The first 7 days in Doha

So things aren’t perfect but I like it here.

I started this post days ago but when I tell you I’ve been sooo busy believe me.  And now, instead of it being 7 days in Doha, it’s more like, 8, no wait, 9.  Yes it has been 9 days in Doha.  My sense of time and days is all off.  I rise and sleep earlier than I ever have.  The sun rises around 5am here and it’s dark around 6pm.  I’m usually up before 6:30, sometimes by 5am and down by 10, sometimes by 9pm.  I’ve never been a morning person, but Qatar is turning me into a Grandmom, up early, down early.  Anyway enough about that.

I know that I have only been here 9 days but it feels more like a month because we have done so much and I owe that mainly to my new job.  I have experienced some wonderful things and some things that just don’t make sense to me but the good definitely outweighs the bad so far.  I have this new saying, “It’s Qatar.  Maybe it will happen, maybe it won’t!”  It is my way of coping with some things that don’t always go as planned and that happens a lot.  For instance, I will be teaching First Grade instead of Kindergarten.  I found that out on the first day of work. (I actually think it might be a blessing in disguise). Another example: We waited 5 days for internet.  It was supposed to be fixed/installed for 3 days straight but everyday, “It’s Qatar. Maybe it will happen, maybe it won’t!” Fortunately it did on the fifth day.  And there were other minor occurrences but I won’t bore you to death with them.

I started work last Sunday and my family was able to go with me for the first week.  We received our orientation schedule for the next 3 weeks but were told it is subject to change. So within one week, I toured my new school, which is nice, I’ve met all the new staff, we turned in all our gathered paperwork, took several trips to the mall, arranged by our school, had an eye examine for my driver’s test, saw my classroom and was given time to work in it, had my medical exam, took a trip to Ikea, toured Education City, signed up with the bank, scheduled my written driver’s test, which is tomorrow, and took a trip to Sheikh Faisal’s Museum today.  I really appreciate my administration using this first week to take us around and get things done that will make our stay in Doha easier.  It also helps to ease us into work.  The children do not start for another 3 weeks.  Our second week begins tomorrow, where we will get into some curriculum things.

I really like my new coworkers (hopefully it is not just the honeymoon phase).  We are a diverse bunch.  I work with people from all over, South Africa, Australia, Jordan, Turkey, U.S.A., etc.. It is so refreshing to be around like-minded individuals. I hope the rest of the staff are just as wonderful.

There are malls everywhere here.  I love to shop but this is too much even for me. I’m not here to spend a whole lot of money and this definitely does not help my addiction.  And the Ikea is great including the food there.  I can only imagine what the mall of Qatar will be like. It will be the biggest mall in the world.

Last night my husband and I attended a teacher’s social event at the Hilton Hotel in West Bay, Doha.  It wasn’t a lot of people there for the event but the majority of the attendees were my coworkers. We had a blast.  I won some prizes and my husband recited Rapper’s Delight.  We even had a drink or a couple, okay, okay, a few.  Yes, you can drink alcohol here, at hotels and if you obtain a liquor permit, once you get your RP (Residence Permit), you can also purchase alcohol to consume in your home.

It is very hot here, but bearable in small doses.  When I say small doses, I mean like, walk from your house into the air conditioned car, out of the car, into a building.  A few days ago, we decided to walk around our neighborhood around 5:30ish in the evening.  I think we got about 6 blocks when I decided I had had enough.  I felt like I was being smothered, so we turned around and came back home.  I’ve also been experiencing headaches.  I think it might be due to the sun, or dust, not sure which. But I haven’t had any allergy attacks, so that’s good.  During the day, the heat is dry and the sun is so bright that my sunglasses fog up as soon as I walk outside.  In the evening, the humidity is so prevalent that you feel smothered.

