So, we arrived in Doha, Qatar nearly a week ago. Friday will officially be a week. I wanted to wait/get some sort of internet/stop blubbering/get more insight before I began to write a blog post to update y'all.
Let me start off with saying that we are in the Middle East and things are different. Not bad different (yet) and not a good different (yet). Mostly I'm revolving around the emotions overwhelmed, excited, sad, deliriously happy with our decision, homesick, present. So, basically I feel like a crazy person. No big deal.
I wanted mostly to skip the "this is our apartment", "this is my classroom" sort of post and I wanted to talk about something I'm slowly being taught by the Gulf Coast and that is SURRENDER. Oh, also, before I really get into this, I need to let you know that I went to the City Center last night and finally got a snap of some of my favorite buildings in downtown Doha:
Okay, so now that that beauty is out of the way I wanted to talk about something I've learned here called "inshallah". It's an Arabic phrase which basically means "if God is willing" or "if God wills it". Sometimes people use it as sort of a "well, if God wills it..you will be blessed with many children" OR it's used as a "when can I expect these floors to be tiled? Today? Tomorrow?"...."Inshallah....it will get done...maybe...next week. Inshallah."
NOW while this can seem frustrating I feel like this sort of viewpoint has gifted me with something that I don't get in America. I am a VERY impatient person. I like to be organized/stick to schedules/plan things weeks in advance/follow guidelines when it comes to work. In my personal life I prefer the tried and true check list. And America does everything it can do to enable my impatient, now, now, now feelings. Obviously in America we want things done ASAP and efficiently. In the Middle East I am learning that time is relative and there is no such thing as a checklist. Things get done....when they get done. This means essentially that I am learning something very important: to be present. You have to be HERE. You cannot think 3 weeks in advance because what you're planning on doing is most likely going to change somehow. You win, Universe. You win.
I am reading a book currently called "Holy Cow" about a woman who goes to live in India and she experienced the.EXACT.SAME.THING.:
"Inshallah is a common word in Kashmir. In this state nothing is taken for granted. Everything is 'if God is willing'. The word 'Islam' actually comes from a root of a word that means 'complete surrender,' but fatalism astounds me. In India I've slowly been learning that I'm not in complete control of my life [...] India's general disorganization means things rarely turn out as I expect, but faith and fatalism make me realize how much I still cling to the belief that I have power over my destiny. Perhaps it's time to let that go."
So, ladies and gentlemen: surrender.
I am continuing (probably for the first time in my life) to surrender to the Arabian Peninsula. My classroom had plumbing installed but the workers forgot to put in the sink. I can make it work. Our residency visas got held up. It's okay. We'll make it work. My art supplies are still in customs. It's okay. i can think of a new project to use the things I've got on hand.
Friends, I am learning that it is impossible to live/teach/work abroad if you cannot let go of some things. Whew. Isn't this a lesson. A difficult one but a lesson nonetheless.
Also, I've decided to show you our apartment anyways:
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