: the time interval between the light turning green and the guy behind you blowing his horn. (let's insert "or flashing his lights")
Ooooooooohhhhhh yessssssssssssssss....

And as for the Landcruiser that flew up behind me the other day, continually flashing his lights as soon as we were through the roundabout, I didn't move over for you, now did I? But I did speed up. That's right. So give me half a second next time. And in the mean time, you can just kiss my Pathfinder's you-know-what!

(I have to admit, there's a small ... not-so-small? part of me that actually finds driving here a tad... exhilarating... just a tad)

Landcruisers. We love 'em, we hate 'em.

Thankfully, the furniture shopping is, believe it or not, done! I actually finished it Tuesday morning. We have a one-stop shop left for appliances, and then the odds and the ends... light fixtures, curtains, that kind of thing. But we can take a little more time with those.

Moving date? Not quite sure. But I'd say sometime within the next two weeks. That's a good Doha timeline, don't you think?