Okay so here are some tips for my followers whom are considering working here:

  1. Bring patience and leave the chip on your shoulder home. Bring humility too.
  2. On the day, you are scheduled to meet with H.R. bring a packed lunch.  You will be waiting a while. Also keep a few copies of your passport photos. Don’t give them all to H.R. Believe me you will need them.
  3. Be sure to switch your cellular provider to Tmobile before you come here and download SKYPE and Whatsapp.  Tmobile provides you with free text and wifi calling and 2 Gs of data monthly while here. You can call back home for $.20 a minute.  You can SKYPE back home for free and use Whatsapp.
  4. Please follow this advice- Have a couple thousand dollars that you can access.  You will need to buy things for your accommodation, food and a Qatar SIM card if you want to get things done here, before you get paid. Remember you are starting over from scratch basically.  Bring some cash and exchange it for QAR and keep some in your American bank account.  Also check your bank to see how much are international fees when you use your card here.  You may or may not receive your first pay when you expect it.  I didn’t. But hey, “It’s Qatar…” you know the rest.
  5. Check the money you get from the bank before you leave America.  They will not exchange $50’s and $100 bills that have dates older than 2007 here.  I read that somewhere before I came but I forgot and they sure didn’t take $200.00 of my money.  But Ikea does take American money and they had no problem taking those bills.
  6. Be sure to make a copy of your passport because your job will take it until you get your RP and you need your passport to exchange money here.  Some places will take the passport copy.
  7. You can rent a car with a International Driver’s Permit until you get your RP, but I don’t know why you would want to rush to drive here.  It is aggressive and UBER works but that’s money again.
  8. The process to obtain a drivers license is crazy.  Do not come here with an expired drivers license or you will have to pay for driver’s school and it is not cheap. When you go to schedule your driver’s test, bring your American Driver’s Lic and a copy of it.  You will also have to pay a fee, but you can only pay it with your Qatar bank card.
  9. Here’s the kicker though, I tell you all of this but rules and policies change like the wind here, so tomorrow may be different rules. LOL!
  10. Most things you can find here, you just have to look for it.

So things aren’t perfect but I like it here.  I’ve also embraced my villa and my compound has some perks.  Smaller compounds usually do.  My husband and I have worked out in the gym together several times, which is literally 10 feet away.  My house is large and the air is the bomb.  My kids are adjusting well too.  Everyday is like an adventure.  I promise to post pictures and videos soon, but I have to get to bed.  It’s late and I have the written part of the driver’s test at 7am.

Update: I passed my test today!  Here’s the process to obtain a Qatar Driver’s License if you have an American Driver’s License.

Step 1: Pass your eye exam. Simple and is done in the mall.

Step 2: Schedule your written test, purchase a manual for 55 Riyals about $15 U.S. Read thru the manual.

Step 3: Take the written test (theory test) consisting of 20 questions. You can’t get more than 4 wrong.  You can download the app Qatar Driving and take some practice test. After you pass the written test, you can take the driving test or schedule the driving test.

Step 4:  Take the road test.

I have Step 4 scheduled for next Sunday. Wish me luck and stay tuned for the results.

Welcome to Qatar

Experiencing it is different than reading about it.

It’s almost been a full two days since my arrival in Qatar and honestly where do I start?  I often wondered, while reading other’s blogs, why they just drop off and why there is such a break in between their post and now I know.  1) You get so busy that it becomes difficult to make time for it or  2) You get so overwhelmed that you don’t know where to start or 3) You are too tired to even care.  I am a mix between 1 and 2.  Let’s start with the journey…

The Journey

My sister, best friend sister and mother in law drove with us to PHL airport.  We needed all three cars as we had a lot of luggage.  It was sad saying good bye and I’ll admit I shed a few tears.  We checked in our luggage, which took some time because as I mentioned before, we had a lot of it, 8 pieces to check in to be exact and 8 pieces to carry on.

