30 June 2010

time for a change.

I'm really getting tired of my blog name, mostly because of how cliche it is. Any ideas for a new one? If I do end up changing it, I'll let you all know before hand so that you can still find me.

Abigail's first and only post has been viewed one hundred and seven times. I'm really impressed. She probably hasn't checked it yet today, but I'm pretty sure that she's gonna be really excited when she does. I'm almost positive that none of my posts have have been viewed that many times.

Today has been really crazy. We've been packing, cleaning, and generally getting ready to leave tomorrow. Since I had to pack my suitcase anyways today, I ended up cleaning my room too. It feels good to have everything organized. The house is clean, almost everyone is packed and ready to go, and now it's time to sleep.

I hope that everybody has a great week! :)

29 June 2010

other, more important, news.

My Google is in Arabic. It's driving me crazy. The writing is on the wrong side of the page, and even though the search results are in English, everything else is in Arabic.

Other, more important, news:

I'm going to be gone for a week. On Thursday we leave for a conference. We'll be gone until Friday (Saturday?) of next week. I'm so excited. Pools, beach access, air conditioning. Oh yeah, it's a five star hotel and resort. I'm not bringing my laptop, but I've scheduled a few posts while I'm gone. I hope that I'll get lots of pictures.

While I'm at the resort, my brother, sister, best friend, and best friend's brother are all gonna be at a lake. I'm so jealous. They're staying for a whole week, and as amazing as it would be to have a week-long sleepover with my best friend, there's also the wakeboards. They bought them last year when we went to the lake. I was the first one successfully on top of the water. It.is.amazing. So much fun! (also when I got the worst sunburn I've ever had.) I'm going to force Ali to take me wakeboarding when I get back. Come to think of it, there are a lot of things that we need to do together when I get back!

My baby sister started a blog. She's so funny. Email proof:
On Tue, Jun 29, 2010 at 3:15 PM, Katie wrote:
Hi Abigail!

What are you doing? Anna sent me your blog. I like it so far! I miss seeing you.

What have you been up to lately? Have you caught any snakes or bugs yet? Joseph told me that he got his driver's license last week. Is it scary driving with him?

I love you!



Hi Katie!

Well today I have mostly been working on my blog. Other than that I haven't been doing much.
A couple days ago I caught a lizard helping Dad cut wood but the next day it got away
Well I haven't ridden with just him yet.
Are you exited about your trip on Thursday??
How are the boy?? Are any of them sick??
I love and miss you lots! **Hug**


She sent it in that color, in that size. The emoticons didn't transfer over copy and paste, but believe me, it was full of them.

It really made me smile when I opened up her blog and her profile description said "I'm eight years old and I love all dogs." I guess she's just making sure that she gets out all the important information! Please comment on her first (and only) post. It'll make her day! Or, comment here and I'll pass it on to her.

Tolkien continues. I really, really hate saying this, but it is incredibly boring. The Simirillion was his first book, so I don't want to judge him too harshly. I'll push through, maybe get some more reading time during the flight on Thursday.

What's up with you guys?

26 June 2010

Watching Toy Story 2, remembering my best friends. They're such great stories about friendship. They make me miss everyone back home. I really can't wait until I get back and I can watch TS3 with them.

You can't just find the kind of friendship I have. It's special. My best friends are mostly in my family. My older brother, younger sister, those are the people I've grown up with and know the most about. They know how to make me laugh, how to make me cry, how to annoy me more than anyone else. We do everything together, and you know what, I'm ok with that.

The one that isn't related, well, she's pretty special too. We share quotes, coffee, hugs, and smiles.
"I wish that you were there, because if you were, we would have a blast. Every day we would be up before the sun rose. We'd splash and play in the water, and have crazy contests to see who could go the longest without laughing. When we were all wrinkled and raisin-y we would come out of the water and get our cameras. We would make the beach beautiful, you and I. We'd find all these beautiful, artistic ways to take pictures, and every time we took a picture that we loved we would jump around and scream. Every night we would sit on the beach until the sun set, clicking away with our cameras. We would stay there until the stars came out, and then we'd lay on the wet beach and talk about God and friendship and boys. We would talk about life and the things that we believed in, and laying there on the beach, everything would feel right. We'd remember those nights for the rest of our lives. Best friends."
I miss you guys.

