Sunday, November 29, 2009

Time out of mind

Today has been a good day.

Where to start?


Yesterday, we had the science teacher's kids come down to D's house and we baked cookies for our guards for Eid. Since the kids are 7, 5 and 3, it was an adventure.

Next, we went over to our friend's house for supper, and then played some on a Wii that they had borrowed from other friends. I did pretty decent at Wii bowling. But Wii tennis was really fun.

Then we came back to campus and helped the science teacher's family decorate their Christmas tree. That was really fun. It's nice to feel at least a peripherally a part of someone's family.

Then, today, it was D's birthday! YAY!

This morning we went visiting some of our local friend's houses for Eid. This was the first time in over two years here that I have been visiting for Eid, and it was fun! I don't speak near enough of the local language to be able to communicate, but I can almost pick up on things. One of the places the father, a very kind man, kept trying to make me eat! I said, "Five Minutes" [in the local language], hoping that I could take a break for 5 minutes because I had been eating. He laughed, and then said that since I was a guest, I needed to eat every minute! So I had an apple. It seemed to placate him.

When we came back, we had lunch and then I got ready my surprise for D's birthday...

A scavenger hunt!

She liked it. At the end were some gifts that I had worked with her mom to send over, including two seasons of a TV show she really likes. So we watched some episodes. Next we worked on starting to pack some clothes that D is going to take back to the U.S. at Christmas. Then we went out to eat for her birthday. We went out with friends to the Indian Restaurant. It took an hour to get there, and included driving up the side of the mountain to try to avoid a traffic jam! Then we had dinner which was really good.

Finally, while D and I were sitting on my couch after we did Advent reading and candle lighting, I saw a mouse in my room! Arghh!! So I trapped him behind my dressers and hopefully can try to get him out later. I won't be like my friend and try to shoot him dead with a shotgun.

So that was today. It was a good day.

Thursday, November 26, 2009

Giving of Thanks

Yesterday was the 1 year dating anniversary for D and I! We celebrated by going out to a restaurant and having a nice date. Sometimes it is hard to believe we have been dating a year with all that has happened, but we have! I really like her. I told her we will have to keep this up for at least another year. :D

Today has been a good day. We got up this morning and went to the U.S. Embassy for the disorganized, not-really-an-event Turkey Trot. 5.3k. I got 4th! Unfortunately, there was no timer, but I don't think I could possibly have been much better than a 25. Oh well.

Then we came back to school, and I played in a staff flag football game. 8 guys, we had a good time. I threw 4 TD passes in my team's losing effort. None too shabby. Except I didn't do great on defense (not used to trying to grab flags.)

Finishing baking cookies followed, and then our staff thanksgiving dinner. It was good. Afterwards, we watched a Charlie Brown Thanksgiving and Charlie Brown and the Mayflower Voyagers (which was amazingly historically accurate, but strange and weird to see Adults in a Peanuts cartoon.) before I took our science teacher's two older boys home (the teacher,his wife and their two younger girls had already walked home.) This short, 2 minute walk involved a conversation with the 5 year old I was carrying about how he could see my breath but not his, the 7 year old asking why D and I don't live together, the 5 year old asking me why I liked D, all the while he's pulling my collar down, exposing my neck and upper chest to the cold air, while the 16 year old girl who lives on campus in the same house as the boys is giggling hysterically. It was good.

I just got a new update for my Kindle that includes native PDF support and manual page orientation rotation. I think that could be good. We'll have to see.

Finally, work is going OK, I have a project and some direction now which is great!

Happy thanksgiving everyone!

Sunday, November 22, 2009

It's Curtains for the Andromeda Galaxy!

Today was the last edition of my administering the test of English for non-native speakers. YAY! It went really well this time, in fact the biggest problem is that it went so well that I that I have nothing to complain about and get sympathy for! :(

School started back up yesterday, and it is kind of a relief. That was a bit too much time off. We have about 30 more days in country before we head out for the Christmas break. We're making it. Out security got lifted a touch so we were able to go over to our friends' last night. That was really nice, they are really fun people. We've hung out with people a lot the past few days, which has been good after the lower people quotient over the H1N1 break. D and I went over and had Indian with our science teacher's family Friday, and that was a lot of fun. We baked cookies with their kids (and then proceeded to eat too many of them) and shared funny stories.

I had Jr. High boys basketball today. It went really, really well. I think if it would not have gone well, I would have been alot more down, but it went great.

I played in a volleyball tournament last friday. My team got dead last. I don't do too well playing on horrific teams. I can handle decent, I don't do flat out bad well.

D and I are also taking language lessons with some other folks. The more I learn, the more I realize how idiomatic English is. I also have a fear of having an 'aha' moment and getting alot of the pieces put together right before I leave. That would be tragic.

I was reading Schaffer today while I was administering the english test. I am really enjoying what I am reading. He says a lot about understanding realism and how the Message really and truly is realistic. I think I will enjoy the rest of the messages that I have from him.

Finally, I leave you with a thought from him. Sometimes we look for all or nothing from people, when instead we should have realistic expectations from the fallen people we deal with.

Thursday, November 12, 2009

Smith and Redouble

We keep on rolling, even as the tide seems to break on the shore.

We keep on finding, even as the lost mount up beyond what they can bear.

We keep on singing, even as the drop comes up faster than we thought.

We keep on meaning, even as the triumph of our brothers is proclaimed.

We keep on slowing, even as the pile around us feeds off of its inertia.

We keep on winning, even as the adversaries try to pull us down.

Monday, November 09, 2009

Arctic Failings

The weather is starting to turn here. It is colder and colder. Of course, in my hot box of an office, I am wearing a T-Shirt. This is going to be great when the cold really hits. I have been working a little, doing some of my tasks as well as doing some troubleshooting for our sister organization that D works with. Not a lot, but enough to stay kind of busy.

We made the menu for the break (since the cook stayed [and Hallelujah for that! Since we haven't been able to go out and shop, pickings would be getting mighty lean] but had no menu), and it includes mostly food we like. Except the chili. Beans are doing worse (or better) at doing a number on my stomach, so that's been slightly uncomfortable tonight.

I have been reading a decent bit, thanks to the magic of the Kindle. That device has been so handy. I am glad I purchased it.

Please continue to remember this country. There is so much going on here, I don't think I could explain the bits I understand, and I definitely couldn't make heads or tails of a lot more that I don't know about. Interesting things, and Work to be done here.

Tuesday, November 03, 2009

All I'll ever need, the Nerve, the Greed...

I live in a country where the government suddenly mandated that schools must take three weeks off to prevent the spread of disease that no one was really talking about 5 days ago. Now everyone is walking around with masks. Oh, what controversial election? People have died in the last month. Never mind that epidemic TB, we might have H1N1!

So, lots of teachers are taking advantage of the three week break and leaving. D's organization is not being forced to take off, though, so they are still here. I decided to not leave her, so I am here too. I should be able to get some projects done.

I was talking to one of the teachers today, he used to coach basketball so we have swapped stories occasionally. He told me today about one time he got a technical. He said they were in a game that they were losing, in part due to inconsistent refereeing, so he called time out and sent one of his players in and told him, "Guard the ref. Don't let him get the ball." Player goes in and smothers the ref. After a minute of this, the ref stops play and comes over to talk to the coach, saying, "What's going on?" Coach says, "I'm sorry, he must be confused. I told him to guard the person who was hurting us the most." T.