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The weight allowance for checked luggage on Qatar Airways, leaving from U.S.A, economy class is 23kg or 50lbs. You are allowed 2 free checked bags at this weight.  If your bags weigh more than this, but not to exceed 32kg or 70lbs, than you can pay $50 online up to 6 hours prior to your flight or $65 at the airport.  We knew that 3 of our bags were over the weight but did not pay online so we had to pay $195 at the airport.  We could have shipped our items but shipping freight to Doha is expensive, more than $1,000 for not much so we opted to just pay overweight fees.  It cost $200.00 per extra luggage, which still would have been cheaper but for 60 pounds over weight, 20lbs for 3 bags each, we still saved money.  Also they have the right to reject extra luggage so we didn’t go that route and plus the added cost of buying extra luggage just didn’t balance out. They also check the weight of your carry-on bags which should not exceed 7kg or 15lbs. You are allowed one carry-on per person and a personal item, which is really two carry-ons. Several of our carry-on bags were overweight but the attendant who helped us let us go.  They also requested a copy of our visas at the airport.  I have no idea why. I n all, I think we did pretty good with packing and the luggage in general.

Once we got our luggage squared away, we got our boarding passes and proceeded to security.  We waited in line for our turn only to be told to go back downstairs to the ticket desk because only our first initials were printed on the passes.  This was now 1 hour from boarding time and we started to lose patience.  We got that taken care of and got thru TSA without incident.  We found our gate and had only enough time to use the bathroom and then line up for boarding.

The plane was huge.

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It was the biggest plane I had ever been on.  The inside was beautifully lit with pink and blue lights.  The seats reclined.  The 12+ hour flight was ok. There was some turbulence but not too bad.  The flight attendants were nice.  They were always coming around with their carts offering beverages (including free liquor, even Hennessy).  They served three meals and even accommodated my vegan diet. (BTW you can select your seats and special diet online prior to your flight)  Even though we were prepared with jackets, blanket, pillows etc.., they also provided some of these things like a blanket, eye mask, ear plugs, compression socks, pillow and headphones.  My husband said they kept flashing messages on the tv to remind people to walk around, hydrate and moisturize to help with the long flight.  But I never saw those messages; that must have been while I was asleep.  They provided a variety of movies, tv shows and music channels to keep you entertained.  It was a long flight but it didn’t feel super long and I only slept about a total of 3 hours.

Upon landing in Doha, my husband and I were the only 2 people that clapped.  I always clap when I land, because I’m happy we made it safely and I clap for the pilots for a job well done.  Is that just an American thing?  Well, we exited at the back of the plane, strangely, on the tar mat and boarded a bus, which took us to the arriving terminal of the airport.  I prepared myself for extreme heat but it wasn’t too bad, maybe because it was 6:00a.m.  We went through customs and collected our items without incident.  I exchanged some U.S. money for some QAR (riyals) and purchased 2 Qatari SIM cards.  My Vice Principal met us and….

Don’t expect to get what you expected

…she told me that my housing had been changed.  The villa that I was told that we’d be living in and was looking forward to living in, close to my son’s school and the mall, with a maid’s quarter, 4 bedrooms, 3 living rooms, etc, etc… was not to be.  Instead we have been placed in a 3 bedroom villa with 1 living room, and no maids quarter,  30-45 min from my sons school.  It is one of the Beverly Hills Gardens compounds.  And although it is nice, it is not El Berr, as expected.  On a positive note, it is close to my job, the beach and the airport.  Also one of the teachers that I have been SKYPing with over here is now my neighbor and we work at the same school.  I only met 2 of my 16 neighboring families because most of them are still on summer vacation.  From what I have been told, there are several families with teenage boys that live in this compound. That is another added bonus.  We have a nice pool and small fitness center.  Our villa is furnished with older furniture but it’s not too bad. We had some dishes, an ironing board and iron, and some other things that the school purchased for us.  It’s called a soft package.  One of our neighbors and a school leader took us to the market to get some food later that day because none had been left for us contrary to what was supposed to happen.  When we got back, someone had dropped off some bread, milk, eggs, and jelly.   I was glad we went to the market, because who can survive off of that menu.

We were so tired that I really can’t remember much after that.  We took a nap, then were taken to a different market.  I had a headache that night, not sure what from.  It could have been from a number of things.  I took two tylenol PM’s and went to sleep about 2:00a.m.  I didn’t wake up until after 1pm.

I used the fitness center today while the boys swam in the pool.  It’s nice to have a fitness center in the front yard.  I can get used to that.  Tokitha (my friend from North Carolina) and I hooked up today.  She sent me a driver and we all went to the mall.

