Sunday, July 22, 2018

Good times and bad times...

I didn't really tell anyone about this, but now I am telling the world. It is funny how everyone gets to know about all the details of my life. I had surgery last week. It was a minor hernia surgery and since I never had surgery before, I expected to recover pretty fast. My sister is here and I thought I would rest for one day then be strong enough to do things with her. That did not happen and I regretted having the surgery while my sister is here. I should have waited until she left. I made her stay home for 4 days while I recovered. We did nothing but watch movies and play cards. She said she has never been so bored in her life! One good thing is that she is now soooo grateful for her crazy busy life.  I did enjoy having my sister here to mother me and take care of me and spoil me for a few days though. It made a big difference having someone here to help.

The place of the surgery did not bother me as much as my chest and throat. They put a breathing tube in, and for the first two days after the surgery it was so painful to swallow and even breathe. My whole neck and chest ached. I could not cough too because that made it hurt so much and so that made things worse...Well, it was painful to move too.  I should not complain, I know it is minor surgery...but like I said I never had surgery so I really thought it would be easy and quick to recover from it.

What made it worse is that my thigh is numb and has been since the day after the surgery. Most doctors I asked say that a nerve is damaged or something like that which causes this, but none of them gave me a definite on whether or not it will get better. It seems too weird and so I was just scared. I have never had a part of my body that had no feeling, so it really scares me.
I still don't know if it will get better or worse or what. If any of you had hernia surgery and had this happen to you, please comment so that I would know.

Well, now to the good...I am finally well enough (sort of) to do some things with my sister. My cousin came today and my other sister comes tomorrow.

Here are some of the things we did...
Idaho Falls and shopping...lots and lots of shopping...

Went to the Rodeo, but didn't stay long because the chairs were very uncomfortable. At least I gave my sister her first Rodeo experience...

We went to the Pioneer day Parade. My friend's float (Noah's ark) won second place. Some of the floats were actually pretty good.

We went on a float down the river. I probably should not have done that a few days after surgery, but it was worth it...

 There were no pictures of me, since I was the one holding the phone...but here is one of Suhair:

I look back at last week and wonder how I did all that in one week. All the things I listed above, in addition to having surgery, doing blood tests and doctor's appointments, and teaching, and giving final exams and grading final exams and doing grades, shopping for two days, and doing yard work (Yes I mowed my lawn the day of the surgery--no no before the surgery not after, I'm not that crazy). 

I'm tired...but we have a full week planned of activities and I am looking forward to it. I think it will be fun, but I may need a vacation after this vacation.

Sunday, July 15, 2018

My sister is here...Yay

One more week of classes...yay. Can't wait to be done. Spring is always the longest semester (seems that way because we get a short break between winter and spring). 

My sister Suhair arrived on Friday to visit me. She will be here for one month. I was so happy to see her. The first day she arrived she was so tired as she has not slept for days. I made her stay up until after 9 pm as it helps her body adjust better. I don't know if that worked or not. She was up at 2 am this morning and by the time I got up at 6 a.m. she was bored to death.

We were going to rest on Saturday, but decided to go shopping instead. We walked everywhere and then after that went zip lining. I paid in advance and was worried that my sister would not be willing to do it.  The view from the top was similar to this...

We got to the first zip line (out of 10 total) and she refused to go down. I actually was not scared myself until we got on top of the hill and I looked down to where I was about to jump and I freaked too. I was trying to convince my sister to go down, when I was thinking "I agree, let's not do this and just go back." The first zip line was actually high and scary...or so it seemed. But after we did the first one the rest were super easy and fun.

Here is a video of our zip lining...

We walked around in Idaho falls and went to the Farmer's Market which I have never been to. It was fun...

 We also played cards...and of course she always gets the Joker and kept winning ha ha..Can't wait for my other sister and cousin to come too so we can have 4 players.

 We went to church today. My sister came with me and mostly stayed awake (ha ha). She kept yawning and barely survived...
We are going to go to my friend's house to play a game now. I tried to get her to take a nap before we leave, but she could not. I think I may take her back to church so she can take her nap. She sleeps better there.

Sunday, July 8, 2018

Losing your land

I had a good holiday on Wednesday. I wish we could get a holiday in the middle of the week all the time. I got so much done. I shopped, cleaned, worked in my yard, ... and had fun. Our neighbors had a BBQ and invited me. The kids had fun setting off fireworks and we enjoyed watching. My friend told me she watches the fireworks from her house and I thought that was not fun, but it was really as nice as going downtown and dealing with all the traffic in order to get somewhere closer.

