29 July 2010


I hate leaving. I hate goodbyes, I hate never getting to see the people I love, I hate having so much of my heart spread out in so many different places.

I have problems with that cliche phrase, "home is where the heart is." My heart doesn't tend to stay in one place. Parts of it are scattered all over Europe, the United States, and now the Middle East.

Leaving people hurts. It hurts me because I know how much I'll miss them, and it hurts them because they'll miss me. Being a former MK, I'm used to leaving and saying goodbye, but that doesn't make it hurt any less each time. My friends will talk about how they've spent their whole lives in Muncie. That's incomprehensible to me. The longest I've lived in one place is a little more than five years, and I wouldn't trade that for anything. I love moving, new places, new languages and experiences. I hate that I have to leave to go somewhere new.

I'm torn. I'm leaving in two weeks, and I'm not at all ready. I keep telling people that I'm ready to be home, and I am, I'm just not at all ready to leave. I'm ready to be back in my own house, in my bright yellow room, with my fat fluffy cats. I'm ready to see my family and my best friends. I'm ready to go to church, ready to feel the rain again. I'm not ready to leave my new family here. On Monday night when I got home I walked inside the house. The five year old got up from his dinner, ran to me, and grabbed me tight around the stomach. "Katie, I missed you," he told me. I'm not ready to leave that. I'm not ready to leave Ultimate Frisbee on Fridays. I'm not ready to leave late night talks with Lori. I'm not ready to go back to where everyone speaks English and waits for the whole street to clear before crossing. I'm not ready to go home, but I'm ready to be home.

That being said, I absolutely cannot wait to be back home. I miss my family and my second family (Ali's family) so much. I cannot wait to be back in Muncie, seeing her family two or three times a week and being with mine every day.
"Why can't we get all the people together in the world that we really like and then just stay together? I guess that wouldn't work. Someone would leave. Someone always leaves. Then we would have to say good-bye. I hate good-byes. I know what I need. I need more hellos." Charles M. Schulz
Right now I'm wishing that I could be in two places at once. Either that, or the Middle East was closer to Indiana.

28 July 2010

a milestone of sorts.

This is my 100th post. I guess that you would say that this is a milestone.

I'm actually surprised that I've reached my 100th post. Last summer I abandoned it, ignored it, and changed the subject whenever my dad brought it up. There's really only two reasons that I still have it.

Last summer I read Do Hard Things. Alex and Brett Harris mentioned a blog called Bloom. When I finished the book I looked up Bloom on their website and started reading. On one of the posts I saw a comment by someone named Paper Bird and Little Fairy. I clicked on the name and started reading their profile. I freaked out.

We were so alike! We listened to the same music, read the same books, did the same things. I wanted to tell them, but I didn't know them. That was the first blog that I ever read by someone that I didn't know.

I eventually commented on something, telling them who I was and everything. I felt like such a stalker at first. They commented back on one of my posts, I started following them, they started following me, and we talked all the time.

These girls are the only reason that I continued blogging. They were my first followers who wasn't my youth pastor or related to me. I wished so badly that I knew them.

I loved the concept of their blog from the very start. I'm really close to my sister Anna so the idea of sharing a blog with a sister was something that I loved.

I still love their blog to pieces. It's one of my favorites, and they're some of my favorite people that I don't know. Their comments and our conversations last year kept me blogging. Knowing that there was someone there who wanted to read what I wrote kept me writing.

Thank you so much girls! I love you both so much, in a non-creepy sister sort of way. I hope that someday I'll be able to meet you. I'm looking forward to it.

27 July 2010

the dig.

The dig ended up being really fun.

We got there at 7:30 and went right to work. I was in the big square, leveling the floor with another part of the floor. I didn't find anything interesting, but I did find a few small pieces of pottery and bone.

(half of the house)

At 12:30 we went back to the camp. We ate and showered, then rested for a few hours. Later in the afternoon, we put on our long sleeves and covered our heads, then drove five minutes to a cave. The man who owned the cave had a shop inside it. We looked around the shop while he served us tea. He gave each of the girls a bracelet to keep. When we left we each shook hands with him and he asked us our names. I told him mine, and he asked me a few questions in Arabic. Mimi answered, and he said something else. He was clearly confused, and Mimi was trying hard not to laugh. After we walked out, I asked why she was laughing so hard. Apparently my name, Katie, sounds like a brand of cheese and he thought that I was named after the cheese. That night I asked Mimi if there was a name for Katherine. She told me that it's Katerina, so next time I'll respond with that instead of Katie.

