Immersing ourselves in the local culture

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Last month our members were offered a unique view and in-depth insight into the local culture when we were invited by a Qatari family into their home for an amazing luncheon and “ladies majlis”.

The family graciously hosted a large group of our members and rapidly made their way into our hearts.  We were warmly welcomed in traditional Qatari style with saffron tea (to express their honor in hosting us), coffee, and mid-morning sweets (even a custom-made cake decorated with the American and Qatari flags).  Throughout the morning, family members and friends freely and enthusiastically shared their family histories and stories, discussed their educational goals and personal aspirations and gave us all an amazing insight into Qatari life.

We enjoyed meeting one of the family’s sons, who has lived and traveled extensively in the United States, while attending college.  Through humorous and endearing anecdotes, he expressed his affinity for U.S. culture, including reciting endless “Americanisms”.  His infectious enthusiasm was evident even as he discussed topics which can sometimes be sensitive, such as women’s rights, family obligations and emerging changes in Qatari culture.

After a sumptuous Middle Eastern buffet, we were shown around the main “parlor”, adorned with favored treasures from Italy, trays of perfumes and an assortment of handmade carpets.  We learned about the symbolism and use of, rare strands of saffron and carefully aged “oud”.  Finally, breaking from tradition, we were invited us into the men’s majlis to see first-hand where daily business is conducted in the midst of coffee, shisha and falconry, complete with surrounding accouterments.

Enamored by our charming hosts, we are fortunate to have had the chance to meet this wonderful family, and appreciate their warmth and generosity in inviting us into their home, and look forward to more opportunities for cultural immersion with them.  Stay tuned for these future events and don’t miss the opportunity to register.

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