Sunday, December 24, 2006

Roommate Christmas!

Amy is in the states for Christmas, so we had a mini pre-Christmas celebration.
Here are some pictures of my friends!

Our lovely decorations. The tree is about 1ft. tall.

My roommates. Amy, me, Sarah.

Our neighbors. I practically live at their house.

Wednesday, December 20, 2006

12 Days of...something

Here's a song written in part by some kids and in part by me (because i couldn't remember most of what they said).

One first day of Christmas (in the Middle East) my true love gave to me:
1 cheesy souvenier gift from the Khan (market)
2 cheesy 90s love songs playing
3 pyramids pointing
4 angry men fighting
5 working cars
6 boabs sleeping (boabs are sort of like door-men in the apartments)
7 taxi drivers proposing
8 cats meowing
9 busses crashing
10 cigarettes smoking
11 mounds of garbage
12 horns honking

Monday, December 18, 2006

Random Thoughts

I have about 15 experiences daily where I wish someone was with me because they're so funny. For example: yesterday, everytime the taxi in front of me applied his breaks, the car (don't ask me how) would start playing the theme song to Titanic. Every time he took his foot off the breaks the song would reset so I heard the first line to Titanic probably 20 times. Another one: "Mr. Cool" is in line in front of me in the supermarket when suddenly his phone begins to ring. It's ringing with the song, "I'm everything I am because you love me" by Celion Dion. Who does this stuff? Honestly...

I think the people living above me are constantly rearranging their furniture. Not 5 minutes go by, day or night, when I don't hear something moving around. On that note, the neighbors next to me don't seem to understand the concept of answering their moblie, so again, day and night, I hear the William Tell overture. On the theme of noises: there are about 10 cats outside our apartment who never learned how to meow correctly so they--usually in the middle of the night--start moaning and crying and I feel a little like I'm in a horror movie. (I heard a story that a foreigner here got arrested for trying to shoot a cat from his balcony because he was so tired of it's crazy noises.) I also wake up almost nightly and think I'm in an earthquake because my windows will randomly start shaking so loud that I feel like I'm also shaking. All in a nights sleep...

I miss Illegal Petes/Chipolte...desperately. And dad's mongolian chicken of course.

I think I have some stored up tension or something becuase I have these laughing melt-downs almost weekly. Something a little funny will set me off and I'll be on the floor laughing for at least 5 minutes while my roommates watch with awkward grins on their faces. The last time it happened was at this Christmas performance where the choir sang a song called, "Glow Worm" in the middle of all these songs in Latin. The chorus was something like, "Shine little glow worm, glitter." I didn't get it either.

I really, really care about the poor. This past week I thought a lot about the people I want to know and invest in. It's poor kids on the streets. There are between 600,000-1,000,000 street kids in my city and they just need to be loved and told they are worth something.

It's a lot colder here than I expected. My main purpose in showering this season is to get warm. Speaking of which, time to go warm up.

Thursday, December 14, 2006

The Eve Story

Some of you know that I actually have a different name here: Eve. How
exactly did this comeabout? Well, It's kind of hard to explain, but I"ll do
my best. It all began in my first week here. I was reading (for the 3rd time) this amazing book called The Allure of Hope by Jan Meyers. It's all about living in hope of what is to come and not giving up on what my future will be. I can either settle for what this life looks like or dig deeper into what it truly has to offer. This involves abandoning myself to hope and feeling all things stronger than I ever have before. This means experiencing greater joy, but also greater pain and suffering. Is it worth it?

As I was exhorted to abandon myself to hope, I was encouraged to remember Eden, what used to be, and what will eventually be again. This struck me--especially as I was feeling lonely and without direction in a completely new place. I wanted to remember Eden and I wanted to live in hope.

What does someone who lives in hope look like? She is bold, courageous, adventuresome, tender, vulnerable, beautiful, wild, free, exquisite. She is life-giving. This is what I want to be: life-giving. Eve means life.

Thus, in effort to remember Eden, as well as to be someone who offers life, I began to go by Eve.

I know it's not the norm and may sound a bit crazy. This is because it isn't the norm and is definitely a bit crazy. But, has anyone known me otherwise?

I hope this answers your questions!

Question of the day: if you could change your name, what would you change it to and why? Leave your answers as a comment. This will be fun!

Sunday, December 10, 2006


Today, some friends and I spent the day in Alex. Here are some of the highlights!

The befores and afters of our lunch. We got to pick out our fish and everything!

My friend the shrimp with the Med Sea in the background.