Here is a video which shows some of the fireworks the kids set off. Some of them were actually pretty good.

I received my employment authorization and my travel document last week. This was the first step in my green card application. This means they are now ready to look at my actual petition to become a US permanent resident. Now does the employment document mean I can travel? Well, technically, but it still has a risk of me not being able to return to the US. It seems like the office that my case got transferred to is working faster. So, I may get my green card sooner than I thought. 1-2 years was the wait period at the other office, so it still may take this long. But, they may surprise me and get it done fast and let me go home for Christmas. That would be the best Christmas gift I ever get. I try not to hope too much because I don't like disappointment. Who does, right? 
Only a few days until my sister comes. I am so excited! I do have a busy week trying to grade exams and do other things before she comes. I hope I can get everything done. I actually have so much on my mind that I have been having a hard time sleeping, which normally never happens to me. I am usually asleep even before my head hits the pillow!

The news about Al Khan Al-Ahmar from home has made me so sad. Especially the image of the little girl asking where her father is (he has just been arrested for simply existing on that land). I visited that Bedouin community where while I worked with the UN. They were such sweet simple people. They did some hand work and sold it to make money in addition to being farmers. They loved the land and have been farming it and using it for generations. Israel is expanding one of the Israeli settlements in the area so they are demolishing the homes of these Bedouins and driving them out of that area. There has been sadness from the residents of Al Khann Al-Ahmar who are clinging to their land not wanting to leave. This shows how much they love their a farmer, the land becomes part of you. 

This video is sad and shows the Israeli soldiers arresting some of the Bedouins and hitting some of the women just because they are refusing to leave their land. Some bedouins rebuild their homes after the soldiers demolish them, so we will see if this will happen in this case. My brother says that the bedouins at Al-Araqib rebuilt their homes 130 times after the Israeli soldiers demolished them. I can't imagine my home being demolished once, let alone over 100 times. I think I would lose the motivation to rebuild, but they didn't. (You probably need Facebook for the video)

Click the watch the video about Khan Al-Ahmar

Sunday, July 1, 2018


Another week is over. Three more weeks until the semester is over and two weeks almost until my sister Suhair arrives. 

We went camping this weekend. It was fun and relaxing even though I kept thinking of the million things I had to do and the grading I have to do this week. 
On Friday, Danae's uncle cooked us a dutch oven meal with chicken, potatoes and corn. It was amazing.

We walked around and enjoyed the scenery. We had a big hail storm which may seem bad, but it was actually fun to watch. Danae and Dianne even sat by the fire in the rain. I personally enjoyed watching from a dry place. The second day and third day were perfect.
The Dutch Oven meal with the coals on top..

Our hail storm...

We roasted hotdogs and pineapples on the fire. It actually took us quite a while to start a fire because all the wood was wet. We gave up and used some lighter fluid to get the fire going. We also did s'mores.  

Here are some pretty nature pictures...

 The 360 degrees does not work in a blog I guess. But it is pretty...

 So, my green card got transferred to another office, hopefully they will get it done faster, but my attorney still says it is one year at least.
I went the other day to get my fingerprints taken. Apparently, my fingerprints expire and the fingerprints they took 3 years ago are no longer valid. So, I had an appointment to go to Idaho Falls to the service center there and get my fingerprints taken.

When I got there they asked about my nationality and I told them I am Palestinian. They said Palestine was not in their list. I asked her to look for something close like Palestinian Authority, or West Bank, but she found nothing. The lady then gave me the list of countries she had and said "Here, why don't you choose any nationality that you think is remotely close." I could have chosen anything. I could have chosen to be German or French, or Italian... How funny. 

I chose Jordanian since Jordan close to us and I actually happen to have an expired Jordanian passport in case they ask me to prove I am Jordanian. I could have said I was Israeli, but I didn't want to. 
I wrote a complaint and asked for my nationality to be included in the list. I don't know if that will be heard or not.  The government worker there kept apologizing and saying that there is nothing she can do about it. She even showed me their Gender list. I mean it had like 6 or 7 choices. Not just the usual Male and Female. She said their country tries to be politically correct when it comes to Gender, but they don't recognize other nationalities. 

So, I guess I get to be Jordanian for a while...Maybe next year I can say I am American and actually find my nationality in the list when I fill out applications online. Maybe I'll join the 4th of July celebrations next year and say that the United States is my country...It still won't substitute for my desire for a Palestinian State and a Palestinian identity, but I'll be happy with it as it will give me many rights that I only dream of having as a Palestinian.