Tuesday, December 28, 2010

Why I Love my Mac

 So, I grew up in a very strict household. We were raised religiously (thank goodness), Republican, and on Microsoft computers. I never had a reason to complain with any of these, they seemed to treat me well. Life was happy and so was I. Then, upon completing my two year mission to Los Angeles, I received my first laptop: it was a Dell. Upon meeting her, it was a complicated relationship. I treated her nicely, did everything I could to ensure her comfort and ensure she felt used and appreciated. Well, it was a one sided relationship. She randomly would decide she didn't want anything to do with me and shut down (quite often). As time went on, things worsened. Her battery started giving out, the screen isn't bright, the memory got maxed out, all sorts of updates every single time I use it. Error messages, permission messages, gray screens, blue screens, it was just a mess. So, thanks to Obama's education money, I invested in a new frontier. I went against the family grain and got a MacBook Pro. After having my new girl now for 4 months, this is what I have found out, and is why I love her:
1) Back-lit keyboard! Check it out! What a brilliant idea!!! So you can type in darkness, how come no one thought of that before?!?
 2) Quick-It boots up and shuts down in a matter of seconds (my Dell would take minutes, not even kidding).
3) Battery Life-The battery lasts forever!!
4) Sleek and sexy-It just has an external beauty about it. Everything about it sleek, sexy, and sharp. The colors, the angles, everything combines to make a nice looking piece of machinery (as opposed to my previous love who was frumpy, big, and bulky)
5) Volume control-It saves the volume settings depending on what you use. For example, when I am using the internal speakers, I can have it on full blast. Then when I slide in the headphones, it will adjust to the last headphone volume setting I had, which is a lot lower (several times I would put in my headphones, unmute my Dell, and blow my ears out). It also remembers the settings for my coaxial cable.
6) They have great tech support and treat you right.
7) Hot keys-You can set and adjust the hotkeys to accomplish anything you want
8) Language interface-You can type in just about any language possible, which is convenient for an Arabic student such as myself. Especially when you have to  type a 3 page paper in Arabic, what a livesafer!
9) The scroll pad-With one finger I control the mouse. With two fingers I can scroll up, down, or sideways, zoom in or out, and rotate certain images. With three fingers, I can go back or forward. With four fingers I can minimize all my windows. All that on a tiny little touch pad thingy. Wow!
However, as any good argument, I must point out a few deficits:
1) The window interface-It is a lot harder to navigate between windows with a Mac, the cont-tab/alt-tab combination isn't nearly as affective here as it was on my Dell.
2) There is no right click...unless you want to press an extra button! Way too much work to accomplish that.
3) Saving photos seems like a lot more work, but that could be because I mainly used Picasa on my Dell, which is a great program for organizing photos.
Overall, I would recommend the MacBook Pro to any windows user who is ready for a change. It takes a short while to get used to the new button layout and interface, but it is definitely worth it.

Monday, December 20, 2010

CHRISTMAS BREAK!!

I don't know about you guys, but I am freaking tired!! I am so, so, so grateful for this break. I have been going to school straight for far too long. Check it out: summer term, fall/winter semester, spring/summer and now fall. Not to mention that I will soon be starting winter, doing an internship for spring/summer, and then finishing up next fall. Within this longer-than-two-year period, I will have not had more than 2 weeks of breathing room and rest from school. I finally reached my breaking point this semester, fairly early on. I just could not bring myself to do homework or study for tests. Will see evidence of this when grades are posted. To my credit, I was also working 2-3 jobs and working as an officer in the Arabic club and helping out in other ways. I finally broke.
This is why I am so grateful for this Christmas break. In a 2 week period, I have naught but 6 commitments: church, 3 days of work, Christmas, and New Years. In 2 weeks, this is all I have to do! It is going to be so marvelous!! This now means I can sleep, eat, read, and watch movies, the recipe for relaxation. Especially because there are so few people stuck in Provo, I will be mostly alone! That being said, I hope to be so bored of having nothing to do, that I will be able to jump into classes next semester, ready to go! I am taking 1 Arabic class, 1 Chinese class (yes sir, you read that right), accounting, and a handful of business classes! This semester should be a fun one. I hope the business classes aren't too bad.
Concerning work next semester, I will no longer be working at Walden, just not feasible in my scheduling. I will be working almost all day/afternoon as an Arabic 202 TA, I'll also be in class on occasion.

