Our five year adventure in Doha, Qatar ended June 1, 2012, but the memories will always remain. It's back to Texas where I have decided...Qatar isn't cornering the market on "quirky", as I once believed. Thanks for opening my eyes to the world, Doha!

Friday, December 25, 2009

Merry Christmas!

A blast from the past

All the kids were with me to spend Christmas Eve with my parents and family in Southeast, Texas as David celebrated back in Doha with Burger King delivery. Somehow I don't think a Whopper can compare with my sister, Regina's, crawfish etouffee , brother Mike's good ol' traditional Velveeta cheese dip or the rest of the Christmas goodies that we shared. We got back to Kyle at 12:30 this morning and are now heading to the airport to spend Christmas with David's parents in Tennessee. We'll arrive back in Texas on the 29th and then Kristi and I will board a plane back to Doha on the 30th. No rest for the weary, I tell you. Looking forward!

Merry Christmas, Everyone!

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Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Deck the Halls With...

Pink flamingos, fa la la la la, la la la la!

Our neighbors directly across the street from our Texas home is all decked out for the holidays. Their yard represents the p.c. term, "Happy holidays" to a T. Meaning, I'm not so sure if there's anything Christmas about it. Let's see, pink flamingos, skeletons, palm trees...definitely equals holiday, though I'm not sure which one. All their bases seem to be covered, except Christmas, that is. Ok, Santa does represent the commercial aspect of Christmas, if not the true meaning. Nevertheless, I hope your halls are decked with a few boughs of holly as you remember the reason for the season. Merry Christmas!

Dustin decking our halls

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Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Merry Humbug

I'm making my list and
I'm checking it twice....

But if I don't get with it, Santa Claus won't be coming to town. To Kyle, to Port Arthur, back to Kyle, to Tennessee, back to Kyle, back to Port Arthur, back to Kyle, and David back in Doha is not boding well with my intended Christmas shopping. My adult onset A.D.D. will not allow it. I'm one that has to "settle in" upon each return, so that's not leaving much time for Santa and his workers. However, I did hit the streets yesterday with one of my elves, aka Kristi, who was great help, but when all was said and done I didn't make a dent in my list. Oh yeah, I didn't have a list. Maybe that's my downfall. Bottom line: If you are in my gift giving line, don't get too excited this year. Bah humbug.

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Sunday, December 13, 2009

Meet "The Office"

"Oh, yeah, we have great food in Texas, too, Syb. Take a picture for Qatar!" I guess I just thought that went without saying, but Kellie wanted it documented for posterity. Good point, Kel! The office gang from my pre-Doha life had their office Christmas party this weekend at Larry's French Market in Groves, Texas and graciously invited me. Great Cajun food abounded with a top notch zydeco band playing as I caught up with friends that I hadn't seen in over two years. The weird thing was, it was like we hadn't missed a beat. Rumor has it that my old desk is still referred to as "Sybil's desk", even though I've been off the clock going on three years. I am honored. I do miss working and playing with such a great group of people. Thank you, Ms. Jan Girouard, along with all your associates for the wonderful memories you've given me!

Part of the JGA gang...some of the main cast left before I took pictures :(

Note to the BFF of the OFF: We missed you, Konnie!

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Tuesday, December 8, 2009

When Cultures Collide

For those interested in knowing what it would be like for an American non Muslim woman to be married to a Muslim Saudi Arabian and living in his homeland, this interview found on a blog titled "Ghada's World" may provide answers to questions that you have. Personally, I found it quite insightful, although tinged with a bit of sadness. Ghada, who lives in the USA interviewed fellow blogger Susie of Saudi Arabia who has her own blog called Susie's Big Adventure that chronicles her life in the Kingdom. I drop in on Susie every now and then not only for her content, but for the great selection of music that her playlist offers. Click here to read the interview. Even though Qatar is known to be more liberal than Saudi, I'm sure American women married to Qatari men have some of the same issues that Susie has. I guess the bottom line is that love has no boundaries, but look before you leap.

