Thursday, December 25, 2008


I'm somewhat torn this Christmas. I usually take a nap on Christmas day and read some books... just lay around, maybe play games with my family. But while I'd really LIKE to take a nap... I won't. I have to stick to schedule and keep myself on track for my smooth adjustment from jetlag. I'm doing really well so far... but just a short nap? No. Bad me! Haha... But life is lovely just now, as I sit and listen to my new CD of YoYo Ma, and the only presents under the tree are for my friends that I haven't seen yet. I just have to figure out how to get it all in my suitcase... hmm...

Wednesday, December 03, 2008

Moving Day

It is approaching... The whole thing still feels a little surreal. I've lived in this house for 2 and a half years! The idea of calling somewhere else home is awkward and makes me feel distant, but at the same time the responsibility of this new home makes me feel more attached. It all smooths itself out in the end, I suppose. But I'm going to miss this funny place with its strange steps in the doorway and hallways, with the hideous brown glass chandeliers, and the ceiling stained by some man's smoking buddies some years ago. I'm going to miss the view from our roof (although we'll get a new view) and our very kind neighbors. But there is something exciting about starting somewhere new, knowing that there is no junk stashed in corners that belonged to someone from five years ago or more. It will be clean and fresh and put together. It will be nice.

Saturday, November 29, 2008


This Thanksgiving Day I went to school in the morning and taught as usual. I'm not in America so it wasn't a holiday. I came home to struggle with my propane tank which, after an hour of annoyance, I gave up. So I sat on my living room floor and ate leftover cold chili. I sat there and thought of the irony of being there in front of my kerosene heater mostly alone... Katie was in the house, but alseep. But at the same time as I began to feel a bit sorry for myself, I realized how silly it was. Not only was I scheduled to go to three thanksgiving meals over the weekend (Friday and Saturday), but in my bowl of chili I had more good food than many of the pilgrims had. And I have never been without. So, Praise God for his provision.

Tuesday, November 18, 2008


I is funny how we can get attached to places... even places that are not what we would have chosen or what we like. The family downstairs had to leave last week because of some medical issues (pray for them!) and most likely we're looking at packing it up and moving and selling. And while the house is a bit awkward, they and I have built memories here and know how things work. I understand the water and electricity, for example. That is no small task here sometimes. You know which faucet is hot and cold (backwards in our shower), and which one actually works--only the right hand faucet handle works in our kitchen. I can walk through my house safely in the dark. I'm a person that likes to be pretty settled; I'm working at learning how to handle change. Yet again, God takes my weakness and leads me through, teaching me to rest on his strength.

Sunday, November 16, 2008

We have too much fun...

Jumping Cave 2, originally uploaded by thebeloved.

Okay... so we work hard a lot... and then to retain sanity we do silly things out hiking and in caves. Isn't this neat?!

Friday, November 07, 2008

Lost Cause

Man watering grass by hose, originally uploaded by thebeloved.
We saw this man watering the grass in the park... with a hose. He wasn't making much progress, as you can tell by the color of the grass.

Wednesday, October 08, 2008


So, us girls had some fun the other day. We decided to play a moon prank. The moon story is long and on a recent bazaar trip we came across a small yellow moon to replace the one we gave away long ago in Texas to someone who was less than appreciative. So we gave the little moon away along with a poem reminiscent of "Hey Diddle, Diddle!"

We set up the little moon playing a game of backgammon with some forks. Then we laughed heartily. It was a good day.

Monday, September 29, 2008


Sometimes I feel like a broken record. I feel like I always am talking, writing, and even singing, about dust. Even the sermon last night had dry bones and dust.

We've been cleaning out a school building lately and one of my friends commented that things weren't just "dusty" but that it was more like something out of Indiana Jones. That imagery is perfect.

Even last night, it rained. Here they call this kind of rain "xol baran" or "dirt rain". Everything is covered in a layer of dirt and dust. And here we live... washing constantly, fighting off the inevitable return of the tan and glorying in the days where the sky is clear so that you can see the mountains.

