The End of the Contract Draws Near
There has been a long break in my blogging about life in Doha. This has happened because this end of the contract has been quite demanding with long, hot, tiring days (4.30am-2.30pm plus some evening catch up sessions with temperatures fluctuating between 49C and 38C each day) which reduces one’s inclination to blog.
Since my last entry we did experience the celebration of a Qatari wedding with its separate male and female parties which culminate in the introduction of the groom to his bride by his immediate family support group. The difference between the European and Arabic societies was clearly shown in the wedding celebrations.
The male wedding party would be best described as “anticipatory waiting” with the groom and his male celebrators spending the evening talking, eating and dancing until the call from the women’s party for the groom to be bought to his bride.
The women’s wedding party apparently was a chance for the women to admire the bride who was ushered into the function by her retinue whose purpose was to hold her dress out from her feet so that she could walk the length of the walkway to the pergola and the throne where she was to sit until the groom was ushered into her presence.
Our European wedding celebrations with the intermingling of guests, the raucous commentary and the visible public ceremony certainly high-lighted the different social mores we have been living amongst these last 18 months.
I received a pleasant surprise a couple of weeks ago when the CSO English coordinator sent me an email congratulating me on being named as one of the three top ATs in the cohort 6 schools and telling me that the work I have done at Ahmed bin Hanbal has been valued by more than the staff of the school.
Joy has been busy with her painting and has sold a good many of her works – both Qatari and New Zealand scenes. With luck she won’t have to pack too many canvases to return to New Zealand in July.
She has also been rehearsing a group of 10 of us for the end of contract dinner show entitled “This is Cognition... Mr. John” which will go on stage for its once only performance this weekend. She has progressively racked up the length of each dinner show since the first appearance of the “Doha Darlings” at the end of the 2008-09 contract from 3 minutes to 7 minutes with “The Return of ABBA” to what will be a 25 minute comic revue style show which will celebrate our activities in Qatar.
We expect the audience to be convulsively laughing before the show has even fully swung into its first item as the outfits Joy has designed for this item should cause a preliminary giggle leading to laughter as soon as the first words are sung.
At this point we are all facing uncertainty as the Rfps that precede the contract have not been circulated which has meant that we cannot be assured of a contract for the next school year so our finale could signal an end or, with terribly long odds, a continuation to take us through till June 2011. I’ve investigated a possible contract in Oman as well as one in Abu Dhabi with CfBT as well as the possibility of work in the UK through Time-Plan so that we can do another year overseas with the opportunities and challenges we have come to enjoy and revel in.
We are now packing up for our holiday in France (Paris. Rouen, Normandy area) followed by a brief stop-over in Doha to pick up our final bits of luggage and a long flight home to arrive on the 15th. The luggage we’re freighting home is considerably more than we took home last contract as I have invested in a magnificent carved and inlaid rosewood desk and chair as a substantial souvenir of our time in the Middle East and Joy has splurged heavily on the family with a couple of suitcases of clothes, nic-nacs and other mementoes of Qatar.
When we come home, even if it is for a brief time, the girls have arranged a belated birthday party for Joy in Auckland. We have a trip to make to Wanganui to discuss what we should do with Dad’s house now the renovations have finished and we wait for a sale. We also plan to rededicate the Bates family headstones and view the memorial plaque to Dad... projects that have been completed while we have been away. This last activity will give us the opportunity to go down to Wellington to catch up with Rebecca who has secured a job there. So it will be a busy time for us.
Our next blog will be pictures and a clip of the End of Contract show and, perhaps, our trip to France. Then..... who knows??