What I've watched so far:
Tron 3D
Chronicles of Narnia: Voyage of the Dawn Treader
Despicable Me
Karate Kid (the newer one)
Nacho Libre
Slumdog Millionaire
Scott Pilgrim vs. the World (twice)
Part of How Harry met Sally
How the Grinch Stole Christmas
Shrek
Saturday Night Live: The Best of Chris Farley
Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King
Charade
Some Like it Hot
An Office Episode
A lot of Youtube

What I am reading:
The Scriptures (New Testament and Book of Mormon)
A book on Thomas Paine
Harry Potter and the Sorcerers Stone (in Arabic)
Studying up for my new job as an Arabic 202 TA

Some Good Food I've Made:
Chicken Noodle Soup
Steak
Sloppy Joes

Monday, November 1, 2010

T-9


So after having complained about my predictive text for so long, I decided to blog about it. I think my top 10, not necessarily in any order of ridiculous words are:
1) Daguerreotype (trying for faith)
2) Ichthyologist (trying for haha)
3) Sanctimonious, homiletics (going for google)
4) Eagling (trying for failing)
5) Guppy (trying for hurry)
6) Cycle (trying for awake)
7) It takes 4 cycles to get to ok
8) If you're not careful honored can turn into homosexual real fast
9) Before line comes up on predictive text jimenez does
10) homiletics for google

and oddly enough, while texting text in the text processor of my phone, the textual word texted does not exist

feel free to let me know of some good ones i missed, thanks!

Sunday, October 31, 2010

My new habit....

So, one would think that a guy who has 3 jobs, 17 credit hours of demanding classes, a frisbee team, tons of homework, and a floundering social life, would have much time for anything else. Well, I am here to admit I do have time for other things!
This following picture is evidence!!

Here are 2 of my new favorite hobbies. In preparation for my midnight release tickets of Harry Potter, I thought it important to re-read the 7th book. I haven't read it for 2+ years.
However, of even greater import, is knitting. Thanks to my co-worker, Allison, I have picked up a new habit. I was always intrigued by it, especially after having a friend in high school be able to knit beanies. So, I had her teach me. I guess right now i am working on a scarf. It seems the easiest, albeit time consuming. It has taken quite a while to get as far as I have gotten...which as evidenced by the picture, is not very far.
Sean, where do you find the time you might query. Well, I don't have an honest answer for you, I don't rightly know. I guess we'll find out when I learn the grade of my midterm in Political Science 200-sketchy at best.
I just wanted you to know that whilst in college, I deem it important enough to continually develop and acquire new skills...even if they might be viewed as slightly effeminate...or grandmotherly...

Friday, October 15, 2010

BYU

People often give BYU a bad rep. I politely disagree with them. Sure there is a lot of bureaucracy and red tape that often doesn't make sense. But that can be found everywhere. However, what I really love about BYU (aside from this luscious cummfy chair from which I write) is their appreciation for other cultures. I, as you know, have developed an affinity for the Middle East. That being said, I noticed an interesting sign whilst walking in the library (one reason why I am sick of BYU). This sign was an advertisement for a special art collection that they had going on in the basement. It caught my interest because it was involved with the Middle East. It was an artistic representation of the 99 names of God according to Islam. While I didn't really find the artwork that moving, I did find it moving that our church-sponsored school put this on. This struck me as particularly important because of the historical context in which we found ourselves one long month ago. Just where were we? Well, New York was all confused about the Islamic center (not mosque) near (not at) ground zero. Terry Jones (an embarrassment to our Lord's name), the so called pastor from Florida, was threatening to burn copies of the Qur'an. Arson had just been committed as some ignorant Americans burned tractors that were being used to construct a bigger mosque in Tennessee (where Muslims had peacefully coexisted for near 30 years), and everywhere else in the world Islamophobia rages rampant. In a sea of negativity, bigotry, and racism (yes, racism), our church rose above it and hosted a special art exhibit about Islam. Thank you church for being open minded...unlike the diametrically opposed example of the church in Florida. God bless you, me, and all of His children-black, white, believer, not, ignorant, or informed-we all need it!