Sunday, September 21, 2008

Today's Lesson

Abide in me, and I in you. As the branch cannot bear fruit of itself, except it abide in the vine; so neither can ye, except ye abide in me. I am the vine, ye are the branches: He that abideth in me, and I in him, the same beareth much fruit: for apart from me ye can do nothing.
(John 15:4-5)

The part that really resonated with me and my housemates today was that whole thing about "apart from me you can do nothing." We were trying to do stuff all day long and almost went batty with it. We couldn't even make meatballs. None of our plans came out with any sort of smoothness. It was funny and frustrating and silly altogether. For us to think that we could plan our own day... plan our own lives. Today was just a small picture of life, I guess. Like those panorama boxes that fourth graders make of the jungle or a historical event.

Sunday, September 14, 2008

Have you ever....

Laughed until you cried and couldn't breath?

Sat in a room full of people from all over the world?

Had a taxi driver tell you how to say the street you live on?

Thursday, August 28, 2008

Where I'm At...

I think I might be perfectly happy playing Boggle with my sister for the rest of my life.

Saturday, August 16, 2008

A Thorough Going Over

Today is my brother's birthday. He hasn't been around much; he went to work, went to some lacrosse games, and out to lunch with friends. Those of us at home, however, have been getting ready for his party this evening. We are making some cakes and my mom has cleaned up the house. She seems to be taking the cleaning pretty far. The party will be in the upstairs living room and the back yard. Right now she is scrubbing underneath the washing machine and dryer in the downstairs bathroom. I guess once she got started she decided to give the whole house a thorough going over.

Saturday, August 09, 2008


I went to my high school's Alumni Day today. Wow, was that weird. No one from my graduating class was there. I saw a few people that I was really happy to see. But a lot of the people who were there were from classes so far above me that I didn't know them. They all had kids... lots of cute adorable kids. I felt a little out of place, but it was all pleasant and happy.

Friday, August 08, 2008

The Streets of Iraq...

So my friend Ibid asks about the streets of Iraq in my last posting. The lead in for the request was dirt. Hmm... Well the streets are paved where I live because it is a city. There are a few gravel roads and plenty of roads under construction as well... but I haven't run into any dirt roads.

That said, there is plenty of dirt on the roads. The whole air is full of dust and it rains mud in the spring so there is always plenty of dirt on the roads. In addition there is also plenty of trash on the streets. That has been reduced somewhat over the past year by the importation of Bangladeshi workers to clean the streets, but really it is nearly impossible to keep up with the amount of trash that people throw out the windows.

Now I'm not sure if this is what you asked for Ibid... in fact, I'm thinking it isn't. But there you go... the streets of northern Iraq.

Wednesday, August 06, 2008

The Summer Whirlwind

I booked my tickets to Nashville today. I have a month before I'll be flying back half-way around the world and it all seems so fast already. My summer has been a busy rush of projects and trips. I just got back from my grandparent's cabin up at Loon Lake, a lovely place with sun and sand and water. Now I'm starting to feel more of the dullness that comes with changing cultures. I wonder what to do with myself and I fight apathy. Despite my need to practice the piano , I loathe the embarrassement of how rusty I've become after a week away from the instrument. I need to pack up my things (there's going to be a girl living here this next year) and that means going through all my papers, journals, and keepsakes. After all, I don't want to box up stuff that I'm just going to throw away next time I have to open the box.

Other than that... meditating on holiness. I figured out that that was a word that I didn't really know what it meant. After hearing it my whole life thrown around in the Christian community, it had become just another word. And if I'm supposed to be holy--I had better have a really good idea of what that is. I mean, I know some of what it is, but it is a bigger and more spacious concept than it's dictionary definition. I've been reading through a book by Andrew Murray called "Holiness" and would recommend it although I'm not sure I understand it all yet. Maybe more on this later as I discover and understand more.

