Odds and ends that might surprise you

There are several things about living here that have surprised me, about myself and about our new reality.

Surprises in our Surroundings

For starters, would it surprise you to know that I have struggled far more with being too cold than too hot? Way more! I’ve only really felt the intensity of the heat a few times, but people with the A/C on too high? All too common.

And there are little things like, living in a house made of concrete.  We’ve been here 6 weeks now, when will we finally figure out that you can’t walk and talk at the same time.  That is, you can’t start your sentence in the kitchen (with dishes in hand), head to the dining room (presumably to set the table) and finish your sentence in there.  It can’t be heard. It’s only about 12 feet away, but you can’t hear! Most common phrase yelled in our house… “Are you still talking? I can’t hear you!!”

Now the wind we HEAR! I remember reading stories when I was a kid about pioneer living and how some women actually lost their mind because of the constant howl of the wind.  Yup – I get that!

And here’s something I found very unexpected – the great smells! Not the food, that was sort of expected, but the people. Ok – don’t read too much into that, I don’t know what I was expecting but am surprised by what I’m experiencing.  Incense is used by Qatari people as a symbol of hospitality (I haven’t been to a Qatari home yet but that’s what I’ve read) and at the entrance to the malls and some shops there is often incense burning. They also have essential oils to mix and match to create a smell just for you, or your home.  The incense is Frankincense and Agar wood mostly and some can be very expensive (thousands of dollars/kilo).  The Qatari people also put it under their thobes and abayas while they’re hanging to air out. So this beautiful smell travels around with them and when they pass you, all fabric flowing like royalty, there is this beautiful scent. I need to find me a cheap version of that incense!

Surprises of the Soul

There have been a few things that have surprised me about myself as well.  To fully appreciate these things, you’d have to know me, and I know there are a few followers that don’t know me well. To bring you up to speed I’ll just say – I’m an extravert. I draw energy from being with people and at times have been insatiable about it. This is why a career in Real Estate (on call all the time and heavily involved with people) suited me well.  Ok …for the surprise.

My days are spent in virtual silence. I could listen to itunes on or the TV.  When I was at home I listened to podcasts and audible books all the time…while doing laundry, driving the car (which was a lot), walking (not as much) etc.  Now I listen to nothing and am satisfied. It’s very strange and I feel like I’m observing someone else. Alarming even myself with this behaviour I have turned music on a couple of times but only lasted about 20 minutes. My only explanation is that I might be detoxing from the very busy life I left behind. I’ve decided not to overanalyze but to be an observer of my own journey and let it happen. I wonder how long it will last. 6 weeks and counting. (Anyone want to make a pool?)

Surprise 2. While in my silent bubble, I do dishes by hand (no dishwasher), make dinner and hang laundry outside. (Ok – now see there, that’s a shame…I have a distinct feeling that my mother got herself a cup of tea and sat down to read my blog and with that last sentence spit the tea all over the monitor. I said you’d be surprised Mom.  You were warned!).

In the afternoon I work on my courses.  My days are actually quite full with all of that! Quiet, but full.

I feel the need to set the world back on its axis for my dear Mom.  My house gets cleaned once a week (by a man…how do you love that?) and I tried to iron the other day and had to ask Dave how to turn it on.  There – does it feel like the daughter you know hasn’t left the planet completely? Dave, by the way, still irons his own shirts even though you can have it done for about .60/each.

I leave you with a few random pictures. One…my new favourite drink with a surprise (to me) ingredient.  Just to stay with the surprise theme.

The posted rules when you enter a mall. Qatari people are so smart – just say what you want!

The posted rules when you enter a mall. Qatari people are so smart - just say what you want!

 Honour got in the car after grocery shopping one night and said “I’m starving, what’s in the groceries.”  “Apples, oranges, bananas…”  She looked seriously perturbed and looked at Dave and said “Did you do ANY of the shopping?!” She was not happy to hear that he hadn’t.  I think to make up for it, he came home with all of this in the groceries a few days later… 

New yummy fruit.  It’s called Mangostein.  You eat the sweet white in the middle.  Tastes a little lychee like. 

