Sorry for disappearing…a few updates!

I am sorry for not blogging in over two months 😦  And I didn’t finish blogging our summer trip 😦 I will work on that!

Things have been good, just busy. I am still working full time, and I’ve been Zumba-ing three times a week, which takes up most of my energy. Then on my nights off, I don’t want to do much of anything πŸ˜›Β  On the weekends, I just want to stay in my PJ’s all day and not even leave the house πŸ˜›

I’ve decided to become a Zumba instructor though, so that’s exciting! I will be traveling to Kuwait with a friend for the Zumba certification class! We’re both pretty excited. We’ll be able to be back up instructors for our current instructor, and we may start a class at the hotel where my friend works in Doha – so we’ll see.Β  It’s a great opportunity and will be a nice certification to have – regardless of where we end up!

Speaking of which, we’re also waiting to find out what our future holds. While we’re loving our time in Doha and would gladly stay three more years, there’s been a change in the administration at the university, so Dave doesn’t know if he’ll receive a renewal or not. In the meantime, he’s been applying for jobs in the US. I’m optimistic and hopeful about what the future may hold!

We’ve also had some visitors! Dave planned a big event for students, called Campus Conversation about Climate Change, and his advisor from his Master’s thesis came to help with the event. It was a wonderful experience, and the students really seemed to enjoy it. I am so so proud of him. He’s doing really amazing work and I hope he can be somewhere where it is appreciated!

We’re looking forward to another visitor – Dave’s sister in January! We can’t wait! πŸ™‚ We are excited for her to see where we live, meet our kitties, and show her all around Doha! I’m gonna get her to a Zumba class too πŸ™‚

We are lucky to be surrounded by a great ex-pat community, and we were invited to 2 Thanksgiving dinners this past weekend, and they were both a lot of fun! I can’t believe Thanksgiving is all ready over, and I know Christmas and New Year’s are right around the corner! As of now, we’ll be in Doha, doing our usual Christmas thing, trying to make the desert feel wintry πŸ˜› (Which won’t be too difficult – it’s been surprisingly cold and rainy recently)!

I’m gonna start my resolutions early this year – and that’s to blog more often πŸ™‚ I’ve baked a lot of stuff and need to share it πŸ™‚

Hope you all had a very happy Thanksgiving!

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Updates….

I apologize for not blogging recently! There’s been lots to blog about, and I’ve been busy! I don’t know where the time goes! I am resolving this year to blog more often! While it can be hard to think of topics, I will do my best πŸ™‚

Here’s some updates on where I’ve been….

I went to Dubai for a birthday weekend trip, and I’ll try to blog that soon. It was a fun trip – Dubai is a crazy party town! Or at least what I saw of it πŸ˜›

In the middle of November, Dave’s parents and aunt came to visit us!

They were here from Eid to a little after Thanksgiving, so we took them dune bashing, went to the souq, and tried to give them the general Doha experience πŸ™‚ I think they had a great time, and it was nice to have them here, especially for the Thanksgiving holiday!

Our holiday plans ended up changing, but I think it was for the best! Initally, Dave and I discussed going to LA/Montana to be with his family for the holidays, but it became too complicated when I didn’t have a lot of time off from work, and we were going to end up booking a lot of one-way flights. So we came to the decision to stay in Doha for Christmas. The weather is amazing, and this is really the right time to be here.

We ran into a friend of ours that Dave works with, and he talked about the cruise he did last year, and mentioned he was doing another one this year.Β  So he sent us the information for his travel agent, and we decided to go on a European river cruise!

We flew to Vienna where we boarded the ship, and stopped every day along certain cities to see Christmas Markets and other historic things in the cities. We were supposed to end in Nuremburg, but actually the Danube Canal froze, so we were stuck in Regensburg. Luckily, we still made it to Nuremburg! I will work on blogging each city individually soon!

It was cold and snowy, but absolutely perfect! It was nice to experience Christmas in Europe, andΒ  then come back to warm, sandy weather πŸ˜›

So that’s what I’ve been up to! More details to come!

Updates!

In order to try and keep up to date with my blog, thought I would write a quick post this Saturday night before heading to bed.Β  It’s been a busy weekend, so there’s much to write!

First, and most importantly, I am lucky enough to have paid off my student loans! Sadly, wy father passed away in December, and there was some life insurance money that was disbursed to my sister and I. It was completely unexpected, but it is such a huge relief to pay off my student loans for ever. While we still have a very long way to go (my better half’s student loans are still quite large), this is a good step!

You may or may not remember, but this was actually a goal of mine in January. I actually feel a little guilty for not earning it, but this is a great gift, and I won’t look it in the mouth! (Er, or something like that right?) πŸ™‚ Special thanks to my mom, who actually found out there was a life insurance policy from one of his former employers.

Second update, we finally got all moved in to the new house! It was exhausting, and D and I are both ridiculously sore from moving so much in two days! Luckily, there was no furniture, so we just used suitcases and bags to run things back and forth. The kitchen was the hardest part, but we got it done, and now we’ll do our walk through tomorrow at the old place and then we’re finished.

