Category: Patience, patience, patience


Doha Drivers Ed…..

WE CAN DRIVE!!! First things first, we must back up two weeks.

The entire process of being allowed to drive in Doha starts with an eye test. Our van to this test was the best ever! We crammed about 11 people into this very old van with very little air flow, not to mention very little air conditioning. This made for an especially pleasant ride. Anyways the eye test was hilarious and consisted of a projected image that was both blurry and shaky. Luckily, we all passed. Whew!

Hot, Hot, Hot!

A few days later we all got to be 15 years old again to attend drivers ed!

Did you know there are 13 triangles to safe driving?!

Nothing makes you feel like a     teenager except for pictures of car crashes… Cars upside down, cars smashed up against a pole, cars split clean in half. Motto of the day- It’s the driver that is safe or unsafe, not the car. (Hmmm I was certainly never aware of that before!) We talked about following other cars at a safe distance, using turn signals when over taking (passing), how to give way (yield), and what a stop sign looks like. Then we got to practice driving. It was probably the best 6 hours of my life. It was good to know that after one month of not driving myself anywhere I still had all the mad driving skills I had before….. shocking, I know.

Later that week we got to go take the actual driving test. All the women in the very early morning and then the men in the evening. Here is a breakdown of my day:

No, we did not get to ride on this little toy…. drat!

Broken down buses at 4am are NEVER fun!

I woke up at 3:30 in the morning to catch a bus at 4:15…. at 4:25 the bus broke down…. at 5:05 we were split into three cars to go to the driving school…… at 5:20 one of those cars got lost…… at 5:35 we made it to the driving school…..6:05 we got on a bus to “take our driving test”…. From 7:24 and 35 seconds to 7:26a I drove in the car with the instructor……. at 7:30 we were taken back to the driving school to await our results….. at 7:40 we found out the good news, we all passed!……at 9:11 I had my temporary license in hand!

If you noticed the timeline, my driving test consisted of close to 1 minute and 25 seconds in the car. I drove on a straight road and then pulled over. I also passed my sign test, good thing I still recognize my stop signs and traffic light colors! (I joke, there were some signs specific to the area, but nothing too difficult). Luckily Tony also passed his driving test. Unfortunately by the time the boys finished their test, the office who prints the driving licenses were closed. Sadly, the license Tony received the next day expired only five days later- HA! So, we had to wait another 5 days for someone from my school to argue continually on his behalf so that his temporary license would last until the middle of October. Tony finally received his license yesterday and has been officially allowed to drive. Yay! He is thrilled to not be on house arrest anymore :)

PASS!!

Welcome to Doha! Again- do not try to be efficient when doing government related activities. If you plan on having the longest day of your life, you just may be right! The take away point here is, we have a rental car and we can go to the store when we want, makes a big difference in feeling settled. Until next week……..

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Medical……

Hello again, Sorry its been a while….. the last two weeks have been insane! This will be the first of several posts under the category “patience, patience, patience”. This is a skill I have been practicing VERY hard over the past couple of weeks. As I’m sure you have heard from several different sources, moving internationally requires a lot of flexibility and, you got it, patience. Other countries are not often as efficient as the United States; if nothing else most countries will have their own particular policies and procedures that vary widely. Here in Qatar they take health and safety “very seriously”. You are not allowed to get a Residence Permit here unless you can prove you are healthy and not a criminal. Luckily, for me I am both of those things. The hilarious part is that I have to prove it twice.

You can be half way around the world and a waiting room in a government building still looks the same!

Last week all of the employees were shuttled to a medical building to get a few tests done. When we arrived men and women were separated (this has happened at any government building we have visited thus far) outside of the building and we actually used separate entrances. We entered into a large waiting room that looked eerily similar to a DMV. We were given a ticket with a number on it, and then we proceeded to “wait”. There were no seats so we just stood quietly to the side. After about 10 minutes we were ushered to another area that had more chairs so that we could sit. Interestingly enough there did not appear to be any medical people working until about 30-40minutes after we arrived, just security and cleaning staff. Anyways,  we waited in this side room for roughly 35 minutes before we were ushered out.

The security lady asked us to go upstairs for pictures, but didn’t really give us any direction on how one would actually go upstairs. Turns out, you had to go back through the main waiting area, through 2 other rooms, then down a long hallway.

Photo line

After that you had to enter what looked like a janitor’s closet but turned out to be a stairwell. At the top of the stairs we entered another waiting room that had both men and women in it, but we were told to continue down the hall and through a set of double doors. Once here, we found all the other women! Snaked around the hallway (that led to the roof) were about 20 Qatar airway flight attendants, teachers from another school, a small family, and now the Awsaj women. We proceeded to wait in this line for roughly 40 minutes. About 20 minutes into our wait one of my co-workers got a phone call from her husband. He wanted to know where we were and how much longer we would be…… ha ha ha…… We had not even completed step one of four and the men were finished, great. The hilarious thing about this particular line is that we waited to take a picture that we had already taken the second day we arrived. We tried to explain this several times to no avail. Even after they took the new picture, it was the older picture that showed up on the computer screens during every step of the medical process.

Following the pointless picture-taking we assumed we were supposed to go back down stairs. We found our way to the original waiting room where they wanted to see our number tags that we took at the beginning. Of course, by this time all of our numbers

i’m sure those chatting women got in trouble for not keeping the line straight……

had been passed. So, we waited to speak to a woman at one of the counters who wanted to take our picture again! After this we were somewhat split-up. The group of girls I was with were pointed in the direction of the blood test area where we got to stand in another line. The security staff wanted this line to be perfectly straight, she did not appreciate you if you tried to turn around to talk to your neighbor….. When we made it half way through this line, we were removed and ushered to the x-ray line (apparently the blood-test line was too long). Luckily, the x-ray did not take too long, and compared to everything else, they were somewhat efficient. There were little dressing rooms available where you were asked to remove your bras and just have a white t-shirt on or one of the gowns provided.

My bruise 2 days later spanned 2.5 inches, after this it got darker then turned green!

Then you waited, five at a time, to enter the x-ray room where you were screened for TB.

After I completed, and was stamped for the x-ray I got to go back to the (very straight) blood-test line. When you reached the front of the line they scanned your forms, checked your picture, and handed you a vile. Then you got to go to another hallway….. and you guessed it….. another line! Unfortunately for me, the women drawing my blood did not to the greatest job. My arm ached for two days and I had a nasty bruise for a week that is still visible.

So– nearly four and a half hours after being dropped of I got a photo taken (that we already had completed), a chest x-ray, and a vile of blood drawn; all of which I had completed in the US prior to coming here. All I really have to show for all this was my impressive bruise and  one more thing to check off the imaginary check-list and one step closer to getting my residency permit.

Yes, Doha medical facility I do have some suggestions! ;)

Coming in a few days……… Doha Driving school and test!