Extended family

We’re back! The internet is a little shaky (I often find myself pointing the laptop towards the sun) but we are back in contact with the outside world.
We have moved in to our compound and the little travelers are very happy with their new lifestyle. Things are looking a little dodgy with our shipment. After being told it was in Doha we were then told it was in Dubai and a few days ago it was casually mentioned in conversation that it had arrived in Singapore. I think by next week it should be in San Francisco via Darwin.
We have purchased enough to get by comfortably, the only real pain is sleeping on the floor. G and I are now on an air mattress after an unfortunate sofa bed incident which involved him getting out of bed and me catapulting across the room. Our happiest moment this week has been G gaining his resident and alcohol permit, MERRY CHRISTMAS!!!
Christmas morning was spent at home, the excitement of opening presents and speaking to Grandparents, Aunties and friends made it all feel “normal”. We sat around the tree, handing out presents with the laptop open. What did we do before Skype?
We decided to return to the hotel for Christmas Day, the lure of a bed and a strong internet connection was too much. Late morning we all began getting frocked up and ready to buffet (it’s a verb not a noun when you’re married to G). As I stood at the bathroom mirror applying the make-up to hide the sins of the Christmas Eve drinks with friends the night before (I’ll never learn) the mosque began it’s Friday midday call to prayer. I opened up the windows as I love the sound of the Muezzin. We have a mosque directly behind the house, as do most people in Doha, they’re like pubs in Australia, there’s one on every corner. It is at times like these that I wish I could speak Arabic. Something I plan to work on over the following year. I can’t help but wonder if Friday’s “sermon” being on Christmas Day will involve any retrospective of Christianity.
As G checked in to the hotel the little travelers and I stood in awe looking at the Christmas decorations in the main dining room. Number 2 is eyeing off the 2 metre high Chocolate Santa. There are meticulously decorated Christmas trees and one unexplainable pink bunny? We talk about the traditions of Christmas and the Christmas story, Mary, Joseph and the baby Jesus. The little travelers ask me about the three wise men and where did they walk from to find the baby Jesus. I have no idea so come up with a vague “a long long way, they walked for days”. Number 3 ask’s “what did they look like” and almost on cue three men in dishdasha walk past and I say to the children “in all of the books and movies I’ve seen they looked exactly like that”. Number 2 says “maybe they walked from here!”.
Over the next few hours we watch the children make way too many trips to the chocolate fountain. I half expect to see number 2 arrive back at the table with the 2 metre chocolate Santa under her arm. Number 1 talks of last Christmas and being on the beach with Aunty Suzie and Grandma singing carols on Christmas eve and we start to trace backwards. We remember Christmas in Brisbane, Renmark, Yepoon, Calgary, Maroochydore and British Columbia. We wonder what everyone is up to. I can’t help but get a little sad that we are far from family and friends. I think about my very close friend on her own in Jakarta and wish I could tele-transport myself or her for just an hour or two.
Later that evening our babysitter arrives, we have stayed with the same sitter and we adore her. She has worked all day and not yet spoken to her family in the Philippines. She tells us that now that she is with the children it feels a little more like christmas and she has chocolates and treats for them. The little travelers are jumping all over her and are full of hugs and kisses. It appears we have already started to make our own little extended Doha family.
Happy Holidays everyone.

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