Sunday, July 30, 2017


OK I know I promised everybody I would leave a good post this week since I didn't leave one last week. But my laptop as I mentioned decided to just die. I am trying to check the disk hoping to revive it. But so far I don't think it's working. I am glad that two months ago I decided I'm going to back up my files and I did. I only have two months worth of files to lose so it's not a big deal I guess. I guess I should've bought a new computer when I thought about it but I didn't.

 I am in Baltimore Maryland we just arrived yesterday. We are here to attend the joint statistical meeting. My brother Maher and his wife and my nephew are also coming. I will get to see them soon. 

On Monday I went camping with my friend Danae.  It was really fun and it was really beautiful weather for a little while and then it started hailing. Which was interesting but not too strange for Idaho. It just ruined our attempt to start a fire. But we did have a nice fire for a little while at least. 

My nephew Ashraf got engaged today.  Yet another life event I missing. Someday I'll be able to go home but right now I'm not sure when.

I will be heading to Oregon next week and also Seattle to visit my other nephew. I'm looking forward to that I think it will be great to see him I have not seen him in a long time.

 Today we went to church in Baltimore. It was kind of an interesting walk downtown. It makes me so grateful to live in Rexburg just because it feel safe when I walk down the street. I'm glad I have two guys with me to protect me, the two men from my department that are here with me for the conference. I would totally not feel comfortable walking down the streets on my own. The ward we went to was pretty amazing. Everybody was so friendly and nice. We even got to have some food with them after church.

There are so many people around the world that have hard lives. I have been contemplating about all the women in the world that are suffering especially. I have run into a lot of strong women in my life and I am often amazed at how much some women have to go through and yet remain strong and are the support of their families. I feel so blessed compared to so many others. 

This is the church building where we went to church. Sadly it won't let me post here. Writing a blog from my phone is definitely not the best way to write a blog. Anyway I will include the picture on Facebook. I really hope my computer comes back to life.

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.


Sunday, July 2, 2017

Freedom through our Savior, Jesus Christ

I had a good week, it was really busy though. We have almost two weeks left until the end of the semester and I am getting more and more busy as time goes by.

I went camping with Danae and her family this weekend. We went to Riverside. It was really nice and peaceful other than a few noisy neighbors.  We went on a little hike, then stopped in the middle of the hike and hung our hammocks between trees and rested before we continued. Other than the bugs that were attacking us, it was really fun. We even scared the horses on the trail because they have never seen a hammock before. The wild flowers, lake and river were simply so beautiful.

I did sit in the hammock and grade my exam papers for a little while, but it was still good. I'd be so happy to work in such a place anytime.

We played games, built a fire at night and just enjoyed relaxing in nature.

 I love to put my feet in the river. It is really too cold, but so refreshing!

 The largest mushroom I have ever seen:

I bore my testimony at church today and said that I am grateful to be in a free country.  Living under occupation all my life, I see the difference. I hope that every American appreciates living in a place where they can travel freely and where their human rights can be preserved.  Everyone tells me why I am so anxious to obtain my US citizenship and I say that it is to experience freedom even to a some extent. I know that even as an American citizen born in Palestine I will still be treated differently, but I am willing to wait and go through all the messy process of obtaining a green card just so that I can get a taste of freedom.

I was reading in 2 Nephi 9 today. That is my favorite chapter because of the contrast in it between the Savior and Satan, between Heavenly Father's plan and Satan's plan... between Joy and misery, Peace and turmoil, light and darkness.

Satan takes away our freedom, he captivates us and binds us. Our Savior, Jesus Christ, suffered so that we can be delivered from death, from misery, and from darkness. When we follow the Savior, we are free for He set us free from sin through His atonement.  How grateful I am for Him and for His love. Living without freedom all my life, I have come to appreciate more the freedoms and peace our Savior provides us with.  His gospel and His path is always the path that will provide us with freedom, peace, light and eternal life.

Verses 19-22
 O the greatness of the mercy of our God, the Holy One of Israel! For he delivereth his saints from that awful monster the devil, and death, and hell, and that lake of fire and brimstone, which is endless torment.
And he cometh into the world that he may save all men if they will hearken unto his voice; for behold, he suffereth the pains of all men, yea, the pains of every living creature, both men, women, and children, who belong to the family of Adam.
And he suffereth this that the resurrection might pass upon all men, that all might stand before him at the great and judgment day.