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so i am a camel hunter in the deserts of the uae. 

Sunday, October 31, 2010


This might be a shocker to you, but I don't particularly LOVE my job.  But we're taught to find joy in every situation, and so for today, these are the three things at my work that made me smile.

1)  Adam, the smartest grade 2 student (according to his mother), was wearing a sweatband in class today.  It was so colorful and pretty - reminded me of nature... I mean, the Jamaican flag and that weird marijuana leaf on the side were very natural.  I LOVED it and Laughed.  Out.  Loud.
2) The male PE teacher who insists on using the female toilets - can't seem to wear his track pants below his belly button.  I'm pretty sure it's NOT possible for him to wear them any higher!!!
3) 2 weeks until Eid holidays and 8 weeks until Christmas break!! I love that in November and December combined I have 3 weeks paid holidays... And a 3 day weekend thrown in for fun... and a random weekday off!

 Moral of the story:  If all else fails, just go home, make a latte, and crawl into bed!

Thursday, October 21, 2010

dark and twisted

I'm dark and twisted.

Life is happening.  For better or for worse, it's happening.  Things change, people change, cultures reject, tears fall.  God is not revealing His plan to me in my timing and things appear to be spiraling out of control.

How do I cope?  Do I run or hide?  Or do I confront and move on?

In a few hours I'll be boarding a plane to Kuwait. 

I remember the first time I ever heard of Kuwait was in 1991 in a bar in New Orleans.  Since I was only 9, it's doubtful that it was a bar - but that's how I remember it.  The war was all over the news and I remember the tv above the bar.  Strange - it seems as though I'm running from the dark and twisted to this memory - for a holiday.

Dark and twisted.

That's how I feel.

Moral of the story:  Airports have Starbucks, Latte's soothe.

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Shut up. Violence in School.

     The traditional Arabic style of teaching is quite different than the modern Western style.  In most classrooms you will find a lot of yelling, lecturing, pushing and shoving.  The students yell, the teachers yell louder.  IT's crazier than a futbol match!!  True, many Arabic teachers have adapted a more cooperative learning style, incorporating group work and peer teaching.  But for students who are used to the violence and belittling, the change is hard to adapt to. 

     My computer lab is situated smack dab at the end of the grade 4-9 boys hallway.  And luckily for me, the grade four 'class' shares a concrete wall with me.  You'd think that the concrete would block out the noise, but I'm constantly listening to yelling, banging, screaming, and the occasional whistle.  Yup - a whistle.  The grade four boys are particularly bad, only responding to shrieks and shoves.  I taught the class for 3 weeks and then refused to step food in their classroom again, passing them off to the male IT teacher. I'm not sure what is accomplished by adding to the chaos, but one teacher loves her whistle...  I hear it at least 4 times each 40 minute period.  And she also loves to screech SHUT UP numerous times each class. 

     I cringe when I hear her yelling, and I judge her.  Everything inside of me hates the way she treats the students.  I would like to confront her, but in this culture, it would accomplish nothing.  I will have to speak with the principal if I want any hope for change.  The students are disrespectful towards their teacher, thus she is disrespectful towards them.  Or is it the other way around???  Would they respect a teacher who gave them respect?

     Respect.  I have tried to go this route making sure that I don't yell over the students - instead I sit waiting for them to settle down.  Occasionally this takes 20+ minutes out of my 40 minute lesson.  But I like my vocal chords and want to keep them intact until I'm 30.  Some of the classes respond to this, others have been taught chaos and do not know how to respond to my more gentle approach.

     Today I snapped.  I'm not proud of this and I don't know what to do about this.  When I lived in Asia I was often angry, things in the culture enraged me and I didn't now how to respond.  I couldn't change that women were abused, children peed in bottles in the stores, or that old men yelled at me while I was riding my bike - just because I existed.  So I moved away and my attitude changed.

     And now I struggle because I don't want to turn back into that angry person while I'm in the UAE.  Ali* spent most of today's IT period terrorizing the other students.  He turned computers off, pushed students in line, kicked a boy in the stomach, punched me, laughed in my face when I tried to correct him.  He's a 6 or 7 year old kid, but boy does he have spunk.  And then I snapped.  I grabbed him by the arm and literally dragged his crying 'ars' down the hall to the school psychologist.  I nearly threw him into her office (where five grade 4 boys were on the floor doing homework as they'd been kicked out of their class). 

     At this point I was sweating - nearly swearing, and my face was flaming red.  I explained everything to the psychologist who calmly asked Ali to come to her desk and calmly asked him about puzzles (until this point he had been trying to pry open the door and run away... another one of his favorite things to do).  Everything inside of me was enraged and I wanted her to start yelling at him, until I paused and though, "she's the professional, maybe her tactics are better than mine?"  I was humbled and embarrassed that I had become a screecher, an abuser.

    I am not that person.  Yet I am not equip to handle 30 grade 1 students, 4 of whom are special needs.  I'm struggling here people... help.