(two giant pots)

That night we went to an Arab house for dinner. The house we went to belonged to the man who ran the camp that we stayed in. Right inside the gate the men went part of the courtyard while the women went on into the house. We took our shoes off at the door and were led inside. We exchanged kisses on the cheek with the mother and two of her daughters, then went into the living room. We all took off our scarves, then they came in with tea.

(most of the dig)

We hung out and talked with them. They brought in dinner and it was delicious. I don't remember what it's called (even if I knew, I couldn't spell it) but it was delicious. It was lamb on top of rice, with almonds and sauce. We ate sitting on floor, using our right hand. After we finished eating we talked a little bit more, then walked home. That's the first time I was in an Arab house. It was new and different but it was so cool to get to meet those people.

The next day I worked in the same general place, leveling the floor and digging up to the wall. The girl that I was working next to found a jaw bone of a goat or sheep. For most of the morning I found hardly anything. Finally I found two RCs. An RC is a Radio Carbon. It's a special find, and they radio carbon date it to see how old it is. I found wood, and then some burnt wood. We were finding charcoal throughout the whole house, and the experts thought that there must have been a fire there sometime.

(the other half of the house we were excavating)

I didn't get as many pictures as I wanted. It was so dusty, and I didn't want to risk getting dust inside my lens. I did bring it out during one of the breaks and got a few pictures. The coolest thing ever: on the way home I was watching a movie on someone's iPod when the people in the front started pointing out the window. We ripped out our headphones and looked out the window. We were passing a pickup truck with a camel in the back. Yes, a full grown camel sitting in the back of a pickup truck. I didn't get a great picture as we passed, but I do have evidence. It was so cool.

(see the head?)

24 July 2010

down south where the weather's cooler.

Tomorrow morning at "o'dark thirty," as my dad would say, I'm going down south to the archeological dig. We're leaving at 5:15 in the morning. NOT FUN.

Every morning we'll be at the dig at 7 AM. We dig until 2 PM, then we eat, shower, and rest. Later in the afternoon we go around and visit Bedouin families in their tents.

I'm only staying one night but I'll be digging for two full days. It's more conservative there than it is here in the capital, so we'll have to wear long sleeves, long pants, and cover our heads. We don't have to wear the full facial covering, just our heads. Rumor has it that it's "so much cooler there than it is here," so that won't be too bad.

My little sister Alia (11yrs.) is really jealous. She loves history, and I'm pretty sure that she would love to do this. I wish that we were allowed to keep some of the pottery that we'll find, but sadly, it all goes to museums.

19 July 2010

here's a map and here's a bible just in case you lose your way.

It's just me and the babies this week. Mimi is at an archeological dig for the week, maybe longer. The other baby is back this week, and not happy about leaving his mama. Mimi's mom & Lori help out when I need it, which is great. The other baby doesn't like any females besides his mama. I'll hold him, rock him, pat him, and he cries and whimpers. A man walks in and picks him up, and he's immediately quiet.

When the babies are both asleep or quiet, I have a lot of time to do whatever. I've gotten a lot of Algebra 2 done, read a lot of blogs, read some books, and watched a few movies.

This morning was even more boring that usual. Bethany, one of the people I met, came and hung out with me today. She kept me company and helped with the boredom.

Tomorrow the older kids in childcare are going to a movie. Bethany, her sister, & I are gonna go too. The children are going to watch Toy Story 3. We may watch that with them, but we may end up seeing something else. I hope that Despicable Me is out here. I can't wait to watch it. My family says that it's great.

The other baby lives in Amsterdam. I want to move back there so badly. Even though I don't want to leave everyone in Muncie, I'm so tired of living in America. That's the reason I wanted to go to England this summer. I wanted to leave America, see old places through new eyes, be in an unfamiliar place. I would love to live here, especially now that I have friends here. I could live here, but only if it rained. Holland is perfect. It has rain, outdoor markets, cheap flowers, bikes, narrow European streets, beautiful towns, people I love. I want to go back there so badly. My summer overseas was supposed to help with my want to move. Instead, it's making it worse. My mom and I had an agreement that if the Netherlands won the World Cup, we would move back. Mom, we still can move even though they lost.

A few times, my mom has told me that I need to write about what God is teaching me this summer.

I started thinking. What has he taught me? Have I listened? Am I learning anything?

In Dubai, one day our youth leader passed around a few piles of cards. The cards were about twice as big as playing cards. On the face side was a picture, different for each card. On the other side, a generic design. He held the cards up, telling us that he would pass them around and he wanted us each to choose one that symbolized our relationship with God. When they came to me, I looked through them. I didn't think that I understood what he meant. How was a picture supposed to stand for my relationship with God?

