Monday, March 28, 2011

The Smell of Warm Dust

It is amazing how certain smells, however unpleasant, can be the triggers of amazing feelings of home, warmth, or happiness. In the winter it is the smell of kerosene and the heater fumes which although minimal, permeate everything. The other day I walked past a man who was smoking a cigar and it smelled exactly like a smell in my pastor's house in the States. I also once met a man here that wore the same cologne as my brother and it really caught me off guard. But now, in April, there begins a new smell... a summer and adventure smell... the smell of warm dust. It blows in and coats every thing every day. I hate dust. But the smell of warm dust is exciting and full of promise to me. I know; odd. But it is one of the many things I am thankful for.

110. Brightly colored flash card pile

111. That chicks have distinctive personalities... who knew!

112. Finding a notebook with colors and words that I am not ashamed of carrying around... it says "Nautre show charm to express the greatness of God." Misspellings and grammar problems included for everyone's enjoyment!

113. My students helping me with confusing vocabulary.

114. Finding the Odyssey read aloud by Ian McKellan

115. The birthdays of little girls and seeing people grow

116. Being considered a ravishing beauty here... trying to be thankful... it does feel nice to be admired... right? Being thankful even when it creates awkward situations because I don't know how God might be using it in the lives of the people who see how I respond... (like everyone in the grocery store).

117. Star Trek... comforting in an odd sort of way... reminds me of home and when I was young.

118. Prshing... sunbeams!

119. Having a headache go away

120. Bananas that are more amazing than any I've had in the States

Monday, March 21, 2011


101. People who will brave the crazy sandwich shop to get me dinner.

102. My parents willingness to research and advise on camera choices.

103. How thrilled people are here when I dress in their traditional clothing.

104. All the birds that live on our house.

105. Coffee in the morning.

106. Vacation where I can spend an hour reading (not school stuff) and not feel guilty.

107. Eucalyptus mint lotion from Bath and Body Works.

108. Feeling very protected and safe, even on a busy street full of people, even when I stick out with my blond hair.

109. Having accomplished a lot on my lesson plans.

Saturday, March 19, 2011


94. New camera anticipation. I've been dreaming of taking pictures again for weeks now as I researched various brands, prices, bells and whistles. Decided on the Panasonic FZ40 as a good balance for my needs here.

95. The smell of hyacinths

96. Spring temperatures

97. Dinner and games with friends with no two people from the same country!

98. According to above... that I even have friends!

99. Happy flashcards (bright colors and unusual combinations!)

100. My parents who buy me whatever I want (the day after I send them a list) and send it to me! (Aren't they just so sweet to me!)

Thursday, March 17, 2011

On Buying a New Camera

Ok... so as some of you might know, my camera is taking a long (most likely permanent) vacation in a lost and found storage room somewhere between Seattle, WA and Istanbul, Turkey. Since then I've been searching around for a new camera. Now, I like taking pictures and I do need one for some of my work here. I've saved up some money, but certainly not the thousands of dollars needed to buy a truly fantastically amazing more-than-I-could-ever-need sort of camera. I'm not interested in one of those anyway. But I've learned more and more about photography and I do want something beyond your most basic point and shoot. Did you know there are about 3million options out there online? How's a girl to know? I've read tons of reviews. There are pros and cons to every product. One person raves about a camera's awesomeness... another says it was the worst purchase EVER! Scary. And a purchase here isn't some short term trial. There's no send it back the next day sort of thing, someone has to carry it back halfway across the world in a suitcase.

The one I'm looking at right now is Canon SX30IS. Anyone know anything about it? I've read tons and it looks like it could be a good fit and would allow me to take images from a safe distance as I hate to feel the tourist in the place where I LIVE. Awkward.

