Wednesday, November 25, 2015

What Rain Does in the Desert

Qatar weirded out with rain today.

The weirdness started yesterday with cloudy grey skies most of the day and bit of gloomy sprinkling on the drive home. We kept peeping out the window in the living room, pushing the curtains aside to look at the street, still mostly dry. The weather apps on our phones indicated a 100% chance of rain at 7PM and the same for 8PM, and so on, a storm that would pour out of the heavens like never before, but the hours passed and there was none of the stuff. There was surely rain in another part of Qatar, but none where we lived, the dustbowl behind Education City where people only dreamed of rain and a real winter.

Whiling away on our pillows, we read that there was a possibility that school would be cancelled the next day. All three of us go to different schools with different schedules, so the likelihood of all of them being cancelled was slim or, at least, unaligned. It was a troublesome thought, as well, to think about tracking down a babysitter at the last minute. We went to bed thinking the impending downpour would happen during the night, and that school cancellation messages would be waiting for us on the other side of a good night's sleep.

In the morning, the earth had clearly been dampened by moisture, but it still wasn't raining. The sky was cloudy, but not threatening. Angela readied herself and departed at the usual hour. I got Vito and myself ready, and, by the time Vito's driver had arrived, drops had started to pattern the ground with increasing regularity. He and the two other boys in the backseat shoved off, and I assumed all was working as planned.

I left for work shortly thereafter and, at about 8:10AM, in the middle of a pre-school meeting with a couple of my colleagues, my phone rang. I answered it and learned that Vito's school, the American School of Doha, was cancelling classes due to the weather and sending children back home. Vito was on his way to my office, which mildly complicated my morning as I was supposed to teach at 8:30.

Vito arrived and I took him to my class. He went to Starbucks, bought a doughnut and a hot chocolate and sat down at one of the desks in my classroom. Angela called and asked if she had to go pick up Vito, but I told her that he was already with me. Only two students out of ten had arrived on time, so we just started chatting. I told them my friends and family back home would laugh if I told them that school was cancelled due to rain--not even very severe rain. Eventually, most of the students arrived, and all of them had stories about how they had been stuck in traffic and that the roads were completely flooded or impassable.

From an article in Doha News.
The Emir prayed for rain last week, and, apparently, it worked. Maybe he could pray for a better drainage system next time? Anyway, people get quite excited when it rains here. If anything, it's a welcome change from the monotony of sunshine and dust. Angela said that people at her office were going outside and dancing in the rain. Social media was trending with pictures of leaky ceilings, flooded streets with stalled vehicles and people walking around in the water with their pants rolled up. This is what rain does to a desert country.

Unfortunately, classes at the Academic Bridge Program weren't cancelled. My lesson went on as scheduled. When my class finally ended, and done with my teaching for the day, I left work and went home with Vito. There wasn't much for him to do at my office. I had a full day of babysitting to look forward to. By the time we got home, the rain had just about stopped and never really started again, but we weren't about to go anywhere. Vito played video games while I graded papers at the kitchen table.

Saturday, November 21, 2015

Bob Marcacci | Words & Strings | Page 15 Words of November

A video of my reading at the November Words & Strings event, which was held at Katara Cultural Village. What a great event!


There are a few cameos by Vito who attended the event with me.