And this..my new favourite drink.  It’s called Hamad Cocktail. It is three (obviously) juices. And by ‘juices’ I mean, puree´d fruit. It has strawberry on the top, mango on the bottom and (the surprise…swallow Mom) avocado in the middle. I can’t even tell you how delicious this is…you’ll just have to come and get one! Hamad Cocktail!Hamad Cocktail!

Hamad Cocktail!


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14 responses to “Odds and ends that might surprise you

  1. I was just about to get up and go when your feed came through, so I HAD to read it. Are all 15 year olds the same?! They don’t consider fruit – and veggies and other staples – food! Honour, you are a love!

    Tracie I can sense you are really starting to find your new groove in Qatar. Fascinating how an external change in geography affects an internal change in us.

    The drink looks wonderful! I love avocado, but is the puree actually white?

    Oh, my hubby does his own ironing too. They are keepers! 😉

    • Hi Carla,

      The avocado layer is white. I’m guessing that has something to do with a different kind of avocado, although my Paraguayan neighbour says no. She says they make drinks out of avocado as well and it’s the same kind just sweetened a little. I have to tell you…that middle layer is like ice cream. It is SO good!

  2. I can’t wait to hear where all that silence leads you! You know I get that part…so great to hear about your adventures. Thanks for sharing them.

  3. ooooh! Gotta try the mangostein! Now I know what they are! Dave is missing out with his shirts. Jeff gets them washed and pressed for 4QR each. Pants are only 2. Ring around the collar? Thing of the past. And beautifully pressed. Much better than we could ever do.

    And personally, I am NOT a fan of the scents. Overpowering. I miss the incense of Japan…

    Great odds and ends post!

  4. heather carr gillatly

    i know what you mean about the cold tracie, i am often cold in air conditioning (central air). the smell of the people must be so intriguing. wow! thousands of dollars to smell so good. the drink sounds delicious. my husband and i love mango, so i think we will try your strawberry. avocado, mango drink. yum yum.

  5. rpc

    What fun to hear about the every day stuff for you (and Dave, a bit). Enjoy the silence!

  6. Sandra De Visser

    Hamad Cocktail looks and sounds delicious!!!! And Dave would by Nachos…that was a staple in Nicaragua too!!

  7. Janice

    Wow! I googled “Hamad Cocktail” to see if I could get a recipe and try it here (the avacado looks suspiciously white in your pic) and you are numbers 3 and 4 on the list! Well done, Ms. Blogger! Will get back to you on the whole recipe thing…..

  8. Janice

    Hmmm….nope. Not going to be able to get a recipe for hamad cocktails. Guess you’re right. I’ll have to come and get one =)
    (I did find a place where I could order one online haha! delivery charge is probly a real bear)

  9. Joan B

    The Hamad cocktail sounds interesting. I’m always up for a new cocktail.
    I totally agree on air conditioning…so many people turn it way too far up! A close friend has her house colder in the summer than she has in the winter, where’s the sense in that?
    Does the laundry get sandy at all, hanging outside? Just wondering.
    Your life is so interesting Tracie & after your last few months I think you really need some down time. I often disconnect & sit quietly reading or out on the patio watching the light play with the leaves. This is only an interlude, one day you’ll return to the crazy life back here. And it’ll be like you never went away.

    • Laundry getting sandy, that’s a great question. People here told me it would get sandy. My courtyard is sandy. So if the rack the clothes are hanging on gets blown over …that’s not good. But really, my dryer doesn’t do the trick in 2 HOURS! of drying. Outside? 20 minutes. There may come a season when it gets sandier. I wonder if that’s what they’re talking about. We’ll see. For now, the 20 minute cycle works for me!

  10. Nancy Luft

    I find your blog so wonderful and having a simular personality to yours I loved your take on silence 🙂 Keep on writing and enjoy your courses.,

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