Bittersweet. It took a few good deep breaths to let it sink in: 3 months on my own; to a country I have never been, to a people I already felt an attachment towards. On board for nearly half a day, I indulged in Ben & Jerry’s Chocolate Fudge ice-cream, Pineapple juice, some authentic Middle-Eastern airplane food, and a few good movies I had been meaning to catch up on. That was exactly it- I needed to catch up with life, to do all that I wanted to do. For these 3 months, God-Willing, time was all mine.
When I landed, the first thing I thought was thank you God, I made it! Right after, I thought, wow-- It’s really not THAT hot. The white marble floors of the airport, men in crisp white Thobes, women in elegant black Abbayas, and big luxurious SUVs everywhere- these were things I had forgotten about and saw within the first five minutes of stepping foot in the country. I couldn’t help but smile, and as worried as I was in the back of my head, it didn’t feel like I was 7,000 miles away from home. Driving through the city, I can’t explain how excited I was as the driver overwhelmed me with every passing building, park, and location. Of course, and then he asked me if I understood his English and I smiled my not-too-friendly smile and reassured him I did.
The first few days were definitely spent as an owl, holding all-nighter status at work. But maybe the excitement of eating McDonalds and BurgerKing got me through it (inside joke). Work has been great and I’ve been learning more than ever before in such a short period of time. However, one thing I didn’t realize I would be hesitating to explain is when asked where I was from-- Sure, I was coming from the States but my answer was not exactly what they had envisioned (Foreigner or not, Muslim or not). And then it would come down to where I was originally from which opened up another can of worms-- you mean where I was born and brought up before the States or my descendants and extended family? :) I mean why can’t we just make life simple and stick to introducing on the basis of our professional backgrounds and hobbies?
So how’s work like? Well, being exposed to the different offices within project management, architecture, and construction in Education City and Doha, I’ve honestly felt like I have gotten the best of both worlds- putting together proposals within the comfort of an office setting and taking pictures all around Qatar for those very proposals to going on-site in 120 degrees doing inspections of a building sitting on it’s bare bones getting ready for its skin in a matter of months--all of this has felt tremendously rewarding. It’s something I can’t express in a few sentences, so I’ll leave it for later-- anyways, not sure what the remaining two months in Qatar hold for me, but so far, “amazing” runs short.