Saturday, April 18, 2009

Soulful to soul-full

Diane has been in Qatar for the last week for her spring break. We had a wonderful time seeing all the new things that are now available since she was here last July. We saw our first camel race (what a hoot), visited the Pearl (residential development for 50K people in the Gulf), went to the new Museum of Islamic Art, shopped and ate in the new sections of Souq Waqif, had dinner at the new "W" hotel (very chik/sheikh), had friends over, spent time with Darbi, and more. We had so much fun that this morning's return flight at 9 a.m. came as a bit of a shock. Diane and I were both caught off guard by how soon the time had passed and we had a great deal of difficulty parting. I left the terminal to drive home and could hardly stand the feeling of loneliness without Diane. This was truly a soulful morning with which I could only attempt to cope by keeping busy. I cleaned house, did laundry, exercised, went for massage, and ended the evening at a Qatar Philharmonic concert.

I was tired and really not in the mood for celebration at the beginning of the QPO concert. However, the visiting conductor, James Gaffigan, was fun to watch from the very beginning. The concert started with the Beethoven Overture to "Egmont," Op. 84, a piece that typically has a lot of energy so I wasn't terribly surprised that it was an instantaneous attention getter. At the conclusion of this first piece, I turned to the guy beside me and said, "I've never seen the Egmont performed with such drive." The rest of the performance was a gradual crescendo to the final movement of the Brahm's Symphony #2 and an encore of Brahm's Hungarian Rhapsody. I literally sat in my seat during the encore laughing as the boundless energy and excitement of Gaffigan enraptured the QPO players. The audience erupted in applause the instant the last note sounded and Gaffigan was called back for three curtain calls.

Soulful to soul-full may seem a bit strange as a title for this post. I had a very soulful day when Diane departed and the reality of our life on two continents returned to my consciousness. It is not easy living so far apart, although many in this area of the world do this on a regular basis. People make huge sacrifices to pursue a life that they see as providing greater opportunity than elsewhere. But, it isn't easy for anyone. As the day went on, I didn't recover but I did resign myself to Diane and me being together soon (late June) and eventually together on a permanent basis. In the meantime, I was nurtured today by the numerous guards and service people with whom I've become acquainted. Darbi came over and took care of me for a while this afternoon. And, my heart was restored by listening to great music that can never be underestimated for its power. Soulful to soul-full was the journey of today. I miss Diane and the familiarity of the U.S.A. but I still cherish the experience that I'm having here in Qatar.

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