Monday, March 14, 2011


  • Ancient Greek History... condensing years of education into roughly a month of classes.
  • The Odyssey... interesting, fruitful, and self-directed activities relevant to 10th graders.
  • Kurdish Language... verb tenses, pronouns agglutinating into verbs, and vocabulary in general.
  • Plants... when will they grow!
  • "I will glory in my Redeemer..."
  • Conflict and Confrontation... how does one communicate these sorts of things without freaking out, how does one know when these things ought to be communicated.
  • Vacuuming and Clothes in the Dryer... waiting for the city power, will it come back before midnight?
85. Successfully hosting team dinner
86. The plant selling Arab man's smile
87. Quiet
88. The pigeon-dove cooing with the hymns playing
89. The orange-red chicken on my sidewalk this afternoon
90. Wind-- the rusha-ba
91. People who hug me and help me with dishes
92. Understanding the "Betterness" of some things
93. Dreams that seem so real and tangible that they teach something

Sunday, March 13, 2011


74. My first sprout in my garden... one in the flower box!

75. A cherry tree near my language teacher's house in full bloom.

76. People who care about me being alone.

77. Getting through my whole stack of language flashcards before my next lesson.

78. Sangria

79. Settlers of Catan game nights with friends

80. Beautiful journals with small lines

81. A clean kitchen

82. Friends to serve

83. God's peace after a storm

84. Two weeks of holiday!

Thursday, March 10, 2011

Not Exactly Twitterpated

Twitter is a huge fad: one I always hoped to avoid.

Then the people I work for decided that this huge fad would be a good way to communicate and hopefully do some recruiting for more teachers in my area.

So, today, I signed up for twitter. I officially made my first "tweet". And I gave myself one more thing that I have to keep track of.

Why are they called "tweets" anyway? Is it because "a little bird told me"? Sounds like the perfect excuse for accelerated gossip to me. But what is used for evil the hands of some, God can use for good. So here goes...

Tuesday, March 08, 2011

Fix-it Success

For over a year now, our dryer has had some sort of problem with it's handle. It wouldn't spring back after it shut. It took some fidgeting to get it to latch so that the dryer would actually run. Today, it suddenly occurred to me that I should see if I could fix it. I took out all the screws in the door and it came apart pretty easily. Then I had the handle in my hand and two little pieces of rusty metal wire of some sort. This is what it is supposed to look like:

On ours the two metal wires with loops were broken off about half an inch past the plastic. It took me a while to figure out what it was supposed to look like... searched and found this image online where you could buy a replacement part for a different brand. Hmmm.... heavy duty wire, that bends, but returns to it's original shape... This is not something I have in piles around my home. But, being a teacher, I do have these:

So I took one of the silver metal parts and fit it into the handle next to the broken wires. (They were still holding some parts together.) And then I tested it out. It worked! Our dryer handle is fully functional now... just hope it stays that way.

Thanks to my awesome parents who taught me to think creatively and how to fix things!

Sunday, March 06, 2011


Knowing when it is the right time or topic to confront someone is a tricky thing. It doesn't matter what the issue is, big or small, but it stresses me as I walk and pray and walk and pray. It is something I would choose NEVER to do if I had my way. If people don't understand what I say and become defensive, I get nervous and even more unclear. It's all lost at that point. I should just walk away. My inner child (if I have one) crawls in under the stairs and weeps. It might be something else weeping down there. And this leads me to some of the reasons I am thankful...

67. I work with a team of people who are gracious and will forgive.

68. They say thank you even when I've been a jerk.

69. They teach me not to assume that everyone understands things the same way I do.

And in other things...

70. Electricity in the morning

71. Food in the house so that I can cook

72. Progress on the compost bin

73. Sunshine and warmer weather

Friday, March 04, 2011


I need the perfect, sinless sacrifice of Jesus Christ who can take all the broken messes and make them into mosaics of Grace. --Ann Voskamp

My students laugh at me when I tell them all things are grace. They tell me that I sound like I'm on drugs. I am... I've found the cure.

Thursday, March 03, 2011


Did you know that some people buy ambient noises for their homes, like ocean waves and birds chirping. Well, here, that's the kind of thing we get for free! Not the ocean sounds, unfortunately. But there are some birds nesting in the hole in our wall that is for the AC/heater cords and hoses to go out. It makes for some interesting listening in the morning especially. I think they are some sort of sparrow. It was a little unnerving one morning, however, when I found a feather on our floor under the hole.