First Day of Rain….

I can safely say that every day we have been in Doha, we have woken up to the sun shining through our bed room windows, and just a generally glorious looking day. More recently, it has become a little gray and hazy in the mornings, quite a change from the usual.

We were out the other evening for a friend’s birthday, and as we walked into the restaurant, it was just ever so slightly drizzling. It was kind of exciting! You don’t miss rain until you don’t have it – believe me!

Sunday morning, I woke up, and opened the curtains to another dreary hazy day. As I looked closer, I saw the roads were actually wet and there were puddles on the road! It was pretty exciting. I really love days when it rained in Pgh, so it was nice to have a little rain here in Doha, even if we did not see it 😛

The downside to any amount of rainfall in Doha? There are  no sewers or drains for the water to run into.    Due to the lack of precipitation in Doha, this is not really a problem – until the few days when it does actually rain.

Driving to work on Sunday morning was quite a challenge! Leaving our apartment building, there was a large puddle we had to drive through to get to the main road. Then the majority of the roundabouts were flooded, and I tried to stay to the right lane since the water pooled towards the center.  Some of the roads were flooded, and you just have to drive right through it! (Anyone with a land cruiser or 4WD acted like it was just any normal day and drove like crazy people).

It took us about 15-20 minutes longer than usual to get to work that day. Rain here is kind of like snow/ice – when it rains, if you can, stay home and don’t drive!

Luckily, we woke up Monday morning to sunshine and no more hazy weather!  It was nice to have a little rain, even if it does make transport a little more difficult 😛  I hope we have a few more days of rain in the upcoming months!

For Tiffany…

Our sucky all in one washer/dryer combo.

This is the aforementioned combo all in one washer/dryer that I mentioned in my earlier post.  Notice how tiny it is! It does not hold a lot of clothes all at once. Also, it does NOT dries clothes. It has a ‘dry’ cycle, but it tries to dry the clothes with water steam or something.  In order to actually get our clothes dry, we had to purchase a drying rack.  It makes my jeans all crunchy and uncomfortable! On the plus side, I am thankful that I am not running to a laundromat to do laundry. Having some type of laundry machine – even one this ineffective, is better than nothing!

My friend Tiffany has one in her apartment, and she thought it would make me feel less homesick if we exchanged pictures of our crappy washer/dryers 🙂 So this is for you Tiffany! Enjoy! 🙂

Ladies Tea at the Dean’s House

I have been to the Dean’s a lot recently! 🙂 Just two weeks ago, we were there for the Dean’s List dinner, which I just realized I forgot to blog about! Lucky for Dave and I, the Dean also lives in the West Bay, about 5 minutes from our apartment. So it is convenient and easy to get to.  So when we get an invite to the Dean’s, we always accept!

Leslie, the Dean’s wife had mentioned to us earlier that she would be hosting a tea for all the women staff and faculty, and the spouses of the male staff/faculty. She features lady servers so that women who may not attend normally (because of male servers) will feel comfortable attending. We received a formal invite, with the CMU seal on it, so I decided to dress up! I went shopping the day before, only to realize I had a really cute Ann Taylor outfit that I wore for my bridal shower.

I went to the tea with my friends Kira and Maiken, and since we live so close, we ended up being the first ones to arrive.  We were immediately  greeted by our hostess, as well as servers with assorted juices.  We mingled outside for a bit as the other guests began to arrive, and after a little while, headed inside to take a seat at the prepared tables. It was a lovely setup, and at each place setting was a tea cup with  a teabag, and an adorable little tea spoon with a mini camel figurine on top of the spoon. They are so cute! It was a really nice gift.  We had some empty seats at our table, so we did a little shopping to select our favorite tea cup 🙂

Lunch was really delicious! There were little finger sandwiches, salad, mini quiches, quesadilla like items, fresh fruit, and numerous desserts. It all looked amazing and tasted great! 🙂 It was a really lovely event. And total fail on my part, I took my camera, but took zero pictures.  I really need to work on taking pictures to share with all of you!

We stayed for a few hours and socialized, then thanked our hostess and headed back home. It was a really lovely tea, and I am so looking forward to doing it again next year!

