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September 18, 2007

Ramadan Kareem

Ramadan started last Thursday, September 13.  I remember my husband telling me to text his Muslim colleague at 5am on Wednesday to ask whether Ramadan had already started.  There had been talks that Ramadan would either begin on Wednesday or Thursday.  So Thursday, it is- the last day of school and work.

Xianelle’s school timing was moved from 7:15 to 7:45 in the morning but same pick up time in the afternoon at 12:15.  Well it both has a good side and a bad side to it.  It is good because it meant not waking up that early for Xiane and I; and it also meant having more time to prepare for school in the morning.  With the usual time, the driver picks us up at 6:30 whereas now, he can come at 7:00.  However, the bad thing about it is the traffic.  There’s just too much traffic during this time since people are already out to go to work. The volume of vehicles jams up the C-Ring Road, the Asiri Area, Salwa Road up to the Al Soudan area, our destination.  The construction of the D-Ring Road and other thoroughfares makes it all the more difficult in the morning since most of the vehicles are bound to take the C-Ring Road.  Thanks to the aggressive driving of our transport guy, we manage to make it through every single day.

We usually visit the mall on weekends but last weekend, we decided to just stay home instead. It’s the store timings that make you think twice about going out during this time of the year. Stores are not open until 7 or 8 in the evening and close at around 2am. They sure make up for the time they’re closed but for people who are not used to going out late at night, this could be a real turn off. People just like us who would rather spend the night at home during the weekend. It’s a good thing though that the supermarkets open during the day. At least people can do their shopping as usual. Some supermarkets though, also have slight changes in their timings. Some start a bit late than usual and others go for a break as well.

But as we all know, these are just small sacrifices that we have to make during this season, as people living in a Muslim society. Ramadan only comes once a year, something that our Muslim brothers look forward to each year. So to all Muslims in the world, have a solemn and blessed Ramadan.

September 08, 2007

Turkey Central

It is Saturday as usual, we went to hear mass after which we went on with our itinerary for the day. First on the list was having lunch. The mass finishes at 10:00 but we didn’t have breakfast that’s why we were so hungry already. So we went straight to Turkey Central Restaurant.

I know a lot of people already know about the place but still a lot haven’t even heard of it. It is one of our favorite restaurants here in Doha. It is located along Mergab Street. If you are coming from C-Ring Road, it will be at the right side. It was our second time to dine there since we came back in July. Although the restaurant itself is not that satisfactory, the quality of the food makes up for it. They have a variety of food in the menu but our favorites and the only ones that we order every time we go there would be the “lamb chops” and the “grilled chicken”.

I must say that they’ve got the best lamb chops that I’ve ever tasted. If you love eating lamb, you’ll love it all the more. But if you’re not a lover of lamb, I guess you will change your mind after you’ve tasted their lamb chops. They’re tasty, tender and meaty unlike the lamb chops that you’ll find in the supermarket. Most of all the way they prepared it, they don’t have that “lamb flavor” that usually turns us off.

The grilled chicken consists of barbecued boneless chicken pieces. These too are equally are delicious as the lamb chops, they’re tender, juicy, simple tasting yet full of flavors. Even Xianelle loves it. She ate about ¼ of 1 order. Their servings always come with a platter of their very own flat bread with sesame seeds that is so good to eat with garlic sauce especially while it is warm. They still have a lot in menu but so far we are happy with what we always order.

The place is always full especially late in the afternoon till late in the evening. They also get a lot of orders for take out. They have patrons who just give them a call and just drop by to get the food. People of different nationalities frequent the place, Arabs, Filipinos, other Asians and even Western Expats. So for those of you who haven’t tried Turkey Central, why not give it a try next time and get your money’s worth.

September 07, 2007

Xiane’s 1st Week in the Big School


It’s Thursday and the last day of school for the week. It’s actually her first week in the big school. Classes opened on Tuesday, September 4. As a newcomer, we were told to bring Xiane from between 8:15 and 9:15 in the morning and to go straight to the office for some briefing. Xiane drove us to school at 8:30 in the morning. We found the list of pupils per class posted at the gate. Naturally, we went looking for Xiane’s name on the KG4 class where we thought she would be. We we’re a bit alarmed when we didn’t see her name, so we looked into the Reception Class lists. To our relief, we finally saw Xiane’s name in one of the Reception classes. It was also good news for us because that means she skipped KG4 and it also means a year’s savings on her tuition fees.

