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Saturday, August 28, 2010

From Out Here In The Desert

I should really have more words to say.
I should be able to describe our time here...
Our transition...
Our new experiences...
Anything.

Instead, I am doing my best not to cocoon (where, in a new culture you lock yourself in your house,) despite our lack of car (it broke down on Thursday,) and our 115 degree temperatures.

AKA Heck no, am I walking about town.

Ian's over the border, where the car broke down, trying to get it in to see a mechanic.

Me, I spent the entire day in bed, in my pajamas, reading a book and a half, and napping away.

Oh, and munching on Doritos. Because they are awesome here. Not really sure why.

My camera has sat idle on my desk all week, much to my dismay. Probably because we were stuck inside two days this week when the painter came, then stuck inside the last two days with no car.

I'm really not complaining though. Not being able to go anywhere means I can concentrate on napping and getting over jetlag and working on getting unpacked. I believe we're almost done.

We got our office furniture and bedside lamps from Ikea on Thursday and put them all together on Friday. Ian and I are master Ikea furniture makers. It's really amazing.

We'll probably wait until the next paycheck until we by our family room furniture, but I'm okay with that. One thing at a time.

I'm heading out within the next hour for my first "visit," to a home. I'm not really sure what that means, but I have a friend here who is taking me along and I'm sure she'll fill me in on what to expect.

Ian bought me a 6 pack of Toblerone bars when he was over the border in a Western grocery store the other day.

Have I mentioned how amazing he is?

Well, he is. He always takes care of me and is so sweet about it.

I'm doing alot of converting lately. Money, time, distance. It makes my head spin. I think I've gotten the time difference between here and the east coast down pretty well, but money? Yeah, not so much. We deal in three different currencies here, which makes me get big wide eyes and my jaw go slack.

Have I ever mentioned that I am no good in math? No? Well I'm not.

I blame it on my private school who did NO math from grades 3-5. Awesome. When I started public school in 6th grade, I didn't even know how to do long division, not to mention my dismay at the concept of "square root." I've struggled ever since then.

Hence my love for books.

Can I hear an Amen?

Thanks for reading this complete array of randomness. Your comments and love have helped me during this time of transition. I promise it will become more comprehensive in the weeks/months to come!


Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Our New Home in the Desert

We're Home!!!!!!

And before I type anything else, I want you to know that it took me 7 hours to load these photos. That's how much I love all of you friends and family back stateside who were asking to see pictures of the new home. 7 hours. Let that sink in a little bit.

Yes, as I am in the throes of jet lag, worse than I've ever had before, I would just load one picture and doze while it loaded, all the while thinking "Calgon, take me away." I know, I know, I shouldn't let myself nap to get over jet lag. However, I have my own philosophy about this strange thing, and that includes letting myself sleep whenever I want. I figure, eventually, my body will be so well rested it will actually stay awake for hours on end, right? Here's to hoping that it wants to stay awake in the day, and not the night!

Alright, so we flew in at 1 am Friday morning, slept until 1 at our boss' house, hung out with them all day and saw Abu Dhabi and had a good laugh driving back to their house that night. Why? Well, when they told us the plans for the next day, it included picking up our car from the guy who arranged it. Usually that would be just peachy keen, but this particular car was Manual. Ian and I exchanged sideways glances and laughed until we almost cried. Somehow, in our upbringing, we were never taught how to drive stick shift.

Oh well, we'll learn!

And learn Ian did, that very next morning. Saturday, he and our boss woke up and headed outside for some manual driving lessons. At the end of an hour he had a pretty good handle on it but was still nervous about it.

By noon, we piled into the car with all of our luggage and took off for Dubai, where our car and apartment keys were waiting for us.

By six pm, on Saturday, we were on the road again to our new home. We saw camels and rolling sand dunes. We saw dusty skies and green oases (did you know it's one oasis, two oases? I didn't, until now!)

By nine pm, we had made it through the border crossing and were walking through the door to our new home, at least for the next two years.

I have to tell you, it was a little rough. And by was, I mean it still is.

But when we first walked in, whew, let me tell you.

It was hot.
The air was thick.
And it was dirty.
No, really, it was dirty.

As in, the desert had come into our home.

Piles of sand were around the windows and doors and a thin layer of dusty sand covered every. single. surface of that home.

I was a brave soldier, however, and didn't shed a tear, which was really impressive. Instead, I got to work vacuuming up the absurd piles of sand and wiping down the bedroom walls and furniture so that we'd have somewhere to sleep.

All the while, Ian was out with our boss trying to get things settled, such as internet, cell phones, electricity, yada yada yada.

Did I mention our boss was having to go away on a business trip for 10 days? Yeah, hence the urgency.

So, after a good mop the house looked a lot more approachable, and I finally decided to take the "Before," pictures. So, here you go, and please, keep in mind these are the "before," and we haven't unpacked or decorated anything yet.

As you walk in the front door, to your right is the Magiless. I'm not really sure how to spell that. The Magiless is the formal living room that acts as a reception area for your guests. More than likely, in this very formal society, your guests will never go beyond this first room.
Yes, it's blue. With giant blue/gold/white tiles. Awesome. Also, you'll see a running strip of "wallpaper," which is really just contact paper. Props to the decorator on a budget.

The Magiless has its own AC, and its own bathroom (with a shower and two sinks,) so that guests would not intrude on the "private," parts of your house.

If you didn't turn right into the Magiless, and instead went straight, you'd see this, an awesome blue hallway.
Which leads into our actual family room. It has a big wooden door, like you would see on a front door, that closes it off from the Magiless and the front door. Awesome for when I'm chilling in the house and Ian has male visitors over.