I ended up choosing a picture of five people. It shows only their waists down, leaning up against a brick wall. Two of them are women, wearing fancy skirts and dresses, standing up in strappy high heels. Next to each of them there's a man, in dress pants and shoes. The fifth person: He's standing in the middle of the couples, wearing worn-out jeans with a hole in one knee. He has both hands stuck in his pockets, his old red Converse next to the dress shoes and heels of the others.

I chose my picture and shoved it into the middle of my Crazy Love book.

I didn't find it until later.

I was looking at it that night in our room and tried to think of a reason I chose it. I couldn't come up with anything better than liking it. I liked it because I liked the red shoes, I liked the hidden stories in the picture.


The picture showed only part of the story. I wondered what was happening in the picture. Why was an under-dressed man standing with two couples in dress clothes? Why were they standing by a brick wall? What was the rest of the story?

What is everyone's story?

On the elevator today, a woman asked Bethany and I if we spoke Arabic. I responded in my limited Arabic, telling her that we spoke very little. She asked where we were from. As she stepped off on the third floor, she welcomed us to her country and told us that if we needed anything, she was there.

What is her story?

When we were walking home from the office with the baby a few days ago, a man passed by us on the road. He was pushing a stroller covered with a blanket. When he walked past me, he gestured to the baby in my stroller and scolded me for not having him covered from the sun.

What is his story?

The past two mornings as we've gone up to the fifth floor, an American man has gotten on with us. He doesn't say much to us, just rides the elevator past our floor. Why is he here?

What is his story?

I think that I'm learning about people, and about their stories. I think that I'm learning that investing time in people and relationships, in hearing their stories and sharing yours, you can learn a lot about God.

I think that I'm learning more about God's story. I'm re-learning about how much I love the world, and how much I want the people to learn God's story. I wonder about my part in that story. What was God thinking when he sent me here? What part do I play, here and in Muncie, in that story? If I had gone to England, it would have been more touristy and less work, but would I have learned as much? How would my story, which is really just a small part in God's story, change if I hadn't come here?

What is your story?

17 July 2010

life proceeds as normal.

The Arab weekend is over, and tomorrow, we're back in the office for another day of training. At least, the adults are back in the office for the training, I'm just there to watch the babies.

Last week was the first week of the training. One of the two babies was sick, so there ended up being two of us for one baby. We watched lots of movies (Nacho Libre, Napoleon Dynamite, and Monty Python and the Holy Grail) and wasted time while the baby slept.

Yesterday afternoon Mimi asked me if I wanted to go play Ultimate Frisbee with a group of people that she knows. We ended up playing for two hours. It was great. I love meeting people, even though it's a little awkward being the new person in a group of people who know each other.

This morning I was invited to go see Toy Story 3 with some of the people that I met yesterday afternoon. Their family is really funny, and it was great to hang out with them. The movie was...amazing. I love how those stories always center around friendship. I could do that "spoiler alert" thing so I could tell you all about it, having previously warned you, but I always read the spoilers and then the movie is spoiled, so I won't do that. Let's just say that it was great. :)

I talked to my family tonight. I can't believe that in three weeks I'll get to see them again! I can't wait.

We have two more weeks of the training, then one more week before I leave. I don't feel like the summer is nearly over. A few days ago my dad asked me if I feel like it's gone quickly. Yes and no. If I think of each day, what I did, and how long it's been since I've been home, then no, it feels like it been a long time. If I think about the summer as a whole, which is what I tend to do, then yes, it has gone really fast. I don't think that I'm ready to leave here. I am ready to be home, back with my family, back to a place where I can wear shorts outside of the house, but I'm not ready to leave. Tonight someone told me that when I get back to America I'm going to be homesick for here. That's completely true. I'm always homesick for the Netherlands and England, and they haven't been home in a long time. I guess that some of home will always be here.

12 July 2010

holland, you have failed me.

I stayed up too late last night listening to the Fray, reading my Bible, and checking the scores on the game. When they went into overtime, I gave up and went to bed. This morning I got up to check the scores again. I'm mad at Spain for winning, and mad at the Netherlands for losing. I wish that I could have watched the game, but minute-by-minutes updates on Yahoo! worked too. I was so happy when it said that so-and-so was called on offsides, and I knew what it meant! (last year my brother played soccer, and I had the hardest time figuring out what offsides meant. I've got it now.)