PS This might strike you as interesting:
http://www.nytimes.com/2010/09/28/us/28religion.html
Good on the Mormons and Jews, interesting insight on atheists and agnostics-embarrassment to many of the rest (sorry Catholic friends...but seriously? come on...)

Wednesday, September 29, 2010

I need more hours in one day...or do without sleep...

Well, once again, I must apologize for being a lazy writer. I decided to divide this into what I consider the questions you'll most want to know: girls, school, work, the future

Girls: hahahahaha

School: Busy, I am taking 16 credits worth of classes, a lighter load-credit wise. I have one terrible, fearful class: Poly Sci 200. This class is all about writing and research. It is a tough, and busy class. However, it's invaluable information. So, I must muscle through it. The other classes are going well enough. I have 2 Arabic classes and a model UN class. 2 more not worth noting.

Work: This is actually the most dramatic part of my life right now! I still have 12-13 hours of my regular job that I have had for 2 years already. For all my fellow money room readers, Karla is still kickin! I also picked up a job as a TA for a short lecture series (from which I am currently writing this post). It will be for about a month. In addition, I am also teaching Arabic at Walden School for the Liberal Arts. It is twice a week for about 3 hours total. YIKES!! I had all three jobs today! Needless to say, I am busy. Hence the laugh for the topic of girls!

So, on for the future! My plans have changed a lot, but these ones really excite me. I am applying for the DC seminar-an internship in our nation's capital. This looks real fun! That will be spring/summer. Then, this next idea is real fluid. It depends on my professor. He might need an extra grader to go to Egypt in the fall of '11. I told him I was interested, I hope I get chosen! I really would like to go. That means I will be gone Spring to the end of the year. The internship has a high chance of going through, the second study abroad, low. So we'll see how it goes!

Other than that, the family is well! I am well! My house is great! All is well! We'll just wait till the girls section actually has an update!

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

Allow Me a Moment of Reflection

Beloved Readers,
I once again find myself at a milestone in my life. I find that in my life I have these goals that I constantly look forward to. "I can't wait to get to high school...I can't wait to graduate high school and go to college...I can't wait to go on my mission...I can't wait to get home from my mission" are only examples. However, midway through and definitely upon completion of my mission, I decided that Arabic was the course of study and the route for my future. After this literally life-changing decision, I learned that in order to complete this major I would have to do a summer-long study abroad in Egypt. An almost overwhelming thought to actually engage these people in their own land. A completely foreign country, culture, language, customs, and FOOD! But, above all, I felt an nearly uncontrollable excitement. Well, those longs months of waiting and anticipating have come and gone. Additionally, those long months of studying Arabic in the completely foreign environment described above have come to an end. Tomorrow I look out to my last full day in the Middle East. It's a weird thought. One more life's chapter down. I guess I can pat myself on my back for accomplishing this goal.
Allow me to take a moment of reflection of things I will miss, and things I won't miss so much. I know I still have to update you about the last days in Egypt, Israel and Jordan, but there is so much to say and such little time that I have to devote to it. So, I think any start is a good start. Here's to Egypt!

The Food (this one is a positive and a negative)
What you see here is foul (pronounced fool) its a type of bean dish. Not particularly delicious. Other stuff like shawarma or kosheray were good in small amounts. Homemade meals (which were few and far between for me) were also really good.


The People (definitely going to miss)
This guy is the guy who served me the above dish. Not a bad bone in his body. Most the people here, contrary to popular belief, are some of the nicest folks you can find. I really am going to miss there openness and generosity
The air (obviously bad)
This is a before and after picture of Cairo. Between this and the intensive amount of smoking that they do, lung cancer is unavoidable. Quite sad really.

Juice (one of the biggest upsides)
This is my favorite guy at my favorite juice shop pouring me one of my favorite juices. Subia with ice cream is the most amazing juice I have tasted. It is a coconut, vanilla, sugar drink mixed with ice cream. So, so, so delicious. All the juices at this place were under a dollar for a large and it was all fresh squeezed, we watched them peel most of the fruits. Oh how I will miss that

Litter (need I say anything)
This stuff is everywhere. It is quite sad that they have little regard for their exterior country (the insides are immaculate). You can see it all over, even in the nicer areas and in the poorer areas, shown above, it creates a rank smell.

