Seven Days From So Far Away

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I came back from the beach this morning and delayered. Off came the heavy winter coat, the scarfe, the second shirt. It was 17 degrees but the cloud had covered the sun and the wind was making us squint as we searched the sand for our growing sea glass collection. I checked my phone and noticed the weather in Qatar, 41 degrees.

It feels so far away.

We ate bacon for breakfast, I saw a man and women kissing, dogs ran freely. The radio announcer made a joke about “laying in bed with his girlfriend last night” and alcohol is sold right next to the supermarket. 
Sometimes it doesn’t feel like the other side of the world. It feels like another planet.
A planet where male nurses walk me to appointments and tell me to take off all of my clothes except for my underpants. I see men wander by with the back of their gowns open and wonder how my Qatari girlfriends would feel if they were here. How would they do this? All of these men, all of this skin. 
So far away.
I sat next to a girl who was celebrating her eighteenth birthday, we talked about her hair extensions and her boyfriend, and how he was taking to her to the pub for the first time – legally. She was wearing what I may have mistaken in a store for a sleeveless top, she thought of it more as a dress. 
“Are you cold?” I asked genuinely, noticing the goose bumps on her arms. 
“No, I’ve got my ugg boots on”.
I saw her bottom when she lent over to pick up her handbag. She had amazing boobs, eighteen year old boobs, I know they were amazing because three quarters of her boobs spilt out and joined us at the table, they were screaming “LOOK AT US! WE’RE AMAZING AREN’T WE?!” I thought about her walking through my local supermarket in Doha. Would she get arrested or would someone just cover her with a blanket and explain the rules? Would she even get into the country? “I live with my boyfriend”. No, probably not.
So far away.
I saw beautiful photos of Doha’s orange sky this morning. The celebration of the arrival of Eid. Ramadan is over and I’ve missed it completely. There has not been one occasion over the past month that I have sighted any evidence of Ramadan in action. I have not seen nor heard a mosque. I walked through a supermarket in Queensland and wished two ladies Ramadan Kareem – that was it, that was my Ramadan. It was like the neighbours had a party and dropped by to invite me but I wasn’t home. 
I missed it.
The countdown has begun.
In a few days I will remind the little travelers that it’s going to be hot. That we need to get ready to say our goodbyes. The firsts of the lasts will commence. The last trip to the bakery, the last trip to the library, the last bike ride that isn’t enclosed on a compound. 
We will talk about school, new teachers, which sports to play, which activities to sign up for. We will return to beginning our week on a Sunday and ending on a Thursday. We will plan get togethers with friends. All of this will help us picture ourselves in our “other” world.
We are seven days away from so far away. 

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