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Roller derby is awesome fun. It feels like you belong to some underground society that only a select bunch know about. Games are held in YMCAs, halls or gyms and have an amazing atmosphere with cheering supporters.

In teams of five you try to block the opposing team’s ‘jammer’ who is trying to barge through to score points for their team, while also trying to assist your own jammer to get through, all while rotating around the track.

Male friends seem to be fans too, and I’m sure it’s purely based on the sporting aspect rather than the tight lycra shorts and fishnets.

London Roller Girls vs. USA in Newham, September 2012

London vs. USA in Newham, September 2012

I’ve decided that derby could be for me. You get to be angry and shove people around, and race through to score. Derby is in both New Zealand and the UK, so it could be an option when I move from Qatar. It looks as though great friendships are built and if you’re good enough you can travel and compete overseas.

One problem: I can’t skate. I tried once, my boyfriend at the time was trying to teach me. I fell over, on top of him, splatting onto the concrete. He never tried again.

It’s also not really a sport in the Middle East.

Not to worry! While in Qatar I can learn to skate, so then, when moving back to wherever, I’ll be ready to go pro. Right?

I’ve asked Santa (aka Hubby) for roller skates and safety gear for Christmas. He has declined as he is concerned for my welfare and is struggling between wanting to support me to do fun things and enabling me to harm myself. My coordination is his main concern. Despite this, he has said he will supervise if required, while battling his internal conflicts and perhaps wondering why he married a childish clutz.

Photo Credit: meanmissmustard.com

Photo Credit: meanmissmustard.com

The key to success, as I understand it, is your derby name. London Roller Girls have Grievous Bodily Charm and Goregasm amongst many others. If I use my time now to work on that, the rest will surely follow. So folks, what derby name ideas have you got?

If you’re interested in derby check out:

Auckland Roller Derby [The NZ season finished in Sept, so keep an eye out for events next year. Tickets are usually around $15, and totally worth it!]

London Roller Girls

Derby Rules & Info

This is what I expect to look like soon!

This is what I expect to look like soon!

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One million Kiwis are missing from New Zealand. Last year I was in the UK, now in Qatar. For birds without wings we manage to get around just fine (that’s what planes are for!), and we’re keen explorers, experiencing the world.

Share your experiences and thoughts below with Kea, New Zealand’s global network, because Every Kiwi Counts:

http://www.everykiwicounts.com/

I sat in on my first meeting that was held mostly in Arabic today where I was only able to pick up the odd English word was used instead. But I sat, listened, and watched, observing the reactions of the audience.

And then they laughed. They were all laughing.

What were they laughing about? Do I laugh too? Do I stare blankly into space?

What is the protocol for this?

So tell me – what would you do in a similar situation? To laugh or not to laugh?

Hello there.

I’ve been quiet, I realise this. Sorry for leaving you in the dark lately. As you know, we’ve been travelling around NZ for the last couple of weeks and only arrived back this morning.

It’s now 7pm and we’re still awake. The sneaky mocha may have helped, but we’re both a bit bleary eyed and trying to keep our eyes open until a relatively decent bedtime hour.

I’ve got lots to share, but now is not the time for it. I thought I’d just let y’all know I’m alive and well, home safe, and that, although the trip was very long, it was actually ok. Highlight of the plane right back was the amazing sunrise while we chased the night across the globe! The low was probably spending 5 hours in Perth airport, an airport not really designed for international transfers.

Thank you New Zealand for the amazing weather, good times, and great people. It was great to see everyone in our rushed visit, and I think Hubby really enjoyed the trip. You can catch his summary here.

My shorts and tees have been put away (metaphorically speaking as they are still lying in the suitcase in the middle of the lounge), and I’m back to jeans and a longer sleeve top to wander the streets in muggy 38 degree heat.

Tomorrow I will once again awake at 5.30am to start another week of work. Two weeks went far too quickly!

Choice as, bro.

This Greek dude, Heraclitus, once said “Everything flows, nothings stands still”, which has since been quoted in its various permutations around the globe.

Qatar is definitely not a country standing still. Rapid change is in progress, there are a multitude of significant governmental and environmental changes happening. Strategies are being developed and implemented. New staff are being imported. Qataris are stepping up and in to new exciting jobs and now have more opportunity than ever before. Change is why I’m in Doha.

The change is amazing. Drive just slightly out from the centre of Doha and you get an idea of what ‘old Doha’ was like. You suddenly see the sand and rocks, and realise that yes, you are living in a desert. As an example, I’m borrowing a picture from Doha News that shows Doha in 1975. The pyramid building is the Sheraton, still being built.

West Bay, Doha, 2011

West Bay, Doha, 2011

Above, my photo from November 2011, shows the Sheraton on the far right. Doesn’t that just blow your mind?!