City pics (I'm trying to be more artistic)

If you don't read Arabic, you won't be able to tell that this is a Starbucks. I got so excited...and then realized that it isn't open yet. Bummer! While I was taking the picture all these workers kept yelling, "No!" at me, trying to get me to understand that the store wasn't open yet. I just ignored them, as usual.

Wednesday, December 06, 2006

Keep 'em coming

I was inspired more by Calvin and Lesli's blog so I must continue to add to my list. Also, I've included a photo of the fish snakes for you to live the experience with me. How it took me to realize halfway through the meal they were staring at me...I have no idea.

  • feeling incredibly inconvenienced if you have to stand in a line becuase you're used to pushing your way to the front
  • get muddy in the rain because the city is so dusty
  • hoard small bills because everyone always wants exact change
  • confuse my brother's name with watermelon and start calling him watermelon. Later, instead of asking him if he understands, I'll mix up the words and ask him if he's charcoal
  • eat liver. I have a list of food I don't like, but will eat if I must. I despise liver so much it's not even on that list.
  • be colder inside than outside in the winter because of the concrete buildings
  • get all the hair ripped off my arms so I can "fit in" like all the other Arabs, all the while forgetting what my arms actually look like because they're always covered
  • buy your bedsheets as fabric then come back 15 minutes later and the fabric has turned into sheets and pillow cases
  • get in trouble for eating with your left hand and get made fun of becuase you write with your left hand
  • pretend you can't understand when taxi drivers want you to give them more money
  • just agree when people tell you how much they hate Bush...and then tell them you won't marry them so they can become an American citizen
  • lose all the hair on my fingers because I'm not very good at lighting the stove
  • answer iowa or la-ah if I don't understand what someone is asking me
  • take pictures of my flashcards when I'm tired of studying

Monday, December 04, 2006

one more thing

  • realize your flour has bugs crawling in it and instead of pitching it in disgust, you merely sift out the bugs and continue making your granola (don't tell my roommates though, because I think they're more of the pitching rather than sifting persuasion)

Sunday, December 03, 2006

Ya Salem!

Inspired by a conversation with my roommates and a subsequent blog by Amy, here's a list (though by no means exhaustive) of things I only do on the other side of the world:
  • go all day without talking on the phone
  • get marriage proposals from Taxi drivers
  • order dinner online
  • walk out into the street in front of cars (real life Frogger!)
  • forget that seatbelts exist somewhere in the world
  • answer the door when I hear a bird chirping
  • think it'll be cool to swich my phone into Arabic, and then not be able to do anything on it, including changing it back to english
  • speak Arabic
  • go to church on Friday
  • give trash to friends to throw on the ground (because I still won't do it)
  • get so lost you have to call a friend and have her explain to the driver where you want to go...three times in one week
  • jump on and off the bus while it's moving
  • donkey carts in the street are normal
  • learn that everyone's nickname is either some sort of fruit or animal (I'm "peach" and "spicy")
  • drink Nescafe (sick!)
  • squeeze past a guy on a bus while he shouts "ya salem!" (There's not an exact definition for this, but it means something like, "wowie zowie!")
  • guess the temp of your oven because there's no numbers on the knob
  • order chicken or meat for your dinner--my guess is that meat is actually beef, though I prefer the chicken
  • pay people money who come to your door asking for it, even though you have no idea what it's for
  • not even bat an eye when your taxi driver sideswipes another car or drives down the wrong side of the road
  • walk in the street because the sidewalks are for parking
  • speak in broken english with an Arabic accent becuase you forgot how to speak normally ("You come me now? I wait you here")
  • Think you're eating fish-flavored snacks from your Korean neighbors but after you're about 1/2 way done, you look closer and realize you're eating baby fish that are shaped like snakes. After this, you scream (scaring all of the people in the kitchen with you), spit out the food, and have nightmares about fish-snakes swimming in your stomach
  • confuse the words with and in all the time, so you refer to your friend as living inside a dog.
  • randomly throw out Spanish words in the middle of a sentence because you are in "default foreign language" mode
  • confuse Arabs when you tell them you're from Iowa, because in Arabic, iowa means yes. ("Where are you from ? Iowa. No, where are you from? Iowa. NO, what place are you from?", etc.)
  • eat sausage not made out of pork (no one knows what it actually is made of)
  • have an intermission in the middle of a movie
  • have a cleaning lady (bonus!) from Nigeria
  • call boys girls all the time because you're used to talking with girls and "you" in Arabic changes based on gender
  • not flush your toilet paper
...all in a days work.