Sunday, March 27, 2011

Same but Different

I can't believe its almost April. Spring is flying by and summer will be here soon! These last few months have presented us with a time of waiting, questions, opportunity and answers. We've now been in Doha for 2 1/2 years. We've been expecting a time period of "unknown". Meaning, we just go on living unsure of where and when the next move might be. I find expats live in that season of unknown quite a bit. Its great for your faith and torture if you actually try to control what that next move might be.

So without further adieu...the Junods will be staying in Doha for at least 2 more years. Nick recently accepted an offer to take on a new role. We are very excited and of course I'm proud of Nick. This job will be in many ways quite different. He has been working in Accounting and Finance and will now be on the Commercial side of the business. So as Nick says, "instead of counting the beans, he's going to be figuring out how to make more beans". I can look back over the last few years and truly see how God's used situations and special people to give Nick opportunities and experiences he couldn't get anywhere but in Doha. We have been praying for God's direction and that His purpose would be made clear. He did just that and we'll be staying in the Middle East.

As hard as it is to believe, we do feel extremely safe here. There is no perfect place, as we experienced over Christmas. We continue to be careful here in Doha and also trust that our company has our best interest in mind. They go beyond what we even know to keep us well informed and protected. Hopefully as people watch and hear more news about unrest in the Middle East they will pray first for peace and that there would be awakening for God and Truth. Fear is a waste of time. What these people want and need is Hope! Qatar doesn't have unhappy nationals. They are well taken care of so the threat of violence or an uprising is unlikely. All that being said we are happy and even thankful to stay in Doha. Life here is simple, the school is awesome, Nick loves his job, we have a great church and we have wonderful friends. No doubt we always miss home and have moments of hating Doha but when it comes down to it, this is where we are supposed to be. Our Texas roots will ALWAYS bring us home to refuel and touch base with our precious family and friends. Once again we'll be headed home in June to escape the heat and give the kids a good dose of USA.

Before coming home for the summer, we are moving to a new villa and compound. Another change and such perfect timing. Although a hassle its a welcomed change for us. We're looking forward to a compound with more amenities and lots of young families. The boys will have lots of friends and we already know a handful of families that live there. Not to mention the compound is heavily populated with Texans.

So here's to some of the same but also a few changes! Thanks to our families who are so supportive. We know its a long way from home and grand babies! We promise to do our best and make this expat thing work!

Saturday, March 26, 2011

She's back!!

It was a gift and honestly a tease to have one of my best friends back in Doha for a whole week. Jackie sacrificed a lot to make her way back to the desert to see us. Having never left her boys for more than a couple of nights, she found a way to work out childcare and leave her family for 10 nights across the world!! Anyone who travels all the way to Doha has to sacrifice a lot, there's no doubt. Its so far and takes so long to travel. To say we had a good time would be an understatement. We spent time together like we've never had before. With endless nights and lots of driving in Doha traffic we talked each others ears off. We laughed, cried and added a few more Doha memories to our collection. The last time Jackie and I were together was over the Christmas holiday after an awful incident involving us in a armed robbery. God was so good that night and has done a great work since then. We experienced something together with our husbands that was life changing. For me, there was something special about us being together this time after such a dramatic situation that could have ended horribly. But it didn't...and I'm so thankful for our time together and her precious friendship.

After a long flight she finally made it!

So so happy to have her back in the humidity and dust!

The morning after she arrived we went to the ladies Spring Tea at our church. A few people just thought Jackie hadn't been at church in a while when they saw her :) others knew she had moved and were so happy to see her sweet smile again!
Me, Jackie and Melissa

After the tea we met the Junod bunch at the Sheraton Beach Club for a little sun and down time.

Boys enjoying the hot tub.

The boys had awesome entertainment from the hot tub...the Aqua bike (jet ski) show/races.

Daddy and Brooks swam out to the sun float in the chilly water.


More love from Aunt Jackie!

Someone in Houston loves the Junods...thank you Brooke and Caroline for the GS cookies! They were gone in a day or two.

All the loot that came with Mrs. Jackie. Our friends and family were so thoughtful to send such sweet gifts. Christmas in March.