I’ve read many blogs and post online about the rude nature of some of the people here but…

Experiencing it is different than reading about it

… some people really do brush by you, reach over you, lean over you, stare at you and bust in front of you without a single word.  I just look up like WTH and keep it moving.  For the most part, everyone has been nice and Qatar is like a melting pot of many different cultures.

Neither our cable nor our internet works.  Thankfully our neighbor gave us her code so we can access the internet while sitting on our steps in our house.  It’s the little things.

Life in Qatar will take some adjusting and patience, I just hope I can stay positive and keep an open mind.

On another note, I completed my TEFL online course before I left the states.  I have obtained another certification.  It was completely online and done at my own pace and even though I already secured an overseas job, it still makes more opportunities available to me and I learned a lot.  And I accomplished what I set out to do, which was to complete it before I left.

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…So welcome to Qatar!

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39 is going to be a great year

One week to go!

Two days ago, I turned 39 years young.  Not everyone feels comfortable admitting their age or accepting it, but I am quite comfortable.  I feel good about it.  I look good for my age too so that helps. LOL!

Two days ago, I got back from my trip to Jamaica.  I absolutely love Jamaica.  There hasn’t been one time when I’ve gone and haven’t enjoy myself.  It’s usually just my sister and bf sister but this time we took the young girls, their daughters.  The youngest was turning 21. We had a ball.  We stayed in Montego Bay at the Grand Palladium resort.  Although the resort was very pretty aesthetically, I probably won’t stay there again.  It was a little far from everything, and over rated.  I prefer to stay closer to the action and to the locals. Here are some of the highlights: snorkeling in the middle of the ocean, climbed Dunns River Falls, bobsledding, Mystic Mountain look-out, partied, ate.  Here are a few pictures.

Yesterday I got good news from my H.R. rep that put my worries to rest.  Everybody’s visa has been approved, including my husband.  Now we are packing.  39 is going to be a great year and a year filled with firsts.  I can’t wait. ONE WEEK TO GO! Stay tuned…

Philadelphia to Doha, Qatar

It will take about 12 hours and we will arrive the next day.

This picture highlights the trip I will take in less than 3 weeks (picture courtesy of Google flights).   I received my flight itinerary and we are actually booked to leave on August 17, not August 19 as originally told. We are taking a straight flight from PHL to Hamad International Airport, Doha.  It will take about 12 hours and we will arrive the next day.  It is a very long flight.

I also received a copy of my visa.  My kids and husbands’ visa has not been approved yet. My husband’s visa may be rejected.  If that happens they will resubmit the paperwork and try again and again.  Worst case scenario, he won’t get it before we leave and will have to go on a visitor’s visa.  After 20-30 days he will have to leave the country and re-enter.  If it’s not approved by the end of year 1, we will not get a flight allowance for him to come back home.  But they will keep trying until it’s approved.  Apparently, they are very hesitant to approve a man’s visa whom is being sponsored by his woman. LOL!  I’m getting very excited.  I’m done shopping and just have to pack, but before that, I’m going to Jamaica with my sisters and nieces next weekend. (picture courtesy of Google flights)

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New Friends

You never know when you might need someone.

Last week my boys and I hopped on a plane to Raleigh, N.C.  I rented a car and drove to Fayetteville where we met up with Tokitha and Cameron.  Tokitha will be relocating to Qatar too.  We met through a FB group and kind of clicked.  She was kind enough to allow us to stay with them during this short trip. I thought it would be good for the boys to meet so that they would have someone there that they knew.  Since Tokitha and I could relate to each other with this whole move thing, I also thought it would be a good idea for us to meet as well.  It was a nice little getaway.  While there we also stopped at another friends’ house, Vernice.  She and I were at the Qatar interviews together and she also lives in Fayetteville.  She will be teaching in Abu Dhabi.  I hope that meeting new friends will help to make the transition easier.  If you are attempting to relocate, I highly recommend befriending others that are in the same boat.

You never know when you might need someone.  I am looking forward to making new friends.

Freedom

“I’ll tell you what Freedom is to me. No fear.”

