Saturday, May 17, 2014

Gender Reveal:)

22 weeks pregnant in this picture.  We had our 20 week ultrasound a couple of weeks ago and found out the gender of our baby.  Watch the video or see the pictures below to find out what we are having!

Thursday, May 1, 2014

Africa Night

Last month we hosted a big dinner at our house for members of the church we belong to here in Doha.  The dinner was an "Africa Night" theme, and was cooked by some of the male African members.

Here are some of the foods they made:
Egusi Soup- made from Egusi (Melon) seeds, Red Palm Oil, Beef, Dry Fish, Bitter leaf, and seasonings
African Salad- made from cassava, oil bean, tomatoes, and African chili
Pepper Soup- made with chicken (they bought a live chicken, de-feathered it and butchered it themselves), plantains, yams and scent leaf

Everyone had so much fun and people really enjoyed trying the authentic African food.  
While our move to Doha has been challenging in so many ways, we have been lucky enough to make friends quickly here which has made the transition so much easier.  There are so many people in Doha who are so kind and generous and we feel so thankful just to have had the opportunity to cross paths with them.
This night was so fun, here are some more pictures of friends and food:)

Monday, April 21, 2014

The Fat Tailed Man Killer

Unsurprisingly, the Arabian Desert is pretty desolate.  There is not a whole lot of wildlife to be seen, either flora or fauna.  Mostly what we see are pigeons, doves, GIANT flying cockroaches, ants, and (not wild) camels.  However, we recently had the lovely experience of finding this creature in our swimming pool (thank goodness it was DEAD at the bottom of my pool and not crawling over my kitchen floor).  This is what they call a "Fat Tailed Man Killer".  

Wikipedia tells us that, "Fattail scorpion or fat-tailed scorpion is the common name given toscorpions of the genus Androctonus, one of the most dangerous groups of scorpions species in the world. They are found throughout the semi-arid and arid regions of the Middle East and Africa. They are a moderate sized scorpion, attaining lengths of 10 cm (just under 4 in). Their common name is derived from their distinctly fat metasoma, or tail, while the Latin name originates from Greek and means "man killer".  Their venom contains powerful neurotoxins and is especially potent.[1] Stings from Androctonus species are known to cause several human deaths each year."

So, how awesome is that?  Yeah, not so awesome.  I'm just hoping this is the only one we ever see.  People told us it is very rare to see them here, but we live kind of on the edge of the desert so who knows.  All I know is I had nightmares for days after finding this guy.
Scott wanted to keep it to cast in resin for like a paperweight or something.  I freaked out at the suggestion of keeping that THING anywhere in my house.  The scorpions fate was to get thrown out in the dumpster.  Yuck.

Monday, April 14, 2014

I got a job!

 One of the hardest things for me to do when moving to Qatar was quit my jobs.  I LOVED working at Mesa Art Center and Central Arizona College.  I loved teaching.  I loved the regular studio time (hard to come by as a new mom) that came with having a job (outside of my home).  I wanted SO badly to be able to find something similar in Qatar.  Odds seemed slim, being that Doha is not a very big city and there is really only one place where jewelry classes are offered.  That one place is a small campus of Virginia Commonwealth University.  They offer 1 jewelry class per semester as an elective in their fashion design department.  I had my heart set on getting a job teaching for VCUQ before we moved here, even though I knew chances that they would have an opening were small.  But, I got lucky!  Someone who had been teaching got another job and had to leave.  I was hired at the end of this semester.  CRAZY.  I finished out the last month of class and had such a good time.  
One thing that has been really strange for me (but is actually really common here) is that I had not yet met any native Qataris since moving to Doha.  I actually hadn't even really met any Muslims, which is so strange since I live in a Muslim country!  One of the reasons for this is because we live in a stand alone villa as opposed to a compound like most expats.  Also, because I didn't have a job, I was staying home with Ellie, I just wasn't exposed to a lot of different types of people.  I see Muslims everywhere (here it is very obvious who most of the Muslims are because of the way they dress, and they are the vast majority of the population), but I had yet to actually meet or talk to any.  My jewelry class had 8 students, 7 females and 1 male.  All but 2 of the students were Qatari and Muslim.  The 2 other students were Filipino and Sudanese.  Besides helping them finish their jewelry projects, I absolutely LOVED being able to talk with them about their culture.  I asked them all my burning questions and we had wonderful conversations about American culture vs. Qatari/Islamic/Arabic culture.  It was great:)  
Another great thing about the class is that I am actually team teaching with another jeweler whose experience/knowledge is vastly different from my own.  He is from Afghanistan/Tajikistan and owns a jewelry shop here (in the Gold Souq).  He makes very high end, gold, blingy, stone encrusted, shiny jewelry.  I love that I get to work with him and will hopefully get to learn from him as well.  The timing of my hiring is unfortunate in that I only was able to work the last month of this semester, and then I will start next semester but am due to have a baby about a month after school starts.  Hopefully I can continue on after I have the baby and experience more of what it is like to teach jewelry in this part of the world.  So far, even though it is an American University, the program is much different than I have experienced in Arizona.  I loved teaching in Arizona but change is also good and I am so happy to have been given this opportunity at VCUQ. I can't wait to see where it leads.  
I wish I had taken more pictures of the studio and the students, but these are all I have.  
 Nerdy badge photo.
Areial view of campus. (photo credit)

