Sunday, July 31, 2016

Finally moved in--then left.

I don't have much to say...I have been unpacking boxes and cleaning all week. At the end of each day I would stop when I no longer can move. I have also had little food at home because I knew I would be leaving to go to Chicago this week and I didn't want to go shopping. So, I ate out a lot, or ate whatever I had left in my fridge. My fridge started looking pretty sad towards the end. On Friday I had only olives left in there, so I had to go out to eat for every meal.

The worst part was going down to the basement and discovering all the bugs by each of the windows. One window had a colony of spiders, one window had a colony of cockroaches, and one had a colony of earwigs. Apparently the bug spray I got does not work, because it didn't kill them. Luckily the bugs were outside the house, not inside, but I still worry they may get in. I may have to have someone come and spray. Found a dead bird and a dead bat by the windows which may explain all the bugs (?) I ran to the shower after I cleaned down there as I felt all the bugs were crawling on me...yuk!

I am mostly done with cleaning, there was so much dust in there! and now it feels more like a house. I still need to do a couple of things in the house, but now I really like everything about it except the shower which is too small. But, it is ok I guess...I may end up taking a lot of baths in my Jacuzzi instead of showers...

I am also sad because the couches I got don't seem as comfortable as they were in the store. I think I just need to sit on them a while before they get softer...They were so amazing at the store...They were also too big for my space...But, I am not returning them. Hopefully they will get better with time.

I am currently in Chicago at the ASA conference. It has been really fun so far. I didn't think it would be, but my colleagues are fun to be around and we are making the most of it. We had amazing Japanese food yesterday and tomorrow we will take the architecture boat tour. The view from the hotel is amazing, it is right by the river and lake.
I am going to include some pictures of my new house below. Then put some pictures form Chicago. 













   It is interesting to walk down the streets of Chicago. I guess I got used to the safe small town of Rexburg. There are so many people here that are drunk, homeless, or doing drugs on the streets. I'm glad I have 3 guys (from the Math department) to protect me, otherwise I would never feel safe walking in those streets. Really scary. 

I am including some pictures of Chicago below. I will share more later (or next week).





They have this huge silver bean...You can see the reflections in it.

this picture is inside the bean... and the little dots are reflections of people who are under the bean...strange I know.
 

 View from the hotel-Sheraton. Somehow good hotels aren't as good in big cities, but at least it is a good location, good view and free since the university is paying for it!


Sunday, July 24, 2016

Homeless

I moved out of my apartment on Saturday. I packed all day on Friday and did some cleaning in between. I was so tired at the end of the day. As I looked at my stuff and the 20 boxes I had, I wondered how we would move them.

The owner of the house said I can move my stuff into the garage of my new house. I will sign all the documents on Monday and then I can move everything out of the garage and into the house. 

On Saturday people from church came to help me move. I was amazed at how many showed up and how they had trailers and trucks and all my stuff fit in there perfectly.  I thought moving my stuff would take hours, but it literally took less than one hour to load them and move them to the new place and unload them into the garage.  They were even telling me to not carry stuff but just supervise. I am so blessed with a church that can step in when we need help and dedicated members and friends.

My visiting teachers also came last week and brought me many meals. They said that they know I will be packing and won't be able to cook and prepare anything. They were right, after I packed all my kitchen stuff, I could not eat anything because I didn't know where anything was. Those meals were heaven sent. I am still eating them! 

My new ward said they would come help me move my things from the garage into the house. I think unpacking will be more fun than packing because it will be great to finally have my own place and organize it how I want it.  

So, now I have moved my stuff out of my apartment. All my things are in the garage and I am homeless for two days. My friend Danae is letting me stay in her house for which I am grateful. At least I can keep my fridge and freezer stuff from spoiling and have a bed to sleep on. Sadly, I keep thinking of things that I need that I didn't keep with me. They are no where to be found and as I go to the garage to try and find them I get overwhelmed and end up leaving. I can't wait to have everything put away and feel settled.
 
I am doing the final proof of my book and am going to send it to Deseret Book this week. I am so excited because Sister Sheri Dew said she would be willing to read it and consider it. My friends Camille and Amanda have been amazing in helping me edit it and polish it.  I really hope that we can move forward with this book as I feel the world needs it (especially now).