Joseph (the big brother) & I

Anna (the little sister) & I

Oh, Ali. Seriously, this picture is on her blog, now mine, our joint blog, and both of our Facebooks.

Things are going great here. Stuff cracks me up. You can get fast food delivered to your home. (in fact, I think that Hardee's is here with dinner right now.) The spelling on the English advertisements is hilarious. I'll post a picture if (when) I get one of something funny.

I started this post way back in the afternoon when we were watching TS2, was almost finished with it when it was time to eat, and now I'm finally finished with it. Off to read some Tolkien!

24 June 2010

today is a special day.

Dear Mommy,

Happy Birthday! I'm so glad that I got to Skype with you, and I hope that you have an amazing day. It's been so hard to be away from you this summer. Ever since my first night here, I've slept with the letter you sent me tucked under my pillow. At night I'll slip my hand underneath the pillow and hold onto the letter, reminding myself that somewhere under the Indiana stars that I haven't seen in too long, I have my mama who loves me. I keep finding myself wishing that I could talk to you, or thinking of something that you would laugh at. I don't miss just the special moments (even though I do miss them like crazy) like the time last winter when we talked for two and a half hours. I miss seeing you every morning, the both of us purposely trying to embarrass Joseph, saying goodnight to you in Dutch. You're so amazing. Everyone thinks so. My friends have all told me multiple times how nice you are, how easy you are to talk to, and how much they trust you. I can't help but feel jealous of them this summer. They get to see you when I don't. But. I'm here, and I'm having a great time. Thanks for letting me come this summer. I have a special birthday present for you when I get back, and I really can't wait to give it to you. :) Love, Katie.

Dear Boy the First:

Happy Birthday! You've gotten bigger since I saw your family last time, and when I got here, I didn't recognize you as the little kid who went to the zoo with my family. Thank you for teaching me how to say pineapple in Arabic and talking about obscure Psych facts with me. I'm so happy for all of the J.R.R Tolkien books you got for your birthday. Out of the seven, there are three I haven't read. I can't wait to read them all! Thanks so much for letting me share your family this summer, and not getting mad at me when I boss you around. :) Love, Katie.

The birthday party today involved cake & ice cream, pizza, Wii, World Cup gear, and goody bags. The goody bags included sparklers. We passed out the remaining bags to the kids after everyone left, salvaged the sparklers from the three extra bags, and headed outside with children, sparklers, and cameras. We went through ninety sparkles in ten minutes. It was beautiful and amazing.

I'm staying up too late.again. It's taking too long to upload the pictures from my camera. I have a book (Tolkien, of course. what else?) that I would love to start before I go to sleep. But it's 11 right now, and it's looking like the pictures and the book will have to wait. So I'll end this the way I end many posts: goodnight.

23 June 2010

guess what? it's been a month.

A month ago today, I woke up on a Sunday morning, showered, straightened and blow-dried my hair, then ate some breakfast.

That afternoon I left for Atlanta. From Atlanta to Paris, and from Paris to here.

So it's been a month. It's been fun, and I've really liked being here.

It's been weird being away from my family for so long. I'm missing Father's Day, my mom's birthday (tomorrow!) and my little sister's birthday. It's been hard missing family, friends, and everything at home, but I'm glad that I came.

Skype is, once again, my best friend. I got to Skype with my family on Father's Day, and I Skyped Ali tonight. She was at church along with some of the youth group. It was great to see so many of my friends, youth pastors, and leaders. I miss you guys so much!

19 June 2010


I remember when I was little. We were at Gramps' house, and I was curled up in a corner crying. When Mom asked me why I told her it was because I couldn't to marry you were I grew up. I was crying so hard, and now that I think about it, Mom probably had to hold back her laughter when she explained to me why I couldn't marry you. Now, I know why I can't, and even though I don't want to marry you anymore, I want to marry someone like you. You're such a great dad. I was thinking about the Thursday before I left, when you took me kayaking down the river. It was such a fun time, and I wish that I could spend that much time with you today. I miss you so much, and I can't wait until I get back and see you. Thank you so much for encouraging me and pushing me to be better. I love you. :)

Giveaway! Head over here for the giveaway.

