C'est La Vie
What a beautiful piece of heartache this has all turned out to be. Lord knows we've learned the hard way all about healthy apathy. And I use these words pretty loosely. There's so much more to life than words..
Things I love
Friday, September 28, 2007
What's really worth mentioning for me is how despite the male majority being so much larger of a margin here, there is more of a sense of gentlemanliness and chivalry. I have rarely been allowed to open a door for myself or especially hold it open for others as I have grown quite accostumed to doing. I do pay for all my own food (except at the hail-and-farewell dinner when I first got here, and that's the tradition, that the honorees never pay), but that is due to my own insistance on not letting wrong impressions take hold and all that. The jokes and conversations and all are still very similar to what they were back home, but I think it's easier for the guys to find all-guy time for the courser items, so they seem to enjoy holding back in the presence of a female.
That's all just the on-base stuff, by the way, not out in town.... although I do run into fewer females whose faces you can actually see out in town, or who are actually talking to anyone. But they're still not the minority to any noticible extent if at all.
Saturday, September 22, 2007
Two of the cute ones that did make sense were Sweet Cakes (a bright, light pink color) and Shittake Happens (about the color of Shittake mushrooms).
There was another that didn't make sense, but I can't think of it right now...
And my nails are now painted in "Everything's Turnipped Roses".
Friday, September 21, 2007
I am not such a disciplined person, but either way, it's really nice sleeping again.
My week of getting up early for a small watch duty is over, which means I get an hour more sleep each night (except PT days) now, if my body can adjust back to that schedule... the thing is it gets so bright here so early, which makes it hard to sleep once the sun starts shining in my windows.
And today, I am FINALLY going to go experience the famous Souk! Yay!!!!
And this weekend, I'll be going out house-hunting again, just in case the one place I've potentially got set up falls through ... plus the one place isn't really in the area I wanted so much, so I'd rather look at other options anyway.
So that's my update, and now I'm off to the Souk with my friend Heather. It's 2am Eastern Standard Time, and I hope you all are sleeping well or about to....
Tuesday, September 18, 2007
It was a false alarm when I started sleeping through the night and actually feeling rested. This new stage is much more subtle and therefore perhaps much worse. I'm told it will last about another month or so. I wake up two and three times a night, and can't seem to make the temperature right, and it's a massive sleep deprivation kinda thing...
I have been having the STRANGEST dreams. Many of which I can't even attribute to a conversation, tv show clip, or event that happened recently... so they're not just my brain's strange way of processing recent events, they're just straight-up weird.
I also had a minor reaction to my most recent Anthrax shot. Nothing unusual, they said, but it was no fun all the same. However, I am certain it was much better than getting anthrax would've been!
All in all, I'm still getting used to this place, and yet I'm really pretty well used to it in many ways... and it's nice knowing my way around and being able to help others out with directions or tips and tricks...
And we're 5 days through Ramadhan now, and life hasn't changed a great deal for me, which may say a lot about my life before... but our dress code isn't as strict as we were first told it would be, and I didn't really eat out in the daytime much anyway.
I'm coming along in my Arabic lessons, I guess... slowly but surely. It's a very logical language, as far as speaking (I'm not learning writing)... So in that way it's probably easier than English so far. More like learning to speak Japanese... it has few exceptions to many of the rules, and not nearly so many vowel sounds as have we.
It's time to go catch my shuttle.
This is what a modern area in a desert looks like. That is, in a desert near the water. The bright blue spots are swimming pools and billboards.
Saturday, September 15, 2007
They said that our main goal there was to create a Middle East revolving around Israel (which they called something like their arch enemy) and they will not stand for such a thing.
It makes me so sad. It makes me so sad every time I hear about civilians being killed, whether by insurgents or our own forces. It makes me so sad that some of the governments here and ours are communicating so poorly (if at all) and that the good relationships we have over here are not spreading right now. I hope they do. But right now, I am sad about that news and other such.
I am sad about Darfur. I am sad about India's recent increase in terrorist attacks. I am sad about the Gaza area. I am sad about London's increased gang violence. I am sad about situations all over the world being so full of hate and pain...
We really messed ourselves up back in Babel, eh? Who figured we needed such a tall tower anyway?