These things are only a few that represent a wide range of emotions that I have connected to that city. I am sure I could draw a hundred more. Suffice it to say, Cairo, I will miss you and return soon, in-sha-allah.

That being said, I guess the next two big landmarks I have to look forward to are "I can't wait till I graduate college and start the real world...and I can't wait till I get married." When will they happen? Who has any clue?

Tuesday, June 29, 2010

Piety

I have always considered myself a pretty religious guy. I take my church responsibilities seriously. I try to strengthen my testimony of the Savior daily by reading the scriptures (The Book of Mormon and the Bible) and by continual prayer. However, I have come to find that my piety, in many ways, is overshadowed by the people here. It has been an incredible opportunity to be here and to observe how many of these, our brethren, interact with God and how seriously they take their relationship with him. I would like to focus on some ways they have done it and see if I can apply anything they take from this to my life. These three things are prayer, reading the scriptures, and missionary work.

1. Prayer
Most everyone has heard about the Muslim and their 5 prayers. 5 times a day, ranging from 4 in the morning to 9 at night a man can be heard making the call to prayer. Not every Muslim prays at this specific time. Many make it up later, things like their job prohibit it. However, I have been immensely impressed as I have seen their fidelity in praying. I have seen men set aside their fishing poles, kneel down in their Shell Gas Station uniforms, and take a break from teaching all in order to prayer. During the call to prayer I have seen people turn down barely audible music, stop conversation and stop games in order to listen to the call. In order to perform these prayers, one must enter a state of ritual purity, thus, they will wash themselves and get mentally ready to perform this prayer. In addition to those 5 prayers, Muslims perform prayers in their head, much like we do. For example, I have seen men on the Metro reciting prayers as they hold their prayer beads. If only we as members of our church took prayer with more of a devoted frame of mind. How often do we say a quick, rushed prayer in the morning and before we go to bed and expect God to bring to pass all our fanciful imaginations? Maybe we can take this more seriously.

2. Scriptures
Muslims focus an incredible amount on the listening to and reading of their holy book, the Holy Qur'an. They listen to recitations of it, memorize it, play it in Taxi's, stores, loud speakers, on their cell phones out loud on the Metro and get so excited when you can recite it to them. Often you can find people reading while they ride on the Metro. Cars will have it in them, I found a copy of it in my teachers computer bag, it is everywhere. In order to read from it, you have to be clean and have declared your intention to follow God. The book cannot touch the ground, nor can it have any other book placed on top of it. They, in many ways, view this book to be the earthly representation of God, and accord it much more respect. How much more faithful of members would we be if we found occasion to read this book en route to our destinations, listen to the audio tapes, ect?

3: Missionary Work

They LOVE to talk about their faith. They have no qualms whatsoever about discussing Islam. They do not shy back, they do not feel shame. They know in what they believe and will share that with you. I often find myself nervous to bring up religion, but they have no such reservations. I often wish I had the capacity to share what I know to be true like they share their beliefs. It is an inspiring thing.

We have so much to learn about this faith. Often, and unfairly, they are negatively portrayed in the media. Granted, many crimes have been perpetuated in their name. Lest we forget the black marks on Christianity: the Crusades, Inquisition, Protestant revolution, treatment of Mormons, bombing of abortion centers, killing gays, and the KKK. The banner of Christianity has been stained with as much blood throughout the years. I have lived among Muslims, I have worshiped, eaten and laughed with them. I know that these people are good, honest, loving, generous, but above all, pious people. I stand with my enlightened Christians who will extend the hand of friendship to them to heal the many wounds that we have inflicted upon ourselves in the name of religion and politics. Only God can help us now.