Last week I was feeling really apprehensive about going to Qatar.  There were several bombings that were occurring overseas.  There was one in Turkey, Bangladesh, Baghdad and Saudi Arabia.  This was during Ramadan and one of the bombings in Saudi Arabia happened in front of a Mosque.  These left me very confused.  Isn’t this one of the most sacred holidays for Muslims?

But…within the last two days my apprehension turned from going to Qatar to living here in the U.S.A because just yesterday the 508th Black Male was killed by a Police Officer. Aren’t they supposed to serve and protect?  I am so confused.  I am more afraid to stay here, raising two black boys and loving a black man.  I am afraid for their lives and mine.

The other day I watched a documentary on Netflix about Ms. Nina Simone.  One of her quotes stuck with me.  She said, “I’ll tell you what Freedom is to me. No fear.” Will I ever feel freedom?

I embrace this move and I pray for Everyone including Muslims, Police Officers and Terrorist.  I pray for Freedom.

Just in Case

Here are some things I have done to kind of prepare for this major move…

“I don’t really see anything packed”

That’s what a guest said when she came into my house.  From others points of view, it may not look like I’ve done much to get ready for my move that is less than 60 days away but I’ve been quite busy.

Here are some things I have done to kind of prepare for this major move.

  • Completed an application for Global Entry-https://www.cbp.gov/travel/trusted-traveler-programs/global-entry/how-apply
  • Registered with the U.S. Embassy-https://step.state.gov/step/
  • Applied for an International driver’s permit-http://www.dmv.org/international-driver-permits.php

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  • Started purchasing necessities in excess to last almost a year: Secret Clinical Strength Deoderant (It has been mentioned in one of my Facebook groups that you can’t find this over there and with that heat, I will need it) Aveeno moisturizing cream (I have eczema and this works well), eye drops, herbs, allergy medicines, cold medicines, favorite perfumes, etc…
  • Sold my truck
  • Sold my day care furniture
  • Microblading (that’s a conversation for another day but it’s sort of eyebrow tatoos)
  • Set up dates to have lunch/dinner with certain people
  • Purchased a new unlocked Iphone (major for me as I am a androidian, is that even a word)
  • Cleaned my kids closets and dressers and sent their clothes that they won’t be wearing to ThredUP (hoping to get some money back)

So I may not be packed but I’ve been quite busy.

P.S. The first three bullets mentioned above were done just in case.  I highly recommend you do them too, if you plan on traveling abroad for any reasons.

 

 

 

 

Authentication

So that’s how you get documents authenticated.

Since one of the reasons I started this blog was to assist others on a similar journey, let’s discuss the process of authentication.  This seems to be one of the most frustrating and drawn out parts of teaching abroad. So let me try to make it as understandable as possible.

Although I am preparing to work in Qatar, it seems a lot of the authentication process overlaps across the Middle East.

Your most recent college degree needs to be authenticated.  You can use a copy, attach your transcript to it and notarize together.  For Qatar, you also have to obtain a letter from the school on letterhead stating that the majority of your classes were taken in person instead of online.  I attached this letter too.  Then this needs to be attested at the state level, federal level and Embassy of the country you will be working.  Get this done right away. Oddly, I did not have to get my teaching certification attested but I did have to present it.

You will need to obtain your State criminal history clearance.  In PA, you can request this online at

https://epatch.state.pa.us/Home.jsp

but if you want it to come to you already notarized you can print the form, complete it, and mail it in with a $13.00 money order, like I did.  It comes back pretty quickly too.  Once you receive it notarized or get it notarized, then you will need to get it attested at the state level, federal level and Embassy of the country you will be working.