I hope and pray for my niece that we people get better educated and better at communicating, within our own families and our own neighborhoods first and around the world by the time she is grown-up. I am sure it will take more time than that. She's growing up so quickly. Since her parents decided to cut me off from her before I left, so that I didn't even get to see her to say goodbye, I can't even imagine how big she is right now. But I hope that she has a peaceful world in which to experience college. I hope that she does not have to be sad about all of these situations.
Friday, September 07, 2007
I think I know what area I'm going to aim for, so I'll be going to look at that part of town throughout the next week. I'm taking an Arabic class two nights a week now, starting with our first session last week. We went over a couple of the most basic items, many of which we'd been hearing since we got here, like greetings. We also went over some of the vocal sounds essential in Arabic that we don't really have in English or some other Western languages so much, which was really funny ... seeing a bunch of Americans trying to make gutteral rolling noises and almost-hissing noises and a few other things we're not so used to. I've figured out with a couple of them that if I pull my jaw back towards my neck, they get a lot easier. But most of them are hit-and-miss ... maybe with practice it'll become more consistant, but I've noticed that even with the locals I work with, there's still a lot of variation from one moments to the next on whether their vocal cords feel like making that particular noise and all.
I went to the Exchange on base to see if I could pick up some past seasons of Veronica Mars, but it seems they everything but. They even have Flava of Love, as gross as that is *shudder*, but no Mars. So I'll have to order that online next time I'm on a more secure connection.
I did, however, pick up two exciting items there in place of Ms. Mars' show:
A three-move Christopher Guest collection (Waiting for Guffman, Best in Show, and a Mighty Wind) for cheap... I already had Best in Show, but now I have an extra copy to give away ... and I didn't have the other two, and I'm hoping now maybe I can stay awake through A Mighty Wind since I have yet to manage that. I LOVED the clips I heard on NPR before I even knew they were doing clips from a movie ... thought it was a real show until they started talking about having to punch the holes in the records themselves.
I also picked up the six-disc "Personal" Best of Monty Python's Flying Circus collection, which I am so very excited about. I had never managed to pick up the complete collection in the past for two reasons .. it was a big pricey, and it was more than I needed. But with this one (which only cost me $40!), it was much more affordable and also contains all my favorites, with 6 hours (plus extras) of great sketches and some new material, so that I don't have more than I want. I'm a happy camper!
In other news, it turns out they only offer the ten most in-demand CLEPs, so that the two final ones I need aren't even offered here. So I'm going to hopefully take those two as online classes and by the end of this year I'll have my degree. Then I can get started on my BA/BS level courses, and maybe I'll get to walk in May (for my AA ceremony) for the first time since kindergarten.
I'm going shopping out in town tomorrow, so that should be fun, and there are a couple of classes this week apart from the Arabic that I may try to get into (like gold-buying and such). I'm looking forward to living closer to work, though, so that I can stay after duty hours or go in on the weekends for things like the comedy tour they brought through last week that I missed because my hotel doesn't do a shuttle that late ... I could've taken a cab, but I also didn't know if I'd have any company to sit with at the show and I wasn't in the mood to be there by myself. It's fine, though ... I ended up having a nice night in instead.
So, I'm off to enjoy my Friday with doing laundry, lounging by the pool maybe, and perhaps even hitting the brunch since I don't know if they'll be serving one during Ramadan.
(2) comments This one is just cute. (This was at the entrance to the Grand Mosque.)
This is one of the windows at the Grand Mosque, and I want to have windows just like this in my house when I grow up. The bubbles near the top are the hand-blown glass pieces (I'm honestly not sure whether they did have lights inside or were just for decoration or what) all over the courtyard. What incredible architecture and design here!
Ramadan will be starting sometime this upcoming week, and I'm looking forward to seeing how that will change daily life around here. About halfway through at the latest, I should be in my new flat/villa ... I just realized this moment that the whole fasting thing may make it interesting finding movers to get my household goods shipments delivered ... I'm glad that's not anything I have to arrange for myself, but I sure do hope it goes well!! Anyway, apart from my own selfish concerns, I am really glad to be over here experiencing life during this timeframe.
Ahah! My pictures are working now! So, this is the Arabian Carpet, handmade and of VERY high quality, which is worth roughly ten thousand US dollars. Yes, really. And it's so beautiful. If I had that kinda change sitting around, I would've loved to get it ... but you know, somehow, I must've left it in my other pants...
