We've made plans for the summer, which excites me to no end! They include:
- booked our international flights to/from the US
- booked our domestic flights to/from Home State
- secured a beach house rental in Ocean City, NJ near Hubby's family for our first week of summer break
- secured a short-term lease on a corporate house in Home State near my family, where we'll stay for the remainder of summer break
Because things can never be easy and without sacrifice, we've already hit a couple of problems. The biggest one is that I'm supposed to graduate on main campus Fri, August 13th. Well, Hannah's first day of middle school is Sunday, August 15th. A 24+ hour plane ride, plus an 8-hour time difference, plus jet lag = Hannah will not be there on the first day of school. She is sad about this, and we've considered every possible option. However, the fact remains that getting my PhD and being hooded by my advisor will only happen one time in life. My family only gets one chance to see this event. Hannah will have many more first days of school. I still feel like I'm being a little selfish, but I think this is the right decision. I hope very much that the day will be one that she will remember...seeing her mother, the first person in the family, graduate with a doctorate. Please Lord, let her find joy in that.
I had to go through several flight changes on our international leg, and all of them were completed at NO CHARGE!! So, I have to thank Qatar Airways, just in the spirit of gratitude and good karma!
We still have to make a few small arrangements, but the big things are taken care of. In addition, today was the last day of teaching for the Spring term, so a big WOOOHOO for that :) Despite a major bad day yesterday, which brought news that both Amelia and Eliza will need to go to a different nursery/school, we have since found them spots at places we love that are also right next to our compound and workplace! To top it off, since Eliza is starting a "real" school (not daycare), her tuition will be covered by our employer, which will save us over $600/month!
Though it will be hard to get on that plane and come back to Doha in August, we will do so knowing that the last year will be much easier and will, hopefully, fly by. I can't believe we're already halfway through our contracts. For now, I look forward to my research trip to London and my travel partners, Hannah and her best friend! We leave in less than two weeks, and the itinerary is all set: Westminster, Tower of London, tickets to see Wicked, Victoria and Albert Museum, Mad. Tussaud's, British Museum, the London Eye, and the girls get a couple "free picks" when we have extra time. I have so much that I'm looking forward to and so much to be thankful for right now. Let's see how long it lasts!