Monday, April 29, 2013

This kid knows what college/university is about!

You know when you are having one of those days... one of those days you just need a little laughter because work has you completely zoned out. Today has been one of those days for me. I have been typing away, correcting and marking, and responding to emails all morning. My music is playing lightly in my headphones and I am in my own little bubble. Anyone who walks past me probably thinks I am miserable because my face is expressionless and I am starting to get a headache from the computer screen. I am marking online essays and I get to this one essay which makes me giggle.

The essay was about why people go to college/university and the student starts off with all the correct points about education, jobs, and growing up. The student then concludes the essay with, "finally and the most important is you will have lots of parties." I have often heard my father say "I payed all that money for you to party for four years!" He might be right but I always argue back that I did go to class, I did pass, and I did walk away with a diploma. So even though I did have a lot of fun while I was at school I believe that it was fun that needed to be had for happiness. I really hope that people never forget that no matter how serious life gets you should always make room for fun. This student clearly knows that happiness comes from balancing studies with fun and I hope that he/she follows this rule. 

Wednesday, April 24, 2013

This is not going well... maybe I should make an audio tape?

I have been trying to learn the Arabic Alphabet. Trying is the key word here and clearly I need a different approach. Maybe I should download it as a song for my iPhone and rock out to it while I am stuck in traffic? I am extremely jealous of any expat that has learnt Arabic. I have been living here for way too long and I only know the basics. After a year with Arabic speaking students I have found that sometimes I can understand the general idea of what they are chatting about before I yell at them "ENGLISH PLEASE!" This is not enough! I need to be able to join in on conversations!

I wish I had the time to learn Arabic. It is one of my biggest regrets. I believe that over a year ago when I moved back it was on the top of my list of things to do but like always it pushed aside and I still cannot hold a conversation.

I will learn this alphabet! It must happen! I must have a little bit of Arabic success!

Saturday, April 20, 2013

Yeh I sometimes forget.

After living in Doha for a majority of my life you would think that I would remember that one should never go near a mosque on a Friday at the midday prayer time. Well, sometimes you forget. I was picking up a friend yesterday and I got stuck in this mess for 20 minutes. These are all parked cars and apparently someone parked so the bus could not pass. 20 minutes in the car and the iPhone connector seems to be lost. Bored out of my mind. I couldn't get mad, even though I did, because it was my mistake for not following the golden rule - DON'T PASS BY A MOSQUE ON A FRIDAY AT NOON. Every other road, not near a mosque, is empty. Friday during the day is a great time to get somewhere fast, unless it is noon and by a mosque. This post isn't to rant and complain it is merely a way to remind me of my mistake. I will never be stuck in mosque traffic again. I will not forget the rule!

Friday, April 19, 2013

Raft Race at Bir Zekreet!

The First Annual Raft Race at Bir Zekreet was not something to be missed. Rafts lost control, one sank and part of it was lost forever, and the girls won (I knew they would). When they rocked up everyone laughed at their tiny raft but clearly simple was perfect in the end. I really hope a video of the race surfaces soon as it was really something funny to watch.

As I drove through the very small town of Bir Zekreet I was reminded of the unforgettable, not because it was amazing, camping trip I had when I was at Doha College doing my International Award. We were suppose to go to Sri Lanka but because of the tsunami we were unable to travel there. Instead we went to Bir Zekreet. I had been there many times before and camped in style but I had never been there for a few days at a time, and I had never had to walk for hours in the heat before setting up camp. I remember trying to make it fun, everyone picking places to imagine we were, but nothing really helped the fact that instead of being in a jungle we were in a desert. Someone in my group forgot our pots so we had to share with other groups, thankfully we didn't give her the responsibility of the tent. Often instead of walking we would run in hopes that the pain of just being in a large pit of sand would go away. Our teachers would drive by in a car and point to a "rock" to walk to - I am sure you can imagine the excitement. It was an interesting experience being stuck in a desert with no way out, don't get me wrong we had some laughs but we all knew that deep down we were all thinking -  "why did I sign up for this???" To make matters worse the next level up for the International Award still got to go on their trip to India, and when they came back with photos and stories of rafting and already pitched tents you could see hate in all the Bir Zekreet survivors. They are lucky they are still alive, desert fever is a serious condition!