While every apartment has pros and cons, living in our new apartment has many more pros than the old place! Shorter commute, bigger kitchen, separate washer/dryer, storage space, and just more space in general, and even a backyard to grill out and hang out side in the winter πŸ™‚

Pictures to come soon, just not yet! We are still in the process of unpacking….and I should have time this week to unpack, and get things situated so I can take some good pictures πŸ™‚

Other than that, we are happy in our new house and looking forward to a shorter drive to work! And its only about 2 more weeks til our trip to Pittsburgh! I am pretty excited about the trip, and it will be great to see friends and family πŸ™‚

Hope everyone has a safe and happy Memorial Day weekend! (I am jealous…we don’t get that here!)

Eid Mubarak!

After a very long hiatus, I’m going to try and be better about blogging!

So to begin, I’ll say Eid Mubarak! The holy month of Ramadan has ended, and everyone is now celebrating that they were able to fast during Ramadan and become closer to Allah. So its now a very joyous time in Doha – lots of celebrations, events and activities to mark the end of the holy month! (It’s also very quiet – many people are traveling, and there is no traffic. It is glorious)!

We’re off from work for a few days, and then Dave and I are lucky enough to be heading off to Edinburgh for a week! Can’t wait for a well needed vacation! I will definitely post some updates once we’re back from Scotland!

Good News!

I am sorry that it’s almost May and I am finally posting a new update. I just don’t know where the time goes! I cannot believe it’s been so long since I have last posted a blog entry. I apologize for that, first and foremost! I’ve been meaning to, and it just hasn’t happened. So I’m jumping back in now!

As I mentioned in a previous updates post, we’ve been waiting to see what the future holds for us.Β  While waiting to find out if we’ll get to stay in Doha, Dave has been busy applying for jobs, and we went to the US at Christmas time so he could attend a conference/go on interviews.Β  Due to a very tough job market, no promising leads came out of the job search.

So we returned to Doha in January, with the hopes that we would have an answer soon. On Dave’s birthday, January 16th, the Dean called him into his office, and said that he would like for him to stay and continue to teach Philosophy for another 3 years! We were relieved and happy to have an answer, and be able to celebrate!

It took about a month to get the offer letter and have it signed, but it’s been signed and it’s official, we’ll be staying in Doha for 3 more years, until 2015!

The Holidays in Doha…

I wrote this post on December 19th, and am just finally getting around to posting it! I thought about not posting it since we are past the holidays, but I decided to post it since the next few posts will still pertain to it!

Since Dave and I work at an American university, they still like to do some traditional holiday things for us. So last week, for lunch, they had a wonderful catered lunch for us from the 4 Seasons.Β  They had plenty of traditional holiday foods like turkey, stuffing, mashed potatoes, salads, soup, and even mini pumpkin pies and gingerbread cookies! They were delicious!

Lunch was really delicious, and it helped us to feel a little more Christmas-y. It is hard to feel like it is Christmas, or even December in Doha, due to sunshine and nearly 70 degree weather every day.

So we had to get creative! We bought a tree for our apartment, and that has certainly helped! Dave’s parents sent us a Christmas CD, and we have been listening to a lot of Christmas music online. We also try to watch at least one Christmas movie a day πŸ™‚

So far, we have watched Gremlins, Scrooged, Christmas Carol (Original from 1951), Die Hard (Dave’s pick, not mine), About a Boy, and we have many other Christmas movies we will be watching as we approach the 25th.Β  We are saving It’s a Wonderful Life – our absolute favorite holiday movie for Christmas Eve.

We plan to do a Christmas Eve and Christmas dinner at one of the 5 star hotels here, they all tend to have expansive buffets with traditional holiday food.Β  We also bought some crackers, which are a British thing from Marks and Spencer, and we plan to open those on Christmas! Here is a cracker for those of you that have never heard of them:

According to a website called Lovetoknow, crackers are a special dinner entertainment. These decorated paper tubes contain a paper crown, toys, and a joke or riddle. They are placed at each table setting. When they are pulled open, they emit a loud crack and the contents fall out. All diners wear their paper crowns during the dinner.

So Dave and I will be doing this, and wearing paper crowns on our head for dinner! Should be fun and a new tradition for us πŸ™‚Β  More updates to come after Christmas about our fancy dinners!

Some things I have learned so far….

1. Gas is full service here. How awesome is that?

2. Cell phones are interesting here. Qtel pretty much owns the market – so you buy a SIM card from Qtel (phone company), then you can buy any type of phone from the various cell phone stores in the malls. Then if you want to upgrade your phone, you just switch your SIM card. And they only have pre-paid and post-paid plans. There are not individual cell phone providers like in the US.

3. I have learned to never attempt to go to the grocery store the night before Ramadan begins here. We tried to go last night, and it was chaos! Kind of like the mall at Christmastime, only MUCH worse!

4. It seems as if all washers are the combination type that take about 4 hours to do your laundry. Thanks to a smart tip from my good friend, we bought a drying rack and will only be using the washer cycle, not the dryer.

5. There is a tea boy at Dave’s office who will bring him water, soda, coffee, tea etc at no cost. He just stops by throughout the day to see what Dave might need to drink. Unfortunately, he cannot accept tips, but it seems proper to buy him gifts or give a gift at the holidays.

6. Ramadan has started, so we are learning to only eat behind closed doors, since the Muslims are fasting from sunrise to sunset. (About 6 AM to 6 PM). Also, the stores and malls all have different hours for Ramadan, since people are not out shopping as much while they are fasting.

That is all I can think of for now….I will be posting a few more updates, hopefully with pictures, and all about our experiences at the Health Authority getting our blood drawn!