Anyway, there it is...

Thursday, July 31, 2008

The Room Project--Finished!!!

We made the headboard, cream colored pillow shams, and the bedskirt.
I am still planning on making covers for the serger and sewing machine... we'll see if I ever get around to it now that Laurel is home.
This is the BOX! Finally complete and beautiful.
And these are the armoires that my parent's bought to help hide all their clutter. No more shelves!

It all looks so much better now.

Friday, July 04, 2008

Charles Williams

The Place of the Lion

Perhaps I'm not really familiar with enough philosophy to get this book. I am confused and... well, confused. I understand the basic plot, mostly. But I don't know what is really going on. I am only half way through. Perhaps it will all become clear in the end. I remember studying Plato and his ultimate forms. But how is that intruding on this seemingly country lifestyle of people in England? It is all so very odd.

The Yearly Planner

I really needed a planner. So, I went to Walmart (yikes!) and bought one. There is something wierd about looking at a year from now. I have a really hard time thinking about next June. What will I be doing next June? I haven't the foggiest idea. I used to be able to plan for years in advance... high school-4 years, then college-4 years, then what? Life is no longer sectioned out in large chunks. It is in smaller pieces of months, semesters, a year. Beyond that, I have no vision. I can think of what I will do for one year, but I have no solid idea of where God could take me after that. I could be in the same place. I could be somewhere else. Why does this seem so strange to me?

Wednesday, July 02, 2008


There are lots of kinds of knots out there. I wish sometimes that little girls had interests in things like knots like little boys have. Being a little girl myself, I never was interested in them myself. I untied plenty, growing up. Necklaces would get wound up in a jewelry box or the yarn would become a snarl in the sewing box. I remember trying to get loose some fishing line once. I don't think I ever managed to get it. In history class in 9th grade I learned about how Alexander the Great "untied" the famous knot at Gordium. I wonder if part of our modern society has come out of that tradition: that of cutting through something and doing it the quick way instead of the slow and tedious way. Have we lost the ability to sort out a problem so that everyone comes out whole and intact? Or must we take the way that gets us to the end most quickly but leaves some people torn to pieces?

My stomach is creating it's own knots today which have left me quite miserable. Neither cutting nor untying will do any good. It must merely run its own course.

Sunday, June 29, 2008

Moscow!!! (not Russia)

I am finally back in my American home town with my family. It has been two weeks of living out of a suitcases and the skin is peeling on the palms of my hands.

I went for a walk with my mom and smelled the trees and grass and the clean warm air of my small town. The weather is full of heat and perfect.

I am reminded of how easy life can feel in the United States, of how simple it can feel to stroll down a street, how smooth the rhythms of life can be in a comfortable world like this.

Tuesday, June 10, 2008


This is a miniature pair of qlash, the traditional Kurdish shoe. But this pair is just big enough for your keychain. Just thought I'd let you see what the terrorists in prison here do.

However, the real life sized shoes are made by men and women who are trained and skilled craftsmen. Some of the qlash makers are now part of a program that is reaching out to kids in Iraq. Check them out and get your own pair of shoes from Buy Shoes, Save Lives. I think this program is really neat and these people are doing a great work.

Wednesday, June 04, 2008


I was sitting in the parking lot waiting for my car (it was coming back from being fixed) and I saw a small stream of water flowing from the guard building. Here, more than ever, I have learned some of the beauty of water. It is clear and yet shines and shimmers. It flows over and around things. It cleanses, taking the dirt into itself. It is so beautiful, but also can be so ugly when turned to slime. It gives life to plants, animals, and people too. My ind darts out to the water David poured out because he would not drink the blood of his men. The water and the blood... the Living Water, the Word washes, the blood washes... Here my mind leaps from place to place and soon has too many paths like a fractal patter that continues to split off and divide. I cannot trace it because it just keeps going like something out of control and it reties itself into knots of prayer for my students... my teachers... my friends...