This picture doesn't even quite do it justice, but it gives a good idea... the blue is SO vivid, so deep, like it was a vast expanse rather than a few layers of silky threads. The details in the design are just gorgeous, and after the lesson we got during the tour about how they're made, it's amazing to think of a woman (or a couple of women) creating this thing in such fine detail, over the period of two to four years depending if it was one or two women.
Saturday, September 01, 2007
So in the meantime, a little non-picture-related update:
Still in the hotel. Found this amazing flat last week, but it was already booked up. So I'm still looking, and I think I'm going to cave in and use an agent if I don't find anything soon. I've got another month, but (as you said, Caren) it gets really cabin-fever-y hanging out in the hotel all the time... especially since I didn't wanna keep paying so stinkin' much for the internet. I've been enjoying the pool and the restaurants in the hotel itself, and finally ventured out to the nearby coffee shop today for its free wireless.
They're showing the school-bus season of Veronica Mars and one of the earlier seasons of NCIS (when Kate or whatever was still an agent .. she is so similar to Agent Da'vid that I'm not sure they're even different characters really), so that's great to be catching up on... No House, though, or Gray's.. those four made up the only shows I watched regularly. They show a lot of stuff that surprises me here, and some stuff that makes me embarassed to think that may be why so many have such negative opinions of Americans... because of the smut we produce and market for ourselves. Of course, I sorta felt that way while in the States, but it's become more apparent here.
I have also, interestingly enough, become much more aware of how atypical I am compared to my Stateside peers, because of the smaller concentration here. It's harder to find folks like me, since I can't just walk up to a civilian shop in line with my hobbies and make friends so easily. Don't get me wrong, I'm getting along just fine as far as friends go, but I do miss being able to just walk around town and meet folks.
Anyway.... I'm going to make one more attempt at the pictures thing and then call it a day for update purposes.
Ohh.... and the darn CLEP tests here are paper based, which is not only a less pleasant format, but also will take a lot longer to get onto my transcript, assuming I even pass them.. I'm not so sure about this past one, which is sad.. I just took Humanities and I was really pretty sure it would be fairly easy for me, but since I don't have a results sheet in my hand, I've spent all week thinking about the questions I know I got wrong or completely guessed on. I really prefer the computer based tests. Had I known, I may've just taken a wild swing at them in Jax whether or not I took the time to study.
All that aside, though, it's really good times here, the heat is still unbelievable, but now it's more fun watching the newcomers try to deal with it or thinking about all the water-weight I won't be carrying back to the States after living in a natural sauna for a year..... and the coffee and chocolate are both excellent, which is what really matters, right?
Hippie: (after hearing Max wants to avoid the draft)You still have options man.
"So how do i do normal
"It's been known for a train to jump its track. It's ok, so you'll know, most times they come back. It's ok to lose your life, when you finally see your birth. It's ok to say, "I love you," and figure sometimes it's gonna hurt.
"As a comedian, you have to start the show strong and you have end the show strong. Those are the two key elements. You can't be like pancakes, all exciting at first, but then by the end you're sick of 'em!"
"Hey, this is weird! I ordered one frozen yogurt and they gave me two. You don't happen to like frozen yogurt, do you?" "I love it!" "You're kidding! What a crazy random happenstance!"
"Only one more trip," said a gallant seaman,
"It was Flannery O'Connor who said that 'grace must wound before it heals.' Her words help me to separate what is most true about life from the things we want to be true. We want life to be painless. True grace is a hard sell because in order for the human heart to understand forgiveness and love, it must first experience darkness and isolation. A life lived under the rule of grace is a life of need which allows us to receive an appreciate the gift of the giver of grace. This is why we will always have the poor with us; this is why God will not allow us to ignore injustice; this is why we are called to a life we cannot handle alone, which can and will break us in the effort to live it -- because grace must wound before it heals."
Should auld acquaintance be forgot,
I thought Christmas Day would never come. But it's here at last, so Mom and Dad, the waiting's finally done. And you gotta get up, you gotta get up, you gotta get up, it's Christmas morning.
