Since I last blogged, we have celebrated Christmas and New Years. We have moved into our permanent housing, and settled (somewhat) into a normal groove. I've gotten really behind and know I need to update this more. My computer totally crashed and had to have major surgery, and I'd like to think I would have blogged sooner, but lets be honest, I've never been very good at this. Anyway, suffice it to say that a lot has happened. We celebrated our first Christmas ever away from home and family, which was hard, but not as bad as I thought it would be. Thank goodness for skype, it made it possible for us to open Christmas presents with grandma and grandpa and almost (but not quite) made it feel like they were right there with us. New Years was uneventful...we didn't stay up or watch a countdown or anything. The bad thing about working in this country is that they don't have the same holidays (days off work) as we do in America. So Scott didn't get Christmas or New Years day off. That was a little strange. We will have to get used to having other holidays off like Ramadan and Eid:) Despite not celebrating New Years, I couldn't help but feel like this is going to be a special year for us. This year we will be living in Qatar. I will gain a new sister in law (my brother is getting married!!). I will watch my baby turn 3, and I will officially pass from my 20's to my 30's (yikes). I have no idea what else this year will bring but I know it will be full of change. I'm looking forward to it.
Anyway, back to the update. We moved into a "villa" at the beginning of November. Villa is the term they use here for houses. Ours is a stand alone villa on the outskirts of Doha. Most of the people we know here live in compounds but we chose not to. We like the solitude and quiet out where we are, but its also a little isolated. We don't have the same community of expats that goes along with living in a compound. Our villa came unfurnished, which in the states means that it doesn't come with furniture. Here it means it doesn't come with furniture or appliances (like fridge, washer/dryer, stove, etc). So that was interesting (and expensive). Also, when you make a move in the states, you take a lot of your stuff with you. When you move overseas like this (at least for us), it meant we left a lot behind. We sold almost everything and put some things into storage. We pretty much didn't bring any furniture except our beds and my jewelers bench. So, we live in this 5 bedroom/4 bathroom mansion that is almost completely empty. Its funny. Its also hard because we feel like we are completely starting over. I feel like I'm 18 years old and moving out of my parents house again. I'm sure over time we will accumulate things but I know we will never fill this gigantic house. Not that we need to, its way too big for our little family of 3. They like to live very large here. Almost all the homes have at least as many bathrooms as they do bedrooms. And our house is small compared to how the locals live. They also have lots of servants. At some point Ill take some photos of the villas around our neighborhood that are owned by Qataris. They all look like palaces. Ellie calls them princess castles. Despite how empty our villa is, its starting to feel like home. Slowly.
Other than that, we are pretty much just trying to acclimate to every day life in this part of the world. Life changed drastically for me when we moved here (for MANY reasons) but one huge struggle is that I haven't really driven at all since we got here. I got an international drivers license before we came, only to find out that its not really very legal here. So I drove once, thought better of it, and haven't driven since. I got here October 1st...which means I haven't driven in over 3 months. Losing the freedom that comes with transportation is really hard. I can use personal drivers, which I do sometimes, but its expensive and not super convenient. I have been incredibly lucky to make fast friends here with some ladies that attend the same church as us, and they have very generously given me rides to playgroups, cooking classes, and book clubs. I think that's the only thing that has kept me sane, is these amazing people just scooping me up into their lives and making us feel so welcome here. I've never been quick to make friends so it shocked me and has been a huge blessing that I really never would have expected. Another major change is that I went from working 2 jobs that I loved, to being a full time stay at home mom. It's been a little rough, just because I really loved teaching, but its also been really nice to be able to spend all my time with my little girl, and to be able to have nothing more on my plate than to just watch her grow. She amazes me and I know she makes me a better person. I am still looking for work here in Doha, but if the right job doesn't come along I will be content to be home with Ellie and just enjoy the time I have with her. I also brought my bench and some tools so I can make jewelry at home and possibly teach private lessons.
I think that's all for now...I will try to update more often:) Thanks for hanging in there with me:)