Wednesday, June 2, 2010

Tuesday is now our adventure day

Our class schedule was rearranged a little bit, and as such, we now have Tuesday with no classes. So yesterday, myself and two friends undertook an adventure. We went to a house that survived from the Ottoman Empire, it was probably from around 16th or 17th century. It was kept in good shape and is now a fun little tourist spot. It was really cool to walk through it and see how the Cairene elite would have lived centuries ago. Very beautiful. It was also situated touching one wall of the Ibn Tulun Mosque. This mosque was awesome! It is a huge mosque! Something like 4 acres, and was built in the 9th century. It is the oldest surviving mosque in Cairo and is almost completely intact. We climbed the minaret (tower) and looked over Cairo, what a sight! Then we walked back to the Metro and stopped and got some juice. This was one of the biggest reasons for my excitement to be here, fresh juice! I drank a cup full of manjo juice and it cost me only 40 american cents! What an incredible price! I love the Middle East. Then before arriving at the metro we stepped inside the Sayyida Zeinab mosque. She was the granddaughter of the prophet Muhammed, and was buried in this mosque. This mosque was amazing! Whereas the Ibn Tulun was old and stone with no elaborate features, this one was carpeted and with chandeliers and fans and all sorts of nice decorations. We sat there in the air conditioned mosque soaking in the beauty of it and watching these pious people worship when the call to prayer went off. The muezzin (one who delivers the call) had a beautiful voice and it was so relaxing and spiritual to see the sons of Abraham worshiping the same God we do, albeit in a different way. Then we went home and started homework. What a fun day! I wonder what next Tuesday will hold?!?



Me on the end of a huge minaret








The mansion we toured










Inside the mansion









An accurate view of much of Cairo, sadly










Inside the Ibn Tulun mosque









Our tour group








The courtyard of the Ibn Tulun mosque, a hypostyle mosque featuring a minaret that wasn't originally intended for the call to prayer and was modeled after a Persian mosque




A view from the minaret, overlooking the massive city of Cairo, it is enormous.








Look at the detail put into this wall, the ceilings were equally detailed





I couldn't put a fraction of the pictures I wanted to up on the blog, I had too many as it was. So check out my facebook album which should be featuring them soon!

Monday, May 17, 2010

The Adventure Continues


So I am nigh unto approaching a whole month in Egypt. I guess this moves from the realm of tourist into...well, what am I know? Occasionally we will still do touristy things, such as loading up on 2 big buses and heading down to Alexandria. It is a really cool city-very different from Cairo in many ways, yet it still maintains its uniquely Egyptian flavor. I find myself busier than ever now, scarcely being able to meet all the demands on my time, and yet I am going to go see Robin Hood tonight. Not to mention the fact that I am here writing this post.

Things are going quite well though. Aside from being busy and from living on a very limited wardrobe, always eating out, not being to drink from the tap and a whole lot of other things, I really feel blessed to be here in Egypt. It is a fun place to be. There is always life and action. A couple of nights ago I found myself walking home at 2 at night and there was so much going on still. Shops were open, people were playing chess and backgammon, shisha was being smoked and a lot more. This wasn't just the youth mind you, there were old people too. It was insane how much happens here.

I've learned so much here and have some fun things to talk about, but I will save those for the next set of posts. I don't want to cumber this one up, not to mention I have a lot of homework to knock out. Hope things are well!
ENJOY:



A faluka ride down the Nile









The kids loved us at the wedding party, see pic below







A dancing horse, ask me about it sometime, I have video evidence








I've finally seen the ocean! After the hot streets of Cairo, this was nice





A small group of us





Their tradition to play hackey-sack where ever we go, if you click on the picture to zoom in, see if you can read what the ball says



Check my facebook album for more pictures!

Tuesday, May 4, 2010

My Daily Schedule

So, every day of the week I have class at 8:00 in the morning. I have anywhere from 1-3 classes a day, each of which last for 2 hours. Then we have a recommended 2 hours of news paper reading each day, but it usually takes 3 or more. Additionally we are required to speak 2 hours to a native Egyptian, but time is of little importance to them and want was intended to be 2 hours can quickly turn into twice that. Don't forget my nap which lasts from anywhere to 20 minutes to an hour. So, worst case scenario, we are looking at a day that has 13 hours already scheduled. The average day, probably around 10 hours. So much for fun and personal time right? Well, I am going to try and find ways to combine these into one. Like going to mosques and asking people about Islam, or going to cathedrals and asking people about Christianity or sitting in the Metro and asking people for help and then turning that into a conversation. We also have a club membership that has fields for all sorts of sports and places for food and relaxation and swimming. Dil, our supervisor, wants us to spend time there too. So, what am I doing in Cairo, Egypt? That!

