the Rants of Ms. Hala

Simply, Amazing!


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Quote of the Day

“May you live long and prosper.” -Leonard Nimoy as Spock of Star Trek

LiveLongAndProsper


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“Remembering that you are going to die is the best way I know to avoid the trap of thinking you have something to lose. You are already naked. There is no reason not to follow your heart.” – Steve Jobs


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Their Names are Deah, Yusor and Razan

Three Muslim students in Chapel Hill, North Carolina were heard being killed in their home. They were killed execution style, bullets to the head, by their angry neighbor. I learned of their death from different individuals on Twitter. My heart sank as I have family in North Carolina. I didn’t know them personally but my heart sank deeper, their names are Deah, Yusor and Razan.

They were sisters. They were daughers and sons. They were newly weds. They were aspiring dentists and architects. They were kind and generous. They were the activists many of us aspire to be. They had just taken part in contributing to homeless community with food and dental supplies. They had just traveled were to travel to Turkey to provide Syrian refugees with medical assistance.

As I read of their short lived lives and brutal death through my Twitter feed, none of the tweets came from American mainstream news media. They came from individuals. Sometimes we Americans forget that our mainstream news media is no longer the stations with varying letters of the alphabet. You and I are the mainstream and we need to continue to raise our voices. We need to support our local organizations and communities that strive to defend our rights to do so.

You can not convince me that their death was not an act of hate crime by a terrorist, for lack of a better word. You can not convince me that they were killed over a parking dispute. You can not convince me that they were “at the wrong time and place” when they were in their home. You can not convince me that there is ever an excuse to take another person’s life. There is not.

Lest we forget in our anger to mourn, honor and cherish the devotion these young people had for helping others. Let us keep their legacy alive. Let us not forget that their names are Deah, Yusor and Razan.

Photograph of Deah Shaddy Barakat, Yusor Mohammad Barakat, and Razan Mohammad via @JFXM of Twitter.

May the souls of Deah, Yusor and Razan rest in God’s eternal peace and light… Ameen.


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Roger’s Diner – New Menu Review

Roger’s Diner New Menu Taste Testing Event
January 11, 2015

If you follow me on either Instagram, Twitter, FourSquare or Facebook (of course you do!), then you’ve noticed my many checked ins and pictures of our great eats at Roger’s Diner, located on C-Ring, between AlSadd and AlRayyan Road in Doha. My co-workers and I loved the business lunch deal, where you get an appetizer, entree and dessert for only 55QR from 12-3pm.

So when Roger’s Diner invited me along with 3 friends to taste test the new menu on the evening of January 11th, I couldn’t say “no”! My co-workers Sahar and Adel were excited about the invitation and to be able to introduce this amazing place to our friend Dana and our new colleague, Ahmed, whom just landed in Qatar a few months ago. Roger’s was kind enough to stretch our invitation an extra seat so that our two newbies can taste why Roger’s is one of our favorite lunch spots.

From Left to Right: Ahmed, Ms. Hala, Sahar, Dana and Adel.
C/O Roger’s Diner Facebook Page

#VIPLife

SETTING

The entire restaurant was reserved for just the invitees of the new menu taste testers that evening. It made me feel very VIP if you ask me. It surely impressed our group as we walked in, welcomed and our verbal note of an invitation honored.

Roger’s maintains a classic American aviation theme with a large plane propeller and a wide flight wings as decor. From the cushioned booths to the table settings to the menu design, the theme is through out while maintaining the look and feel of a legit American diner. Large TVs are propped throughout the restaurant usually planing an American movie or a soccer (keeping it American) game with popular American 90s music playing in the background.

C/O Roger's Diner Facebook Page

C/O Roger’s Diner Facebook Page

In all honesty, I always feel like I’m in a diner back home in the States on any given day.

MENU

Roger’s previous menu was fairly simply, give or take 5 different kinds of appetizers, salads, sandwiches, hamburgers, pastas and desserts. This new menu has much more options plus the originals still intact which I was so glad to see.

It only made sense for us to order as we usually do: an appetizer, entree and dessert. After asking our hosts what they recommended we try off the new menu,  we made our order. It was great to see our hosts be well aware of the new menu and their excitement over the new dishes they’ve surely tried and enjoyed.

