Friday, March 13, 2015

In the Groove...

T+ 2 months.  Already? Time flies when you're having fun!

So we realized walking back from the grocery store this morning that today is our two month anniversary here in Doha.  An anniversary on Friday the 13th... that's got to be a good omen, right?

We have pretty much settled into our groove and things are rocking right along... work is going smoothly and as each day passes I feel more and more confident in the position.  I'm swimming in the deep end- the manager who hired me left last week, and the other advisor on staff will be leaving soon- so it will be just me.  But, I'm swimming!  There are people here who are really great about understanding that I don't know everything yet, and are more than willing to answer my questions and help me.  So I got that going for me, which is nice...  I am also excited about the opportunity to take everything I have learned in my previous position and thru my NACADA networking and implement it here. I think I have some really good ideas that can improve our services and really help our students better.  Those will have to wait until the end of the semester, though- right now, we have to get thru preregistration for summer and fall, and I'm learning that the process works slightly differently here than on main campus.  So much to learn, and I'm excited!

Outside of work, we are still taking every opportunity we can to explore and try new things; there are certainly a wealth of those!  Last weekend, we attended the finals of the CHI AlShaqab International Equestrian Competition; we saw the dressage and grand prix jumping.  Those were things I knew nothing about, and had really only seen on TV.  But up close and in person, really QUITE incredible- there were Olympians in both events.  And did I mention that since we are employees of the Qatar Foundation, we got FREE tickets?  Very cool...

Random thoughts... things I miss: aside from the obvious (family and friends)
-The sound of trains- no rail lines here, but they are building a subway system.  Right outside our bedroom window, all night long, they are building a sub way system...
-Albert's Hot Sauce- my favorite salsa from home; it's refrigerated, so not shelf-stable and therefore not orderable from Amazon.  You better believe I am eating a TON of it in April when we visit...
-Moderately insane traffic- like in Houston or Dallas.  Doha traffic is BATSHIT.  My heart rate is elevated just getting in the car. I do drive on the weekends when traffic is a little less nuts, but I leave the weekday driving to Thomas- who loves it.  I am more than happy to drive across Texas and back, and probably will next month when we visit...
-My patio- I miss being able to sit outside in the mornings with a cup of coffee and a book and enjoy the breeze... I can do that here, but I have to walk two blocks to the coffee shop on the waterfront. That goes right along with...
-My dogs- Casey loves to join me on the patio loveseat or in the swing, and I miss absently rubbing her belly or head as she was curled up next to me as I read.  Pudge would often jump in my lap and nudge my reading material out of the way in a demand for attention.  But, I have it on good authority they will be more spoiled than I left them... I am really looking forward to puppy snuggles...
-Mexican food- 'Nuff said.
-My Pampered Chef whisk- it's pretty substantial and can stand up to thick mixes and doughs.  The one I found here was bent out of shape after one spin thru my beer bread... I will be grabbing this from my kitchen at home (sorry, Laura Ann!)

Things I have discovered and I love here...
-The people!  Qataris have a reputation for hospitality and friendliness, and that has absolutely proven true.  Everyone has welcomed us with open arms.
-Urban living! I have never lived in a city larger than 150,000 before, and until Jan 13th had lived in Texas all my life.  College Station was a wonderful place for us, but in order to go anywhere we had to jump in the car.  Here, we can walk to just about everything but work- two grocery stores, a mall, the waterfront, tons of restaurants and hotels with bars, movie theater, dry cleaners in the basement of the apartment building... pretty much all we need on a daily basis.  Really convenient.
-Cooking more (not a new discovery, really, but I AM enjoying it.)  We were SO close to multiple fast food establishments in College Station, and it was so easy to just hit the drive-thru on the way home from a long day of work.  But here, even though there IS fast food, it's not exactly convenient- to get to the drive thru IS kind of a hassle with traffic, and it's cold by the time we get it home, because TRAFFIC.  Also, we have a much smaller fridge and freezer here so we can't just keep buying stuff and throwing it in there for later... so I've been cooking more and really enjoying it.  I've become quite domestic in that regard...
-Grocery shopping (also not a new discovery!) I really didn't enjoy grocery shopping at home- most times, the store  was crowded, I was on my way home and tired and cranky and hungry, and there wasn't just a quick "run in and grab it..." solution.  Here, though, the store is smaller, and generally less crowded; also, it's always fun to see what they have in store week to week.  It's always slightly different.  It's been inspiring!  And, Thomas can drop me off on the way home, I can "run in and grab" what I need, and then walk home and enjoy it.  I like walking here (this may change when it's 110 degrees... but for now I enjoy it.)  Also, since we have to carry it home, it has really stopped us from grabbing random things and throwing them in the basket!  We've actually been eating much better since we've been here- a lot less crap.
-Reading time!  I've had more time to read here, since I don't have something to do almost every night, and I am really enjoying that luxury.  I've finished five books so far! I will have to bring some home since I don't want to cart tons of books back when we eventually leave, but that's OK.  I have a library that has some room...

On the "Pick up in Texas" list...
-My kitchen notebook; didn't have room or weight to bring it, but all my treasured family and favorite recipes are in there and I miss having it.
-My whisk.
-Kitchen trivet for cooking utensils.  Hard to find here, apparently not a thing...
-Olive oil bottle with pour spout.  Same deal as the trivet...
-Girl Scout Cookies from the nieces- if they survive at my parents' house til we get there!
-Vanilla beans.  Can't find them here, and I want to make my own vanilla.  I can get the vodka, but not the beans!

So, yeah... in the groove.  My favorite routine so far is our Friday mornings (we work Sunday-Thursday.)  Friday is the religious day here, so those mornings are pretty slow.  We've gotten into the habit of waking up early, heading down to the coffee shop on the waterfront for breakfast, and hanging there reading (or in Thomas' case, playing on the iPad) for a bit, and then going to the grocery store for the week.  It's a nice way to start the weekend.


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