You will also need FBI clearances.  Some people use a Channeler to get it done quicker; there is a list on the website.  I would recommend to just go thru the FBI directly this way you know it’s correct and will be accepted.

https://www.fbi.gov/about-us/cjis/identity-history-summary-checks

The processing time directly through the FBI is long, approximately 12-14 weeks but once you get it, it doesn’t need to be notarized (at least mine did not) or attested by the state since it is not from the state.  However, it will need to be authenticated at the federal level and at the Embassy of the country you will be working.  Start this process right away

If you are married, your husband will also need state and FBI clearances authenticated. If you have children from a previous relationship, you may need additional information to sponsor them.  For ADEC, you need a letter from the father stating that he is okay with you sponsoring them.  For Qatar, a letter from my ex-husband did not suffice since we had a custody order.  If you are in a similar situation, pay close attention to this part because this part was the most exasperating.  You must get your custody order modified in court.  For me this meant paying a fee, requesting a court date, talking to my ex-husband, waiting for the court date, going to court and getting a copy of the order signed by a judge.  Then you have to get the Clerk of Common Pleas to certify, stamp and sign it.  For Philadelphia, this was a separate court than family court and a separate fee, and I had to physically go to City Hall to get help on this matter.  Once that is done, you have to get it attested at the state level, then federal and finally the Embassy of the country you will be working.

To obtain an Apostille or Certification at the state level in PA, it needs to be done through the PA Department of State, Bureau of Commissions, Elections and Legislation in Harrisburg.  There is a $15.00 per document fee.  You can mail it to Harrisburg or walk in and have it taken care of right away.  They are pretty efficient. Here is what the first attestation looks like:

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The U.S. Department of State Office of Authentications accepts requests via mail in, walk in and appointments.  They are located in Washington, D.C.  The fee is $8.00 per document.  Appointments are only for emergencies and walk ins can leave documents and pick them back up completed approximately 3 days later. Here is what it looks like at this level:

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The last factor in the authentication process is at the Embassy of the country you will be working. Qatar has three Embassies in the USA, one in NY, Washington and Texas.  Which embassy you will need to send your documents for authentication depends on where your documents originated. For instance, my degree, state criminal clearance and custody modification order would go to the Qatar Embassy in NY but my federal clearances would got to the one in Washington.

I completed my state Apostilles on my own, since Harrisburg is a short 2 hour drive away and they completed them on the spot, except for that one time I mailed my custody modification but it wasn’t right so they sent it right back.  Once it was corrected I took it up there myself.  For the U.S. Dept. of State and Qatar Embassy authentications, I used a company to take care of it for me.  This way I didn’t have to drive all over the east coast.  Many people opt to DIY to save money but not me.  I would have spent money on gas, tolls, food, probably hotel stay.  I also avoided a lot of added stress by paying the company to do this for me.  The company I used was PROEX.

http://www.goproex.com/

Cindy is very helpful.  It wasn’t cheap but necessary.  Both times I sent documents to PROEX, I sent three each and it cost me roughly $300 both times.

So that’s how you get documents authenticated. The weird thing about authentications is, it doesn’t prove that the document is really from a certain place or is even legit.  It seems to just confirm the notary before.  I hope this post helps.

 

Qatar Roller Coaster

So let me tell you a little about this Qatar Roller Coaster but please keep in mind that everyone’s situation is different and not everyone takes the same Roller Coaster to QATAR.

If I had hair, I’d be bald, but I already am and therefore have none to pull out and none to lose. If I was light skinned, my face would be red, but I’m brown skinned, so therefore you can’t see my meter go up. LOL. I have to laugh to keep from crying, because this whole process is frustrating and a lot of people in my shoes would have probably given up by now.  But not me, although sometimes for a brief moment of insanity I want to.  But then all of this would have been for nothing, and a HUGE waste of time.  [Side note: I hate wasting time! It is a pet peeve of mine.]

So let me tell you a little about this Qatar Roller Coaster but please keep in mind that everyone’s situation is different and not everyone takes the same Roller Coaster to QATAR.  If your situation is similar to mine, (married, divorced, school age kids by first husband, remarried) then please learn from my mistakes.