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Monday, December 7, 2009

Here a Creature, There a Creature

"'Twas three weeks before Christmas when all through the house
Not a creature was stirring
Not even a mouse"

Well that little ditty was tossed out the window in a matter of a few shutter clicks. Our trip to Tennessee not only included a creature, but yes, a mouse. It seems that the cats, Barney and Alvin, like to bring in their own play toys upon reentry to the master's house. There were plenty of other creatures abounding as well, but if you've been following me you already know that I forgot my camera and missed a rare photo op of camels. There were also wild turkeys, deer, donkeys, llamas, and buffalo to be seen roadside on our outings. By far the best creature we ran across was the one that made a surprise appearance at his grandparents' door on Friday night. Our oldest son, Shea, returned to Fort Bragg, NC from his six month stint in Africa last Tuesday night, so we arranged for him to meet us for the weekend. This was going to be David's only opportunity to see him before returning to Doha in one more short week. We had a great week of visiting, games and eating. Yes, I did get my homemade vegetable soup, along with a few homemade desserts that were out of this world. And of course, we did more than our fair share of eating out. Shea was most appreciative of all the good eats. He didn't have the advantage of all the American food chains in Africa that we have been afforded in Qatar, so he wasn't going to waste any of it. We all parted ways yesterday with a few more memories under our belts and still look forward to adding more in our remaining days. Check y'all later.

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Wednesday, December 2, 2009

Don't Leave Home Without It

I did a "no no" today. I broke the cardinal rule of not leaving the house without my camera. We had just driven off from the in-laws house when I spoke up and announced that I had forgotten my purse. David graciously volunteered to turn the car around so that I could retrieve it, but I decided that I wouldn't need it. He said, "but that means you don't have your camera" to which I replied, "no biggie, it's not like we are going to have a camel siting". About ten minutes into our drive, I kid you not, David proclaims that there are some camels up on the hill. I'm thinking, cute, Dave. I swear to you, there were three camels enclosed in a fenced in area at someone's home. I wanted to pull my hair out for not heeding Karl Malden's* words of wisdom that he pounded into my head for years. An only in Doha moment observed in Mount Pleasant, Tennessee with no camera in sight. Who would have thunk it?

*spokesman for American Express whose slogan was "Don't leave home without it".

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Monday, November 30, 2009

Jetting to Tennessee

We're winding down the first leg of our Texas tour and jetting on to Tennessee tomorrow morning. Yesterday, we finalized our Port Arthur area visit by joining David's sister (Nisie) and husband (Steve) at Cafe Del Rio Mexican Restaurant (delicioso!) for one last Tex-Mex meal (until next time, anyway). As you can see, I couldn't resist to experience what it would like to be tall. I felt like a giant walking through the "for the children" door and then felt like an idiot when I banged my head on the frame. Short works. Anyway, you guys hold the fort down in Texas while we venture into even cooler grounds. The forecast low temp for this Friday in the Nashville area is 25F (or -4c for my friends on the other side of the ocean) compared to the 68F low that Doha is posting. (This is what we call winter, Naz!) Adios Amigos...see y'all in Tennessee!

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Saturday, November 28, 2009

A Big Fat Thanks

Fat and happy is how the saying goes, and that we are. We had a great Thanksgiving meal and aftermeal that would have appeased the pickiest of appetites. It was a good time, but I'm glad to slow down a bit on those leftovers and desserts. Hopefully we all render our thanks more than once a year, but I am so thankful that there is only one official holiday. If I kept up at this pace, I wouldn't be able to get into my belly dancing outfit. Somehow though, between all the turkey trimmings, we've managed to make two trips to our favorite local Tex-Mex food hangout, Casa Ole. We'll wrap up this leg of our eating tour tomorrow after a birthday visit with my dad. We'll head back to Kyle for a day and then it's Tennessee bound to visit with David's family. I've really had a hankering for my father-in-law's vegetable soup. I somehow missed out on it this past summer. I know it was hot, but we could have cranked up the air, Bill. Please, don't make me beg this visit (but, I will if I have to).

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Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Heading East

In three and a half days in the Austin area we've managed to:

1. Eat breakfast at Cracker Barrel twice :)
2. Ride to Wimberley, Tx to have breakfast on the square
3. Have Mexican food at El Gallo in Austin
4. Eat at Olive Garden to celebrate Dustin's 25th birthday
5. Repair my car which was making a roaring horrible noise on arrival. Power steering fluid is amazing stuff.
6. Wash away a year of road grime and sap from my car.
7. Have a shopping spree at Kohl's. I love that place.
8. Eat at Texas Roadhouse. Can I get a big Yeehaw?
9. Work on Kristi's car, but no magic fluids to fix it. Another day.
10. Make a quiche! One meal at home...not bad.

You people just thought I loved to eat in Doha. It's a total restaurant tour upon touchdown in Texas. We'll be moving on east this afternoon to my brother's (David) in Katy. Tomorrow afternoon we'll head to Port Arthur to visit with more family and friends. A little Luby's Thanksgiving catering will be in order for our turkey day celebration. Add to that a few traditional family favorites and we'll be good to go. It's been a heavenly visit in Kyle, but we're looking forward to that gathering at Mark's (another brother) in (the) Groves. Let the travels continue. Have a great Thanksgiving everyone!

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