I’m here to drive change initiatives and am ready for some push back while people get used to new ways of working and develop an understanding of why we’re doing what we’re doing. Relationships are key. What I wasn’t expecting was so much change to happen to me!

You learn to adapt, to bounce back, to vent when you need to, and when to voice your opinions. And sometimes you realise you shouldn’t leap straight to the next idea as everything might change again in 10 minutes.

And sometimes you realise you’re going to be away for two weeks, and just let the changes roll over you.

2013 will be defined as a year of challenge and change. Bring it!

[While writing this, TED posted an article: The courage to believe change is possible: A Q&A with Melinda Gates about the Positive Disruption TedxChange theme for April, check it out maybe?]

Who said it doesn’t rain in the desert?!

In the last week it has rained on about 3 different days. In fact, I’m pretty sure we’ve had more rain here than in drought-ridden New Zealand. Meanwhile, it’s snowing in the UK.

Wet Doha is Wet

A Winter’s Morning in Doha

Oddness!

Following my previous anti-racism rant I received another email in response to my request to stop forwarding, with the subject “Who the hell is <<insert name>>?”. Now, the ‘hell’ was quite unnecessary, and I disregarded the contents of the email that went on about how I am a pompous individual (seriously, for asking to stop sending racist emails? Sure, whatever), and instead I focussed on the key question – who am I?

As I approach my 30th birthday you would think it an easy question to answer.

Who are you?

You can answer with your name, age, nationality, location (a/s/l?), but that barely scrapes the surface. Go a little deeper – What do you do? What do you enjoy doing? And deeper still – your beliefs, passions, morals and values. What would you stand up and fight for? What do you fear?

Not all that easy, are they?

Who are you? Read the rest of this entry »

I often receive forwarded emails which end up being instantaneously deleted the second I can judge the tone of the subject and know that I will disagree with the contents. However, there was one sitting in my inbox yesterday, still bold and unread. I opened it.

I’m pretty cool about a lot of stuff, but this email really got to me, entitled “British Wish List”. I won’t relay the entire email here as I don’t want to be seen as supporting it in any way. I replied to the sender (actually, replied to all, because I don’t believe I’m the only one who thinks it inappropriate) asking them to stop forwarding racist emails. I was promptly responded to with “I think this is what 90% of the ENGLISH/WELSH/SCOTTISH population agree with!!”, and another informing me it was what the ‘majority’ of British people thought, and therefore, assumed I was not British. I tossed and turned last night, furious at the response, as what they didn’t realise is that they were talking about me and most of the people I knew in the UK.

I did a quick poll of the Brits around me (luckily my reading of this coincided with the English vs. Wales Six Nations game) and found that 0% of those around me agreed with the contents, 100% were shocked. Now I admit that my quick poll was biased as we’re no longer in Britain, but most of us have only left recently.

So I want to know, are you the 10%?

Read the rest of this entry »

A colleague and I were armed for our second attempt at obtaining a Qatar drivers license. We had all of our weapons aligned – newly signed letters, photocopies of every possible identification, originals of everything, and our eye tests ready.

We jumped in a taxi and headed out to the traffic department.

Entering with trepidation and our fingers crossed, we hoped that this time we would get what we came for.

We were handed a number and waited for only a few seconds before being called up to the counter. The lady reviewed the paperwork, removed the English copies and other bits that were not needed, asked for a photo and payment, and my colleague’s license was printed before my paperwork had been completely processed.

We exited, licenses in hand, and smiles on our faces. Success!

Total time: 10 minutes.

And that folks, is how the system is supposed to operate!

The Doha Film Institute (DFI) hosted the first French cinema week at Katara during 7-13 March. I’m not one who tends to go to the movies, I don’t enjoy the cinema experience, and never remember films I’ve seen or who the actors even are. I’m well known for saying “I haven’t seen that” followed 10 minutes later by “Oh, yeah, this and that happens…”.

There were two films that struck interest in me: Amour – which I recognised from the actress Emmanuelle Riva having been nominated for best actress at the Oscars, and The Intouchables which a friend positively reviewed.

Amour was emotional, and we were warned to have tissues at the ready. It brought me almost to the peak of sadness in some scenes, but moved on to another scene right in time before any tears had a chance to form. My colleague and I left feeling a little sad and commented about “something to look forward to”, growing old and such.

I dragged Hubby along to The Intouchables, and he was concerned it was going to be another depressing movie and he wasn’t that interested. It turned out to be a heart warming and funny tale of two men, we laughed a lot and yet were touched – I highly recommend seeing it if you have the opportunity.

I’m still not a movie buff and won’t head to the cinema for any old mainstream movie, but would much rather snuggle on the couch at home. However, I will be keeping an eye out for future DFI events as the ones I have attended so far have been great, and reasonably priced too!