I am not sure why people are becoming more racist. It seems as time goes by, humans become more and more separated from one another. We all came from one family, we are brothers and sisters. But, it seems that each of us is going a different way. We started by having less love for one another, and now that has turned into pure hate. We blame each other for things we create, we judge, cheat, lie, and allow hate to build in our hearts. My brother, Walid, was telling me about the companies he works with and how they don't pay him the money they owe. They lie and make deals just to get out of paying.  

The world has gone so far from the path of righteousness, that it may be at a path of no return.  
I hope that each of us "will choose the harder right rather than the easier wrong," as president Monson says. I hope we will continue to love, to serve, to be honest even if we do it alone.

Sunday, July 17, 2016

Packing and stuff

One more day of classes and the semester will be over. Spring is so beautiful here, but this is not a good time to be teaching. Students are not motivated because they want to be outside playing. Teachers are not motivated because they have been going non-stop since January. I am tired!

I have had great students this semester (other than the lack of motivation for some). I loved them and enjoyed teaching them. 
Last week one of my old students left a thank-you card under my door, another one of my students gave me a cute plant, and yet another gave me cookies.
 

 I think they know I would need those. Because on Friday, the person who was going to buy my apartment contract backed out the last minute. I freaked out because I was one week from moving out and if I don't find anyone I would have to pay $2000 to get out of my contract. I got stressed and worried I would not be able to find anyone. The apartment complex also said I can't leave the apartment empty (so even if I pay the money, I am not allowed to check out).

I re-posted my ad and waited, then all of a sudden got so many people that were interested. Luckily I sold it to one of my best students from a couple of semesters ago. This happened within hours of me re-posting the ad.  I am glad William and his new wife will be living in my apartment. 

I also sold my couches and table that same day. So, even though Friday started out being a bad day, in the end everything worked out. 

Everything is good with the house as well...I will move in on Friday. I am excited but overwhelmed, now especially after I started packing. I am not sure how someone could have this much stuff after being in Idaho only one year! I have way too may boxes and I am not sure how I will get them to my new place. Some people from church said they would come and help on Saturday, but I am wondering if I should have rented a U-Hall truck because I will need like 20 car/pickup loads. I guess we will see.


 And the above still does not include the kitchen, my room and clothes and bedding. 

My mom did a CT scan the other day and we were worried that she had something serious because she has been having some pains..It turns out she is fine and doing well. I am so grateful for that.

I am sad to watch the news about all the problems everywhere in the world. I was shocked at the news about Turkey and worried about those I love who live in that beautiful country. Iraq, Syria, France, Turkey, Yemen, Afghanistan and countless other countries have suffered loss. I hope we all can pray for peace and for strength for those suffering. Let us all be grateful for the safety we live in...
 
 

Sunday, July 10, 2016

My Roller Coaster Ride of Life

We have about one more week of classes left. It has been a good semester, but really long. The reason is, we had no break between Winter and Spring Semester, so it seems like I have been teaching forever. I am tired! 

I am going to be closing on my new house on the 22nd if all goes well. So, I will be moving all day on the 23rd and maybe the rest of July. I am not looking forward to packing and moving, but I am excited to be in my own place...Yay.  

My uncle Sami died a few days ago. He followed his sister (my aunt Amal) who died only weeks earlier. My uncle suffered a stroke years ago and the doctors told us he would not live more than weeks. Because of the gentle care of his wife, Faina, he has outlived all odds. He could not walk or talk often, so I think he is in a much better place now... free of physical pain and restrictions. 

My mom now started to worry more about her health after losing 2 of her siblings in less than one month. The pains she has had in her side and chest are getting worse and she has finally decided to get some medical exams done. We will see what the tests reveal.  I am sure her late siblings want her to be with them, but I know my mom is not ready to go. She needs to live a few more years...at least until I can visit her.

At the end of this month I am going to Chicago for a statistics conference and then in August my brothers and I are going to meet in Las Vegas. I am not sure if I should be happy about this or not, as I don't like Vegas. But, for them it is a cheap place to fly to and so we are meeting there. They do like to gamble and I probably will be spending a lot of time relaxing in the hotel, or going on some roller coaster rides. 
 For the past weeks and months I have been bracing myself. I feel like I am on a roller coaster that is about to reach the top and then drop down.


(I actually have been on this specific roller coaster shown in the above picture)

This feeling I have results from some of the challenges that I have seen in my life. I always seemed to have something bad happen (almost every week). Every time there would be a good thing, it was always followed by a trial or hardship.  Don't get me wrong, I did have a good life, but it was not a life free of trials.  

