Overseas round-up: In my first month in Doha

...my new home gave to me:

Twelve more months to seize my 20s. More on that in a second.

Eleven bottles of red wine: eight purchased with my newly acquired liquor permit at the only store that sells it, and three gifted by kind (read: empathetic) neighbors during my first week. 

Ten rows of falcons at Souq Waqif, an eclectic marketplace that's forcing me to learn the art of bargaining.

Nine ways (at least) I could have failed my two-part driver's license test, thanks to the language barrier, the insanity of Doha driving and my arch-nemesis The Roundabout. Miraculously, I passed and will be braving these roads in a very un-Tara-like SUV come next week.

Eight hours at the Singing Sand Dunes - and yes, they do in fact sing.

Seven courses at the lovely IDAM restaurant on top of the Museum of Islamic Art.

Six songs performed by Rayla Sunshine and her band at Jazz at Lincoln Center Doha. Live music is hard to come by in this city, which makes the recent Bellamy Brothers' concert all the more amusing (sadly, I had not yet arrived).

Five weeks at the local office, where I'm constantly learning from my incredibly welcoming colleagues, both culturally and professionally.

Four Arabic words I've learned to say - so basic that I'm embarrassed to mention all but:


Three nearby countries I'm itching to explore --Thailand, Oman and India--, the third of which I haven't visited since I was 12 years old.

Two Thanksgiving dinners that helped nurse my homesickness, hosted by gracious new friends...

...and one birthday with girlfriends (and a fun bartender) who were nice enough to celebrate with someone they'd only known for a week. Here's to spending the next 349 days topping off the decade that taught me to laugh at myself, embrace change and, most importantly, treasure my relationships. 

(And, shamefully, zero attempts at writing - hold me to it in the new year.)

*Post written to the tune of this sweet song on Lee Ann Womack's The Way I'm Livin', soon to land on my best-of-2014 list.

Posted on December 11, 2014 and filed under Travel, Round-Ups.