Friday, May 30, 2008

The Cliffs of Insanity!

I climbed down into a 20 meter bat cave/crevice today. Then I climbed out. I think I have never done anything harder in my whole life. Even Mr. Harken's weird workouts didn't push my like this. My knees are a tribute to all purple fruits and I even managed to bruise my shoulder blades. But I had so much fun. After that I rappelled off of a 60 meter cliff. It was awesome fun! Clare climbed up about 55 meters but couldn't make the last 5 because of the lichens on the rocks and the overhang. But she made it a long way. I was already knackered by then so I didn't even try any of it. That bat cave was enough for me!

Tuesday, May 27, 2008

Politics in the Middle East

I met with a man today who is originally from Fallujah, a place that has been a center for violence and terrorism. He told me about how all the problems there were created by a couple of translators who were antagonistic to the American military and began the whole problem. In addition, rumors were begun that the American military had glasses through which you could see people nude. This, of course, deeply offended the honor and dignity of the very modest Muslim people. It was interesting to also note that as this man explained these miscommunications and "cheatings" he had high hopes for the future of Iraq and the American military. He expected everything to be settled within two years. I have not heard such an optimistic number from anyone else, American or Iraqi. His reasoning was that now that the Americans has been deceived, they were wiser, making wiser decisions, and understood the psychology of the people. They now know whom to listen to and whom not to trust. So, things will be better soon... I hope.

Thursday, May 22, 2008

Living the Dream

My wacky week with music and magic tricks traipsing around rushing rapidly playing and praying going going talking truth and teaching jumprope and Jesus but then Bangladeshi bongo drums on the roof in the moonlight and much watermelon and wishing on stars that this stellar weather would never vanish into vast desertness but would stay forever free from dust and dreadful dirt that rains mud but keeps all cool for our continuous cooking marathon for fifty guys who are grateful for real food and movies in their language and in movies I can see caves and snottites and slimy glow worms with wet silk and hundreds of feet of feces in caverns large enough to fly a jet plane through in Borneo bringing bugs and bats and beautiful cave crystals created to be beauty and me one more night out laughing and Living the Dream.

Tuesday, May 20, 2008

Notification.... vote for me.

Hey! I'm in a contest for blogs of little readership and small renown. Kind of fun!

YOU ARE A BEST OF BLOG FINALIST!!! Congrats on making it to the final round and remember to tell everyone you know to head on over to to vote for your site. Oh and don't forget to enter our Exclusive Lijit Contest for another chance to win some fantastic prizes. Winners will be announced June 2nd so gather up your faithful followers and tell them you want to be one of this year's Best Of Blogs!

Bill Beck
Project Mgr.

Monday, May 19, 2008


So I'm sitting here and there are 150 Bangladeshi men on the roof. I don't live in Bangladesh or anywhere near Bangladesh. Yet, there they are. They are having a magic show and some singing I think. I'm not going up there... too many men... aiba.

Monday, May 05, 2008

গণপ্রজাতন্ত্রী বাংলাদেশ

I've been learning a bit about people from Bangladesh lately. There are many men here from that country involved in some sort of worker trafficking that often ends up more like slavery than a working abroad project. It has brought many groups of people together and God is working among us and them for better conditions physically and spiritually. What an amazing thing! Who is this God of ours that takes people who have been sent miles away from their homes and have suffered terrible things and uses it so that they find truth and can become truly whole? This is a redeeming God, who turns trials into gold.

Sunday, April 27, 2008

A Little Piece of My Local News

Soma Newspaper---at the Chaikhana (tea-house)

On the back page of every paper, these two men have a chat about...well, everything. Their conversation rambles and jumps and rabbit-trails, never to return. But sometimes they really nail a concept or the cause behind something that everyone complains about. Here's part of one...
read the whole bit here.

Come on Bayiz who am I to give advice to those professional people!

