T+7 days. We made it a week!
We had a nice day off yesterday for MLK Day- even in Qatar! Since we are an American and Texas school, we get those holidays off too. So we met some of our new colleagues- friends- for lunch at the W Hotel and had a really nice get-to-know-y'all session that we thoroughly enjoyed. Also got to Skype with my parents (hope you're feeling better, Daddy!) and sister with nieces, so YAY!
One of the great things about our housing location is that we are within walking distance of lots of great restaurants (and bars) at the downtown hotels, as well as the City Center mall. We've been there just about daily since we got here, and each time we discover new stores. Yesterday, we needed to make a quick pit stop at Carrefour (the SuperWalMart of Doha) for an alarm clock, so we decided to stop on our way back from lunch. We went in the main entrance, which we hadn't been in before- y'all, this mall is so damn big there is a freaking Toyota DEALERSHIP in it. That mall really does have everything. Clock acquired, along with twenty (each) passport photos on blue background for various paperwork applications. Then we went home and moved some living room furniture into a better arrangement; back to the mall for a quick dinner and movie with new friends. Go see The Theory of Everything- Eddie Redmayne is phenomenal.
And back to work! So Thomas did the driving today, and you'd think he's been living here longer than a week. His driving style fits in nicely with the locals. We have one more week to be able to drive on our Texas licenses, then we're stuck until we get the Qatari ones. I'm a bit more nervous about driving here, but I suppose I will need to do it soon- although, TBH, I'm content to sit in the passenger seat in the city. We have a loaner car to use as needed until we get our resident permit. Tomorrow we get to navigate to the American Embassy to have our FBI background checks notarized. Yay. More bureaucracy to navigate.
Anyway, I digress. I spent a good chunk of my time today cleaning out office drawers and cabinets from the previous occupant(s). Threw away a good bit of stuff, boxed bunches more for shredding, and attempted to file some more. Marginally successful with the filing, but at least the office now looks somewhat organized. Once I get my Box O' Stuff in, should feel a little more like mine. Still don't have an ID badge or desk phone yet, but those SHOULD be taken care of tomorrow. I hope. Judging from some of the conversations I've had with some of the academic affairs crew over here, I think I am in for some culture shock, advising-style-wise.
Speaking of stuff, we got notification today that our shipment of household goods is now in the country. They will come get our passports on Thursday to do the customs clearance, and if we are lucky maybe we can unpack this weekend. I'm so ready for my stuff to be here, so maybe this won't feel so much like an extended holiday, and this apartment less like a very nice, large hotel. Albeit, one with incredible views! It does seem awfully empty without my dogs welcoming me home, though.
Weather has been fantastic, cool to the point of cold when the wind blows. Yesterday I actually needed my jacket, and today I wore a sweater and long sleeves to work and was quite comfortable. We even had some rain yesterday (one of the approximately three times it'll rain this year.) Everyone has asked when we arrived, and they always say we came at a good time, "it's not so hot!"
As I write this, it's 9:30pm in Doha, so it's about 12:30pm back in Aggieland- which means most of my friends are going thru the first day of the spring semester on Main Campus. I'm thinking of all you guys, and hoping it's going well for you. I miss y'all.
Funny: I moved halfway around the world, and found this today when I was cleaning out the office:
Another little reminder of home. Made me smile! I was given a couple of these during my time in CEHD, but somehow managed to lose them. Nice to have this one. Full circle, I guess!