Tortilla Soup

Tortilla Soup

I took a glance at the prices which seemed to be along the lines of the previous menu. Most dishes ranging from 20 to 70QR. The drinks remained the same though I had hoped for bigger glasses versus those two-sips-your-done they keep serving iced tea in for 24QR. At least offer refills for ice tea and fountain drinks for those cups, please. Pretty please!

TASTE

We were all very pleased with our appetizers. Sahar, Dana and myself ordered varying soups and were very please with the taste, texture and portion. I could have easily been happy with a soup and salad combo, an option I’d like Roger’s to offer at a decent price.

Seasoned Chicken Drumsticks with Rice and Gravy

Seasoned Chicken Drumsticks with Rice and Gravy

Ahmed ordered a mixed fried appetizer dish which was pretty good, ranging from onion rings to calimari. The portion was large and easily shared amongst all 5 of us.

For our entrees, two of us ordered the new sizzling fajitas, and I mean sizzling! I ordered the mixed chicken and shrimp while Ahmed ordered the beef. My dish was very tender, flavorful and the side toppings were more than enough. However, I wish the server hadn’t uncovered my tortilla bin as they cooled down fairly quickly during the 10 or so minutes we were asked to pose for pictures.

Sizzling Fajita Combo, Chicken and Shrimp

Sizzling Fajita Combo, Chicken and Shrimp

Sahar ordered the seasoned chicken drumsticks with rice and gravy. The portion was large and very filling according to her. A dish she would order again.

Adel ordered the salmon and raved at it’s flavor. It took a while longer than the rest of our dishes to come out but he was extremely happy with his dish that my camera missed it.

Dana ordered the beef medallions with steamed vegetables topped with mushroom sauce. She stated it was tender, juicy and cooked to her liking. A dish she recommended we must try on our next visit.

Beef Medallions with Vegetables

Beef Medallions with Vegetables

For dessert, I ordered the Nutella banana crepe, Sahar ordered the Oreo fundant cake and the rest ordered the classic New York cheese cake. I was not happy with my dessert at all. The crepe itself was very doughy, the Nutella not enough spared that I didn’t finish it.

Sahar thought her cake was OK, disappointed that the melted chocolate center that was expected was really just Oreo cookie crumbs. We both thought that something needs to be added to make this Oreo cake sublime.

Nutella Banana Crepe and Oreo Fundant Cake

Nutella Banana Crepe and Oreo Fundant Cake

The rest were very happy with the cheese cakes, a dessert off the classic menu. I’ve always enjoyed the brownie a la mode and recommend it to anyone on any given day. It’s always been my favorite dessert at Roger’s and a part of me wish I had ordered it instead.

OVERALL

Our group had a fantastic evening and truly enjoyed our food! I really hope Roger’s fixes up those dessert recipes as it does have a lot of potential. The ambiance was friendly as always and the service was seriously at it’s best! A special shout out to our waiter Paul, whom really went over and beyond to accommodate us that evening.

Classic New York Cheesecakes

Classic New York Cheesecakes

We’d like to once again thank Qanect and Roger’s Diner for a lovely evening, a great new menu and the overall wonderful food! It was a delight to taste test the new offerings and can’t wait until the business lunches are rebooted!

2015 is the year I shall begin writing a few reviews a month since I’m constantly raving about the amazing eateries here in Qatar. In between reviews, I highly recommend that you check out some of my favorite Qatar based foodie bloggers, Hungry Birds Doha and Life on the Wedge… You’re welcome.

ExpatExpectations2


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Living the Confused Expatriate Life

Living the Confused Expatriate Life
Part 7 of a Few… Expat Expectations
By: Ms. Hala

Now halfway through my third year of living in Qatar, I’m asked over and over (and over and over), “When do you plan on going home?” “How much longer do you think you can stay here?” “Why are you still here?”

What if I don’t have a set time planned? What if I don’t know how much longer I’m meant to be here? What if it’s because I want to be here? What if… why? Why should I even be answering these questions?