But I have seen school children giving advice to the government.

School children are advising the government?

Yes and so many times.

Oh my God, why?

Don’t ask me, ask democracy. Sorry, sorry, I think its real name is chaos.

Bayiz do you have a handkerchief?

Yes, but it is dirty. Why?

I want to cry, we must all cry, cry for converting the ideal of democracy into a chaotic situation.

I have no objection. I will cry with you, but it is not only us that should take responsibility. Others are responsible, too.

Do you mean our kind neighbors?

Definitely not. I mean those who liberated Iraq. They brought us the food but they didn’t teach us how to eat it.

Don’t simplify the matter Bayiz, it is a multi-faceted one. But the bulk of the responsibility falls upon us. We failed in all the exams, let us cry.

I hate exaggeration but since you insist on crying take the handkerchief. Here it is.

Thursday, April 24, 2008

The Wierd Things I Do

So I turned off the lights last night as I brushed my hair. I know, I know... you all think I'm crazy. Maybe I am, but not for this... The dryness of the air created a lot of static electricity. I first noticed as my hairbrush shocked my head... ouch. But then I remembered that the static electricity does more than just make my head hurt and my hair stand out from my head. So I turned off the lights and had my own fireworks show. Pretty cool.

Sunday, April 13, 2008

A dilemma and a request

I have recently been a part of a conversation (or actually, I just listened) concerning the passage in 1Timothy 2:11-15. I know that I have distinct views on this. I also know that I approach Scripture in a certain way that only allows for a limited interpretation of most things. My first request is that you send me your thoughts on this passage.

My second request is caused by the situation behind the first request. In that conversation many other topics came up that I saw as far more important than the issue of women and yet I still disagreed with many who were there. I am a young woman... in a general conversation on a Biblical issue with older Christians how should I be? Part of me hesitates to contradict those who are older and have more experience than myself--after all, what if I am wrong? But I don't think I am wrong. I don't see how I could be wrong in light of Scripture. What then should I do? Should I approach these people? Should I ask them to clarify? Should I rebuke them (I don't feel that I could!)?

Thanks for your prayers.

Monday, April 07, 2008

My Life as a Medieval Fairy Tale

Once upon a time there was an ordinary girl. She was an ordinary school teacher drudge, but was sent on a quest across the seas to a far land where the people spoke different, looked different, and acted different. She encountered many adventures among those people but one day she went on a special mission.

After navigating a maze of roads with two trusty companions she found herself behind security lines having slipped (well, walked) through some guard posts with hardly a notice. (Yes, the companions were patted down--being men and all.) Covertly standing in line (just trying to blend in, you see) the girl and her friends made it a bit further before a violent struggle (okay, so no struggle at all) and some blood was drawn.

Escaping from there, the girl and one of her companions held cotton to the inside of their elbows and went off to scavange for some nourishment which was purchased from some kindly people nearby who had some extra food for the travelers (they ran a restaurant). During the consumption of the meal the group was notified of a princess who was locked in a porcelain room.

They rushed to her rescue and one of the most experienced companions opened the door with the secret and magical key (screwdriver) to release the princess who was quite shaken at her captivity. The young lady gave gracious thanks and the heroes returned back to the place of their origin in the educational facility which was their cover for all surreptitious activities like rescuing small princesses from rooms where the door handle has fallen off.

What an amazing day!

Thursday, April 03, 2008

Random Event...

So... on an ordinary day...things like this happen. We were driving down the road and stopped at an intersection. A man on the street yelled out... "Hi! Bye! I love you!"

I think he must have been learning his English from the soap operas. Ugh...the things I suffer.

Monday, March 31, 2008

Play Practice

So, I've been working on this play with my sixth graders. My sister and I wrote a 35 minute version of "The Hobbit" over Christmas break and now I am twisting my students into performing in the next couple of days. Costuming is a foreign concept and so is set building. Directing a play is stressful. But, they seem to be having a great time and are really well behaved about it all. Below you see my three trolls (the hat will not be included!) and Bilbo sneaking up on them. This is just a rehearsal.