(above and below images taken from VCUQ's website)
The jewelry studio workroom.  There is also a torch/kiln/casting room, office, and polishing room.
 I am seriously SO EXCITED about teaching here, I can't even tell you how happy I am!

Tuesday, April 8, 2014

My brother got married!

My younger brother got married in March, and I was lucky enough to be able to take an insanely short trip (30+ hour flights each way, only staying in the US for 3 days) back home to be there for the occasion.  He and his wife were married in a very small courthouse ceremony, and then headed to Bora Bora (just the two of them) for their actual wedding.  I'm really excited for my brother and love the girl he married.  I finally got the sister I always wanted!  I just wish we lived a little closer together so we could see them more often.  Who knows what the future holds, maybe we will someday.  Anyway, here are a few photos from both ceremonies.  

 Seriously, how gorgeous is this?  AMAZING:)

Sunday, April 6, 2014


In March we had our first visitors come to see us in Qatar.  My inlaws came and stayed with us for about 2 and a half weeks.  We had a great time showing them around Doha, and finally getting out to do some of the touristy things we had been meaning to do since we moved here.  Here are some pictures from their visit. 
We visited the Fanar Islamic Cultural Center where we got to learn about Qatari cultural customs, and about the Islamic Religion.  
 There is also a mosque in the center, this picture (below) was taken in the prayer room.  My mother in law and I were asked to wear abayas and hijab provided by the center, out of respect for the customs here.  Normally the men and women do not sit in the mosque together, the men pray downstairs in this area and there is an upper balcony area reserved for women only.  I enjoyed the experience of trying the abaya but Ellie was NOT happy about it.  She kept telling me, "mommy take it off!"
 We went to Souq Waqif several times for shopping and souvenirs (and camel pictures!)
 Shopping at the souq (marketplace).
 Buying Pashminas.
Ellie and Grandpa observing the shopping with casual disinterest:)

  Museum of Islamic Art (AMAZING!).  I can't wait to go back, this museum was beautiful.  Their permanent collections were gorgeous (lots of metalwork, ceramics, very old books, wood carving, etc.)  They also had a really neat exhibition up called "Kings and Pawns: Board Games from India to Spain".  I wish I had been allowed to take pictures of that exhibition because it was phenomenal.  
 Even the architecture of the museum is beautiful.  This is inside looking up at the top most dome and a chandelier.  
 The museum also had great views of the bay.
 Scott took his parents and Ellie on a boat ride of West Bay.  I was too sick (pregnancy nausea) to get on the boat but they had a lot of fun and I look forward to being able to go when I feel better.  

 We also went to the beach, which Ellie absolutely loved.
 She is such a water baby.

You will only understand how cool this is if you are a jeweler, but the beach was littered with cuttlebones!  I collected a ton and brought them home.  I couldn't believe that these things are like 10 dollars a piece back home and here they are just laying on the beach like pebbles.  Crazy.

 Other fun things we did were to just drive around and show them the city and residential areas.  These pictures are of a Qatari villa where the family is celebrating a wedding.  They string the villa with lights for about a month to celebrate a marriage (or at least thats what someone told us the lights were for).  We are always seeing houses like this around town but the lights only ever stay up for about a month.
 We also went out to eat several times.  We didn't take many pictures, but this hot dog I ordered at one Arabic restraunt definitely deserved to have its picture taken.  I was feeling really sick that day (pregnancy nausea again) and ordered a hot dog because it was the most american sounding thing on the menu.  Big mistake.  Anyway, I didn't eat the hot dog so I cant tell you how it tasted, you'll just have to use your imagination.

 We had so much fun with Scotts family and felt so lucky to have visitors come such a distance to see us.  We hope to have more visitors in the future (seriously, let us know if you want to come, we have plenty of room for you to stay!)