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Sunday, December 16, 2012

An evening of food, fun, and friends...

...at Phil's.  :)  Couldn't help myself.

One of the many things I think about and am I'm grateful for during this holiday season are the close friendships that I've been able to make over the years.  Of special note is my "Qatar" group that routinely is able to get together, typically over dinner.  Our group started at Souq Waqif in Doha, Qatar as we were exploring the many fine culinary options available to us, continued as we explored Dubai, and has kept up over the last few years (even though the distance between us has increased). 

We typically try to find a new place every time we go (and at first were quite specific on visiting restaurants of Middle Eastern fare), and tonight's place of choice was Phill's BBQ.  It's one of those San Diego "institutions" that you really should visit when you're in town, and we were very happy to stop in tonight and only had a 20 minute or so wait to order. 

I marvel at my group and how all of us continue to make time to gather.  We catch up on our lives and how our families are doing, and in a true spirit of reflection that would make Cheryl smile, we inevitably reminisce about our time in Qatar and how the things we learned on our first trip to the Middle East stay with us every day.  Freezing in the desert, dune bashing backwards, small group work with our friends from Maryland and EC, visiting Al Jazeera, all of it - lessons we learned in how to interact with others, focus on student affairs and higher education development, and work to understand principles of leadership.  We carry these things with us every day in our homes, at work, and in social settings.  It's amazing to me to think that a relatively short two week trip would have this much of an impact, but it has (at least for us).  I hope that I'm able to share that type of experience with other students or professionals in the future - every subsequent trip I've taken to Doha has built on this understanding. 

For now though, I'm grateful for my Qatar group and the times that we can share together.  And our fun BBQ from tonight.

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