There in the office we waited for our turn to be accommodated by the principal. It was just the school’s way formally welcoming newcomers like us to the school. Then a school staff accompanied us to Xiane’s class. We were welcomed by her teacher who is a British and a Filipina assistant. Immediately Xiane warmed up with her teacher by saying “Oh this is a beautiful classroom!” Then we knew that it was time for us to leave.

It is the school’s policy that children in the KG up to the Reception classes are to be picked up not later than 12:15 in the afternoon. So we had to cancel a transport service that we had previously arranged since the driver won’t be free until after 12:30. Luckily, our friend Sandro, the dad of Princess (Xiane’s best friend) who goes to the same school was on leave that day. He provided transportation for Xiane and I. We stayed in their place and then Tian just fetched us after work.

When I came to pick up Xianelle, I talked to her teacher and asked how she was. The first thing that the teacher said about her was: “She’s very lively”. Then the teacher informed us that Xiane was quite talkative, something that didn’t surprise us anymore. Actually, days before the opening of classes, we had been telling Xiane not to talk too much. That night, all we did was give her a pep talk about talking too much in, that she should listen to her teacher and to talk only when the teacher talks to her.

That night, we also had to look for a transport. I had to call several mobile numbers that were posted in Qatar Living.com. Luckily, one guy turned out to be available.  The guy started the very next day.

The following days were spent basically adjusting to our new schedule and daily routine. On Wednesday, after the transport guy drove me home, I had to do my chores in 3 hours (the time I have while waiting for Xiane’s dismissal). I had to make sure that food will be ready when Xiane come’s home from school. Part of our routine was putting Xiane to bed early so that she’ll have enough sleep and won’t be cranky when she wakes up early the next day. Upon arriving from school, I give Xiane a bath and then give her lunch.

So far our transport service which we share with Princess and her mom is ok. The guy comes on time and knows his way around the city. He knows several short cuts that I haven’t seen before. My only concern is that he drives really fast! Sometimes, his KIA car would sound like a Ferrari in the F1 Race. Maybe next time I would have to tell him to take it easy.

The scorching heat of the summer though has been the most difficult ordeal that we have to go through every single day. The burning heat of the sun really kills us each time we pick up our children at noon. We have tried using umbrella and hats but there is no escaping the heat. It comes from all directions, from above your head, under your feet and your sides as well. This afternoon my friend, Princess’ mom almost fainted. But I guess it is something that we just have to get used to especially now that we have taken on this new task as part of our mother roles. I guess we just have to apply more sunblock with a SPF higher than 35 and hope that the summer will soon be over. So this is how I’ll be spending the days, weeks and months to come.


September 01, 2007

Two Important Lessons

There are two important lessons I’ve learned in life, the first one is accepting things for what they are and the second one, is having the initiative to change things that we can change.

I’ve realized that in life, there are things and situations that you have no control of. There are things that are better left as they are and the sooner you accept it the better. Sometimes there is no point in trying to change something especially when you know that change will never happen no matter how hard you try. I have come to this realization and I have come to terms with it.

On the other hand I have also learned that there are so many things that I can still change, things that I have control of. From now on, I plan to make use of my time and take control of matters that I can change and stop feeling sorry for the things that I can’t.

Saturday Lunch at Papa John’s

We attended the 9:00 mass at the Parish Center, after which we treated ourselves to a delicious lunch at our favorite Papa John’s. It’s only been a month since the pizza store opened at the Al Emadi Building along Ras Abu Abboud, Old Salata but we were surprised to find out that they’ve had Papa John’s in Al Khor for 2 years now. We’ve been here in Qatar that long but how in the world would we know there is one in Al Khor. We barely know the place much less go there ourselves. In any case, we are just so glad that Papa John’s is in Doha although we would have hope that they open more stores in the malls where it is more accessible.

Today we took advantage of their promo, and that is “Buy 2 Pizzas, Get 1 Free” for medium and large pizzas. Boy we enjoyed every single bite of our pizza. It’s still as yummy as it was since we’ve eaten it the last time in Bahrain. The pizza still has the same fresh taste. Everything from the dough, the pizza sauce to the toppings is fresh. You will really leave the place very satisfied. it is well-worth your money. Next time if you’re thinking of pizza, try Papa John’s and for sure you’ll keep coming back for more.