O little town of Bethlehem,
Walk humbly, son
Strings of lights above the bed
"In a little while I'll feel better
"Please tell me once again that You love me. That You love me. Please tell me once again that I matter to You and You really care. Please tell me once again that You're with me, forever. It's not that I could ever doubt you, I just love the way it sounds. I just love the way it sounds."
"Every once in a while, a bannerzen posts."
"7:30. What kind of people have to be at work at 7:30?"
have you seen my love
Traveling is significant because it takes so much effort. Either you're going to some place you love, or you're leaving some place you love. Usually it's both.
I think I have Bond's ability to get into trouble but not his ability to get out of it. Someday I'll be in some foreign country with 5 thugs with automatic rifles pointed at me, and I'll just.... fart
"You had no alternative .. We must work in the world. The world is thus." --- "No .. Thus have we made the world."
The summer ends and we wonder where we are And there you go, my friends, with your boxes in your car And you both look so young And last night was hard, you said You packed up every room And then you cried and went to bed But today you closed the door and said "We have to get a move on. It's just that time of year when we push ourselves ahead, We push ourselves ahead."
Looking out the bedroom at this snowy TV.. ever since commencement, no one's asking 'bout me. But I bet before the night falls, I could catch the late bus.. take small provisions and this Beethoven bust. I could find work in the outskirts of the city, eat some fish on the way.. befriend an old dog for a roadside pal, find a nice couch to stay -- a pull-out sofa, if you please!"
Ooh! Get me away from here I'm dying
"The trouble with folks like Brownie is they hold their life in like a bakebean fart at a Baptist cookout and only let it slip out sideways a little at a time when they think there's nobody noticing. Now that's the last thing on earth the Almighty intended. He intended all the life a man's got inside him, he should live it out just as free and strong and natural as a bird."
"Life is a phantasmagoria .. It is a pell-mell of confused and tumultuous scenes. We try in vain to find a purpose - to bring an order, a unity to life. I suppose that is the appeal of art. Art is the blending of the real and the unreal, the conquering of nature. It is real enough for it to reflect life, but has the unity that life lacks."
"in time memories fade.
I've always had this feeling about Patty that she's complex and intriguing...I like Patty alot. She's got a good heart and tells terrible squirrel jokes.
"Try to remember that world-weariness isn't necessarily a bad thing. In the book of Mark, I think its Mark, Jesus looks at a blind man and sighs. Jesus sighed before even telling the man he would be healed. He sighed, and I'm not sure that there's a much more human expression of frustration than this. Faced with the horrid picture of a cursed earth and looking into the white eyes of a man blind from the day he was born, He sighed. The Creator of the universe in human form was sad "of the evils of this world," the world He created. Your Creator sighed for you in the same way before He healed you and made you His."
After the last secret's told
After the last bullet tears through flesh and bone
After the last child starves
And the last girl walks the boulevard
After the last year that's just too hard
There is love
-- Andrew Peterson, After the Last Tear Falls
"when you most need people, you don't need perfection - just to know someone gives a damn"
"My brother's always [telling me], 'You should be more mysterious--boys like that.' But I'm not good at that. It would just make me more uncomfortable."
"Loners want to kill you, but not for any particular reason, and they'd probably like you if they weren't being guided by the violent voices in their head."
"No one wants to oil a snake these days!"
Her mom: "We're all safe."
-- Jamie Bevill and her mother during Christmas-Decorating dinner, December 20, 2002
i'd throw out all my shoes
i'd set up cans for friends
to dump their shoes senseless shoes
a pioneer of callouses
lordy-be and bless my soul
i'd be a barefoot spaceman
the first you'd ever know"
"The best way to have God's will for your life is to have no will of your own!"
"Generations circle and each one atones. The sins of the father are seperate from my own. In Pilgrim's Progress, it's forgiveness that makes whole, and as time levels and consoles, I place the daisies in your bowl."
"For a moment he just stared at her. Then, with an urf-urf-urf of laughter, he turned back to the controls."
"It's on the internet.. so, then, it must be true."
"Be at least as interested in what people can become as you are in what they have been."
Blessed be the rock stars!"
Get up for the shower.. wash and scrub and scour every part as if a cleaner man could better bear the shame..
"She was eating gnarly amounts of calcium."
Homeless man to girl trying to give him money: "No, thanks, ma'am. I never work on Sundays."
