Monday, December 28, 2009

Another Day

Christmas was good. I got a bunch of movies that I had asked for, and the rest of the Office on DVD. I got some books, some chocolate, and some cool T-Shirts from my relatives and my pretty girlfriend. I got my family books, movies, and piano tunings. I got D a pedicure and a necklace. It was a good Christmas.

I'm in StL visiting my uncle's family and my Grandpa. Grandpa is doing good, which is encouraging. I'm on the road a lot this break, but it is nice too. I like driving in wide open country.

Wednesday, December 23, 2009

So this is Christmas...

I don't think I've ever done this before, but it is Christmas, and I think this would be a great way to help be the reason for Christmas to some needy people.

The dish washer in our dining hall, whom I'll call Z, at school is 19. We think he got through 8th grade in the local schools. He has worked for us for a year and a half now. He is the only one in his family with a job, and has been for the last 3 years, if I understood what he once told me correctly. Two days ago, Z's father died. It was not totally unexpected, but still unfortunate. Z has a mother and two younger sisters that he is still the primary breadwinner for.

Here's why I post this - in local culture, the family has to provide a big meal for the funeral. It is expensive and it can cost up to $5000 which is a lot of money when the primary breadwinner makes about $150 a month. The employees at the school are pitching in to give them money to help out, and it would be great if you would consider giving too. If you would be willing, e-mail me with the amount you would be willing to give, and then I will let our staff in Kabul now. I need a pledge because they have to have the funeral tomorrow.

Please, consider giving to be Him to those who need to know Him.

Tuesday, December 22, 2009


We made it to Atlanta! No problems with customs, YAY! Now one more flight to MCI with D and then we'll be at her home. We are glad to be back in the US!

Monday, December 21, 2009

A restriction of ablation

We are in Dubai! We made it A-OK with minimal problems so far, except for me having to tell several locals at the airport, in the local language, that D is my wife (since they have no word or concept for girlfriend). We made it through with all of our gifts without any hassles, YAY! We will be on the plane to the U.S. soon, please Ask that D's legs don't swell.

Sunday, December 20, 2009

Shine with me

Well, it's almost that time. Soon, I will depart.

D and I are pretty excited to be going home. It's been a long, good, hard, couple of months. It will be good to go home and be in a far more relaxing, hopefully far less stressful environment. I am looking forward to seeing my family and spending time with both D and my family.

I will share one really encouraging thing that happened to me yesterday. I've been working on an update to our website, and we've been corresponding with a company about it. There were some things we wanted different with their quote, so I sent them an e-mail about the various things, which I also copied the school director (who is also involved in the project) on. He sent me a back an e-mail saying that I had sent a great concise e-mail, excellent job. It made me pretty excited, because that's the first piece of feedback I can remember receiving in the last 2.5 years about me doing things that are a little outside of my comfort zone and that I was unsure about, where I felt like my boss was in a position to observe and really say I had done a good job. It may seem like a little thing, but it really made my day. D can tell you that I was pretty excited about it.

Not else much to say. Please ask we have safe and hassle-free travel if you think of it. Also ask for some of our staff who aren't leaving for Christmas, especially our science teacher and his family.

We'll be back home (well, I'll be at D's so close to Home) in the U.S. in under 40 hours!

Monday, December 14, 2009

Subtle sound layers

At this time in one week, I hope to be heading back to America.

It's easy to answer, "Yes, I am going home for Christmas!" when people ask, but what, in reality, is home?

The longer I live, the less I find it easy to define home.

Is home a place? Is home my room in my parent's house? Is home the town I spent most of my life in? Is home my room here in the 'Stan? Is home being with my family? Is home being with D? Is home a state more than a place?

Is there peace to be found on earth, and is that peace really home? Is there really to be joy to the world?

Sometimes, I look in the mirror and I don't recognize who is there. It's not just that I'm getting older, that I've put on weight, that my hair is growing out [no, not on my face, Mom, don't be worried]. It's that in ways subtle and ways gross, I have changed in the last two and a half years.

So what is home? Is it a place that didn't change while I did? If that's true, I can never go home, because it always changes. Is it completely subjective or is it quantifiable? Is it my home culture, or is it the strange amalgamation that I have come to live in?

Then I wonder why finding home is so important.

Because when my wonderings are at the end, I know where my home is. My home is not in the world, my home is not in the things that will not last, my home is not in the falsehoods that I put stock in, my home is literally where my heart is. I have set my heart in things worthwhile, and things that will last. My home will Last.

Heaven and nature sing.

Friday, December 11, 2009

Happy Birthday!

I wanted to use this blog update to say,


Dad, you're great. You've always been supportive of me in big decisions, and you've been a great encouragement to me times when I've been frustrated here. You taught me lots of lessons earlier that have really paid dividends here, and I'm so grateful for that. I miss getting to hang out with you, watch movies and play games. I'm really excited to get some time to do that in a couple weeks! I hope you have / are having a great birthday!

I love you,


Sunday, December 06, 2009

The longest sounding statement

There will always be things here that I am still growing in my understanding of.

What to do when... don't understand the decisions that other people make which affect you. wonder why this thing I want isn't going to happen. wonder how to deal with situations that come up and make you angry and are powerless to deal with here. try to figure out how to be the man you need to be.

But in all these things, and through all these things, there are constants. There are things that we Know, and those are the things I will hold on to.

There are day to day things that encourage me. I had the Jr. High boys for basketball yesterday, and it went fairly well. They may not like that we drill for 1/2 an hour before playing for 1/2 an hour, but I can see improvement in their skills, and I keep emphasizing to them that if they get better, they will be able to have more fun in more situations. They're pretty good kids most of the time.

Please Remember a friend that D has, who is going through a difficult time and who we don't know how to help in the constraints of the culture here. Please Ask that we would make it through 2 more weeks until we get to leave, and that we would be able to be refreshed while home.

Tuesday, December 01, 2009


Today was kind of a sad day.

We'd been given an ultimatum that we had to relocate our dog, Max, or we would have to have him put down. So we searched and searched and searched, trying to find a good home for him. The few people that seemed interested didn't end up wanting him. We were getting close to the deadline.

Then today, our chaoikidar (basically, our gate keeper and grounds keeper) found out we had to send him away and said, "I will take him!" Yay! Max likes him, which was one of our worries, and we know he won't make him into a fighting dog, which was our other worry. So today, Max went home with his new owner. Kind of sad, but really good that he's going to a good home and will be able to stay alive.

Yet I'm going to miss him.