Friday, May 29, 2009

Trash the Dress

We've been married for a year and a half...and in downsizing for the Turkey move, my wedding dress came up. Whatever should I do with it??? Well, we went for the obvious (wink, wink) and got Phillip and Eileen to do a photo shoot of us together, in which my wedding dress got basically destroyed. Awesome!

The pictures were more incredible than I could have imagined. The shoot was 100% worth it and my wedding dress has officially made it's abode in the nearest landfill.

Check out the pics here! (And spread the word on their amazing work!)

http://blumephotography.com/blog/

Monday, May 25, 2009

On The List

I haven't posted much recently. I'm (almost) forbidding myself from doing anything else until I finish my sweater but I've needed a break from it recently so not much is getting done. I'm also trying not to buy any new fabric since we're leaving in a month and a half. I have a huge bin full of fabric that could be used.

So instead of posting something I did, here's a list of projects I have on the list to do sometime whether in the far or near future.

1. Retro Owl Sunglasses Case. Cheap. Easy. Awesome.
2. Pillow Map. Except instead of making random lines, I want to make lines to places I've been.
3. Ruffle skirt. I have some great almost-matching fabric for this.
4. Sketchbook. A great gift idea!
5. Room dividers. I supposed I need a room to divide for this one.
6. Adorable Dress. How could I resist!
7. Pencil Skirt. I have the fabric and everything.
8. Paper Dolls Sweater. I have a ways to go before I could do this, but I'm dreaming!
9. Bulky Buttony Sweater. I'll have sweaters coming out of my ears if I keep this up.
10.Wrap Shirt. I just stumbled upon this. I wonder if I have fabric for it already.
11. Travel Purse. I'll probably wait for inspiration and design it myself. I want something that I can sling over my shoulder, has a zipper close, and is big enough for me to lug around the world.

This leads me to writing another one of my blog letters:

Dear Jonathan,

I love you dearly and I know you love me just as much and want me to be happy. That's why I was wondering if you would let me quit my job and spend all waking hours of the day making projects. And because projects cost money, would you mind getting a second job (maybe at Starbucks perhaps) to support my craft habit?

Thanks! You're the best!

Love,
Your devoted wife

Friday, May 15, 2009

Tickets

We bought our tickets to Istanbul yesterday. Our one way tickets! Exactly 2 months from today, we'll be outta here!

On another note, I (Sarah) will be able to come to Boulder for a few days in June. So, make some time between June 18 and 22nd to hang out!

Thursday, May 14, 2009

Turkey

Well, the time has come for Jonathan and I to move along in our next big adventure.

Since we fell in love and I moved to Atlanta in October 2007, our heart has been to return to the unreached nations as soon as we could. Jonathan felt the need to get more coffee experience before moving, and I was excited to start our life wherever we were!

Last November, we went to Turkey for 9 days to visit some of our dearest friends, Eric and Allison, as well as attend a conference put on by some friends I worked very closely with in Cairo. We also prayed that God would give us some leading as to when we should go and where. We loved our time in Turkey and were especially uplifted by our time with Eric and Allison. After lots of prayer, Jonathan and I both felt like God was leading us to the same place as Eric and Allison, even more than to a country! We shared this with them and they were in agreement that we should move to Istanbul with them. Eric and Allison are working for a coffee roasting business, so Jonathan will fit right in.

I had decided I would go to cosmetology school. What better option to find a job in Turkey than through doing hair? I planned to spend a year studying at the Aveda Institute in Atlanta, and open a salon in Istanbul. I went through the whole application process and was very eager to begin in March. A few weeks before it started and right before I turned in my 2 weeks notice to my boss, I decided to wait until the May school started because I didnt' feel released from my job yet. Then, a couple of months ago, I went to the Aveda Institute and got my hair cut. As I was taking in the scenery, people, music, etc. I suddenly realized that this wasn't what I wanted to do for the rest of my life. I could do it and enjoy it, but my passion isn't hair: it's people. I just wasn't willing to talk hair for hours and hours to get to the heart of people. Jonathan and I prayed about it and brought it before Eric and Allison and they agreed that they never felt right about it as they had prayed for us.

During these past few months, Jonathan's job role has changed to managing two coffee shops, with a huge part of his job being fixing up the shop he took over. Though he's good at what he does and enjoys working in the coffee industry, he has found that he's already gained the experience he needs to move on to something else, possibly somewhere else.

Suddenly, in a matter of hours, we were left in a position where we were people in a place without vision for that place. Atlanta had begun to wear on me and I was slowly burning out in my job, while Jonathan was feeling like he had accomplished what he originally set out to do a year and a half ago. We also sensed the Lord had moved us into a position of supporting our family (roommates and friends) in their desires to see Atlanta draw nearer to God, without us really catching the vision as well.

Before we knew it, we were ready to go...sooner rather than later. Jonathan and I decided the best way to go is to become English teachers. Eric and Allison led us to Cambridge University and their CELTA certification, because it is one of the most recognized certifications for English teachers in the world. They offer the course in the U.S. and also in Istanbul, but it's about $1000 cheaper in Istanbul so we decided we'd do it there. Eric and Allison also invited us to move in with them so we'll have a place to live.

So, long story short, we're moving to Istanbul in July. The CELTA course starts July 27th, so we're planning to jump on a plane mid-July. We told our bosses a couple of weeks ago and though they're both disappointed to lose us, they celebrated us "living our dreams."

We've learned a bit of Turkish already and I've found that it's already MUCH easier than Arabic. Istanbul is a wonderful city that blends the Islamic culture with a European influence. I'm excited to jump into a new culture and lifestyle all over again and I'm sure Jonathan will adjust easily (like he always does).

