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What Do You Buy a Little Qatari Girl that has Everything?

When I go back to American this summer, I plan on purchasing some little American trinkets and toys for my future students as well as some small classroom incentive items. If you plan on teaching overseas, might I suggest doing the same.

Last Thursday, one of my Qatari students, Helima (not her real name of course) invited me to her birthday party at her house.  It is not often that we teachers are invited to a Qatari home so it is good manners to accept.  They usually tend to stay to themselves.  BTW, I received the invite on the same day as the party. As I prepared to go, I started to worry, what do you buy a little girl that has everything, it seems.  It is no secret that Qatari people are pretty well off.  Back in the day, they lived off of Pearl diving and in tents.  That was until natural gas was discovered underneath them and then everything changed.  (Does this remind you of an old tv show?) Anyway, their government takes pretty good care of them now.

I dialed up a coworker of mine who has been here for a few years and has a lot of experience with the Qatari.  She reminded me that Helima is still just a little girl and all girls like girlie things.  I stopped in a store and purchased some headbands that would match her school uniforms and some pretty ballies (head barrettes).   I also threw in a coloring book that I had in my possession and some rainbow colored pencils.  The WhatsApp location that the little girl’s mother sent to me was in a location unfamiliar to me.  As I drove to find the residence, it began to get dark.  All I could see was brown land and sporadic palace looking homes.  This place was in the boonies and nothing was around but a WOQOD petrol station.  I called Helima’s parent to get clarity of the location and she said I was close and would resend the location, but of course there was no internet service so I didn’t get the message.  In the end, I turned around and found my way home.

By the time I reached home, the parent called me and asked where I was.  I could hear the disappointment in her voice and words.  Helima was really looking forward to seeing me.  I felt terrible.  But to be honest, I was so tired.  When I saw Helima at school, I apologized and gave her the gift bag.  The next day my heart melted.  Helima was wearing the headband and one of the ballies I gifted to her.   She wore the headband everyday that week.  I guess in the end, Qatari, American, rich, poor, it doesn’t matter, we are still people and generally like similar things.

When I go back to American this summer, I plan on purchasing some little American trinkets and toys for my future students as well as some small classroom incentive items. If you plan on teaching overseas, might I suggest doing the same.  It will come in handy, when you don’t know what to buy a little girl/boy that has everything or nothing.

All I see is $$$$$

At least they give me some of the $$$$ back

Yesterday I received an email from my Teach Away Rep for Abu Dhabi.  At this time ADEC would like to move forward with my application to the hiring department and an offer letter would be going out within the next few weeks.  I quickly informed the other girls via the text chat group and within a few hours they all responded that they too had received the same email.  It’s crazy because for a brief moment I felt sad.  I felt sad because I really like the women from the NY interview and they would all be together and have each other but me, I would be alone in Qatar without any of them.  I know it probably sounds petty but it felt good to be around like minded women and people that were sort of in a similar situation as me, feeling what I feel and anticipating what I’m anticipating.  Still, I feel good about my decision to go with Qatar.  It’s a better choice for me and my family.

There is so much to do to get ready.  There is so much to do just to get all paperwork to QF.

I’m in the process of trying to enroll the boys in QF Doha.  From what I’ve heard it’s a really good private school that is a part of QF, so the tuition would be free for the boys.  They offer the IB curriculum, and many more wonderful opportunities.  I completed the admission’s application and the fee was $500 Riyals which is about $137 U.S. dollars for each application.  I had to try 4 different credit cards to pay the fee before one finally worked, due to international transactions.  I had to attach a picture of the boys, medical records, immunization cards, last 3 end of year report cards, pict of passports as well as my passport.  Some of the documents I did not have yet so I uploaded blank documents so that I could submit the applications.  I spoke to my QF director to inform her of the completed applications and she told me that she already enrolled them in QF Sidra as a backup, which was great.  I hear that Sidra is okay but Doha is the best.

I’ve sent my H.R. director, copies of the boys birth certificates, my marriage certificate, copies of my passport, Darryl’s passport (my husband), and the boys passport.  All of this is necessary to begin the process of our visas.  I must get 2 pre-employment Health examination forms completed by a doctor, as well as complete Blood Group Reports for each member of my family.  This means all of us have to see a doctor and have lab work done.  That means ($) copays and ($) fees for form completions. Did I mention I had to pay $137.00 for both school application fees?

I must send several documents to be authenticated: Transcript and degree, children’s birth certificates, marriage certificate, ($) Criminal Record check for Darryl and I, ($) FBI record check for Darryl and I. This means all documents must be ($) notarized, ($) stamped by the issuing state, ($) stamped by Wash D.C., $stamped by the Qatar embassy. I have decided to use ProEx to complete this process.  I will ($) pay them, ($)mail them all the documents and they will take care of the whole authentication process.

I need a letter signed by my ex-husband and father to my children verifying that he does not object to me sponsoring my children in Qatar.  Then this letter needs to be ($) translated in Arabic and notarized.  I’ve found a company to take care of this too.  But first I have to get ‘him’ to sign the paper.

The boy’s passport expire in a month so you know what that means.  I have to ($) pay for new ones and because they are minors, there is no renewing, only $pay the whole application fee.  My passport expires in two years, which means it will expire before my contract is up.  You know what that means, I have to ($) renew mine.  Oh we also need ($) passport pictures for the new passports.

On top of all of this, all of us need 12-16 passport style pictures to travel along with us to Qatar.  They use these pictures for everything, visas, Driver’s license, liquor license etc… Passport pictures usually run about $8 for 2.  That would cost me over $200 for all of us.  So I went to Office Depot, ($) purchased some photo paper for $8.00 on sale.  I put up a white chart paper on my wall and we all took head and shoulder shots on our phones. With a purchase of some ($) printer ink, we were good to go.  We used the gov’t passport website to help us crop the pictures correctly and WAHLA!

At least they give me some of the $$$$ back for all this paperwork when I arrive in Doha, Qatar if I don’t go broke first!