The Prince and the Pauper


So I guess I owe an update from these past days! So much has happened since our trip last Monday to the pyramids. Since then we have gone to the Coptic Christian area of Cairo. These guys have been in Egypt since well before the Muslims, they are one of the oldest sects of Christianity. Their architecture was superb! So pretty. We've explored random areas of downtown. We've been rained on. We walked through shopping districts. We've been bought dinner by poor Arabs. We've signed a contract for housing and then renegotiated said contract. We've made Arab friends. We've seen police abuse. We've attended church on Friday. However, one of the most insane things was Friday night.

Thanks to our friend Muhammad, we went to the Egyptian version of the Oscars. It was a quick affair, not too long. It was fun though, really quite entertaining. After, we all went outside to mingle. We quickly stole the spotlight. All these famous directors and such from this film festival had nothing over us. The girls in our group especially stole the competition. Everyone wanted pictures with them, some took several. Others wanted pictures with us guys too, but they mostly were interested in the girls. Rachel especially was loving all the attention. It was so funny watching them turn from average students from a low to mid social status in America to the cream of the crop in Egyptian society. I was asked a few times if I was a director of some sort. haha, nope, just a poor student.

School has started. We are on our third day now. I have one of the same teachers now that I had at BYU. The other seems cool enough so far. Classes are long and I have had to take a nap at some point each day because what we do is so draining. I'll devote a whole post to our schedule, just so this one isn't so cluttered.

We are making friends quickly. Ryan Coles, the one with the sunglasses at the top of this page is great at making friends and I am great at taking advantage of that. We have met some incredible people! The Arabs are so nice, it is so sad to see so many misconceptions rampant among some many Americans concerning these people. They would give us the shirt off their back if we asked it, yet we think all Arabs hate America. How wrong we are. I have been told several times that America is the greatest country. I think we have a lot to learn as a society before we achieve that.

All of these pictures are of Coptic Cairo, in other words, they are of Arab Christians who generally live in peace with their Muslim counterparts. These people and their churches are probably the oldest surviving sect of Christianity.








































Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Ancient Ruins

Yesterday, 26 April, I was able to view one of the 7 wonders of the ancient world. After seeing so many movies about the pyramids, I finally went their in real life. What an experience! It was incredible thinking what man is capable of doing! What beautiful creations! I learned a lot while there. It was an incredible experience being in the presence of these massive monuments to the Pharaohonic might. Cairo is gradually spreading so far as to swallow these landmarks, the most striking contrast is the Pizza Hut that is no more than a 3 minute walk from the Sphinx. We were continually warned about peddlers wanting to cajole or guilt us into buying souvenirs. There were several, but not as many as I anticipated. Anyone who has the chance should go and see the pyramids. After seeing the pyramids, we went home and opened the day for whatever wanted. I took a 3 hour nap :( Then we went out with the simsar (kind of like a real estate agent) and we settled on an apartment in which we can live! More to come on this later!!

PS The beautiful thing about the Arabic language is the root system. Almost every word is derived from 3 root letters and uses patterns to form words with similar meanings as the root system. For example, kataba means "to write" and maktaba means library. So I learned in a very real way how roots are connected today. The root letters s-h-l connote an idea of making easy or being easy. Thus, the word ishaal means...well...I'll let Google Translate inform you and you can decide how it's related to the root letters that connote something easy :)

Additionally, I will be trying to throw most of my favorite photos on facebook, I hope you can access these via my blog.