I really miss the UAE. The humidity there makes my hair look better. Here, my curls never stay curly. But seriously, I really do miss it. I miss getting to hang out with everyone, staying up late talking to Lauren and Mimi, sitting in the tent laughing. I miss the people. The place doesn't matter, what we do doesn't matter, it's the people who are there that make the difference. The same goes for everyone back home. I know that in one month and one day I'll be home and I'll see them again. The people there, though, I don't know if I'll ever see them again. I hate that thought.

Mimi and I are planning a "Stupid Movie Marathon." Sometimes next weekend or the weekend after that, I'm gonna go to her house and we're gonna watch stupid movies. Monty Python, Napoleon Dynamite, Nacho Libre, and O Brother Where Art Thou. I can't wait. :)

The next three weeks are gonna be crazy busy. My "family" has a three week training thing five days a week. I'll be in the office watching their baby and another baby. We'll have the Friday/Saturday weekend off, but the rest of the time is gonna be pretty busy.

This time next month, I'll be sitting on a plane on my way home. It's weird to think that I only have a month left. I don't know whether I'll be ready to leave or not. I do know that I'm ready to see my family and all those other lovely people, I just don't know if I'll be ready to leave.

11 July 2010

a simple shout out.

Thank you thank you thank you. All you new followers (and old!) make me so happy. 28 isn't really very much, but it's better that the 7 that I had for almost a year. I love that you guys read what I write. I love it when you comment. I love getting to know you all, even if it's just through the internet. I love it when we start conversations and we become friends. Thank you so much for taking the time to read what I write. You guys rock.

I did promise more stories, didn't I?...well, my friend Anna almost got hit by a police van that pulled over onto the edge of the road, nearly hit her, then the officer started yelling at her. We accidentally got henna on the baby, we got kicked out of the swimming pool late at night, I accidentally picked up a crab in the ocean, I ate too much beef bacon and realized that I don't like it, I watched a stupid movie, was given a camera for a birthday present, got tan (tan! not sunburnt!) had some great conversations with new friends, and laughed at my room mates when they talked in their sleep. We have so many memories and jokes, things that we'll laugh at but no one else will. It was really a great week! :)

Watch these videos. Hot kool aid and 25 things about facebook are both amazing. They have nothing to do with anything, but they made me laugh. So watch them. They're funny.

GO NETHERLANDS! Come on, you can win it!

10 July 2010

a week in dubai.

Whew. This week was pretty amazing. I don't even know where to start describing everything. We went to Dubai last Thursday, and left yesterday. Dubai is really amazing. You know, huge malls, water parks, hotels and resorts, the world's tallest building, stuff like that.

I had such a great time this week. The youth group was fun to hang out with, my roommates were great, the volunteers from Florida were awesome, the food was good, the pools and beach were nice, and the volunteers brought tons of stuff from America.

One of the best parts of the week was getting to meet all the youth. We hung out all the time and I really got to know most of them. We played a lot of games from Minute To Win It, and laughed a lot. On Thursday night everyone was bored, so the high school girls (all four of us!) started a game of Hotel Tag. The rules: normal tag, all over the hotel, the stairs, the elevators, and outside. The rest of the group joined in, and soon there were almost twenty of us playing a massive game of tag. It was great. I can barely walk now from running up and down so many flights of stairs, but it was completely worth it.

I miss everyone there! I hate making so many great friendships in just a week, because now that it's over, I don't know if I'll ever see them again. Hopefully some of us can meet up in Florida next summer.

Tuesday was our free day. I went shopping with another family. We hit the Ibn Battuta Mall, Mall of the Emirates (that's the one with the indoor ski slope) and Dubai Mall (Dubai Mall is right next to Burj Dubai, the tallest building in the world). That city is crazy. I wish that we had had more time in Mall of the Emirates and Dubai Mall. We didn't get to see much of either of them, but what we did see was really cool. If you ever get a chance to go there, ride the metro. It's the cleanest, nicest metro I've ever been on.

Something special happened today...my little sister had a birthday! She's really amazing, probably the sweetest person I've ever met. I miss her so much and I can't wait to get back to see her! Happy Birthday, Anna! I love you!

Pictures will soon be coming, along with more stories about everything going on. I missed you guys while I was gone!

07 July 2010

(click on it, it looks better that way)

04 July 2010

I wonder how my life would change if I really truly believed that. How it would be different if I woke up every day thinking that it would be the best day of my life. How much more would I treasure every moment?

02 July 2010

"Is 'fat' really the worst thing a human being can be? Is 'fat' worse than 'vindictive,' 'jealous,' 'shallow,' 'vain,' 'boring' or 'cruel'? Not to me." -J.K. Rowling