Sunday, July 16, 2017

The Semester is Over...YAY

I don't have something profound to say this week. It has been the longest week of the semester. I am so glad it is over. 
We have final exams on Monday and Tuesday and then we will be done. 
I am going to teach a new class in the fall, so I need to spend quite a bit of time preparing for it and building homeworks and quizzes and exams. I will be traveling during the 6-week break, but only briefly.

I had amazing students this semester, but sadly many of them are not doing well in the classes. I say they are amazing because I feel they try so hard. I had a student who came to my office almost every day and asked questions. Then at the end of the semester gave me these yummy coconut treats. If you never had those before you must try them. They are so good!

 My garden is not doing so great. I was hoping I would eat something from it before I went traveling this summer. I am worried it will die while I am gone. I did buy an auto watering system, but not quite sure if it will work or not.

My cucumber plant is half dead. I thought I would pick this one cucumber from it so that I would say that I at least ate something from it before it died. Well, it tasted horrible. I am not sure why...maybe it was the wrong kind of cucumber. Oh well, I guess I found out I am not a farmer.

 My tomatoes are in a better shape, but they are taking forever to ripen. I am finally beginning to see some red color in there. I guess they are still worried it may snow or something so they are not turning red. I just hope they taste better than my cucumber...otherwise I may give up on farming all together.

I made mansaf the other day. It was good...It has been a while since I made some because I ran out of lamb meat and I kept forgetting to buy some.
 I am heading to Utah for one day on Saturday. There are two friends of mine from Bethlehem who are going through the temple and getting sealed in the temple and I wanted to be there for that.

It was such a nice surprise to see one of my friends from back home today (Jenni) at church. I walked out of relief society (which I almost never do) to go to teachers' training. And there she was. It was so good to see her.

As for my green card application, the advertisement period is finally over! I don't have to print ads anymore, yay. My poor department head though still has to interview all the applicants and prove that I am more qualified.  I told him that at least now he knows what the process is like and knows to never do this again.  It has been such a long painful process for him especially. The next step will take about 4 months, then we can finally apply for the green card. I hope around January! After we apply, who knows how long it will be. 

My book is in the editing stage still, but it is mostly done. The cover is mostly done too and I am looking forward to seeing what the cover will look like.  

Sunday, July 9, 2017

The Right to be Happy

There is one more week of classes left and the semester will be over. Because we got a short break between Winter and Spring semester, this seems like one long semester and it is going even slower at the end. I can't wait to be done!! I think my students feel the same way as well.

Last Tuesday we had a holiday. It was Independence day and everyone was gathering with family to celebrate. On Monday evening, I drove to Blackfoot and had dinner with a friend of mine from BYU. I had not seen her in a while so it was nice to spend time with her and with her family. They had a BBQ and the kids played with fireworks.

The sound of explosions make me jump each time. They are different than the sound of gun shots, but they are pretty similar. Something inside me aches every time I hear that sound. I know people are lighting fireworks to celebrate and I am trying really hard to have a good feeling when I hear them go off, but I can't help it. Every time I hear them I remember gun shots, missiles, rifles and pain.

Back home we heard those sounds a lot. Every gunshot meant someone was being shot, another injury or another death, another family suffering. Images of young men with bullet wounds come to my mind. Every time I hear a gunshot, I remember Moayad blood in the taxi I rode and picture him dead with his school bag still on his back.  Then I remember Salam's house.  The shattered glass in their kitchen window showing the place where the bullets fired by the Israeli settler entered their kitchen hitting 14-year old Salam in the head. I remember Isaac at Bethlehem University and the bullet wound in his head. I remember watching him die while hoping the Israeli soldiers would allow us to take him to a hospital.  Too much pain, too much to erase. I hate guns, I hate them because those weapons given to the State of Israel have often made my people suffer.

On Tuesday, July 4th the city of Rexburg does a parade. Feeling alone without family around I decided to go.  I stood and watched the floats throwing candy to the children.  The people on the float would throw the candy the the children would run with smiles on their faces to collect it. I felt how happy the children and everyone was. That feeling of happiness I saw around me was something I had never before felt in any setting. I experienced joy through living the gospel and peace, but that feeling of happiness was a bit strange. 

I have seen children in similar situations in Palestine, children who were celebrating, or playing or laughing...but that feeling was not there. That pure happiness was missing. Then I realized that we have grown up without it. Because many Palestinian children grew up hearing gun shots, and seeing pain and suffering it dimmed the happiness they could feel. I realized that some Palestinian children may not know how to be happy or what happiness feels like.

Believe it or not, I felt uncomfortable at the parade. As I stood there among happy people I felt out of place. I felt that I had no right, as a Palestinian, to be there. I had no right to be happy.  I can't describe that in words really. But, it was so uncomfortable that I simply decided to leave.

How sad it is that there are so many children in the world today who are denied of their right to be happy. They are abused, live in war torn countries, their safe home has been destroyed, or they lack the food necessary to survive.  I would like to believe that we have a Father in Heaven who loves those children and will someday embrace them and make them forget all the pain and suffering they had to see.  

We had a college social at the Rexburg water park. The math department won the pie eating contest. Way to go Craig!

Yesterday we went tubing down the river. This so far has been the second most relaxing thing I have ever done in my life. The first was being alone in a balloon hundreds of feet above ground. I really feel every Palestinian needs to float down the river for therapy from all the trauma and pain they have seen.
I look forward to taking my sisters down the river one day. There is something magical about being in the middle of a river, hearing only the sound of birds and the sound of the water. Feeling the cool water and the fresh air.