Wow, another year behind us! Is it just me or do the years go by in a flash now.
2014 ended very quietly for us as we settled into apartment living for three months before our villa became available, moving in at the beginning of March while they were still painting and fixing it. A rather frustrating first couple of months, trying to get through the bureaucracy of the schooling system here. We at last managed to get Sean back into Doha College and Jess into Compass International School, but a year below where they were, as the SA system for maths, science and English are a year behind. Sean would have had to write exams to get into IGCSE’s two months after starting school here and he just would not have caught up in time. They have both settled in nicely now and are doing well overall. Next year will see Sean having to decide on which subjects to take for GCSE’s and ultimately A levels, gulp! Our doggies joined us in March in the villa and after an extended stay at the kennels, our angel family Trudie, Craig, Matt and Danielle looked after them for a month before the villa became available. Thank you so much for being our extending family!
|Love our wake up call to prayer, Mosque in the background.|
Sean has continued to swim but there are so few galas locally (4) and in the region (3 – Dubai x 2 and Oman), so although his swimming has taken a back seat he has continued to train which includes a 2 hour swim session 5 days a week and he participates in tri-club and gym. He was very chuffed to meet Chad’s father during the FINA Cup held here in Doha in November. He dropped piano lessons half way through the year and started up with playing the guitar and back stage production work. His music collaboration in class earned him a 7A (for those of you that know the British System) and he should be a 5A at this stage, 6 levels ahead of where he should be. His new passion is technology and he is delving into programming and web design.
Jess started up with gymnastics again and is in love with it. She is our busy girl and participates in the school production, drama outside of school, drumming, dancing and video club. We were lucky enough to watch her first production with Perform at the end of this term and the girls were fantastic. Such a great ECA to make friends, have fun and let loose. Jess started Youth Group in December and is loving every moment. AND our baby turned 13, when did that happen!
I love that the children are both settled and happy, they love living here and talk about studying in the US or UK when they finish school. They are citizens of the world and there is never talk about needing a home to go back to, they look forward to finishing school here and then talk about the next phase and consider where that may be, they are open to so much more than we were as kids.
This year saw us going back to Cyprus for the Summer holidays for a few weeks, it was great to be back and to spend some time with our old friends Maria and family, as well as introduce the island to Annabel and Peter. A nice quiet time to recuperate from the hectic move.
Steve and I have had quite a year too, with threats of retrenchments hanging over everyone’s heads in the industry, removal of accommodation supplied by the company and seeing friends being retrenched, it has been highly stressful. Staying positive has been in the foremost of our minds and hopefully 2016 will see things settle a bit with positive prospects and stability.
I initially started the year settling the family back into the Qatar lifestyle. Which included the inevitable 2 hour trip to school in the mornings and a similar one in the afternoons, with a return later in the day to pick Sean up from swimming in the evening. You know when your children are growing up when you can tell them to walk across the road from the British to the American school, leaving them at school all day and picking them up at 7pm at night. Once we moved into our villa it was time to unpack once again, I have lost count of how many times we have moved homes and packed and unpacked our household.
In March, I started looking for a job and was lucky enough to be asked to design the IGCSE booklet for the school Jessica is in. This led to being offered a job in their Marketing Department in April and I have not looked back since. It has been a baptism of fire and I have been keeping my head above water ever since. I have loved every moment of being back in an office environment, working with people from Finland, UK (funny enough I battle with some of the British accents), South Africa, Iraq, Italy, Mexico, amongst a few, with a student body that consists of 60 nationalities. I love the fact that I am left to make my own decisions, function independently and that it is such a diverse job. I travelled to Dubai in December for our Marketing Conference, it was interesting to learn how schools across the Middle East, Asia and Europe diversify in their marketing strategy within the bigger Nord Anglia Education Group and yet, how similar we are across the globe. Love love love working, why did I ever give it up?
I (the other I!!) have been at Qatargas for over a year already. Although it feels a bit like when I joined Anglo just as the gold price fell dramatically all those years ago in Welkom, I work with a great team of 10 from Scotland, Australia, South Africa (3 of us), Philippines, Libya, Qatar, and Malaysia which makes for such interesting office talk and perspectives. The work is not as high level as I have done in the past, but it pays well, we have a good quality day to day life with better holiday opportunities from 2016 to start seeing different parts of the world again. Tentative plan is to spend the summer in the UK in 2016 as Sean and Jess were so little when we were last there that they cannot remember much. The majority of their friends are British so hopefully this trip will give them a view of their further home country. Otherwise, life here is much as it would be anywhere. We do the school/work run in the morning in heavy traffic, do the pick-up’s and drop-offs to the ECA’s and get a gym session in most days. Look forward to seeing you all over the next few years on our various trips.
Well folks that is about it. We wish you all a wonderful Christmas and a very happy, healthy and blessed New Year.