The Move: Part I

luggageOriginal Post: September 2, 2014

I was successful in packing just 2 checked bags and 2 carry-ons for my move to Doha. There was quite a bit of shuffling at the ticket counter to meet the weight requirements but I got it done. The gate agent was very patient and accommodating. I was grateful.

Jaden and I said our “see you laters”, no tears shed. He seemed pretty upbeat and it sounds like the rest of his day went well. He went out on the boat with our neighbors, got to drive the boat, and got a personal lesson on spiraling a football from Tim (Thanks Tim!). I was/am okay. However, when I turned to walk away, there was a bit of a tug at my heart. I love that kid and he’s so much fun. The last few days we’ve had together gave me a glimpse of who he is becoming. I’m a proud momma!

The flight to Chicago was uneventful. I can’t remember the last time I was on an #AmericanAirlines flight that left on time. There was good juju going on there. Once I arrived to Chicago, I immediately became aware of what I will experience when I get to Qatar.

I sat facing the crowd as I consumed my last meal in America at Romano’s Macaroni Grille (I had the salmon and orzo pasta…and a glass of wine of course). I admired the men in their traditional Middle Eastern wear. There was great variety in the women’s coverings. Then there are the women and men from India. So beautiful. Sitting there, I just thought about their rich culture and heritage.

And then there were the Americans at the airport…. Lol. Butts hanging out, shorts so small the pockets are hanging out (when did this become cool?), pants sagging, black lipstick, business casual, wear, business suits. I even looked at myself: tennis, slacks, and yellow polo. I blended in.

It just made me think of the unconscious biases we have. I am no exception. However, today, those biases for me are gone. I find myself appreciating the differences and really looking forward to learning more and embracing the culture.

So, the Qatar Airways plane is very large. I’ve learned that they transport cargo on these planes as well, which is why many are so big. They’ve also recently ordered some $50 billion worth of new aircrafts. With the youngest fleet in the sky, they should be pretty safe.

I love the professional appearance of the fight crew and the women are beautiful. I wasn’t sure if I would be offered alcohol but I had a glass of Malbec and was very grateful. Dinner was chicken, rice, and peas & carrots. Hmmm, it was very different. I only ate the rice. The rest of the food had very strong flavors and was a bit spicy. I’m thinking, okay, this is specific to that region. I was being respectful of the dish. However, this elderly gentleman next to me (a retired gastroenterologist from India) told me how nasty his food was. He asked if mine was good (seeing that I’d only eaten the rice may have been a clue), I shrugged my shoulders trying to be polite. He then flagged down the attendant to tell her how terrible the food was and that I agreed! Lol, I was so embarrassed. I purposely didn’t agree or disagree but he dragged me into it. Needless to say, he was quite the plane companion. I liked him.

By the way, I’ve never been so glad to have a slice of @TillamookCheese medium cheddar. That was the only other thing I ate from my plate. Not sure why Qatar Airways has #TillamookCheese but thank you!

The flight crew kept handing out refreshing towels. I thought they were to wipe your hands…. maybe they are. But I saw people wipe their faces and arms too. Boy, do I have a lot to learn. When I tried to refuse a refreshing towel, the attendant gave it to me anyway. So I didn’t refuse anymore. (8 hours in, I’d now been given 3 refreshing towels).

So now for the big FAIL of Qatar Airways…. wait for it…. NO Wi-Fi! OMG, I couldn’t believe it. It’s my own fault for making assumptions. So if you fly, check on the Wi-Fi! I planned to get some work done for my fall classes that I’m teaching. I also planned to just surf the web…what’s a girl to do? Well, I slept quite a bit on the 12.5-hour flight. I watched a documentary on NYC pick-up basketball. (At the time) I was on song 104 of 232 (All The Things by @JoeThomas4Real) and when I was done writing this, I pulled out the iPad to read with 3 more hours to go…

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