So it's official, we finally own a car in Doha - a 2008 Land Rover. I'm looking forward to getting a driver's license so I can drive it!!! It's almost cruel to have a car parked in the carport staring at you every day and not be able to drive it anywhere! Ken doesn't plan to take it to work since there is a van pool service provided by the company. He has a one hour commute to work, so might as well rest, read, or work while someone else drives.
Getting a car (and a driver's license for Ken) was definitely more challenging than we anticipated. The nationals aren't always very friendly to foreigners and we've heard they can be especially rude to Asians since they are typically the lower paid workers in Doha. This doesn't bode well for Ken. The first time he tried to get his driver's license, he was kicked out! Can you imagine anyone kicking Ken out of someplace??!! When he returned, he passed the oral part, but then you get shuttled for the driving portion. You have to choose if you want a driver's license for an automatic or a manual - Ken planned to get the automatic license. He was on the shuttle when the driver started barking out instructions in heavily accented English. Ken couldn't understand him and by the time he finally understood it was his stop, the driver yelled "Too late!" Ken had to start all over again. Poor Ken.
Paying for the car wasn't much easier ... I tried to wire the money into the seller's account, but I received a cryptic error message from the bank saying the wire transfer had been cancelled. Two hours on the phone with the bank to straighten out the mess!!! Two painful hours!!! Apparently it's no good to change your physical address to one state, your mailing address to another state, leave them no working phone number, and then wire a large sum of money to a foreign bank. I think I spoke to every department in the bank from technical support to risk management back to technical support to ecommerce to online support to fraud. Surprisingly the fraud department was by far the most helpful!! The whole time I just kept asking, why am I speaking to the fraud dept?? I'm just trying to buy a car!!
On a happier note ... I was invited to my first ladies night last night. It was nice to meet some ladies - I think there were about a dozen or so ladies there and I have no idea how many bottles of champange we finished, but it was a load of fun. I really needed some girl time!!
Then today, I came home from the grocery store to find a lady and her son hanging out with my boys. (I had left the boys at home with a babysitter during their naptime so I could shop alone.) It was a most pleasant surprise!! I had met her one other time and she stopped by to visit and decided to stay and wait for me to come home. The boys had a great time sharing their toys - especially all their superhero costumes!! And I had a great time visiting with Kathy.
And on Friday, we've been invited to a neighbor's birthday party for their 3 yr old son. Plus a dinner invitation with a family we both used to work with in Houson 5 years ago!
We definitely miss our friends and family back home, but I have to say, it's been really easy to meet people here!