This morning, I was awoken by my husband shaking me asking me what time I needed to get up on my first morning back in Australia. (I had already slept in by an hour.) The routine that had been developed over the last week has been broken.
5:30am Arise and get organized for the day
7:20am School would start at the Qatar Academy, or 8:00am the flatclassroomconference would commence .
School day, tours or conference sessions filled in the day until 2:20pm (the end of school) or up to 8:00 pm for conference sessions.
My students are again a monoculture compared with the many varied nationalities, creeds and cultures of the last week.
The accents are all the same, except for those of us who went to Qatar and occasionally slip into the Texas or Alberta accent without thinking. I had to listen so intently to the many and varied accents of staff and students to ensure I understood what was said and responded appropriately.
The dress is entirely Western again – gone are the thobes , Ghutra and Igal of the Qatari and Arabic men, the abaya and hijab of the Islamicwomen , and the more traditional dress of the women from Pakistan. Back are the short skirts, singlet tops and shorts, and our school uniform.
Summer was replaced by winter and we then returned to a scorching Australian summer.
Gone is the routine but the girls and I have come home with henna, lifelong memories and the desire to continue to make our classroom flat.