Sunday, January 10, 2010

Doha Diaries, no. 6

I'm back. Unfortunately. I wasn't ready to get back on the plane when we left on New Year's Eve. Several times during the break, I had half-joked with Hubby that he could just come back and I'd stay in the U.S. with the girls :-) The airport drop-off went much better than it did when Hannah and I went back for Eid break. No meltdowns or long, drawn-out teary goodbyes. Hannah was sad, obviously, but things went quickly and smoothly. The trip back was good because we had the entire front row of business class to ourselves! However, getting the girls back on schedule has taken a full week, Amelia is already sick again (some sort of allergies), and Hubby and I begin the new semester today--blah.

My time back home over break solidified what I'd been feeling before we left: I'm not happy here. While I was home, I felt like someone had let me out of jail...I had the freedom to enjoy all the lazy, American conveniences that I used to take for granted. When I returned to Doha, I felt like someone had thrown me back in the clink. Being home reinforced how much I miss the most important thing about our lives in the States: more time with family (even though they get on my nerves sometimes), more time with Hubby, more time for myself. I talked to Hubby about how I was feeling, and he understands...for the most part. Just to make sure we even have the option to leave our contracts and to find out what the consequences are (especially the financial ones), I spoke with our HR Director. He, too, was sympathetic to my concerns and explained that we would get to keep our travel allowance, and the university would still provide us with business-class tickets back home, cover our repatriation, etc. I spoke with the accounting firm that handles the taxes for most of the university employees and found out that we could still qualify for the Foreign Earned Income Tax Exclusion benefit if we can stay in Doha until July 25th. With these questions answered, I have decided to go on the spring job market.

Hubby and I are applying to t-t and non-tenure track jobs, in the hopes that we can either a)find work at the same school or b)find work in the same town. We knew coming over here that, because of the difficulties of conducting academic job searches from overseas, we'd likely have to take non-tenure track positions when we finished our contracts. Really, nothing has changed, except the timeline. I've already notified my committee and started applying for jobs...knowing that the odds are against me, but hoping that Hubby might find something promising since he's finished his dissertation.

Today, another colleague commended me on the "bravery" of this decision because it involves walking away from so much money. I don't see this decision as brave. In fact, it feels quite the opposite. I feel like I'm limping away with my tail between my legs. Like I've let my immediate family down. Like I've failed my own personal test of sorts. If we don't get jobs back in the States, we'll survive here. I'll survive here. It's just that I want to do more than simply survive.

For now, I'm in the very stressful, anxiety-ridden stages of finishing revisions to my dissertation. Though I'm scheduled to defend Wednesday, April 7th, I remain terrified that I won't be able to make the deadline and that I'll have to re-schedule it, which will mortify me! I HATE, HATE, HATE to miss my own deadlines. My advisor seems to think that my timeline is reasonable, but I'm worried that something will happen (children getting sick, me getting sick, family emergency, who knows?). I am having an increasingly hard time sleeping, which is made even worse by the fact that Amelia is still waking up once or twice (or more) in the middle of the night. Hubby and I take turns each night, but I have to take a sleeping pill if I actually want to get any rest on the nights he's up with the baby. I'm sure some of this just comes with the territory of approaching the deadline, but I'm stuck in a country where anti-anxiety meds aren't to be found!

Almost everything about the next year of our lives is up in the air for now...and there's nothing I can do about it...except breathe.


Intlxpatr said...

The time change takes longer than we think. Sometimes, it can take a full three weeks or more for me to get back on a schedule where night time really feels like sleep-time. Sometimes my tummy wakes me up in the middle of the night for weeks!

I don't know you, but I am betting you are preparing NOW to defend your dissertation, banking hours against those unforeseen events which can play havoc with a well planned schedule.

How are the kids doing? How is Hannah doing in school? Were you able to get her medication?

Anonymous said...


AcadeMama said...

Intxpatr: Evidently you do know me :) I have, in fact, already budgeted in one week of cushion time to care for the inevitable sick child and/or handle an unexpected delay or emergency.

Hannah is doing well in school, though she's still having a hard time making friends there. She just happens to be in a homeroom where the other American girls are particularly shy and quiet. We weren't able to get her medication b/c our main campus was closed during the break. An HR rep has to be the one to input a drug/prescription override in order for us to fill a 6-month supply of her medicine. Luckily, my dad is a pharmacist, and he happened to have about 30 days worth of the meds at home...we have just enough to last until Spring Break, when Hannah and Hubby will be back in the States. The youngest two girls are doing well, as usual...thank you for asking!

And I totally get the hunger wake-up call upon the return to Doha. We usually end up having PB&Js downstairs in our jammies at 4:00 a.m. the first couple nights after we get back :)

Intlxpatr said...

I'm sorry I neglected to ask about your other two daughters; I know Hannah's schooling and her medications have been a concern to you. Hope all is well and your family is enjoying some outdoor time - Quick! While it lasts! :-)

AcadeMama said...

Intlxpatr: lol...I was being genuine when I thanked you because you did ask about the kids--all of them. I hope you didn't think I was being sarcastic? :0

Intlxpatr said...

LOL, I did ask! I was afraid I had only asked about Hannah!

日月神教-向左使 said...