Wednesday, October 31, 2012

101 Things in 1001 Days

When I moved in with Sarah, one thing that I noticed about her right away was that she was always doing or planning something fun.  It turns out she has this handy little list of things she wants to accomplish - most of which just happen to be - fun.  She introduced me to this challenge she has set for herself through something called Day Zero.  The challenge is 101 Things in 1001 Days.  After checking it out, I decided it sounded like something I would enjoy.  Seeing how list making is one of my favorite things to do, I took it up.  I even had a little help from my friends.  So without further ado, here are 101 things I have decided to do over the next 1001 days:

Sponsor a child
Read through the entire bible
Memorize the Sermon of the Mount
Eat like a Third World citizen for a month – donate the difference in grocery bills
Complete a Daniel fast for a week
Donate 1 million grains of rice
Observe lent each year
Perform 5 random acts of kindness
Buy a bag of groceries for someone in need once a month for a year

Debt free
Give intangible gifts one year for Christmas
Leave a 100% tip for someone
Buy a stranger’s dinner anonymously
Donate $25 for every item completed to a related charity
Pay for Spring Break entirely in EGP

Educational/Professional Self Improvement:
Complete my master’s program
Get PYP certified
Get a new job

See the Grand Canyon
Experience each of the four seasons
Tour a European church
Run out of pages in my passport
Tour a winery
Go desert camping
Sisters weekend away
Visit Pompeii
Go to an internationally known museum
Go to the Netherlands
Roommate weekend away
Mail a postcard to my band director from Austria
See a show in the West End
Take a spontaneous get away
Do a hike longer than 10 miles
Tour the Fairy Tale Road
Get my international drivers license
Drive on the other side of the road

Visit Upper Egypt
Climb Mt Sinai
Count to 100 in Arabic
Drive in Egypt
Barter at the Khan in Arabic
Visit Siwa

Something New:
Get a tattoo
Learn to knit
Learn to tie a tie
Get my diving certification
Go to the batting cages
Learn to use all of the settings on my camera
Pick fresh fruit
Conquer a fear - Go repelling

Read a book over 1000 pages long
Read a book set in each country I’ve visited
Read my height in books
Complete a short story once a month for a year
Write a children’s book
Send one handwritten note per month for a year
Read all of the Newberry Award winners

For myself/my health:
Go a month without sugar
Go to bed before 9:00 every night for a week
Complete the 100 push ups challenge
Complete the 200 sit ups challenge
Try Zumba
Don’t eat out/Otlob for a month
Leave work at 4:00 everyday for two weeks
Take the stairs for a week
Buy only what’s on the grocery list for a month
Get up every day without snoozing for a week
Go to the gym four days a week for a month

Cook a new international dish every month for a year
Make a German Chocolate Cake
Make homemade donuts
Cook a turkey
Make soft pretzels

With others:
Go play bingo
Send out holiday cards
Surprise gift #1
Surprise gift #2
Host a tea party
Host a multi course meal

Chosen by others:
Dad – Write a short story about a fictional biblical character
Mom – Be home long enough for a Project Runway Marathon
Erin – Hot air balloon ride
Gregg – Eat pizza in front of the Coliseum
Liz – Watch The Grinch together
Bladen – Play cars together
Sarah – Go diving in 3 different oceans
Kim – Watch fireworks in a new place
Kris – Ice skating in Paris at Christmas (as randomly chosen my a roommate)
Ryan – Volunteer in an orphanage

Watch The Godfather Trilogy
Watch a new movie for each letter of the alphabet
Perform 5 random acts of kindness
Do the splits
Eat an entire meal using chopsticks
Eat something I can’t identify

Tuesday, October 09, 2012

The Boab's Family

On the walk from the market to my place, there is a building that has been under construction for about a year now.  That's pretty typical.  Buildings are slow going up around here.  As the buildings are under construction, a boab and his family will move in.  These men and their families live in the depths of the parking garages/basements and are on call 24/7.  They look after the building and the residents.  This man is no different except that his building doesn't have any residents yet.  I've walked past them for about a year now.  We nod hellos and I smile at the children.  They have a little girl that looks to be about 5 or 6 years old.  I look forward to seeing them as part of my market routines.

Yesterday they were gone.

There are a lot of reasons that boabs move on.  Sometimes it is their choice and sometimes it is not.  I'll never know why this family is gone.  I just know I walked past the building yesterday and there was a new family.  It's sad.

I was quite surprised to be sad.  I didn't know them at all.  Then I remembered.

It's funny how a moment can stick with you.  Everything about it remains clear as day.  I had gone to the market right off the bus.  It was weekly shopping day and I had my hands full walking home with a heavy work bag over my shoulder.  The building was just about a third of the way home.  I was almost there so I was starting my search so I could nod my hello.  There they were, sitting on the stoop - mother on the top step, daughter on the next step down, and a doll in the little girl's lap.  I didn't know she had a doll yet there it was being tenderly held in her hands.  She was intently playing with its hair in a very peculiar way.  Her hands were running throughout the hair with no rhyme or reason.  I glanced at the mother and that is when I noticed it.  She was picking lice out of her daughter's hair.  Daughter was picking lice out of her doll's hair.

She was playing mommy with her baby.

She wasn't putting it in a stroller or wrapping it in a blanket.  She was doing what her mommy did - taking the itchy insects from its hair.  The mother and I caught eyes and she turned away quickly, looking ashamed.  I smiled at the little girl and kept walking with a small lump growing in my throat.  She smiled back at me with a glowing face and twinkling eyes, proud of her baby.  I wanted to say something to the mother.  No.  Not something.  I wanted to say so much.  I wanted to tell her she is a good mother, caring for her daughter.  I wanted to tell her that her daughter is beautiful and sweet.  I wanted to tell her she was doing her best for living in the garage of a building under construction.  I wanted to tell her to lift her eyes, she has nothing to be ashamed of.

But I didn't and now I never will.  I don't know where they are.  I will most likely never see them again,  except in that 10 second memory.  I still see them on that stoop that is getting closer to being completed.  I still see them in the faces of little girls and their babies.  I'm thankful for it - this memory tangled with sweetness and heartbreak.

Friday, October 05, 2012

Still Alive

It's offical - I've been called out.  Apparently I haven't blogged in over a month.  Didn't believe it until I looked at it.  Oops.  I've been neglectful.  Sorry.  However, I kind of have an excuse.  It's the beginning of the school year.  It's been busy/crazy/stressful.  In fact at the end of each day, this is the way I've looked.

So when you are stressed, I've learned some ways to relax.  First, start your day with with sweet faces like these.

Then follow it up with this book:

After that, meet up with a good carpool buddy to face the ring road with.  Then you are ready to take on the day.  Do this each day and it spirals into joy.

Other things that work are learning something new like how to do this:

Time with friends, working with Lift Off, attemping squash, watching Downton Abbey, and reading good books help bring balance into life.  So do friends that help put things in perspective.  Spending time with these girls help too:

So at the end of the month, things are looking up, calming down, and becoming more balanced.  Now I'm leaving work looking more like this:

So I'll be back to blogging more regularly.  See you soon!