Sunday, March 30, 2008

From Back in the States...

So, because we eat no pork here in the ME, we take extra special pleasure in the sausage and stuff we get back in the States. And we also enjoy laughing about the wierd things we like to eat.

Sunday, March 23, 2008

A kiss...

One of my friends here recently wrote on kissing in the Middle East. It is full of social norms, expectations, and confusing meanings. But suffice to say, I have weathered it decently since it is gender restricted.

Last night, we had several men from Bangladesh come to an movie event put on by a small group of internationals here. They made me nervous at first--all men make me nervous when I am in the ME. Even when I go home to the States, men make me nervous. It is all the staring and leering. But me and my other single female friend did our best to make them feel welcome without being forward. I usually go by my intuition and they didn't scare me. But after the movie, as they were leaving, they each went out of their way to shake my hand. And one of them (I can neither remember nor pronounce their names), took my hand in both of his and kissed it. It was full of thanks and appreciation. I was touched; I felt like a princess; I had been a part of blessing someone and they appreciated it.

There have been many kisses in the world. I am reminded of the lines in the Princess Bride about kisses that left all others behind. This wasn't that kind of kiss, but the contrast between this kiss and another historical kiss hit me hard. Nearly 2000 years ago, another man was kissed, but it was a kiss of betrayal. Even though that man had done and would do more for his betrayer than could comprehended or deserved. And here I was, being appreciated for so little.

Tuesday, March 18, 2008

Why Me?

Sometimes I marvel at us women. At least I like to think that I am like most women. I can go out and have a lovely day, nary a trouble, nothing new springs up to torment me, and yet as it gets later, I am weepy! Why? you might ask. To tell the truth, I haven't the foggiest idea. I am happy doing what I do. I love my teammates; they are so wonderful and so much fun. I am happy. Why do I feel like crying! This is so irrational! I had a wonderful day today. But half an hour ago, I was almost in tears. For NO REASON! At least not a reason that I can think of. Maybe there is something going on in my subconcious? Feelings come upon me that I don't understand? Ha.

I laugh at myself. I suppose God made me this way for a reason. I must be patient through it.

Friday, March 14, 2008

From the mouth of a 10 year old boy...

"Guess what! Mom said I could start staying up later when I got hair in my armpits!"

Tuesday, March 11, 2008

Those Coloradans!

So my new teammate is from Colorado. She puts honey on her pizza crust. This is something I have never seen or experienced before. Who does that? Is it just people in Colorado? I am asking around... Let me know if you know.

Saturday, March 08, 2008


A heart fretting
mood -fettering
utter dullness
sharp anguish, aching
shaking and sad
unsure and shattered

Trust, trust—the whisper…

speechles screeching
screaming struggle
drowning the pounding pulse
if only, if only—I, We, He, They—

Trust, trust—the whisper…

grieving unleashed
throat-catching chaos

Trust, trust—the whisper…

What can I do?

Trust, trust, trust, trust…

Friday, March 07, 2008

New Vocabulary

Over the last several weeks, my friends and I have been coming up with new words to represent things and feelings that don't exist in the United States. I am putting a few below.
  • ahspeedbump (perhaps the most often used of our new vocabulary) means the feeling of when you are approaching a speed bump and you are going too fast and don't have time to slow down. [There are speedbumps everywhere.]
  • mudding is the precipation of mud in the place of rain. While rain and snow do exist, the amount of dust blown up from the south sits over our city and then is joined with a little moisture which descends on everyone and everthing. Nearly every car in the city is the exact same shade of tan.
  • archiumphl is the feeling of congestion in the throat and lungs when a combination of dust and illness attack.
  • electrament is the feeling of novelty when the power goes out. This state of functioning wears off over time until one does not "miss a beat" or even pause during a conversation which is then continuing in the dark.
  • visorate is the effect of seeing your breath in a room that experience would tell us is not actually cold enough. It undoubtedly has something to do with humidity, but an interesting phenomenon all the same.