Originally, I had planned what was expected, to work in Qatar for one year and go home. From my discussions with fellow expats, that’s the expectation for most people that take a job aboard for the first time; one year of work to make the dollars then take a nonstop one-way flight home. Yet I don’t recall reading that in the invisible book, “Expat Expectations”.

I’m a firm believer of, “you want and I want but God (swt) does what He wants.”

I moved with that “Expat Expectations” plan in mind. There was this management position that provided an awesome apartment with a view, a top of the line car and an unbelievable salary package waiting for me like it’s nobody’s business!

Snap! Snap!

Let me tell you, I ended up in the tiniest studio apartment with no windows, rented an ugly orange Kia Rio (it still hurts to think about that one) and was practically living out of my own pocket my first 6 months. I take a look back now and realize that my original plans and expectations were not realistic nor the right plans for me. God’s plans for me couldn’t have been better timed and executed.ExpatExpectations2

I’ve come to fall in love with this country – the region really – and after the first 6 months of testing the waters, I signed a long term contract with my current employer. No regrets. I’m weighing my options for my next move but the fact that I don’t know what that move may be yet, is all part of the excitement, the living spontaneously, the adventure I came seeking in the first place.

I’m not saying don’t be prepared for the worst or spend haphazardly or even to not have goal as an expat. Far from it! I’m saying one doesn’t need to abide by anyone’s own set of “expat expectations”. Live the moment on your own terms, period. I mean, if being an expat isn’t part of living on the ever expanding global horizon, what’s the point of being an expat?

Am I still a confused expat? TOTALLY! Would I have it any other way? Nope.

Snap! Snap!


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#DearFerguson

Twitter/RAPaurora

 

As I lay to rest, I think of my family on the other side of the world waking up.

I think of his family, their grief, their sorrow, their pain.

Why have we allowed a vicious cycle to continue? Why have we not learned anything from history?

Violence begets violence. Injustice begets injustice. Anger begets unrest. Silence begets deafness.

Listening begets understanding. Actions begets change. Calm begets peace. Voices begets unity.

Dear Ferguson, we stand with you in unified prayer, in peaceful solidarity, in the right fight for justice and change.

-Ms. Hala
25 November 2014
Doha, Qatar

c/o dreamstime.com


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The Masks They Wear

It’s always entertaining when a rant of mine strikes a few nerves. In my recent rant on what I’ve learned over the past two years as an expat, I wrote, “Don’t be surprised that there’s just as much fake people as there is fake designer wear floating around.” Why?

Ever since my decision to move to the Middle East, it hit me hard how fast people can change on you. People are not what they appear to be. I can no longer take people at their face value. I can no longer judge, trust and love people so easily. Only in good times and bad, in distance and closeness, in richer and poorer did I know whom my friends really are.

I have literally gone through a social detox several times over the last two years. (And no, cleaning Facebook friends doesn’t count, although it does help, because Facebook is a digital high school… am I right?) My most recent detox was during my last visit home this past spring. So many people went out of their way to see me. To err is human and in the back of my mind I wondered about those I cherished that didn’t even bother to send their regards. I spent some quality time with family and friends that made my trip so memorable. Even as I heard the lovely rumors about myself – from how rich I was, to my new found snubbiness and everything in between – this was a bonding yet eye opening trip to say the least.

Landing back in Doha was no different. I was determined that after what I had been through back home, I needed to reevaluate the company I kept. I let the “please, please let’s remain friends” retract the request without hesitation. I let the negative energy from the whining and complaining about the blessings taken for granted drift away. I didn’t save the wrong number of the “call me if you need anything”. I did not accept the digital apologies as I preferred human contact.

Its the only way I can remain being the family and friend I want to have.

Sometimes one needs to step away from the theater for the actors to remove their masks during intermission. Then return to the theater before they have a chance to put the masks back on and continue the act. Sometimes the masks are necessary to show the world strength when there’s weakness, confidence when there’s uncertainty and a smile when there’s tears. But not all masks were design with the same hands. One must then decide whether or not the masks they wear and what’s underneath is acceptable.

Is the person real or as fake as the “fake designer wear floating around”?

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