Tuesday, August 04, 2009

Pictures to come...

The madness continues.

Driving in this country may, in fact, make me crazy, but as long as everyone survives and leaves the country uninjured, I can deal. I must note, however, that I am horribly saddened every time I pass a vehicle with Arab children roaming freely about the seats (front and back). I can't imagine how many children end up hurt or dead from traffic accidents here because car seats (or seat belts) aren't legally required.

The worst of it? We still have no routine. No groove. Every day seems to be a tiny bit better, but there's no rhythm, we merely survive. More than half the children in our compound are still on holiday, so Hannah is a little disappointed in the slim pickings she has for friends right now, especially since she's not allowed to go swimming by herself. Eliza started visiting her Montessori this week, and she'll start full time next week. That will help, simply because we'll be forced to get up early enough to get her there on time in the mornings. The administrative workers are trying to get us "processed" as quickly as possible, but sometimes this involves calling us at 9:00 a.m. to let us know they need one of us there within an hour, which isn't easy with three kids.

I'm very happy to have a friend of ours over helping us for the week! She's the exact opposite personality from me, so she's relaxed, chilled out, and willing to do anything. Without her, I'd be in tears daily. We've gotten lost going to or returning from several places more times than I can count now, but I'm determined to keep trying. I still have no sense of my meal planning/cooking routine. After a week and a half, we've managed to eat two meals at their normal times, which probably isn't a big deal to anyone but me, but ya know?? It bugs the shit outta me!

On top of everything, Eliza got a quick stomach bug last week and we were completely dependent upon the driver from Human Resources--Mohammed-- to lead us to the hospital. He's from Yemen, so English is not his native language, and it turned out that he led us to an emergency pediatric clinic. He promised that this is the place where he takes his children and that "they speak good here" (as opposed to the other hospital where they send you from desk to desk and want lots of money up front). This man went beyond the call of duty as he picked up my vomit-covered child out of her car seat and carried her into the clinic to get us checked in. Within a minute she was admitted to a triage room and they began examining her. Because we'd only been in the country 6 days and she was exhibiting 2 of the symptoms (fever and vomiting), she had to be tested (the booger sucking tube) for Swine Flu. They gave her a shot for the vomiting, waited, then said if she could hold fluids down after 30 minutes we could go home. She did, and though the doctor wanted to put her on Tamiflu, I never gave her the medicine because I knew she didn't have the flu. The whole time, Mohammed kept a close eye on Eliza, making sure she was comfortable, getting her a blanket, asking the nurse questions to make sure he understood how they were treating her, and getting everyone to move promptly. When it was time to go, the whole thing (which took just over a couple hours) cost approximately $3.00, which he refused to let me pay. $3.00 freakin dollars!! This is an unfathomable contrast to what happens in emergency rooms back in the States. I still can't believe how kind everyone was. One of my worst fears was immediately put to the test, and everything turned out fine. Eliza was back to her normal self by bedtime that night.

There's simply too much difference, too many experiences, too many small details to fit into a few posts, so I'll have to be choosy. For now, it's safe to say that nothing could have ever fully prepared me for living here. It's not just another country. It's another culture, another language, and they are both completely foreign to me. Little things like not knowing the Celsius scale so I could give the doctor Eliza's temperature, or knowing how much lunchmeat I'm asking for when I say 250 grams, or taking for granted the all KFCs in the world serve biscuits....these have turned out to be huge reminders of how small my world has been my whole life. Don't get me wrong, I don't regret coming. But there are definitely some things I wish I'd thought about, learned about, and/or brought with me before leaving the U.S.

5 comments:

kenandbelly said...

Yeeks, I'm glad your daughter is okay!

Keep trying not beat yourself up about not being able to predict the impossible to predict! You just can't analyze everything in advance-- you can't even predict what to analyze in advance! It'll get better, you'll get a grasp of the system. It sounds like you're doing great!

LD said...

Wow-- hang in there. I know it can't be easy, especially with three little ones.

Maria said...

Glad to read the medical care was wonderful! What a relief, eh?

I am SO grateful I found your blog! I'll be moving from the States to Doha within the next 2 months with my 2 year old.

Your posts have helped give me a taste of what we'll be in for. As kenandbelly posted, I know I can't analyze everything in advance, but I still want to try.

All the best to you, dear! You're really handling this transition remarkably well!


... btw- I have my M.A. in English Literature, too, and will be moving to Doha for a job in education. If you have a free moment, drop me a line. Would love to chat with you, seeing as we have some of the same interests (and challenges).

Intlxpatr said...

LLOOOLLL. You are capturing the SHOCK perfectly, and how it manifests - unable to count on the simplest things. And then, a miracle - a pediatrics clinic where they really take good care of your daughter and the driver/facilitator is compassionate and helpful. . . it is a roller coaster ride. Hang on tight. These are going to be some of the best years of your life. :-)

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