Permanent Housing and a Sense of Place

Artist rendering of Eco-Wadi Park located in the heart of Lusail City

This week was another busy week for me, per usual. I had to prep and administer a number of assessments in my courses; attend requisite sessions and workshops as part of my probationary period; and confirm my committee work and department tasks for the remainder of the semester. Additionally, I have to run my workshop on developing tabletop games in the EFL setting next weekend. During a planning meeting for the workshop, there was discussion about recording the session and inviting the local news to attend the workshop. Cue gif:

Despite the mounting pressure, I am managing my workload and still pretty calm. Sunday through Thursday, I am at Qatar University (QU) by 8am and working on my various responsibilities until I have to teach, which is never earlier than 12pm. My colleagues in the Foundation Program Department of English (FPDE) are always collegial and supportive, checking in on me and the other new hires regularly. So, I don’t feel as if I’m being set up to have a nervous breakdown or fail in a spectacular manner.

Besides, I’ve been told that around 400 people applied last year for a position with the FPDE; the program interviewed 50-60 candidates; and only 9 people, including me, were hired for the 2017-18 academic year. I was chosen for a reason. That being said, what I really wanted to brag about in this blog post was that I submitted my paperwork this past week for permanent housing!

At the beginning of the week, I was invited to tour a potential apartment building in Lusail City, which is only a 5-7 minute drive from QU. The apartment that I viewed is on the 19th, or penultimate, floor of the building. It has two bedrooms, two bathrooms, and a balcony. There’s also a gym in the building and a pool that’s almost finished.

Living/dining room (not pictured: second bathroom)
Kitchen
Second Bedroom
Master bedroom with balcony (not pictured: master bathroom)
 Gym on the first floor
Pool and jacuzzi (still under construction)

While the floor space of the Lusail apartment is less than the floor space of my current Al Safa room, unlike the couples and families that toured the complex with me, I don’t need a lot of room! I want to be closer to campus, closer to the Pearl, and able to view the ocean (see video of my balcony view). I was happy with the apartment after I viewed it and confirmed with QU Housing that I would take it. What do I have to do next?

Google map view of my permanent housing

Well, after submitting the necessary paperwork, I will have to pay a deposit to the utility company and wait for my furnishing allowance to be approved (about three weeks). Once these steps have been completed, I will have two weeks to move from Al Safa to Lusail City. I’m thinking this will transpire either late November or late December.

While waiting before the apartment building tour, I struck up a conversation with a professor of Genetics that was also just hired at QU. He was Cyprian, or from the Republic of Cyprus. We talked about the craziness of the semester and our thoughts on possibly living in Lusail City. Then he asked me about my heritage. I told him that my mother is from Vietnam and my father is Polish, Irish, and Native American. He said that was really unique.

I said that in the US my background would be considered more unusual. However, in Doha, I was just another foreigner trying to make a living in the Gulf. And, in terms of my heritage, I would be hard pressed to standout amongst my colleagues in the FPDE. For examples, one of my colleagues is from Afghanistan, has a Pakistani passport, and is married to an Omani. Another colleague is Palestinian, moved to the US at the age of four, has a US passport, and married a South Korean woman while teaching there.

There is nothing out of the ordinary about me. I’m just a multi-racial American treading water in the turbulent river of the QU semester, hoping to find some respite once I move into my Lusail City apartment. When I have my apartment and a car, then I can start making plans for family and friends to come visit.

Until then, I am just a work in progress—like Lusail City. We’ll see how things eventually turn out.

(For more information on the ambitious plans of Lusail City, please read the following article.)

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