It is funny how some memories come back to me so vividly here in Qatar. That trip must have been about 8 years ago now but I still remember so much about it. The raft race today was an a great day out and extremely funny to watch. Many stayed the night, however, I made a quick get away at dusk in my car. I don't think I will every enjoy camping again in the desert. Day trips are good enough!

Sunday, April 14, 2013

No, my big news is not an engagement ring!

About 2 weeks ago I was given some REALLY good news about my future. Of course I was really excited to share it with my students because we have known each other for a while now. They know I love to travel and we often go into detail about where in the world we would all like to go. Before I go into the details I want to share the conversation with you -

Me - "Guys, I have some really exciting and big news about my life!" 


Me after giving him a death stare - "No, I am not getting married... I am moving to Thailand to teach English in October." 

Since I told them my news they try and scare me out of going to Thailand saying things like "there are very big spiders there, oh and snakes" and "Catie you will not like the food, you will starve!" I also have been informed that the option of marrying someones brother is still on the table. Seriously? From day one I have been questioned about why I am not married yet and often I am told that I am "only getting older!" I just sigh and tell them "i'm only 24 and I am not ready for the responsibility of a husband" which sometimes is funny because then I am further encouraged to marry a Qatari man because apparently I will "never lift a finger again." After the initial shock and disappointment that I have not been given an engagement ring, or sold for two camels and a goat, I am now being informed that they will all come visit me when I am gone and that I must come back to Doha after my teaching contract is up because they do not want me to leave.

So... I am moving to Thailand in October. I do not know where I will be teaching yet as I am doing it through a program (CIEE). I don't really mind where they place me because this is something that I have always wanted to do. It is going to be a great adventure and I can't wait to travel around Asia while I am there. I will be working with younger students which will be a nice change, and I'll gain more teaching experience. I am really excited for October to come but I am also very sad to be leaving Qatar. Since I returned on January 15th in 2012 I have loved every minute of it. I have made amazing friends, I have awesome co-workers, I have (and have had) great students, great work experiences, and some amazing trips (in and outside of the Middle East).

Saturday, April 13, 2013

Women are the problem?

So I was reading an essay today about making traffic better in Doha and this was part of the problem - 

"Fourth, in the last five years, women have become more interested in driving.  This is a new problem also because women in our country didn’t use to drive cars and it’s a new thing for them to do. There are a few women who are brave enough to drive beside huge trucks and crazy drivers and handle risky situations." 

What I am understanding from this reason is that because women are inexperienced drivers we are automatically the problem on the roads here. I wonder if he means Qatari women only or all women drivers in Qatar? I almost refused to help this student with this essay. 

Tuesday, April 9, 2013

Full Stop.

One of my students missed class yesterday so he was informed that he had to catch up on the reading. I knew this was not going to happen but I always inform them of what they missed so they can catch up if they want to. Today we were reading and I notice he is not reading along with us.

This is how the conversation then went -

Me - "BLANK why are you not reading along and underlining words you do not know?"

BLANK - "Catie I have already read this chapter last night."

Me (know that this was not true) - "Well if you have read this chapter then why don't you fill us all in on what happens in the end..."

BLANK - "Oh yes... at the end of the chapter... there is... there is a FULL STOP!"

Everyone started laughing, including myself, while BLANK went to the end of the chapter to prove that there was a full stop. I was secretly hoping that it ended in another form of punctuation. An exclamation mark would have been nice! 

Tuesday, April 2, 2013

Nap time in my lesson plan?

Apparently my class is this exciting! Might need to start scheduling in NAP TIME to my English class... Last year I had a BUNCH of photos like this. It is a hard life when you miss your midday snooze!