Saturday, May 7, 2011
How ironic that one girl says she wants to be a bone doctor because her mother has bone problems. Could it possibly be that the mother and many others covered head to toe might be lacking vitamin D from not being allowed to see the sun, nor have the sun touch their skin?
Enough. Enough. Enough.
My hope for the people of this region is that they begin to identify and solve the root of the problems, which can be read in a fantastic article by Thomas Friedman for the New York Times.
Curing a common problem that could be prevented is not the solution to that girl's biggest problems.
Until Next Time,
Wednesday, April 13, 2011
Thursday, April 7, 2011
- January 11th, 2011 - applied for full-time instructor position at program X
- January 14th, 2011 - applied for full-time instructor position at program Z, on their university HR website (later I discovered the univ. HR department simply removed the job advertisement- that was frustrating)
- January 2011 - I emailed program X's cooridinator to let her know that my school was on mid-academic year break and therefore some of my references might be unavailable
- February 10th, 2011 - rejected for full-time instructor position at program X
- February 17th, 2011 - applied for adjunct instructor position at program X
- March 15th, 2011 - Skype interview for adjunct instructor position (starting June 20th, 2011) at program X
- March 24th, 2011 - Followed up with program X's interviewer and was told program X would be contacting my references, but to follow up again as program X was soon to start their spring term
- March, 2011 - Program Z advertised an opening again, but for the first week of April start date (this was just too early)
- March 29th, 2011 - I emailed program X's reference checker to state that my school was on Spring Break and therefore some of my references might be unavailable
- April 6th, 2011 - I received notice from university academic intensive program Y (near program X, and therefore next to "heaven on Earth") would like me to interview
- April 7th, 2011 - I emailed program X's reference checker the contact information for all my references, hoping to speed up the process (I need to give notice to leave non-teaching days early if I get the summer start date!)
Saturday, April 2, 2011
Sunday, March 6, 2011
1. Selling the car and squeezing as much out of the transportation allowance as possible in car rental
2. organizing our stuff: sell, give away, ship home, pack and take on the plane home
3. job applications
4. scourering online for various departure date airfare
5. researching the best (and cheapest) way to immigrate our two cats to the US
Selling the car was a pain the in ass that we ended early - thank goodness! As soon as we posted it on Qatar Living we got two phone calls despite my error in listing M's mobile number two different ways! Unfortunately, those early callers were just trying to low ball us by offering well below what we had listed the car. I figure there are some locals that make a killing off buying cars and flipping them for a profit in a week's time. After a few people called, said they would meet us at X location to view the vehicle, and then did not show up - M took the next customer that showed up. We finally sold the car less than a week after posting it to a nice Indian woman. Her husband and friend came to view the car, but I actually sold the car to the wife. We felt good about selling it to that couple because they really needed a car for the wife. They had been paying a driver 1,000 QR each week to drive her to and from work in Al Khor! I could see that she was very excited to get the car. We only dropped the price by 2,000 QR and more importantly, we do not have to worry about selling it at the last minute.
We've got quite a bit of stuff, but not nearly as much as others will have to deal with when they leave Qatar. We have truly saved money while in Qatar, rather than spent it. The only things we will ship or pack are:
- Bose iPod docking station
- Pampered Chef crockpot
- Down feather comforter
- two personal laptop computers
- Imation media center
- cat toys (Yes, I am taking the cat tunnel whether my husband likes it or not!)
We've got nearly a whole house in storage at home, so the sell/give away list is quite large. Here are the things we will sell or give away:
- microwave (so big the crockpot could fit in it!)
- faux George Forman grill
- iron and ironing board
- DVD player
- clothes drying rack (no clothes dryer here - so happy to be going home!)
- two sets of twin sheets
- two sets of queen sheets
- four pillows
- throw pillow covers
- dishes (not a full 8-person set because some were broken in shipment to Qatar)
- pots and pans
- forks, knives, spoons
- place mats for 6 (2 sets)
- trash cans (1 kitchen, 2 bathroom)
- shower curtain, rug, toilet bowl cleaner (2 sets)
- two folding picnic chairs
- potted plants
My job search has been a roller coaster of ups and downs. As always, I need to relax! While looking for jobs, I need to remember that the "fit" is most important. I need to find where I fit best, not just which job I think I want. I have been checking my favorite job posting sites nearly every day, but some institutions will not post openings until they confirm fall enrollment which might not be until late August. My little heart must be patient, which is something it does not like to be. In addition to waiting to pounce as soon as the job advertisement goes up, some openings are not really open to the public. Therefore, I am letting specific colleagues know that I am job hunting and what M and I are looking for in a place to settle for awhile.
Of course, if we are both unemployed for more than a few months after we get home there's always Plan B - get a part-time job teaching where I got my MA. I am not worried about M. He can go back to school for his MS, or do anything really because he excels at whatever he puts his mind to doing. My super husband is a jack of trades, very likeable, and a helluva worker. (In fact, his incredible work ethic was one of the top three things that attracted me to him!)
Sending the cats home to the US has been a nightmare of finding information. There are some good pet relocation services that operate out of Doha, Qatar. However, our hometown/region in the US is smack dab in the middle of nowhere. Therefore, we received ridiculous quotes like these:
1. Service can get the cats to Houston, Texas, but that's it . . . for about $4000USD. This was strange because they claim to get pets from "A to B."
2. Service can fly cats from Doha to New Jersey and then to Chicago. Service would drive the cats to hometown - hours away for double the price estimated above. Nice, so what you're saying is you'll rip us off and totally piss our cats off!