     Side-note:  The grade 9 boys are ALWAYS in trouble.  Always in the hallway being lectured by other teacher or the school psychologist.  However, in my class they're great!!  Obviously everyone LOVES computer class and is more apt to listen, but they are just an awesome class for me.  I asked them why they were so great for me and horrible for the other teachers to which they replied, "we are good for the teachers that we like"

Moral of the story: Latte's aren't always the answer

*Names have not been changed for anonymity because every class has an Ali or two... or five...

Saturday, October 16, 2010

... just like riding a bike

there are certain things in life you're not supposed to ever forget - for instance, your name, your birthday, your first kiss, how to ride a bike...  wait a second, how to ride a bike? 

I'm a failure, I remember being taught how to ride a bike.  TWICE.

If I've already failed at bike riding, something EVERYONE knows you're not supposed to forget, is it possible that I've forgotten how to chew gum?  Seriously?

If someone were to poke around inside my mouth right now, at this very second, they might think I have a crazy ulcer outbreak or amazonian disease.  But the truth is actually much much worse.  You see, during my 50 day detox/cleanse, I was not allowed to chew gum.  I LOVE chewing gum.  LOVE it.  Have some sick obsession with orbitz gum and always having it in my purse, pocket, bag.  I remember one field day in Peru where I ran the mile and blew bubbles the entire time - one missionary lady came up and commented that she'd never seen someone blowing bubbles on their third lap before! (I must've been about 10 years old...)

Confession time:  I stopped chewing gum for 50 days and I forgot how to do it.  Now every time - literally, that I put a piece of gum into my mouth, I chomp on my cheek, lip, tongue.  Yesterday I was seriously worried that I might need to get a stitch in the tongue to stop the bleeding - or stick an earring through it and say it was done on purpose.


My FIRST Diet EVER... and the last.

I wrote this posting a couple weeks back and thought I should give it some time to re-read it, edit it... excuses excuses.  Truthfully, I was scared if I came clean the world would judge me - and then the world (YOU are the world) would be watching me and tracking my success, some people even rejoicing if I were to become a failure... BUT - it's time to come clean...

The truth is out; the photos are proof.  After 50 days I am 25 lbs lighter.  

My journey began this past summer in British Columbia when I looked down at the scale and saw 159lbs.  I'm not sure how it happened, but somehow my closet became full of brand new clothes... 4 sizes too small for me.  It didn't happen overnight, and it certaintly wasn't because I was lazy.  Seriously, I ran a 1/2 marathon last February - how come I was nearly 160 lbs???  Obviously something was going wrong inside my body with my metabolism and if I didn't get it under control, I'd be headed to work in sweat pants.  I never thought I'd turn into a frumpy 30 year old, but it was looking like I might turn out that way.

Then my mom came on skype and I was stunned.  She looked amazing!! 5 years younger than the last time I saw her, happy, healthy, and thinner!  I asked her what the secret was, and she said she'd tell me when I came to visit, not wanting to talk right about it over skype.  Over the next few days I hassled and harassed her until she introduced me to "My Fat Cure".

I have no will power.  I have no self control.  If I see food, I eat it.  I binge.  I am talented in the kitchen and LOVE to bake, cook, and EAT!  What I'm saying is that if this can work for me, it can work for you.  It's NOT a crash diet, it's a homeopathic method to reset your metabolism and retrain you how to eat properly, broken down into four phases.  I can't explain the medical/scientific side.  But I am proof that it works, proof that ANYONE can be successful and lose weight.  Actually, I didn't lose it, I shed it.  It's NEVER coming back.

There are four phases to the fat cure protocol, and I'm currently in Phase 3. This 3rd phase has two parts where you slowly re-introduce the foods you've been detoxing from (carbs/sugars) and been avoiding and watch to see which ones affect you and which foods you are sensitive to. I've learned a LOT about nutrition through this process...

Stage four is the rest of your life, eat healthy and apply the skills you've learned over the past 3 months! Without gaining the weight back!

BUT the link has a lot more information on it, and there is a website sortof like facebook where everyone shares recipes and can answer any questions and offer support. AFTER you join! This is my fat cure, the first diet I've ever tried, and the last one that I'll ever do!


Moral of the story: I gave up Coffee for 50 days. You know I love my Latte's, so there must be something to the fat cure!!


Wednesday, October 6, 2010

New Years in NYC

Life plans are meant to change, right?  Yesterday the plan was for me to spend Christmas in California.  Today I got an email and the plan is for North Carolina.  I'm ok with any plan, so long as I get to see my family, smooch a nephew, and eat at the Waffle House with Seth!!  (he always spends half of his holidays in NC and half in Cali... good times).

Well with 85 days until NEW YEAR'S EVE in New York City, I was thinking perhaps I should take advantage of my layover in NY and make a trip out of it.  I'm not too keen to spend the night in the city alone, so I thought I'd throw this out there and see if YOU want to come and join me??!?!?!?  Anybody out there want to share a latte in the big apple?  pound down dinner from a street vendor?  freeze are arses off at the park?

This is my invite, come one - come all.

Saturday, October 2, 2010


after 50 days without coffee, I am finally able to enjoy my espresso machine once again.  this shot was compliments of caribou coffee.

thank you coffee.