Archive for September, 2013

Greetings from Doha

Saturday, September 28th, 2013

John at Souk Waqif

John and I are spending the weekend in sunny Doha. If I ever thought I wanted to live in the Arabian Peninsula, this trip has cured me of it – too darned hot! We arrived yesterday via Oman and just hung out at the hotel. This morning we ventured out to the souk to shop and poke around. Our plan was to walk from there to the Islamic Art Museum, but we were thwarted by massive road construction – we could see it but just couldn’t get there from where we were. The heat finally got the best of me despite several stops in the shade, so I finally threw in the towel and we got a taxi back to the hotel…where we are happily enjoying the air conditioning and a glass of wine! No shame.

One thing that stands out about Doha – other than the heat – is the number of third country nationals who work here. Our plane was filled with obviously blue collar workers from India, Pakistan and the Philippines. Most of the hotel workers and other service industry workers are Filipino (and they are so nice).

Our big news this week was our Spanish test – it was just an informal test to be sure we were at a high enough level that HR would go ahead and put us down for Guadalajara. We both tested high enough, so we are halfway there! We’ll still have to take a formal test via DVC from Pakistan because we need 3/3 level for the jobs. But HR felt we were capable of getting that before next fall, so that’s a really big relief. It will be nice to be back in Mexico and a bit closer to home!

Honey helped me study for the test:

Honey helps me study for Spanish (she is a Chihuahua, after all)










I was too hot to take many photos but here are a couple from the souk:

Creepy taxidermy shop

Outdoor coffee shop






Keep on truckin’

Saturday, September 21st, 2013

Truck art

This decorated truck was at the Embassy to move a big container, so some friends and I climbed on for a photo. I do love the way they decorate trucks here – it’s very fun!

I had several meetings with our Deputy Chief of Mission this week about the International School (where I’m on the board) to bring him up to speed on it, and I had a long school board meeting at Rose’s house on Wednesday – luckily she feeds us well!

John and I finally decided on a place to stay in Thailand for our fall R&R – we’ve really spent a lot of time looking at different places. It’s nice to have that resolved and tickets purchased – something to look forward to!

I had my first long distance Spanish lesson this week – it went fine but lordy it makes my head hurt. I haven’t been as diligent about studying this week as I should have been – it’s so hard to come home and study when you’re pooped from a long and busy day!

We watched a great movie last weekend, “Side Effects,” and we finished the “Luther” series. And last night we started watching season three of the Danish version of “The Killing” – excellent! And I wonder why my Spanish isn’t getting done…!

Here’s a close-up of the front of the truck:

Looking at you




Rain, rain

Saturday, September 14th, 2013

It’s Sunday morning here and we’re having another storm. I love it, especially when I am snug inside the house with John, the dog and the cat! It will pass soon but the morning rain has been a common occurrence this monsoon season.

The week was fairly busy. I had a financial committee meeting one night for the international school. Thursday night we went to an event sponsored by our public affairs section which was a lot of fun. And Friday night we went to a very enjoyable dinner party at Joseph and Sunera’s house. Lots of good conversation and good food!

The rest of the week was spent studying Spanish in the evening or watching the final season of “Luther.” I worked yesterday morning trying to get caught up a bit – it’s just crazy the amount of work we have to do!

I’m starting a distance learning class for Spanish where I will study on my own during the week, then talk via telephone to a Spanish instructor back at FSI on Monday nights. Should be good, but it’s so hard to be disciplined to do the homework! Hopefully it will pay off in the end.

Happy Labor Day

Saturday, September 7th, 2013

John and I spent a nice Labor Day weekend at home. Studied Spanish much of the time, but took a break on Monday to go to the spa. Very relaxing and I avoided any urge to go to work!

Unfortunately I didn’t feel great this week – had a touch of a stomach bug, which is common here. I stayed home on Thursday and slept and read all day.

Friday was back to work, but we left around 3:30 PM due to a large protest that threatened to cut off access to our neighborhood. Luckily we got home with no problems.

We watched several episodes of “Luther” this week (it has one of our favorite actors from “The Wire” in it), and we watched this week’s episode of “Breaking Bad.”

We’ve been trying to decide on a vacation spot for our fall R&R. We’d like to take advantage of being on this side of the world, so we’re looking at Thailand, Indonesia, etc. It’s hard work!

Honey is still with us and we’re still really enjoying her being here!