"Wow! I never thought I'd need a radar-guided spatula!"
"Isn't it great that I articulate? Isn't it grand that you can understand? ... I can talk, I can talk, I can talk!"
I believe that people laugh at coincidence as a way of relegating it to the realm of the absurd and of therefore not having to take seriously the possibility that there is a lot more going on in our lives than we either know or care to know... I suspect that part of it, anyway, is that every once and so often we hear a whisper from the wings that goes something like this: "You've turned up in the right place at the right time. You're doing fine. Don't ever think that you've been forgotten.
When I lay these questions before God I get no answer. But a rather special sort of "No answer." It is not the locked door. It is more like a silent, certainly not uncompassionate, gaze. As though He shook His head not in refusal but waiving the question. Like, "Peace, child; you don't understand."
CCM: You've spoken a lot more about crying than I ever thought you would.
"Youth is not a period of time. It is a state of mind, a result of the will, a quality of the imagination, a victory of courage over timidity, of the taste for adventure over the love of comfort. A man doesn't grow old because he has lived a certain number of years. A man grows old when he deserts his ideal. The years may wrinkle his skin, but deserting his ideal wrinkles his soul. Preoccuptaions, fears, doubts, and despair are the enemies which slowly bow us toward earth and turn us into dust before death. You will remain young as long as you are open to what is beautiful, good, and great; receptive to the messages of other men and women, of nature and of God. If one day you should become bitter, pessimistic, and gnawed by despair, may God have mercy on your old man's soul."
""Don't go matchmaking for me, Ilse," said Emily wit a faint smile... "I feel in my bones that I shall achieve old-maidenhood, which is an entirely different thing from having old-maidenhood thrust upon you."
"I wish Aunt Elizabeth would let me go to Shrewsbury, but I fear she never will. She feels she can't trust me out of her sight because my mother eloped. But she need not be afraid I will ever elope. I have made up my mind that I will never marry. I shall be wedded to my art"
"Tomorrow seems like a long ways away. But it will come, just like any other day... Deep inside, where the wounded creatures hide, I am afraid. Maybe I got lost somewhere along the way somehow. Please rescue me... Yea, though I walk through the valley of the dark shadow of death, I will fear no evil. For you are with me... Though I fear, though I am afraid, You are with me. Though I'm angry, tired, broken down and confused, You are with me. Though I sin like I've never sinned before, lose myself right out an open door, You are with me."
"The invisible people agreed about everything. Indeed most of their remarks were the sort it would not be easy to disagree with: "What I always say is, when a chap's hungry, he likes some victuals," or "Getting dark now; always does at night," or even "Ah, you've come over the water. Powerful wet stuff, ain't it?"" -- C. S. Lewis, The Voyage of the Dawn Treader
"When People object... that if Jesus was God as well as Man, then He had an unfair advantage which deprives Him for them of all value, it seems to me as if a man struggling in the water should refuse a rope thrown to him by another who had one foot on the bank, saying, "Oh but you had an unfair advantage." It is because of His advantage that He can help."
"But, you know, as a Christian, one of the big questions you always ask yourself is, "So we believe in Jesus, we believe in the teachings of the church, but what does that look like when it's lived out?" Because surely, one of the things that Jesus said that I think we often overlook is, "The person who hears my words and does them is like the wise man who built his house on the rock." He didn't say "the person who hears my words and thinks about 'em" or "whoever hears my words and agrees with it." But he said, "Whoever hears it and does it."
"find that which gives you breath and grants you more to give
"I have packed all my belongings. I don't belong here anymore. This pair of sandles, one pack to carry, this old guitar and this tattered old Bible. And I know I won't be afraid. 'cause I know, I know Home is where You are."
"Open up your weepy eyes, everyone is dancing. Angels peer through sweet disguise, through a fire of cleansing.
"You may be bruised and torn and broken, but
"I don't deserve to speak, and they don't deserve
to hear it. It's makin' me believe that it's not
"Kickin' against these goads sure did cut up my
feet. Didn't your hands get bloody as you washed
"They say God blessed us with plenty. I say
you?re blessed with poverty. ?Cause you never
stop to wonder whether earth is just a little
better than the Land of the Free"
"Computers will know everything in the 21st
century. They'll be like me in the 20th