  • I drove to Harrisburg to get my modified custody order authenticated and they turned me down.  The paperwork did not have the proper certification or signature.
  • Called PROEX to continue with the authentication of the Degree and state criminal checks so the custody order wouldn’t hold up those items or the beginning process of my visa. [Thank God I did, keep reading]
  • Received my authenticated paperwork back from PROEX! YAY

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  • Went to family court after numerous phone calls to confirm I was doing this right.  Paid $41.58 to have the court certify and sign the custody order.
  • Mailed the form to Harrisburg
  • Harrisburg couldn’t authenticate my custody order. WHY? Because the certification that I paid for, was incorrect.  [SCREAM] Hopefully the information I got today over the phone is correct or hopefully I understand it correctly.  So here is the scoop: My modified custody order needs to be taken to the Court of Common Pleas, City Hall, not Family Court.  It is there where I must get it certified, and signed by the Director of the office of the Judicial Records for another whopping $41.58. [Laugh to keep from crying] Guess what, I have to wait for Harrisburg to mail the order back to me first, then take it down there, then mail it back to Harrisburg.  Blessing: I didn’t drive all the way to Harrisburg this time, I mailed it.  I only wasted the price of 2 stamps this time and avoided a meltdown at the state office.
  • FBI still doesn’t have me in the system (OMG U.S. CAN BE JUST AS SLOW AS THE MIDDLE EAST) but they are opening mail postmarked from March 14, 2016 as of today, which is when mine was postmarked.  So fingers crossed ours gets opened this week. P.S. call them every week to see if they have hit your date.
  • I received an email from the H.R. rep saying my family flights to Doha were secured for August 19th and our housing has been requested.
  • I emailed him back and requested that date be moved up to Aug 15 or 16. Because I am supposed to start work on Aug 21.  If I leave on the 19th, I will probably still be jet-lagged and I need time to settle in.
  • Hey at least our flights are booked.
  • Everyone has their luggage. TJMax has great luggage. Keep checking your favorite TJ Max store, as they get new shipments of luggage weekly.  That is where I purchased the boys luggage.  I got mine from Boscovs.  My sister and brother swear by Boscovs and now I am a believer.  I couldn’t believe I found the luggage I wanted there.
  • I also purchased packing cubes, a luggage scale and a lavender eye mask from Amazon. I don’t want to have messy luggage, go over the luggage capacity or be awake for a 12-14 hour flight.
  • Only 2 weeks left at work! YAY!
  • One of my girlfriends have agreed to take Zoey, the dog! YAY! She will be picked up in July.  I hope she likes her new home.  There’s 6 kids there and another Shih Tzu.
  • Booked a flight to North Carolina for me and the boys for the end of this month.  We are going to visit, Toketha. She is another teacher that is going to Qatar that I met via Facebook.  Her son is around the same age as Zamir, so we thought it would be a good idea that they meet.  They have already connected via the Book.
  • The bright side of the paperwork is that the custody papers should be back from the authentication process from the state and the FBI clearance should all arrive around the same time.  Then I can send them off together to PROEX to have the process completed.  That will be the end of the paperwork, HOPEFULLY!
  • My translated custody order is in the mail.
  • I’m 50% through with my TEFL online course.

So as you can see, there is a lot of behind the scene things that are occurring.  Sometimes I look at others situations and get discouraged because many of the other teachers are already done with all their paperwork.  Some weren’t even required to get documents translated.  Some saved money by completing the whole authentication process on their own.  But hey this is my situation, my life, our journey.  And I’m on it for the long ride.

Sometimes you have to go with your Gut

Qatar was the last place I applied to, the last place I interviewed for but the first to give me an offer.

I started this whole process over three years and I was turned down by ADEC and AUSK.  I took the last three years and worked on me.  I obtained more experience as a classroom teacher, returned to school and earned my Masters Degree and Reading Specialist Certification, resigned from my job, taught college course, coached teachers and grew personally and professionally.  Then I started this process over and made sure nothing stood in my way.  I feel vindicated.  There are no goals unattainable if you really want it.

This is a big life change and it is scary but what’s even scarier is not taking this chance. Qatar feels right.  What really won me over (beside the benefits), was the communication and openness of the people at Qatar Foundation.  I have prayed and prayed and I am going in Eyes Wide Open.  Qatar was the last place I applied to, the last place I interviewed for but the first to give me an offer.  So I signed my contract and sent it off because sometimes you have to go with your gut.

Afterwards I called my mom and told her the news.  She took it better than I thought.  Since then I have put it out there to the world via Facebook and finally invited people to take this journey with me and my family and follow my blog.

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