This past week has been one of packing, tidying up at work and farewells as the contract draws to its inevitable end.
We are constantly amazed at the way the small souvenirs and gifts have accumulated in the apartment over the past seven months. We started with two large suitcases and our travel cases and are now sending home three large cases and several boxes of paintings, books and souvenirs of our time here in Qatar.
The apartment looks ultilitarian bare now that Joy's remaining paintings have been boxed up ready for shipping and the other items that make a place look like home are packed away.
The MBAW team had a farewell lunch together on Tuesday at The Grand Joud Cafe on Salwa Road.
sheesha smokers' meeting place as we could smell the sweet aromatic fumes of apple, grape, rose, mint, strawberry and Iranian tobacco as we walked along the street to meet up with our colleagues. The outside seating, always crowded during Winter and on late evenings, was too hot to use so we ate inside where the haze of sheesha was well dispersed by an efficient air conditioner.
Our translator, Mohammed Kasawneh, ordered for the five of us with the result that the table was liberally covered with dishes of hummus, rice, tabbulah, grilled meats, stuffed vine leaves, savoury sausages and kubbah as well as bread to create a lunch that we felt needed assistance to consume.
We discovered, however, that given time and conversation such a spread could easily disappear! However I was still recovering from the meal at 9.00 the next morning.
The attached video of the performance and activities at the dinner gives a taste of the celebrations on Wednesday night.
Then it becomes real count down time from Sunday for the final three days in our schools and the early morning trek to the airport for our next travel adventure - a week in the UK to catch up with Jacqui and her family in Swansea with, we hope, a drive to Tredegar and the Ebbw Vale where I was relief teaching for eight months over 1997 followed by a week in Jordan before being reunited with our baggage in the wet winter of home.