Though we'll miss our friends and family here, it's time for something new. We're ready and excited!

Monday, May 11, 2009

Oh Nostalgia

I stumbled upon this article on BBC news. Remembering back to the days of Cairo taxis...when I was shocked if a taxi actually worked. I had more experiences than I'd like to remember that this author wrote down. Every ride was a ride in faith and I survived with may close calls and only a few truly near death experiences.

Cairo's terrifying traffic chaos

Christian Fraser discovers that a brush with death on Cairo's congested roads leaves no appetite for life in the fast lane.

Traffic on the roads of Cairo
Cairo's roads have constant traffic jams and claim many lives

Life in Cairo is a do or die race, in which you trample or are trampled. The traffic here is so bad those of a faint disposition will not long survive the daily commute.

The struggle with overcrowded roads is complicated by a lack of any respect for traffic lights or policemen. There is no semblance of lane discipline.

Modern Cairo was built to house four million people. It has now swelled to some 17 million which is why narrow two-way streets on the banks of the River Nile, are by 0900 local time transformed into four-lane carriageways.

Drivers swerve with the greatest dexterity into the tiniest of spaces. Nearly every car or bus carries the scars of battle.

Of course spare parts are expensive, no-one has insurance and claiming for damage is about as worthwhile as dowsing for water in the desert.

The rules are pretty simple. Full-beam headlights and blaring horns somewhere behind usually mean you are about to be overtaken - or undertaken - at high speed, even though there is no space between your car and that concrete wall beside you.

Hurtling taxis

Skyline of Cairo
The Egyptian capital is full of drivers that have never taken a driving test

My worst experience of this highway madness came just the other morning.

For a country that invented precision-engineered pyramids, its taxis are primitive, in all the wrong ways.

The upholstery of my taxi was the cheap nylon kind that delivers electric shocks to sweaty thighs.

And it offered no handles with which to wind down the windows, no escape from the sweltering heat you feel even at this time of the year.

This was truly one of Egypt's great antiquities, of which Abdu, my driver, was distinctly proud.

As we hurtled along the ring road, at speeds this jalopy was never meant to pass, Abdu leant into the back seat to reassure me he had learnt his driving in the army.

Lucky, since his chance to show off his defensive manoeuvres was waiting just around the next corner.

At 90km/h (60mph), he slammed on the brakes and slewed across the road as a traffic jam hidden by the bend waited in ambush.

With the brakes performing minor miracles, the clapped out Fiat eventually shuddered and spluttered, quite literally to a dead halt.

We had broken down, right there, in the middle of a four-lane carriageway, 18m - but a very long way - from the sanctuary of the hard shoulder.

In the back seat I could feel my posterior tightening.

National sport

By now the flow of traffic had resumed and cars were whizzing past the window, with increasing velocity and proximity.

Egyptians, it seems, only use wing mirrors for the angle they afford on the carnage behind them

Gingerly, Abdu tried to squeeze his way out of the door, twice retreating to save his imperilled feet before finally making it to the bonnet armed with a bottle of water.

Oblivious to the dangerous predicament in which he now found himself, he put his ear to the engine like a doctor searching for a beating heart.

With an oily rag he unscrewed the radiator cap, which erupted into the air, under volcanic pressure. Abdu poured his precious water through the steam, grinning back at me with a gap-toothed smile. This was clearly a tried and tested method.

Ironically, the congestion that had brought us to this standstill was formed of rubberneckers, craning to look at the grisly aftermath of a five-car pile up on the other side.

I am quickly discovering this is a national sport. Egyptians, it seems, only use wing mirrors for the angle they afford on the carnage behind them.

New penalties

The official accident statistics in Egypt suggest that only 6,000 people die on the roads each year. Many Egyptians would readily testify it is a figure that hopelessly underestimates the true extent of the daily tragedy.

Map of Cairo and Egypt

The government is well aware of the problem. They have recently started a campaign to promote ''discipline in the streets".

The new penalties include prison sentences for offences such as speeding, eating and drinking while at the wheel, or travelling with a baby in the front seat, which is another common practice.

At the time the new law was passed, most Egyptians scoffed. No-one, they said, could untangle Cairo's traffic congestion or restore order in a city where hardly anyone has ever taken a driving test.

And it is true that some policemen do still turn a blind eye to even the worst offences.

But the sands of time might be running out for the likes of Abdu. The authorities insist they will not be renewing licenses of any taxis older than 20 years - which by my cursory survey appear to be the vast majority.

One minister said some of these cars are so unroadworthy that drivers often lose control and find themselves in a ditch at the side of the road. I can certainly vouch for that theory.

But then the one benefit of taking your life in your hands each morning is the insanely low fare. It costs me $1.50 (£1) to travel half an hour into town - some 15km (10 miles).

And as Abdu and I finally resumed our laboured journey into work, I realised that if these new measures create a taxi shortage, this might encourage ever more Egyptians to take to the roads in their own cars - and that is scarcely a less terrifying prospect.

From Our Own Correspondent was broadcast on Saturday, 2 May, 2009 at 1130 BST on BBC Radio 4. Please check the programme schedules for World Service

Tuesday, May 05, 2009

Spring Ruffle Top

I found some remnants that I couldn't pass up but wasn't sure what to do with a couple of them until I found this sweet tutorial. It was super fun and a bit complicated but ended up working out okay. (I probably make my projects more difficult than they need to be through not being very thorough with measurements, cutting, etc.)

I'm not sure how often I'll wear this, but I LOVE how fun and sassy it is. Jonathan, when he saw my color combo, got a grin on his face and said remarked about my "impeccable taste". I'm going to pretend he wasn't being sarcastic.

The front.


The back.


And the baby. Just kidding--not pregnant. I just look it from this angle!