Georgia got this adorable sun hat from Mrs. Donna!

Kickin' some jet lag with a little spa treatment at the Sharq. There really is no better place! We got a babysitter and both enjoyed it very much.

The one and only ONE disadvantage is how close the hotel/spa is to the airport.
That's close!

Mrs. Jackie's view...
the littles insisted she sit in the back with them. Poor mama couldn't truly get a break from kids. The Junods love her like an aunt!

Lunch at the Noodle House with Lindsay, Lisa (her mama) and Melissa.
Linsday and Jackie literally switched places. They moved into each others neighborhoods. And both are dear friends of mine!!

I tried for too long to get the kids to do something special on video or for a picture in honor of Papa's 60th birthday on the 15th...well that was a flop and this is what we came up with.

While Jackie was here we planned a Bunco night with a few from the old group we used to have when she lived here. We ordered our favorite Thai food and had a lot of fun.

She's at it again with the Junod kids.
These pictures are a good reminder to me. One of the things I love about Jackie is how enthusiastic and hands-on she is with her kids. She was the same way with my mine. She is always, I mean ALWAYS hugging, touching, kissing and affirming her love for them.

One night we headed out to take on the Doha night life at Villagio Mall. We were entertained with a little Cold Stone action.

And its always fascinating to see the sights, sounds and smells of Carrefour after 8pm.

Jackie laughs at the shelf displays...need vinegar, go to Carrefour!

Barrett skyping with Jackie's oldest, Jacob. Both boys didn't like the idea that Jacob's mommy was in Doha without her boys!

Breakfast at one our favorites, Ric's.

Doha scenery at its best...national colors (flowers), dhow boats, skyline and traditional dress.

For Jackie's last night in Doha the two of us spent a day and evening away from home at the Intercon Hotel. Unfortunately the weather was cool and the skies were dusty but we still hung out on the beach and considered it a treat!

West Bay and Jack-Attack!

On our way out to meet Nick for dinner.

Big thanks to Nick for handling the babysitter and keeping the boys and Georgia over night so we could get away and I could sleep late :)

After dinner, Jackie and I hit up the W Hotel for a little late night action. Wahm at the W is a poolside lounge with Arabic flair. Awesome place. We just needed some more friends or we needed to be swingin' single.

After they check your ID/passport this hallway leads to the lounge. Awesome.

Saying our good nights and good byes to Mrs Jackie! So so sad!

Until summer!

Here's to an awesome week with a treasured friend! Having Jackie stay with us was like having my sister visit. She's probably the most low maintenance friend I have.
Since I was back in Texas last summer when Jackie moved from Doha, this week put a little closure and reality on the fact that the LaRovere's live in Houston now. I'm slowly but surely getting a little more comfortable with the revolving door of friends in Doha. God gives us a time and season for everything.

Thank you Jackie Leigh for the time you shared with us! I'll never forget it. Love you lots and I'll always miss you in Doha!
Mark, Jacob, Isaac, JuJu and Aunt Kelly thank you for sharing Jackie and helping make it possible for a mommy to come 1/2 way across the world for 10 days!

Beach Birthday

For a little more birthday celebration we went to the beach with Barrett's BFF and family. The weather was just warm enough but not too hot. I'm here to officially report that the Arabian Gulf is CHILLY!!

We had lots of fun and look forward to lots more time at the beach this spring before it gets too hot.

Georgia's first experience with sand since being mobile. YIKES!

Bear and his best buddy, Cres.

Brooks and Emery. I'm happy to take her as a daughter-in-law if that could be arranged. Sweet sweet spirited girl!

Daddies and dogs grilling.

Birthday Boy!

Emery and Cres's Grammy was in town from Houston. We so enjoyed getting to spend time with her. When someone visits from home, its a treat for everyone!

Oh, the sand that was digested that afternoon!

I cheated and bought canned icing and in usual Doha fashion it was a flop. Tasted fine looked like slime! Never again!

Not sure why we got Barrett all cleaned up but left Georgia a complete sand disaster!

Once again, we stuck to the rainbow theme for the cupcakes.

Fun birthday present including a few USA purchases. Thank you!

Cleaning up from an afternoon full of grit.