Thursday, December 13, 2012

On Family, Foundations and Being Together

Family Friday at Aspire Park, Doha
 
I want to tell you about Family Friday in Doha: when related groups picnic at the park, hang at Starbucks, walk the Corniche, pray, eat and laugh together. When malls restrict men from wandering shops alone and eating in certain areas of a restaurant unless accompanied by a woman.
 
Family Friday at Costa Coffee
 
I want to outline how an individual's name traces lineage for generations - and how signatures give away secrets.  How young couples live with the man's family and title babies after dad's parents.  That a married woman keeps her name to conserve her own tribal line.
 
That dad's word may be law but businessmen cancel meetings to drive mom to the mall:
 
 
(Sniff. I love you, Mom.)
 
I want to tell you about Qatari hospitality: if your hostess pours you 1/3 cup of tea it means you should stay for more (a filled glass means it's time to go).  Your hostess waits nearby ready to refill the moment your cup is empty.  She'll continue to offer more until you shake your cup gently from side to side.  When your visit is over, she coats you in sweet, perfumey, smoke-like incense and waits by the door until you're safely inside your car.
 
I want to outline how Qatari faith is a lifestyle that strengthens families.  And Qatari hospitality is a principle that builds relationships and reinforces foundations.
 
But right now all I can think about is this:
 
Katie and Kimberly - now in Doha!
 
And this:
Chris, Krissy and Killian - faraway in Kansas City.
 
No matter how customs, habits and traditions differ, here's one way families are the same no matter where you're from:  it's hard to be separated from the people you love most. And there's nothing better than being together.
 
We miss you, Chris.
 
Family Lake Vacation c. 2009
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