The illustrious Sphinx







I love the ancient feel this photo has







Our group





The Caravan





Needs no explanation



Monday, April 26, 2010

The Arabic Republic of Egypt

 A view from my hotel
I have now officially spent a whole day in Cairo Egypt. Wow! What a day it was indeed! We arose early and had breakfast in the hotel (we get to go search for apartments tomorrow, so until then we'll be in a hotel). Then we went on a get-to-know-Cairo trip. Our teachers stood at specific checkpoints. We traveled through the city in order to become more familiarized with it. When we had a second to spare I would try and strike up an Arabic conversation. I also bought Harry Potter 2 in Arabic, that will go with my future additions of Lord of the Rings and others. After the get-to-know-Cairo adventure, our teacher let us loose to explore the city for the following 6 hours. We walked around the opera house that was in a nice area with pretty gardens. Once we had thought we saw enough, we went to walk home. We didn't make it. I stopped to try and read a sign next to some pretty gardens. While myself and 4 others of our group of 57 were trying to interpret this sign, some guy said queried if we could understand this sign. Turns out this small gesture influenced the next several hours of our day, and hopefully several more hours to come. Turns out he is a popular event planner. He knows all the famous people and conveniently enough happens to be planning the next Andrea Boccili concert and volunteered to get us in for free as well as several other things. He seemed legit and said he would hook us up. We will see if he can deliver. Then we ate en route to the house, another good meal. After going home we rested briefly and then had a few more things to take care of.

I don't plan on describing every day in this much detail, but for special occasions I think I will. It was a fun day.
 A view from the street of downtown Cairo
The beautiful Nile (really quite polluted)
Sorry I didn't rotate it, some of us before crossing the bridge to Zamalek Island
The Cairo Opera House

Plenty more to blog about and more pictures to post, I haven't decided the best way to do this, but we'll figure it out as we go. Enjoy!

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

It's the final countdown!!!

Not a very creative title, sorry. But let it be heard that I will be in Egypt on Friday. Today is Tuesday, you do the math. Can you believe this?!? I am feeling slightly overwhelmed by what I need to do before then. I still need to get a shot, pack my bags for the trip, pack and clean my apartment and say my goodbyes. Not to mention the incredible amount of culture shock that I am going to experience. The food, people, traffic, litter, and etc. Additionally, I got a typhoid shot. My arm is a little sore, life will go on. Another semester has come and gone. I can't believe that time keeps going faster and faster. A years ago when my crazy adventure in Arabic started I learned that I was going to be going to the Middle East. A year was a long ways away. I didn't believe it was actually coming. No, I can look at the Egyptian weekday forecast and see the weather that I will be experiencing there (for the record, Saturday will be high of 86 and mostly sunny, Sunday will be 89 and mostly sunny again). As you can tell, HOT!! Regardless, I AM EXCITED!! We watched the Mummy last, and aside from being excited about understanding the Arabic in it, I was flabbergasted to think that I will be visiting these sights. WEIRD!
Well, wish me luck, chances are the next post will be coming from Egypt. I hope to have some sweet shots!

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

Gratitude!

So I just read a talk in the Ensign on gratitude and it made me really guilty for being so selfish. So I felt inspired to share with you all some of the incredible blessings that I have been given (not necessarily in any order)
1) My Father-He has been an incredible example of testimony, faith, love, patience and dedication. He'll never know how I have appreciated all he has done.
2) My Mother-Her faithful example of diligence in times of peace so that when her huge trial came she had the faith to survive, as well as her unfailing love!
3) God-For loving me unconditionally and for blessing me beyond belief, I know I don't deserve what He has given me and am trying to be better every day.
4) The Gospel-I am eternally grateful to have the opportunity to be a member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints. I know that peace and happiness as well as a sense of direction and perspective are found in this religion.
5) Diversity-I am grateful that we all are different. I love how we all are from different each other. I am glad that there are people of different colors, languages, accents, etc. How boring would life be if we all were the same?
6) Seasons-How glorious of a blessing is it that we have 4 different seasons? After a long, cold winter it is so nice to see the sunny, warm and colorful spring. And following a roasting hot summer how glorious is the beautiful cool fall with its changing colors?
7) Humor-I am convinced that God has a sense of humor, how could he give us the incredible blessing of being able to laugh and not enjoy it himself? Also, some of the things we do and say can be pretty stupid, I am sure He can't help but laugh.
8) Houses-After living in LA for 2 years and seeing what certain people lived in, or those who had nothing to live in, I have gained an appreciate for my house, complete with heating and cooling. What a blessing to have 4 walls and a roof to protect us from the elements!
9) Cars and other ways to travel-We can get from point A to point B without even taking a step! How marvelous is the blessing to be able to drive, fly and float! The world is getting smaller and smaller and we are able to cover immense distances in a short time. I am going to traverse thousands of miles, thousands of cities, and the biggest ocean in a month to arrive in Egypt in a day! How amazing!
10) Nature-God has given us the blessing of having mountains, rivers, streams, deserts, oceans, lakes, trees, hills, valleys, waterfalls, and an uncountable variety of other geography 101 terms to beautify our world! How talented is our God! He has enabled us to enjoy such a variety of landscape! I can't wait to learn to do what He can!