I got to Skype with my family tonight. Love.it. One of my favorite parts about Skyping is the goodbyes. Normally I really hate goodbyes, and this isn't any exception, but I love it when my little sister's face gets all big and she leans up to the camera to kiss me. It makes me smile. :)

Happy Father's Day! I miss my daddy...

18 June 2010

katie went gargling in the red sea.

I feel like such a slacker. I haven't blogged since who knows when. We were gone on vacation most of the week (talk about a crazy trip!) and in the two days since we've been back I've either been tired, busy, or the internet wasn't working. So this is the post that I told my dad would come on Thursday.

Day the First:
We planned on leaving shortly after lunch on Sunday. One thing turned into another, and we didn't end up leaving until 6:30 0r 7:00, and we got there at 11:30 at night. We were staying at an experimental Eco House. The air conditioning was run by water, and of course, it didn't work. The first night was miserable. The rooms were hot and stuffy, which made it really difficult to go to sleep.

Day the Second:
We got up in the morning ready to go to the beach. Our plans changed when Boy #2 started throwing up. Boy #4 threw up once. The air conditioning still wasn't working, everyone was hot and upset, children were sick, and it seemed like the trip was going to be terrible. After a consultation with Jenny, one of the people we went with, we decided that everyone was healthy enough to go to the aquarium. The fish (and turtles) were beautiful. After the aquarium we went to two different malls looking for a food court before we finally found a Burger King. When we were through eating we went back to the Eco House, rotated through showers, and everyone took a nap. That night we decided that it was too hot to stay there, so after Lori, my summer mom, fed the baby, we drove over to the place Jenny was staying to spend the night.

Day the Third:
Finally, we went to the beach. We spent all day in the pool, and then in the late afternoon, some of us went "gargling" in the Red Sea. We really went snorkeling. One of my friends Facebooked me to tell me that my little sister ran up to my other sister and her and said "Katie went gargling in the Red Sea!" Even now thinking about it I'm laughing idiotically at my computer screen. Snorkeling was beautiful. The coral at the beach was so close to shore. The whole time we were out I was terrified that I was going to kick some coral. I never even really got close, but then on the way back to the shore I turned around, and, bang, I kicked some. It was the big soft round kind, so it didn't hurt me. I just hope that I didn't hurt it. There were four or five nuns at the beach. They just sat there and talked with a bunch of college students. It was odd. That night we went out for Arabic food. I love Arabic food so much.

Day the Fourth:
More kids were throwing up, so we stayed at the Eco House all day. For dinner we went to some of their friends' house. The friends knew a "fish guy" who caught our dinner in the bay, grilled it, and cut it up and prepared a platter for us. They walked in with an 8 kilo king fish cut up on the tray. It was really good, and the rice that was with it was amazing. I don't eat fish; I don't eat mushrooms. Since I've been here I've eaten mushrooms multiple times and fish once. Strangely, the mushrooms didn't bother me, and I actually liked the fish.

Day the Fifth:
We left to go back home. Everyone was ready to get away from the bad air conditioning and back to the cool ground floor apartment. Back home in Indiana, we used to count horses or cows whenever we visited our grandparents. Here, we counted camels. We saw 56 during the whole drive. There were numerous camel crossing signs, but I didn't get a picture of one. I kept putting it off, then missed the last few signs. On the way back we took a different way than the way we came. This time, we drove past the Dead Sea. In between two hotels we stopped in a big empty parking lot and ran down to the beach. We went into the water for about five minutes. I was convinced to taste a little bit of the water. I cautiously dipped the tip of my index finger in and lightly touched my tongue. It's hard to believe how salty that water is. I wish that we had had more time so that we could actually have swam. Maybe someday.

Boy #3, Boy #2, me, and Boy #4

For the most part, the trip was really fun. I got to see the desert where the Isrealites wandered for 40 years, and a little bit of Egypt. It was really cool. I'm glad that we're back...it's so much cooler here!

Have a great weekend! :)

11 June 2010

dear world.

I'm terribly sorry that it's been four days since I've posted. I don't even have a good reason for it, unless you count this:

and this:

Ah, Les Miserables, you have drawn me in, even though I skimmed over the thirty pages describing the battle of Waterloo. (so boring!) Dear Victor Hugo, please kill Javert. The sooner the better. At one point in the book, I actually thought that Javert had a heart. I stand corrected.

