Life from Afar: US Shooting, Birthday Wishes, and Blade Runner 2049

Ceiling at the Festival City Mall


Sunday is the start of the work week here in Doha. Also, there is a time difference of 8 hours between me and my family in the Midwest.

My work day had ended, and I wanted to see if the security deposit from my previous apartment in the US had been sent to my mother’s. I tried to Facetime her. It was the morning in La Crosse, WI; but she said that she would talk later. She was watching the news about Las Vegas. What news?

I hopped on the internet and went to the CNN website. There was preliminary information about a shooting at a Las Vegas hotel and concert. Hmm. We’ll see what comes of this tragedy—this time.


The weather in Doha has gotten noticeably cooler. From 40 degrees Celsius to 33 on some mornings. I have started to enjoy my walk from class to class—now that I know where I am going on a regular basis.

The groundskeepers have been doing a lot of work around campus, and I’m noticing more plants with flowers and more bird life. At first, I brushed off the bird sightings because I thought I was seeing robins and chickadees. But then I quickly realized that the birds here are completely unique to the region. I was also told that birds will be migrating soon through Qatar.

I thought about getting a book about the birds of Qatar. Maybe I would take up bird watching.

Some flowers on the QU campus


I have to give a presentation on October 21 for a TEFL Qatar workshop. The presentation is entitled, “Employing and Adapting Tabletop Games in the EFL Setting.”

The last week or so, as I have been shopping at the malls, I have been looking for tabletop games. They don’t seem to be quite as popular in Doha. There isn’t the variety of games that you would find in the US at a Target, Barnes and Noble, or Games by James. I even visited Al Jarir Bookstore to see if the establishment offered more game choices. No luck. I have been told that the culture here frowns on entertainment with overt magical themes, and some conservative Muslims steer clear of playing cards with facial depictions.

After work, I hung out with a colleague who offered to take me to Festival City (a huge mall near QU). He thought that the Borders Bookstore there would have what I was looking for. No luck. So, we then headed over to Toys R Us. Again, no luck. No problem. (The third most common expression I hear spoken by Qataris, after “inshallah” and “hamdullah.”)

Festival City Mall

We ended up visiting the Firehouse Gallery to see an exhibition on German art. The Firehouse Gallery was an actual firehouse that was renovated into an art space. I have ridden by it numerous times on my way to QU, and it recently dawned on me that maybe it was a space for art, not for firefighters to congregate. The exhibition was ok, but what I really wanted to see were the murals commemorating the 100 days of the blockade.

Outside of the Firehouse Gallery
Mural on the firehouse tower
Cafe and illuminated water fountain

The murals were interesting. Doha has a nascent art scene, and we’ll see if it has the interest and support for a more vibrant art community. Maybe the scene will be similar to the scant tabletop game offering, or maybe the scene will be similar to the migratory birds that stop here on their way to more hospitable habitats.

After exploring the Firehouse Gallery, my colleague took me to Turkey Central where we had a fantastic meal. Since arriving in Doha, I haven’t eaten much meat, so I was quite stuffed after this meal.

Hummus with meat
Plate of grilled meat (lamb and chicken)


I was sitting on first floor of the Women’s Foundation Building, when my faculty mentor stopped and had a chat with me. (Quick point of clarification about the numbering of floors in Doha: In an elevator, “G” is what you press when you want to go to the ground floor or, as we say in the US, the first floor. “1” is what you’d press to go to the floor above the ground floor, or the second floor in the US.) Another colleague of ours stopped by and asked if my mentor was interested in going to see Blade Runner 2049. Yeah, he was interested.

We finished up our conversation, and my mentor said we should get coffee sometime. I asked if I could come to see Blade Runner 2049 with him. Sure. He’d add me on a Whatsapp chat about making arrangements to see the movie.

I was looking forward to seeing my first film in Doha.

Later that night, I sent my youngest son a FB message, wishing him a Happy Birthday. I had sent him some birthday money, but when he received his driver license, he could use my car which was in storage back in the US.

I don’t regret much about my decision to come to Doha. However, the only thing I do regret is not being there for my youngest son as he finishes up his last three years of high school. I tell myself that he’s a teenager and doesn’t need his father to helicopter over him. But there are days, like his birthday, when I wish that I were around. Hmm.


It was the end of the work week, and teaching had gone well. Additionally, I received an email saying that I could go to HR and sign my contract. I had also received an email saying that I needed to schedule time early next week to tour the permanent housing. Things were moving along.

(I also learned that now that I have my Qatar ID, I am not able to visit the UAE because of the blockade. That sucks! I was hoping to go to Dubai during my first holiday. I guess I’ll go to Oman instead.)

I tried confirming with my mentor the plan for the night but wasn’t able to find a listing of show times for Blade Runner 2049. Hmm. It was being released everywhere else but Doha. The UAE had listings for show times. Why not Doha?

My mentor informed me that the movie, at the last minute, had been pulled from release in Doha. Not sure why. Maybe there was something objectionable in the story.

So, instead of seeing a movie in Doha after work, I came home, ate a plate of pasta, and crashed for the night.


I slept in, prepped for my workshop, and played my PS4. I was craving a snack later in day, so I walked over to Food Palace and bought a pack of Rolled Oat Hobnobs.

This is Detective Conan, a famous anime series throughout much of the world, including Qatar! When I say my name is Conan, this is why people tend to giggle.


Woke up and worked on my blog post.

Lastly, I learned how to wire money from my bank in Qatar to my other bank in the US. It is a pretty simple process. There’s a 15 QAR charge from my bank and a $15 USD  charge from my US bank. Still, I would be able to pay off my remaining bills and student loan debt while in Qatar for the next three years. No problem.

Recent addition to my household: a rice cooker

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