Maybe if we all took more time to recognize these and other blessings that God has given us, He will continue showering them on us. We are so blessed! Hope you can recognize it!

Sunday, February 28, 2010

A Near Perfect Day

So I have been meaning to talk about this now for about two weeks! Two weeks ago we celebrated President's Day and got a day off from school. We had been planning a trip to Mexico for a few weeks, and IT HAPPENED!! We drove down Friday morning and got into Mexico late Friday night after going for a taco run! Then we started out what was to be a near perfect day!! All day Saturday we surfed. It is a lot harder than it looks. Swimming for an large period of time all the while being barraged by waves. The very first wave I attempted I caught, I didn't get to my feet, but rode it on my knees. It was a decent sized wave. The rest of the time though I basically got beat up...or would unintentionally catch a wave. The weather was exceptional! Beautiful! Cloudless! Sunny! Every good adjective for weather! After surfing we went and ate at a delicious restaurant. They gave us free guacamole and this roasted salmon thing, it so good. Then we sat in a sauna room and sweat off all our hard work. Then just when I thought the day couldn't get any better...it didn't. We were watching "Cool Hand Luke" and I started to feel queezy. So after watching him eat 50 boiled eggs, I knew I wasn't going be able to hold it much long...I didn't. The next day was the Sabbath and we just relaxed, went on a walk and drove through the country side, it was gorgeous. Then crossed the border, unsuccessfully tried to surf Monday and then drove back and got into town late at night! It was an incredible trip. I special thanks goes out to Mike and his family for making it possible. Enjoy these pictures, and others on my other blog.

Tuesday, February 9, 2010

Huzzah for Holidays!!

This weekend I am headed to MEXICO!!!! When I say Mexico, I mean Baja California-the last state to be established in Mexico. My roommate has a house there and we are going to be doing surfing and eating at nice seafood restaurants. I have it on good credit that I will be seeing dolphins whilst there. If I don't I will be severely disappointed. Rumor has it that there is going to be some pretty good sized waves while there-in case you don't know me, I have never surfed. What's more, I can hardly swim! So, if I don't "hang ten" then I won't be too disappointed. However, if I don't get some killer photos, I will be! That is why I really want to go! Not to mention the whole roommate solidarity thing.
Other recent developments, I am still single.
More recent developments, I am still poor and trying to figure out how to pay for my trip to Egypt. Anyone want to contribute? Other than that, life is going well! I am studying super hard, have a great time with that.

Saturday, January 16, 2010

Jack Handy and my Life

A couple of years ago a met a man that changed my life. This man's name was Jack Handy. He always provided me with invaluable tid-bits of advice and inspiration. Well, once I started stats 221 at college the professor started showing us Jack Handy quotes to motivate us to achieve more and reach higher heights. So I decided to reconnect with roots and look at some of his greater works. Hope you enjoy, I will include a website that has many more of his works.
“Whenever I see an old lady slip and fall on a wet sidewalk, my first instinct is to laugh. But then I think, what if I was an ant, and she fell on me. Then it wouldn't seem quite so funny.”
“Somebody told me it was frightening how much topsoil we are losing each year, but I told that story around the campfire and nobody got scared”
“I hope, when they die, cartoon characters have to answer for their sins.”
“You know what would make a good story? Something about a clown who make people happy, but inside he's real sad. Also, he has severe diarrhea.”

http://thinkexist.com/quotes/jack_handy/


To prove my devotion, it is now Friday night (9:45), I just finished an assignment at the library, and I am reading these quotes. haha, I need a girlfriend.

Well on a more serious note, classes have started! I am embarking on another new semester. Arabic 202 is keeping me as busy as ever. The other classes seem to be going fine thus far. The most incredible blessing however, is that my mother is 100% cancer free! Yup, you heard me, clean. No more! Gone! goodbye! God is good! Not much else new to report, 3 months and 7 days till I fly to Egypt!