There are some concepts that we have yet to invent words for. As an example, the feeling of taking a shower with cold water and yet the shower still gets steamy (it isn't actually that hot yet, but I experienced it before). Another one along the same track is when you put on your clothes and they feel like they came out of the dryer although they really just came out of your closet. If you have any suggestions, please comment.

Sunday, March 02, 2008

A Poet I Recently Discovered


I SAW her in a Broadway car,
The woman I might grow to be;
I felt my lover look at her
And then turn suddenly to me.

Her hair was dull and drew no light
And yet its color was as mine;
Her eyes were strangely like my eyes
Tho' love had never made them shine.

Her body was a thing grown thin,
Hungry for love that never came;
Her soul was frozen in the dark
Unwarmed forever by love's flame.

I felt my lover look at her
And then turn suddenly to me,--
His eyes were magic to defy
The woman I shall never be.

--Sara Teasdale 1916

Friday, February 22, 2008

Just for Fun...

1. WERE YOU NAMED AFTER ANYONE? not really but my mom had a roommate with my name...
2. WHEN WAS THE LAST TIME YOU CRIED? during a movie a week ago
5. DO YOU HAVE KIDS? 58 students... does that count?
7. DO YOU USE SARCASM A LOT? Define A Lot...
9. WOULD YOU BUNGEE JUMP? Only if you paid me boatloads of money.
13. WHAT IS YOUR FAVORITE ICE CREAM? Peppermint or Moose Tracks
15. RED OR PINK? Red
17. WHO DO YOU MISS THE MOST? Laurel (my sister)
19. WHAT COLOR PANTS AND SHOES ARE YOU WEARING? Jeans, no shoes indoors here.
20. WHAT WAS THE LAST THING YOU ATE? Hot cocoa and a cookie...before that, fabulous Mexican food.
21. WHAT ARE YOU LISTENING TO RIGHT NOW? My kerosene heater, people outside, my typing, Laura typing and laughing.
23. FAVORITE SMELLS? The ocean, the air after a heavy rain, hot fresh tortillas, newly cut wood, tatami, chicken soup
26. FAVORITE SPORTS TO WATCH? Anything my siblings play.
27. HAIR COLOR? Blonde
28. EYE COLOR? Brown
30. FAVORITE FOOD? Chedder Cheese
32. LAST MOVIE YOU WATCHED? Straight from the Heart (Bollywood)
33. WHAT COLOR SHIRT ARE YOU WEARING? Tan tee with a light blue sweater/sweatshirt
35. HUGS OR KISSES? hugs
36. FAVORITE DESSERT? Carrot Cake...maybe.
39. WHAT BOOK ARE YOU READING NOW? The Little Princess (teacher's reading group), The Hobbit (6th grade Lit), Genesis and Psalms, The World and Its People: Eastern Hemisphere.
40. WHAT IS ON YOUR MOUSE PAD? I don't have a mousepad, but my desktop is of the desert in Dubai.
41. WHAT DID YOU WATCH ON TV LATE LAST NIGHT? I haven't watched TV since... well, January in Nashville I think.
42. FAVORITE SOUND? waves, birds, children laughing, thunder, silence
44. WHAT IS THE FARTHEST YOU HAVE BEEN FROM HOME? Hmm... well considering that I have 2 homes that are about as far away as you can get from each do I answer this question?
46. WHERE WERE YOU BORN? Moscow, ID (not Russia)

If you read this, you are now tagged!

