Saturday, June 16, 2012

Why My Dad is Better Than Your Dad

- My dad can lay down on the bottom of the pool and then shoot out of the water like a whale.
- My dad can look at a coin and tell you where and when it was minted.
- My dad taught me how to skip a rock.
- My dad thinks Mr. Bennett is funny.
- My dad can turn anything, ANYTHING, into a cheesy joke.
- My dad taught me how to wrestle.
- My dad will grow out his usually clean shaven face while in the mountains for a week and take a picture to show you before he shaves just because you asked him to.
- My dad can make up the most random nicknames - it's a love language.
- My dad taught me how to hike up and down steep hills without slipping and/or falling.
- My dad has climbed a mountain.
- My dad has lived in Africa for a summer.
- My dad taught me how to hear out all sides of a situation, seek trusted outside help if needed, and make good decisions.
- My dad taught me what it means to love unconditionally.
- My dad is always there - even at 1:00 a.m. if needed.
- My dad is supportive in all things.
- My dad can make "cool" and "all right!" sound like the biggest compliment you have ever received.
- My dad watches videos that I send him even if he has never heard of the artist before.
- My dad will go to concerts of artists he doesn't even like because you enjoy them.  And he'll have a good time.
- My dad loves music.
- My dad has taught me what good work ethic means.
- My dad doesn't commit to anything half way.

But most of all - my dad loves me.

Friday, June 15, 2012

The Difference a Year Makes

One year ago today, I woke up to this message on facebook:

So... we have to open another KG class for next year. I'm thinking he hasn't hired anyone yet, but before I said anything to the director, I thought I'd ask if you were interested...? It could be 1st if a 1st gd teacher moves down instead.

When I woke up that day, my agenda was to go pay the deposit on the new apartment I had sign on two days before.  I was considering going to see my grandparents before heading to my favorite HEB to get groceries.  I also needed to get the oil changed on my car.  I was positioned to team lead third grade in my small neighborhood school.

Today as I wake up, my agenda is to go to the Khan with a few girls.  Then tonight is church (on a Friday night) and a birthday party.  In between I watch the internet to observe the political chaos that surrounds me.  I need to walk to the market to get very few things for this week so I don't have a kitchen full of food while I'm traveling for the summer.  I am a week away from finishing my first year in kindergarten.

So life is different - more different that I could have expected when I woke up a year ago today.

I've learned how to:
- Direct a taxi in Arabic - for the most part.
- Walk down the street fully aware of my surroundings without making eye contact with anyone.
- Shop/cook/eat seasonally.
- Make products that I used to get from a can.
- Shop in bulk for six months at a time.
- Not panic in traffic or close calls in cars.
- Divide by six faster than ever before in my life.

I've also learned:
- There is a big difference between a good and a bad airport.
- How to go through intense security in airports while remaining calm and cool.
- There is a LOT you can live without - and not miss it too much.
- Good food is more important to me than I thought.
- The world is not a black and white place - no matter how much you want it to be.  You learn to live in and love the gray.
- The importance of a peep hole.
- How to avoid and stand up to annoying nieghbors.

About People:
- Friendships can sustain and grow - even over great distances.
- People from your same country can be just as foreign to you as people from other countries.
- People put up with a lot from me - and I am thankful for it.
- You can build amazing friendships very quickly.
- Chivalry is not dead.  There are still men that know how to protect, honor, and look out for women.  They just live overseas.

About America/Americans:
- There are great advantages from being America.  Despite what I am about to write, I'm thankful for being a first world brat.
- America is not the greatest country in the world.
- Americans can be arrogant and frustrating.
- American politics are just annoying.  Egyptians don't play.  They make November look like a trip to Disney World.
- American media/entertainment do more to hurt the image of American women around the world than help it - at least in this part of the world.
- American women need to put on more clothes.

About church:
- Having the choice of which church you worship with is a luxury.
- Churches can thrive knowing the difference between unity and uniformity.
- Churches can honor different traditions and still keep the most important things important.
- Diversity makes the church a better place.

About the world:
- Traveling is the best way to learn about people and yourself.
- Every country and culture has something beautiful to take away from it.
- People are so much more alike than we are different.
- We are better people for getting out of our bubble.  It challenges us and opens our eyes to the needs of those around us.  It makes us aware of the larger story and forces you out of yourself.  The more stamps in your passport, the less selfish you become.

Saturday, June 09, 2012


As you have noticed, things have been quiet on the blogging front.  It's been a crazy few weeks with more jumbled thoughts than you want to read (or that I can articulate).  That and the fact that I have two upcoming posts that I'm mentally writng.  Therefore, you now get the most random blog post to date.

There are things I wonder that I will never know - like 1) What do guys sound like when they talk about girls? Oh to be a fly on the wall! and 2) What does it feel like to take a hit by a football player while in full pads?  Yep, that second one has never gone away.

Thanks to Lindsee, I'm currently obsessed with this video.  Ridiculous talent and fun little things that remind me of my singing friends from the San Marcos days:

A few weeks ago, Emily and I went to Abu Simbel for the day.  One of the most impressive things I have seen in Egypt.  

There is a great joy in being able to discuss difficult things of faith within such a safe place with friends - no fear of judgement or rebuke simply because you ask "what if....".

So thankful for friends to share grilled cheese obsessions with.

It took me several months but I finished One Thousand Gifts this week.  Exercise bikes are great places to read and be challenged.

With two weeks left in the school year, I am looking forward to:
- Walking through history and markets in Israel
- Sitting by the beach/diving/kayaking in Costa Rica
- A canopy tour in a rainforest
Finally getting to hold Ginny
- Hours on Erin's couch talking and hours on Erin's floor playing
- A hair cut
- Good food in the States
- Snow cones
- Emily's long anticipated wedding
- A concert for Father's Day
- Trying to beat Gregg in a game - I don't even care which one!
- Seeing old friends in their home country
- Penguins and seals in their natural environment
- Hiking
- Watching my worlds collide in more than one place

Until then, Egyptian kids are CUTE and funny, looking forward to meeting new people, and living in denial of the goodbyes to come.