3. Service will only do the paper work and give us a website (see #2) to rip us off.
What we have decided to do is this:
M will take his one week of his 24 remaining days of vacation that his work refuses to cash out. M will fly on the cheapest airfare we can find to Houston, Texas. He will take all the luggage he can handle so we save on shipping later. He will meet the cats that will have flown direct from Doha to Houston via the "world's only 5-star airline" Qatar Airways. The three of them will road trip an estimated 12 hours to our hometown and collapse. M will leave the cats with my parents to acclimate to live in America while he drives back to Houston and flies back to Doha. That make me tired just thinking about it, but oddly enough it is the best plan for where we are going, and what my employer will give us for shipping allowance upon departure. Plus, M gets to eat Mexican food for a whole week! Sadly, they will leave me all alone in this hell hole. In fact, this upcoming Operation Fly Cats Home ordeal will keep M and I apart for the first time sine October 1st, 2009. Yikes!
During all of this I have been teaching a very good group of young Arab men. We are entering week four of fourteen, and I must say it has been a good first few weeks. M is also having some relief at work teaching courses that he has already prepared for, and thus, does not need to spend as much time making lessons.
Life is good, but it is going to get even better!
Until Next Time,
Sunday, February 20, 2011
Saturday, February 12, 2011
- Boys won't disect and judge my non-name brand fashion choices.
- Boys will care more about impressing me (an older auntie/sister figure) than the girls did.
- Boys will not be so shy and will be eager to compete with each other, rather than with me as the girls did.
- Boys will not be so vendictive like girls.
- Boys will not be obsessed with checking their drag queen make up as the girls were.
Yes, these potential advantages are from stereotypes and anecdotal stories from other teachers, but it gives me hope that my last semester teaching here might possibly be a good one. After a lot of positive self talk I'm actually excited about tomorrow's first class. After all, this will be my first real exchange with Gulf Arab males outside of that one flat tire incident! One thing that I'll have to get used to is memorizing names with faces rather than handbags. (Many of us teachers started matching handbags to female student names if they wore full niqabs with their hijabs.)
image credit: http://www.sandiegoozoo.org/
Saturday, February 5, 2011
Here's another blog that I like to read about someone who has recently moved back to her small hometown in Canada with her husband. She's facing challenges with her new marriage, cultural differences, and living in her hometown as someone who has lived abroad. I totally get some of the things she's discussing. I understand what it is like to want to be somewhere else, only to feel yourself being pulled back to the place you just left - or lived before. I often fantasize about living in Seoul again.
I think everyone who has ever lived somewhere so different from where they grew up will forever feel that pull and tug to go back.
How do we expats and former expats soothe the urge to hop on an international flight to take a job in another country? We get busy with goals: build a home, make a family, further our education, and strengthen relationships with those who matter most. And if all that doesn't make you want to make your homeland your home, save up for international trips and live near an international airport to make travel easier. We can also search for work in our home countries that might have futures abroad.
Right now, I am looking for work at an American university that has foreign branch campuses, or who want to at least recruit internationl students. This could lead to me going abroad for a week to recruit students or it might mean my whole family (husband and two cats!) go abroad for a semester or more as American university employees.
until next time,
Monday, January 17, 2011
Two exciting things have happened:
1. We decided to train for a marathon. IN THE DESERT! We'll be running the Dubai Standard Chartered Marathon this Friday, January 21st, 2011. I am excited, but also terrified of the pain I'll surely be in afterwards (and during!). While this will be my fifth marathon, it feels like the worst training I've been through: running in sweltering heat, being surrounded by all men staring at me in my running clothes, not being able to run alone (by personal choice, not law), and massive IT band and knee pain for a good portion of this past fall.
2. We decided to move home! This is perhaps even more exciting than running my fifth marathon! I cannot wait to to do the follow things in the United States:
- buy dill pickles
- buy delicious deli lunch meats
- buy delicious whole wheat breads
- buy yummy bagels
- buy Dr. Pepper for my addict husband
- work at an American university
- run whenever, wherever I want - even alone if I choose!
- run a race at Disney World with my sweetie husband
- attempt a triathlon (first, must take swim lessons and buy a bike!)
- enjoy four seasons
- happily wear socks and close-toed shoes again, and all other cold weather clothes
- be able to see friends and family more easily
- go to the movies with an audience that knows talking on cell phones is rude
- go to public places and know that a child unattended will be quickly sought out by a guardian, rather than left to the involuntary supervision of strangers
- drive regularly in a car that will not be run off the road because some jerk is in a hurry and flashing his headlights while tailgating way too closely
- have police that actually enforce the laws on a regular basis rather than only have responsibilities as traffic cops
- celebrate all American holidays without offending someone by proudly saying to all "Merry Christmas!" rather than having to see it referred to as "the Magic Season" in the stores
- wear shorts and t-shirts (and possibly sleeveless shirts! - gasp!) without offending others
- watch our kitties experience life in the US - watching nature through house windows
- relax without censoring my self - words like "girlfriend":and "boyfriend" and "dating" will become part of my vocabulary again
- enjoy being able to leave my country for work or vacation without an exit permit
- enjoy getting to know an American city with my husband (we moved to Qatar almost immediately after meeting and marrying)
- getting a decent radio station while driving in the car
- knowing that if it gets ridiculously hot in the summer that I can and will wear a bikini to a public or private pool and not worry about it offending everyone or drawing an insane amount of judging leers from random people
- enjoying being home