Friday, February 15, 2008

Sunshine and Shadows

This evening I saw the sun setting after several days of rain. Suddenly everywhere was flooded with light. The raindrops still glittered on the bare tree branches like white Christmas lights. The rooster across the way decided that it must be sunrise instead of sunset and I felt the warmth of morning in my soul. The dull tan concrete houses were blotched and dark with wetness that stood out from the grey and blue sky. Two small girls from the house across the street saw me standing on the glassy wet balcony and waved yelling "Hello! Hello!" Raising my hand to wave, I smiled, hoping that they knew that I was trying to be kind. The air smelled cleanly damp and the cars that drove by made a splashy noise like a mother hushing a small child. As the sun dropped further and further it became colderand darker, I retreated indoors where, although I can still see my breath, the rooms have been blessed with light.

Tuesday, February 12, 2008


A zoo in Northern Iraq recently spent a large amount of money to purchase a zebra. The vet that inspected the animal recently resigned his position after a drenching rain storm. The paint manufacturer can no longer claim that their product has not been tested on animals. We wonder what will happen to the donkey.

Tuesday, February 05, 2008

Back at My Other Home

I am finally back in my home in the ME. I am so excited to see my kids (students) in the morning. But to sleep. Happy!

Saturday, February 02, 2008

Delayed in Dubai

Well, our flight got changed and no one told us and maybe the airline changed names too... we can't tell. Whatever the case, I am in Dubai for a bit more time than previously planned. We hope to fly out within the next few days and are calling the airport daily to keep track of the next flights out (make sure they don't get changed too!). But this allows for a little bit of sightseeing. Yesterday we went and saw the Ibn Battuta mall. Believe me, this place was impressive. There were areas of the mall for different places that this man Ibn Battuta had traveled from Spain to China. Below is a picture of the Persian area. I don't care for malls much, but I could have wandered around in this mall for ages. Although I don't know if that would be too good for business because I barely noticed the shops. I was only looking at the ceilings and walls. It is set up to look like you are outside almost, until you get to these huge rooms like cathedrals done up in that style. Then you move on to the next one. Anyway, it was fun and a good indoor alternative to the beaches. We wanted to go out to the beaches or something, but there was a sandstorm so we couldn't have seen anything anyway.

Tuesday, January 29, 2008


Here I am... Nashville. It has a certain moist smell most of the times I have been here. It is a city full of roads that I haven't begun to understand despite my multiple visits here. The houses are beautiful with brick and pillars. The people almost all talk slow and add extra syllables. "Hill" comes out more like "Hee-yull". I can do a pretty good Nashville now. I haven't met any famous musicians...or at least anyone that I knew was famous. But maybe famous people like to meet people that don't know who they are. It means that they get to be normal, if only for a few minutes. Who knows...

Thursday, January 24, 2008

So, it's been a while...

I have been terribly lax in posting this Christmas. I suppose that part of the reason is that I haven't been doing much of note. I have had snowball fights, lime juice fights, made funny hand signals with my sister, laughed until my head hurt, played Settlers of Catan lots and lots, read some Agatha Christie mysteries, had coffee/lunch/breakfast with people, laughed, gone walking by myself, played with my dog, cleaned my room (it kept getting messy), visited my grandparents, sang hymns, laughed, and laughed, and laughed. I have had a fabulous time.

Monday, January 07, 2008

Pictures... Pictures... and More...

So, I have all these pictures on my camera that I never put up because I forgot about them. Here are a select few. =)

Tuesday, January 01, 2008

Happy New Year!

I like Christmas. New Years is okay. It is a nice time for reflecting on what one has done. Although perhaps it ought to be done more... or less. Why do we decide that the change in the little numbers that we write at the top of letters or journals decide when we reflect, but "time and chance happen to us all".

Whatever the case, I looked through my old journals to discover the entries of January 1st. I have journals all the way back to when I was 7 years old. I find that there is a common thread, that weaves through them all, that is uncertainty. There is a great unknown out there, and I don't suppose that that will ever change.

I was talking with a friend as we contemplated our individual uncertainties and despite the fact that we dislike them, we also both knew that a life where we knew everything ahead of time would be rather boring. It is really more fun this way!