I have had streaks of good luck recently...Actually ever since Feb 2015, nothing 'bad' has happened to me personally. I lost some loved ones, but my life has been going in the right direction. I have received one blessing after the other.

That should make me happy, and it does, but I can't help but worry. I really feel that disaster has to be at the door and something bad has to happen soon. War, occupation, checkpoints, gun shots, ... something. I keep wondering what that thing is and if I will be ready for it...

I guess for now, all I could do is thank Heavenly Father every day for a life free of trials, for the freedom I enjoy in this country and for a loving family and a good job. The view is surely spectacular from up here...But the drop will also be fun I am sure. It is scary and hard at first, but a roller coaster would not be a good roller coaster if there were no drops. And each drop never last more than seconds as you compare them to the whole ride. Life is good and enjoyable, it's up hills and down hills, it's rushes and all. I hope we can all enjoy the ride while it lasts.

Sunday, July 3, 2016

Freedom

It has been a good week, the inspection was finished on my new house. The inspector said that the house is in great condition and the insulation and other things are the best he has ever seen. Now, I am just waiting for the loan company to do an appraisal on the house just to make sure I am not paying for it more than it is worth. When that is done all that remains is signing a few papers and I will have a house. I hope the appraisal goes well. I want it to be done fast so that I will know soon because I need to sell my apartment contract. 

My brothers Maher and Walid decided to go to Las Vegas in the summer. So, we will plan to meet there. Hopefully it won't be too boring for me because they may spend most of their time gambling. But, I guess I can enjoy swimming and relaxing at the hotel instead. 

Today I got to teach a missionary discussion to a man from Sudan who lives in France. Isn't technology amazing!? The Gospel always finds a way to reach every nation, kindred, tongue and people. Meanwhile I hope we can love and be accepting to all. 

I am saddened by the frequent terrorist attacks, most recently in my beloved Turkey and also in Iraq. I flew in and out of the Istanbul airport at least twice a year while I was studying in Turkey. Many killed by ISIS in the recent attacks are Muslims.  I hope everyone can refocus and understand that ISIS does not represent Islam. We all mourn for those killed whether they be Muslim, Christian or whatever their nationality is.

Tomorrow is the 4th of July and all Americans are celebrating independence day. I went yesterday to the Rodeo (well the end of it) and watched the fireworks afterwords. 
Here is a video of one of the bull riders that did exceptionally well:

The fireworks were great too. As I am now in the process of applying for a US citizenship, I can't help but think that this will be my country too. My cousin has a problem now because she is forced to give up one of her nationalities. She can't be both Jordanian and German, she has to choose one or the other.  Nationality is an interesting thing...I think it is really where your heart is, not what document you hold.  I will always be Palestinian, even though many don't acknowledge that as a valid nationality.  I think you don't really live in your country, your country lives in you wherever you go.

I have always longed to have a US citizenship, it was a dream of mine to be a citizen here because of all the freedoms and other things that come with it.  But, as I look at the US today, I can't help but wonder 'What in the world happened to this country?' It used to be a great nation and now it seems like it is going down hill.  Many are using their freedoms to choose the wrong.  I have many friends that are Americans and they are amazing. I hope that they can have the strength to stand for what is right and point this country in the right direction.  

This is the land promised to Lehi and his children and it has been a promised land to many. Without the freedoms provided in this land the Gospel could not have been restored. Many came to this land over the years seeking refuge and protection and they made this place their home. But it does not come without a price. Hopefully those here in the US will realize that the promise in Ether 2 applies to them:

"And now, we can behold the decrees of God concerning this land, that it is a land of promise; and whatsoever nation shall possess it shall serve God, or they shall be swept off when the fulness of his wrath shall come upon them. And the fulness of his wrath cometh upon them when they are ripened in iniquity.

 10 For behold, this is a land which is choice above all other lands; wherefore he that doth possess it shall serve God or shall be swept off; for it is the everlasting decree of God. And it is not until the fulness of iniquity among the children of the land, that they are swept off."

I hope we can serve God wherever we may reside. I hope that we can realize that our identity as His spirit children is more important than some nationality.  He, the God of the whole universe, loves us, cares about us and is aware of our every need. 

He blesses me every day, and even if I am one of billions of people on this earth, He still answers my prayers and blesses me with what I need all the time.