Also,  I am curious to know what you, my readers, want me to blog about! Is there anything you are curious about that you want me to write about that I have forgotten? (Perhaps the culture here, what its like living in a Muslim society, etc).  Please let me know, I appreciate your ideas 🙂

Eid Al Adha Break…

In the Muslim religion, there are two Eid holidays. One, Eid Al-Fitr,  falls after Ramadan, and is a big celebration of breaking the fast (which they do for a whole month from sunrise to sunset).  The other Eid, Eid Al Adha, is a festival of sacrifice.  For more info on the Eid holidays, check out the Wikipedia entry – which is where I got this info from.   http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Eid_al-Adha

For our Eid break, we had Thursday (Thanksgiving) off, and then the following Sunday and Monday off.  It was a whole week off of work to relax 🙂 Some of our friends were traveling, but our good friends Alex and Marjorie were still around and happy to hang out with us. Also, Alex’s girlfriend Kristina was in, so we had a great time hanging with her. She will be moving here in January, and living in our building, so I am excited to have a new neighbor to hang out with 🙂

The first day of our break we ended up going to Paul, which is a French cafe located in two of the malls here.  It is a nice ambiance with some decent food, and cappuccino for the coffee drinkers.  We had a really relaxing breakfast/lunch, and sat there for a a few hours.

After Paul, we decided we wanted a little dessert.  So we stopped in at Maya, which is a chocolaterie that serves coffee, hot chocolate, and lots of chocolate desserts!  I got a mocha hot chocolate (hot chocolate with espresso – my dream drink) and ice cream, that came with strawberries and a pure milk chocolate dipping sauce! It was absolutely delicious! Dave got a peanut butter milkshake with white chocolate, and he loved his too.  They also have fondue, brownies, cakes, and all other kinds of chocolate goodness on the menu. It is a really cute little place with delicious desserts!

After all that food, we strolled around the mall to walk off all that chocolate, and then home to relax for the rest of the night. This continued just about every day of the break – Paul for breakfast and coffee, and Maya for dessert and more coffee 🙂 It is a pretty great way to spend vacation! 🙂

After five really relaxing days off, it was so hard to go back to work on Tuesday!! Luckily, it was a short 3 day week, so that made it a little easier. Is it bad that I am all ready looking forward to my long Christmas break? 🙂

Our first Doha Thanksgiving!

Sorry for the delay in posting this! Things have been busy with work and spending time with our friends before they all head home for the Christmas break.  I know some people wanted to hear about our first Thanksgiving here in Doha, so here it is 🙂

It is amazing to think that November is all ready here (and  over!).  Since I have started working, time has been flying even quicker than before.  This year, the Eid Al Adha Muslim holiday just happened to fall over Thanksgiving, so we would be able to celebrate on the 26th.

A few weeks before the Thanksgiving holiday,  I received an email from the Dean’s wife that she would be hosting a potluck Thanksgiving dinner.  Dave and I both thought it would be a great idea to attend,  so that we could be surrounded by friends on Thanksgiving.

I volunteered to make green bean casserole (it is always my contribution to our family’s dinner), deviled eggs, and stuffing.  Of course, the green bean casserole requires French’s fried onions, and I was unable to find them here.  So I decided to be adventurous and fry my own onions! I found some recipes online, and fried them myself.  Dave agrees that they taste much better homemade, and I should do it that way from now on.  I also tried a new recipe for deviled eggs that seemed to go over well (they were gone in about 15 minutes).  Maybe for my next post, I will blog the recipe for the Deviled Eggs. It was simple and delicious!

The morning of Thanksgiving, we decided to go out with friends to have coffee at Paul, a french cafe that has become our new favorite hangout.  We also stopped at LuLu’s to get some last minute items for our dinner. We arrived home around 1, and dinner was 3. I had neglected to prep anything the night before, so I had a lot to do, and not much time to do it all in.  Due to my inability to multi-task, we arrived at the Deans an hour later.  (In my family, this is pretty normal, ha ha).

Since the weather has become so lovely here in Doha (75 degrees),  Leslie, our hostess had placed tables outside so we could all eat outside in the lovely weather.  It was really fun, but strange to think that it is November, and so nice out!  Unfortunately, since we arrived late, the eating had all ready begun without us.

Luckily, there was more than enough food to go around! It  was an amazing smorgasbord of traditional Thanksgiving foods as well as some delicious ethnic dishes brought by some families.  There was even pumpkin pie for dessert! That really made my day 🙂 There were almost 50 people there – colleagues of CMU, friends and family of the Dean’s wife.  It was truly a lovely dinner, and it really helped me feel like it was Thanksgiving, even though we were enjoying a lovely day outside, eating Turkey!

I will update the post soon with some pictures of the Dean’s lovely house!  In the meantime, I have some more blogging to do! 🙂