Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Doha Diaries, no. 1

What I've learned so far on the occasion of living in Doha for one month:
  • I can do this...the time will pass quicker than I think, and we will all be better for it
  • Ramadan, in some ways, is like Christmas without the capitalism. You have the feasting before sunrise and after sunset, but the idea of being more charitable, doing good deeds, and getting closer to God --- without the giant exchange of store-bought gifts --- is quite nice. I'm not so much into fasting, but we've found ourselves easily respecting and going along with all other things Ramadan.
  • I can now get to all major shopping malls, grocery stores, and the schools my children attend without using a map (or getting lost)!
  • I know, in general, which stores to go to for various items (i.e. we can only find meat that doesn't taste funny at Family Food Center, which is right near our compound).
  • I have a fantastic boss! Seriously folks, because Hubby and I overlap for one hour in our teaching schedule, my boss offered to watch the baby in his office...She stayed with him for the hour yesterday, and everything went fine. This is just temporary, until the montessori opens the baby program back up on Sept. 6th.
  • Driving around roundabouts can be tricky, but I might like them better than stoplights...maybe.
  • How much I appreciate air-conditioned school buses that also have seat belts!
  • How much I miss all things familiar: my favorite mascara, street names I know by heart, BBQ pork of any kind, my friends and family, anything that doesn't get weighed/measured using the metric system, and water I can drink right out of the tap.
  • That there will be me before Doha, and then there will be a different me after Doha. It's only been a month, and I have such a different perspective on so many things. For example, Hubby and I were watching _A Mighty Heart_ the other night, a film about the life and kidnapping of Daniel Pearl (Angelina Jolie was, I think, nominated for an Oscar for her role as his wife). One of the opening scenes begins with a shot of a mosque and the call to prayer. Hubby and I just looked at each other and knew we were thinking the same thing: "We know that sound now...it's part of our daily lives." We recognized that, prior to moving here, we had no idea what the call to prayer sounded like, when it happened, where it happened, what the effects of it were, etc. But now, I know the time of day based on the call, without even needing to look at a clock. I can tell by the stream of men in white thobes walking in the same direction.

I know there are lots of other things I haven't covered, but these are the things that come to mind immediately. Things have settled down now that we're done with our immigration processing, our shipment from the US arrived, and we've finished unpacking. It still doesn't feel like home, and I'm not sure if our house ever will...but it's "home for now". The kids are doing well, and the financial peace of mind is actually taking some getting used to. We're still in the broke graduate student/utilitarian state of mind, and I still look at the price of everything before buying. The bottom line is that we are very fortunate to have these jobs and this opportunity, and I couldn't be more thankful.


M said...

I totally get the metric system. After a year in CU Land, we're still not used to it.

And you're right: the time will pass very quickly. I can't believe we've already been here for a year.

Lisa Dunick said...

so glad that things seem to be working out for you-- what an adventure!