Day 78: Happy Easter!

Wanting to wish everyone a Happy Easter back home! I’m sure missing the family lunch at Grandma and Grandpa’s! I actually had 3 classes today, including a 3 hour engineering lab. Not quite a normal holiday, but this hasn’t been a normal semester either!

I spent the better part of Good Friday at the Church here in Doha. It’s essentially within a religious area, where all non-Muslim places of worship are housed. I had to pass through security including a metal detector to enter. Once inside, there are multiple buildings including halls, a cafeteria and coffee shop, and schools. We attended the Stations of the Cross ceremony and a long Roman-Catholic mass spread across the afternoon. The sacrament is conducted quite different from what I am used to. Seating is in a semicircle surrounding the altar, creating a bowl shape rather than square style pews. There are no hymn books, but rather large projection screens on both sides of the church for displaying hymns and readings. The style of mass seemed more informal and there were smaller traditions (specific for this week of Easter) that I was not used to. There was also a lot of casual talking and even videotaping throughout church. It was an entirely different environment, and the church was packed with thousands of people for the special day. It was great to attend Mass again, especially during Easter, but I will be happy to return to a more serene environment at church services back home!

Today was ironically also American culture day- a part of CMU-Qatar’s International Day festivities. This Thursday, we will hold a large evening dinner event to celebrate diversity and international identities on campus. Each day throughout the week is dedicated to a different culture and includes a potluck style lunch for students. I made omelettes for everyone, and it’s safe to say they were the best omelettes ever served in Qatar! One the student affairs staff, Kevin, made hot-wing chicken dip, one of my favorite foods. It was nice to have a little taste of home! At another cultural event, I learned how to play a few short tunes on the Rubab, which is similar to a guitar.

I only have a month left in Qatar, and the weather is heating up! It’s going to be a great end to the year, as long as classes don’t pile up on me. I hope to spend the last few weekends with the friends I’ve made here- they’ve all made my time in Doha worthwhile and very enjoyable. I may be able to sneak in a trip to Dubai as well, inshaAllah! I miss everyone back home in the States and I’ll see y’all soon.

Learning to play the Rubab

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