This book is massive. It's incredible that he had the patience to write the whole book. Halfway through I would have said, "Ok, sorry Javert, you fall in the Seine and drown. Jean Valjean and Cosette live happily ever after, The End." 1463 pages long. That's incredible.

Before I left, my dad told me that no matter how much I write in my journal or blog, I won't regret it. Because of that, my journal is rapidly filling up, and I'm going to need a new one. This is a problem. I'd prefer to get a high quality leather one (ok, I really just want a fresh one like the one I have) and I don't know how easy it would be to get my hands on one here. I could content myself with this:

I love J.R.R Tolkien, and that's one of my favorite poems.* And the best part? If I didn't want that, I could have the seller put a different quote on. I have 27pages of quotes saved. It wouldn't be hard to find one that I liked. But still searching. I just want one like the one I have now. It was a Christmas gift a few years ago from my grandparents, and it's beautiful. Red leather, gold lining on the pages, a snapping edge, beautiful. That's what I want, I just don't know where they got it.

We're heading out to the beach on Sunday! :) Watch me get completely fried (haha, just kidding Mom! I'll slather the sunscreen on for your sake). Everyone kept telling me before I left that I'd come back really tan. Or, not. I'll probably come back really, really sunburnt. I'm praying that we can wear shorts while we're there, because I only brought two pairs of capris. I'm wearing them all the time as it is, and I'd prefer not to wear them in 100+ weather.

Goodnight, all.

*"All that is gold does not glitter
Not all those who wander are lost
The old who are strong do not whither
Deep roots are not reached by the frost
From the ashes a fire shall be woken
A light from the shadow will spring
Renewed be the blade that was broken
The crownless again shall be king." beautiful, huh?

07 June 2010

skype is wonderful.

I love it. It's great to be able to talk to my family and Ali. Ali & I decided that she'll "take" me to church with her sometime this week so I can say hi to everyone.When we Skyped yesterday, I went in (kinda, she carried the computer) to her brother Zach's room and I yelled at him to wake him up. It was fun...I guess it was payback for all of the things that he did to me, like throwing water on me, or making fun of my amazing waking boarding moves, or the blonde moments that I used to have quite frequently.

I talked with my family today. It was so.hard. to get Skype to work. We kept losing the connection, I couldn't hear, and it kept on freezing. We finally got it fixed, and I was able to talk to my family for almost an hour.

Next week: going down south to the beach! We'll be there for three-ish days...I can't wait.

So how's life for everyone on the other side of the world?

04 June 2010

pictures of life.

mountain dew, one side Arabic, one side English

the view of the city from a fifth-floor office window

our apartment, first floor

stop sign in Arabic and English

more city

again, more city

the middle of the road we live on

Today we went to a nearby park, and then a couple of blocks in the other direction to the office. I finally got to take pictures! :)

02 June 2010

the thing I miss the most.

Three days before I left I wrote this:

"The rain is hitting my window in slow, drippy taps. The sky is dark, and I can't see anything through the light reflecting off of the window glass. Only three more sleeps. Funny I should think of that now. When I was little, counting down the days till Christmas and my birthday, that's how I'd phrase it: "Five more sleeps." "Two more sleeps." Three more sleeps. I can't help but think of all the goodbyes that I said at youth group and of all the people that I'll only see one more time until August. Then I think of three more sleeps. It's incredible that this is real, that this is happening, that I can actually say three more sleeps and mean it. I can not wait until I get there and it actually happens."

I don't know why I never posted that. Now I can look back to three nights before I left, and I didn't know that I would miss my family this much. Winnie the Pooh said that "Some people care too much, I think it's called Love."

I got to Skype with my family this morning, and it was great to see them and talk to them. I wish that Skype included a "hug" option so that I could have hugged them goodbye.

Things are weird here.

The other day, I saw a woman with dyed-blonde hair, tank-top, and knee length skirt. Later the same day, I saw a woman in full burkah. When I smiled at her, the only way I could tell if she smiled back was the way her eyes crinkled through the burkah.

I promise that there will be pictures soon. My camera is dead, and I keep forgetting to charge it. But I'll get it all charged up and take some shots. :)