I have safely arrived in Doha and have begun settling into my new apartment. The trip here was relatively easy and I was able to travel with another new staff member, Justin, helping to make the trip better. Once at the Doha airport we were to be met by one of our colleagues; however, our flight got in early and she had not arrived. We were provided with a wonderful service that helped us get through customs more easily and helped us with our bags. This service informed us that there was a change in our plans and instead of getting picked up we were to go to a hotel for the night. We asked who had sent this information and they said a woman from the Qatar Foundation had called. I took this as my first test in flexibility. I had been warned when interviewing that it is necessary to be flexible and that plans change regularly. Thinking this was one of those times Justin and I went with the change and found a taxi to take us to the hotel. Once at the hotel we learned that there was no reservation for us and we were supposed to have been picked up at the airport. As we had no cell phones or local currency (the ATM was broken at the airport – causing us to both tip and pay in dollars) we tried our best to get a hold of someone. Justin had saved some emails to his computer and we began making local calls through the operator. We quickly learned that all the numbers we were calling were office numbers, and it was well past office hours. We also learned that you could not place a call to a cell phone through the operator and the hotel would not allow us to place a call because we did not have a room to charge it to. I then pulled out my Magic Jack and we tried to make the call over the Internet … but we did not have a room number allowing us to access the Internet. As we were getting ready to try and pay cash to the hotel to allow us to make a call our ride arrived! She arrived on time to the airport and after waiting several minutes for us she inquired about where we had gone. In the end all was well and we had a little adventure.
We were then able to move into our apartments. Wow! This is the better than I could have hoped for. The style is not my own, but it works and it very comfortable. I have plenty of space and great appliances. (I now have a dishwasher and a microwave!!!! It has been so long since I have had those where I live). I was able to settle in and take a shower while a pizza was ordered – from Pizza Hut. After being fed and watered Justin and I started going through things a former staff member had left for us. I learned that my dad is not the only person to ignore an expiration date. About half the food and all of the over the counter medication was expired. Even with the need to look at dates I am so grateful someone thought of us and left things we might need. There are now several things I can take off of my shopping list – hangers, cooking oil, sugar, flower, cleaning supplies and some other odds and ends. It was a great way to be welcomed to a new home!
I am now slowly putting things away and getting ready for bed. We do not have anything planned for work tomorrow until 11am. It is wonderful to be able to gradually settle in.