Sunday, November 1, 2009

October in Doha

Last year we were in Utah for Ben's wedding so we didn't get to see what Halloween is like here in Doha. This year was different, and I don't know about other compounds in Qatar, but ours really knows how to do Halloween right.

Denise is one of our great neighbors and she planned the whole week. First she held a craft activity on Wednesday for the children at the clubhouse where they got to decorate their trick or treat bags, make ghosts, dead fingers out of clay, etc. They loved it. It was quite interesting to hear her British accented voice directing the fun.

Then Denise planned and hosted the Halloween night. In front of her villa she decorated in true western style, complete with a talking skeleton that had an eyeball pop out of its socket and a bob for apples station. The children posed for pictures, then another neighbor Johnny, who is known for his shy reclusive ways (NOT!), led the children in a Halloween parade around the compound. They screamed, they walked like zombies, they cackled like witches, they stomped like Frankenstein, and just plain had a blast entertaining the neighborhood and especially the workers of our compound. The men from the Phillipines, Malaysia, and India stood in awe of this very strange western tradition but then joined in with werewolf howls and scary yells of approval.

After the parade the children were let loose to trick or treat to their hearts' content. Denise had sent around signs with the party invitations that neighbors could post on their doors letting the children know which villas would be handing out treats. I think most of the neighbors participated - even Matheena, who had a baby on Wednesday, was on the porch with her pink bundle greeting the goblins. Abbey's bag was full after only a few minutes. Then everyone gathered in front of Denise's villa for a pot luck dinner. The children had no desire to eat because another neighbor named Justice generously donated his Jeep or Landrover (who knows?), loaded it with hay, and gave "hay rides" to anyone who wanted to go. He never tired of driving around and around the compound loop, and the smiles on the faces of those kids kept the hay rides going for at least an hour. The food was so good and so diverse with Indian samosas, vegetable pizza, hot dogs, my white chili, three layer bean dip, kabobs, and Arabic food I don't know the name for. It was truly a night of multiple cultures coming together for a unique western celebration.

As I sat there soaking in the atmosphere, I could almost imagine myself on main street U.S.A enjoying a traditional spooky party with neighbors. It even feels like Utah at times when I socialize with the four families on our street who are also members of our church (what are the odds, huh?). If it hadn't been for the 90 something degree temperature, it would have been a little easier to transport my imagination, but as it was, the evening was perfect. Abbey was so, so happy to be running around like a goblin with all the other monsters. The only thing that marred the evening was Abbey's trick or treat bag went missing. She cried big tears and said, "I don't need the candy, but now I don't have anything that proves I went trick or treating." Since she was cheated out of trick or treating last year because we were flying back to Qatar from Utah, I felt all the more sorry for her. Thankfully this morning my neighbor Terah brought over Abbey's bag with an apology about her son mixing their bags up. Abbey will be thrilled to see it this afternoon after she gets home from school.

So that was just Halloween and the week before. The week before the week before Halloween I was busy with room mother duties - decorating the classroom door and delivering donuts on the dress-up day. Brett helped me with the decorating, so I think it turned out to be one of the best displays. Abbey and Mrs. Errico had to explain the "count" reference, but they thought it was nice and scary. I also had a swim party for my Activity Day Primary girls on Saturday. They are a wonderful group and keep me on my toes. That same day Abbey, Brett, and I attended a function at the American Ambassador's home that was hosted by his wife Ellie LeBaron. Every month she hosts Americana for Children activities that are meant to give expat children some good experiences and lessons about American history, culture, and patriotism. We got our photo op with Mrs. LeBaron (a distant relation, I'm sure) and learned more about Columbus (for Columbus Day). It was so good to see the American flag flying over the residence and the flag ceremony at the activity. America is my favorite land hands down. So it is no wonder that I ended up with a cold and cough that kept me home most of last week. This old grandma woman is not as young as she used to be. Kristy and Ben had the advantage of my youth. Abbey has the advantage of my wisdom and experience. I guess there is no perfect parent out there.

So how was your Halloween? I hope you got as many treats as we did.


Brooke Stoneman said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Marinda said...

What a wonderful week! it is so fun to see what traditions people maintain when not in the U.S. Tell Abbey she looked great in her cave woman costume!

KMurray said...

Wow...I guess because I have no kids at home anymore I miss out on all the good stuff!

ljanlyons94 said...

Wow, what fun!!!!

The only perfect parent is one that has no children, and just sits back and gives advice to people who do have childre.