I hope you sleep with your eyes open

Yesterday was challenging but I coped like a good Australian. I finished the evening with a good bottle of red and a few cheeky beers at a very seedy hidden bar.

Yesterday morning G received an email from the office advising him that his “temporary” stay at the hotel was over and we would be moving to a serviced apartment the following day. A quick google search and a chat with a couple who had recently been through the same process made me realize this wasn’t a pretty option for either myself or the little travelers. The serviced apartment is out near the airport, I don’t have any good things to say about it. So I wont. Let’s just say, my tiara has well and truly slipped and we will be keeping our fingers crossed that our villa becomes available VERY soon.

After getting over my 5 star eviction, I was then given the news that our shipment (when it gets here) will possibly take 3 weeks to clear customs. This means many things but the most upsetting was the thought of no Christmas tree for the little travelers. I managed to make myself suitably miserable thinking of the little travelers waking up on christmas morning in their empty house on their borrowed foam mattresses with a homemade Christmas tree.

I then noticed Number 4’s slight cough had developed in to a chesty bark overnight. We had an appointment with an International School so I decided when we got there I’d ask about a pharmacy as I had no idea where to go. We set off for the school with our driver, got lost, rang the school, continued to get lost and finally an hour after our appointment we arrived. A quick team meeting was held at the school gates where I ran through the usual commands. Be polite, don’t fight, smile, ask questions if you have them and please stop picking your nose.

Our tour guide was very nice but less than enthusiastic and half way through the tour she let it slip that she had pulled her daughter out of the school. An interesting selling point. I can tell by the little travelers faces that they are less than impressed with the facilities. They have seen the whiz bang American school online and this smaller “quaint” British School is not as aesthetically pleasing. The little travelers are not interested, number 4 has asked to be carried and it’s humid and sticky. We walk from class to class and nothing is really grabbing our attention, the troops are getting restless. Number 3 keeps on purposely walking in to number 1, and finally number 1 retaliates with a smack to the head and a loud “I hope you sleep with your eyes open ’cause tonight you’re going to get it!”. Lovely. I’m sure they’ll probably offer her a scholarship. I have now carried number 4 (who weighs as much as a small hippo) and my ridiculously large handbag for about 30 minutes. I can no longer feel any sensation in my right arm. I then notice that he appears to be shivering/shaking and on closer inspection he is as white as a ghost and his sweating isn’t just because it’s humid. We have to get him to a doctor.

We all pile in to the car and I realize I have no idea where the doctors is. Even if I did, I have no idea if I need a special ID card or a permit of some sort. I ring G and tell him, sick child, need doctor, find out how/where and call me back. Within minutes a very helpful man with broken english rings from G’s office, he directs the driver and fifteen minutes later we are outside a 4 story hospital. I recognize the logo on the side of the building matches G’s logo on his business card. They have their own clinic! We give our details at the counter, see a doctor within 10 minutes, pick up a prescription and are handed our FREE medicine at the pharmacy downstairs. The entire cost to me? Nothing. I suddenly feel a LONG way from America.

Later that evening it takes about 30 seconds to get ready when G suggests a babysitter for what could be our last evening at the hotel. When the sitter arrives I like her instantly. We start to chat about her job and how she came to be in Doha. She is 25 and has traveled from the Philippines via Taiwan to work in the hotel. She has a degree in Business and Tourism and her English is perfect. She offers to babysit any time as she explains that she is saving money to educate her sister. A familiar story. She tells me she never goes out on her days off as it’s too expensive. Even though she is smiling I can see she’s struggling when she tells me how she sits in her room for hours. I’m embarrassed by how spoilt and lucky I am.

After dinner we discover the “the library.” Located on the top floor it looks like a hotel room from the outside, if it weren’t for the man hovering in a suit outside you wouldn’t know it was there. It deserves further explanation and perhaps that will come in another blog (as this one is already way to long). After 97 drinks we arrived back at our room to find sleeping children and a very happy babysitter, she tells us how much fun she’d had. G and I get her email address and say goodbye. I wonder to myself what her Christmas plans are and think of her sitting in her room. Maybe she knows how to make a tree?! I’ll let you know.

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