Well, my plan to start the Ph.D. program at Auburn this fall is not going to happen, and I’ve rescinded my acceptance of their offer.
The primary reason is because we learned that the average time to process the type of immigrant visa Thao needs to enter the U.S. is 10 to 11 months, which would put us in to January or February of 2015. The Ph.D. program starts in August of 2014, meaning that I’d either be separated from Thao and Cousteau - or Thao would be separated from Cousteau and me - for six or seven months. We just can’t/don’t want to do that, so we’re back to square one.
We will still leave Qatar in July, and I will keep looking for a job - probably outside of the U.S. because if not we will still face the same visa issue. We might also move back to Vietnam. We’ll just have to see what unfolds in the next few months.
We’re disappointed because we were looking forward to living in Auburn and I was looking forward to the program itself. I may still do it at some point in the future, as they said I can either defer my admission to next fall or reapply for admission in the future.
Never a dull moment in the life of an expatriate!
I’m a little late getting these up, but my buddy Will from Sylvester, GA was in Doha for two nights last weekend on his way back to the U.S. from India.
On Friday morning we went dune bashing in a Land Cruiser out in the desert south of Doha. The Arab in the middle below was our driver AKA “The Man Who Tried to Kill Us”. He was a lot more aggressive than the driver we had when Cousteau, Thao, and I did it last year - which makes sense given that we had a two-year-old in the truck with us last year. It was fun, but I got a little bit carsick from all of the bouncing and swerving - I think because I was in the back seat.
You know you’re in for something serious when even the tires have a camel stamped on them:
That night we also went to see the drag races - the same series Cousteau, Thao, and I tried to go see a couple of months ago but which were too loud for Cousteau to enjoy. I’ve posted a couple of videos of that below, although they don’t do a very good job of capturing either how fast the vehicles were going or how loud they were. Some of them were going 0 to 200 miles per hour in about 4 seconds!
In other news, Will ordered the camel meat at dinner at a Moroccan restaurant on Thursday night. I tried it, and I have to say it was pretty good.