Saturday, February 4, 2012

Thursday, February 2, 2012

Desert Days - 3 years in the Middle East. Dec 2008- Dec 2011

Desert days, Doha days, what name can I give to our 3 years of living in the Middle East? We did have one year in Abu Dhabi, so it wasn't all Doha days, so perhaps Desert days best describes it. Anyway, Doha days is a description used often in Doha, and only we who lived there understand what that means! Mostly my days were not Doha days fortunately. Sounds confusing I know, but it makes sense to me.

A friend described it as "the best of times and the worst of times." Incredible highs with rich cultural experiences, amazing travel and truly memorable experiences in our church life. Mixed with some lows - feelings of lonliness and isolation at times for me, and with some staggering health challenges for Don towards the end of our time there. But the important thing was what did we learn and what did we contribute, and how do we use the growth that came in our personal lives. Perhaps time will provide the answer.

Desert Days

Beautiful sand formations at Liwa

The intrepid explorere at Liwa

Monique at the Singing Sand Dunes (Christmas activity)

Dubai Airport. Interesting to see Christmas decorations in a part of the world where Christmas is not celebrated. We attended a memorable Stake Conference, sadly, it would be our last in the Middle East.

Welcome back to Doha

Louie showing the way to the ward Christmas activity

The Coopers preparing their Hummer for some sand duning

In the desert with Jane and Ernie Richter

The project had progressed while we had been absent in Istanbul, compared to this picture, taken in August before we left Doha. Don returned to work half days on our return.

Don was happy to be back, making it easier to accomplish the business of the Stake. With Counsellors Ernie Richter and Rob Bateman.

Lunch at the Pearl with expat friends

Istanbul, Turkey

Grateful for family who gave us great support from home, as well as travelling to Istanbul to help us, during Don's recovery from brain surgery and his subsequent treatment at the American Hospital.

Daddy - come home

Justin got on a plane to Istanbul immediatly Don went into hospital, leaving behind his baby son and wife.

Emma, Don and Monique on a boat ride on the Bosphoros

Anzac Cove. A visit to Gallipoli had been on Don's wish list for a long time.

We managed to do some sightseeing on weekends between Don's weekly radiatiotherapy and chemo therapy. We visited the Blue Mosque this day.

My birthday celebration in Doha

Birthday lunch with Don at La Cigale. I remember this birthday as being the last day of life as we knew it. Everything changed the next day when we went to Istanbul.

Birthday lunch

James and Lael's wedding in Melbourne