Sunday, October 28, 2007


After about a week of wondering what was going on with my relocation, I got the news the my boss received my info and that the paperwork is in the system... now the hard stuff begins. Since I've never traveled overseas, much less lived overseas, I am clueless when it comes to the minutiae of immigration. I have a twelve-page packet on how to get my police clearance for Qatar. I'm already got the four sets of fingerprints done, but not quite sure in which order I'm supposed to send them to DPS, TX Secretary of State, US Dept. of State, and the Qatari embassy... all for notarizing.

I was sick for most of last week (sorry dad) and took some time off from work. Thought it would be a good time to get my travel physical and blood work done... and get some extra-strength vitamin C in the process.

Started packing up my stuff today. For some reason, packing always takes me forever. I pack two boxes, need to take a break, pack another, look through another... never getting much done. I was able to pack up three bedroom closets and my office. Problem is that I'm unsure of what to pack and what to set aside. I'm given a 450-pound limit on shipping my stuff to Qatar. I was told not to bring dishes, electronics, and furniture. I was told to bring sports stuff and towels. Well what about everything else?! Should I bring DVDs, music, books... what about my golf clubs, or my bike?? Unfortunately, I don't have any good ideas. I checked out some blogs of ex-pats in Qatar, and they all say completely different things... depending on how much they make and where their housing is located.

Also, all the stuff I plan to bring to Qatar... I can't pack. The shipping company MUST pack all the items. So I have to leave them sitting out in a bedroom... all the while trying to show the house for lease.

So, what do ya bring? It's like the news stories about the California fires... you're told to leave your house immediately... what do you grab? What, in all the stuff that you've collected and kinda brings you joy, do you take with you??

Friday, October 19, 2007

let the journey begin...

things are happening really fast right now... let me give you a quick recap of the past few weeks...

One month ago... My coworker was beaten and robbed at gunpoint while making his way to work by the exact same path I had taken during the middle of the night for the past five weeks. Knew right then I needed to start looking for another job.

22 days ago... Got an email from my old advisor and mentor at Texas A&M University in College Station about a job opening at TAMU at Qatar. Listed a link and I checked it out. Looked pretty cool and really challenging, so I got to researching Qatar and the city of Doha.

15 days ago... Was a guest lecturer at TAMU's Horizons in Chemistry class (think career day for big kids). Had a lot of fun with the freshmen and really enjoyed the experience. After class, spoke with my advisor about what he knows about Qatar. He said that everyone who went over there loved the experience, and many have stayed on for good. That really peaked my attention.

11 days ago... Went searching for info on Qatar. Found out about Education City, the TAMUQ support office,, and about four hours of Google Earth. Suddenly found myself wondering what life would be as an ex-pat.

8 days ago... Decided to apply online for the job. Honestly didn't think I had a chance in hell to get it. Spent two hours filling out the forms and hit "submit." Was inside my mobile lab trying not to fall asleep when my phone rings ten minutes later. The man on the line (we'll call him "boss" from here on out) says he'll be in College Station in a few days and would like to meet me.

6 days ago... Tell mom and dad about the interview, both are thrilled to death.

4 days ago... Call in *cough* sick to work and head to TAMU. Meet with boss and associates and had a great interview. Got tons of information and a really positive image about life and work in Qatar. Meeting finishes with an unofficial job offer. I ask for a few days to go over it. Head to my parent's house and start drinking early. Watched the DVDs on Qatar and it looks amazing. On the way home, it hits me that I made up my mind the moment I walked out of boss' office. I had that rarefied feeling of doing something absolutely perfect... at that moment, nothing could have shot me down.

2 days ago... I get the official offer letter. Have two quick questions that are answered immediately with the best possible replies. I officially accept the offer. I start in just over two months... wow...

Now... too many things going on in my head. What to do about my Baby, house, family, friends, truck, stuff, money, pension... what to bring... what to wear... what to eat??? Bought a learning Arabic book. Still need to pass a physical and complete lots of paperwork before everything becomes official. A little scared, but massive change always does that for me. So far my friends and family have been very supportive and enthusiastic. Pretty sure dad wants to me take it just so he can come visit. Decided to quit my current job early (really early) so I can spend December visiting my family and friends before I leave.

Decided to start this blog to keep everyone informed of my progress in the preparation, the move, and job and the life of an ex-pat... also it's a lot cheaper than international calls. I'll post some pictures as I move along.

This is gonna be fun...