More of the family room. You can see where we ripped off the contact paper/ wall paper in preparation for the painter that was coming the next day. Yes, the blue was just not going to cut it for 2 years.
Looking back through the family room towards the front door, you can see my sweet husband getting rid of the wall paper! Also, you can see our internet modem on the left, and potential AC plug in box (the white one,) on the right.

If you continued through the family room you'd come to this arched door way, which leads to the rest of the quarters of the house.

To the right, through the archway, is the kitchen. I was prepared for this room, because I knew most other countries don't quite place a high importance on the aesthetics of the kitchen. This place is no exception.
Water heater above the metal cabinets, which we keep turned off. After all, the water coming in from outside on the "cold," switch is hot already due to the heat of the great outdoors.

We're still in the middle of sorting through kitchen supplies that were left for us, and are stocking up our pantry, slowly but surely.

Below, you can see our fridge, stove, and "washing machine." The gas stove was new for me, and I dealt with it. And the tiny fridge was just a minor adjustment. However, that "washing machine," which you have to pour the water into yourself, then transfer the clothes from the "shake," to the "spin," tub, is just a little too much. Did I mention that you then have to drain the water from the machine into a drain in the middle of the kitchen floor? Yes. It's true.

And it's also true that we'll be dropping money on a new one. If we can. If we have the correct hook up for a new, modern one.

If not, I will learn.
Or, maybe we'll just take them to a laundry mat.

Coming out of the kitchen, you can see the archway to the family room on your left, and the three other doors, left to right, master bedroom, guest bedroom, and bathroom.

This is the bathroom. I'm having, um, issues with this space. Ignore the atrocious clashing of the brown and tan sink/toilet/tile with the black and white shower curtain. Apparently Ian couldn't find a clear or white shower curtain liner, so he picked one that he thought was "most me." He's probably right. In a plain, white bathroom I would love this one!

Yes, the back of our toilet is a giant shell.
No, I don't have an explanation.
Yes, that is a badae.
No, we don't use it.

It takes up a lot of space, so a new friend suggested we use it as a foot bath. Or fill it with rocks or shells. Or store extra towels in it, ha!

The master bedroom, also blue has some awesome blue furniture. ha! Below, you can see the view looking in the doorway. Our wardrobe has three compartments, which is useful for a his/hers/and dirty clothes.
To the right, you can see our AC unit, and our first King size bed. Sans bedding. It was a little warm the first few nights. Now, however, the AC has cooled off the concrete enough that it doesn't get sweltering anymore!

Looking back towards the door is this, um, vanity thing. I would have loved it when I was seven. Now, it's just a dresser that is lacking some drawers. ha!

And finally, our guest bedroom. It has the super powered AC and we love it in there. So much so that we moved our dining room table in there to stay cool at.

It also has a twin sized bed and is the catch all for some weird items. Like a drying rack. and a printer.

The view back out of the room.

Well, that's it! It's rough right now (uh, our water was turned off,) but it's home, so we're making do and being happy. Hopefully in a week or so, we'll have a room or two done, or at least almost done. We are getting it painted as I type this and we'll be making a run to Ikea at the end of the week!

Saturday, August 21, 2010

On the Road Again

After two great nights of sleep, and some recovery from the jet lag (though I can still fall asleep standing up,) we are headed out again.

We are headed to Dubai to pick up our car and and the keys for our apartment before driving the two or so hours across the border to our new home.

I'm really excited and really scared. All at the same time. It's wonderful!

By tonight, I'll be sleeping in the same room that will be my home for the next two years! That's the longest we've lived anywhere since we've been married. Amazing.

So, for now, this is goodbye. Our town is tiny and sleepy. Internet is not a high priority. Our supervisor told us that it might take a week to get internet, if they can run a line out to our building at all! If they can't we'll have to look for some sort alternative! Thanks for the prayers!


Friday, August 20, 2010

We Made It!

Wow, what an amazing 48 hours.

We woke up Wednesday morning and did some last minute packing and weighing of our luggage. And by last minute, I mean we were still working on it when our ride pulled up, ha!

We got to the airport, checked in all 8 pieces and paid the ridiculous fee for our extra baggage, and headed through security.

Grabbed a quick Subway lunch (how I love thee!) and boarded our (late) plane.

Now, usually I fall asleep on a plane very easily, as in, I'm asleep as soon as they turn the plane on, and am passed out by the time we even take off. Well, on the particular plane, I did not. Boo.

On the bright side, we had awesome movie choices and I watched You've Got Mail, The Bounty Hunter, and Date Night. Dozed off and on in between and actually ate two plane meals. (In all of my travels I always avoid plane food.)

When we finally landed in Frankfurt, we were late. Our plane was landing the same time our next plane was loading. Double boo. So, by the time we followed the hallway around and back through security (why did we have to back through, we just got off? weird.) where I was frisked due to my stupid metal barette, we were an hour late. We had to go back out of security and find the correct desk, where they rebooked us for the next non direct flight.

We made it back through security with 10 minutes to spare (thank you, bathroom break,) and got on board our next plane destined for Bahrain. It wasn't full so Ian and I shared a row and I got to spread out and slept for the entire 5 hours. It was awesome. I woke up with an hour to go and finished watching The Last Song (love the story, am not a fan of the main actress,) before landing in Bahrain (that was a first!)

Ian and I got stale pastries at a Starbucks and waited the half hour until we boarded our final plane, all the while a Chilis was taunting us from 15 feet away. (Vancouver didn't have Chili's and I missed it greatly!)

Once again, this plane was not full at all, and we could have all had our own row, but Ian and I shared one because we're cute like that. The flight was only 50 minutes long and when we walked down the stairs from our plane onto the tarmac we were greeted by the warm oven blast that we now call home.

All of our luggage, amazingly, was waiting for us on its own carousel, accompanied by its own guard. ha! I guess since it got in so early they wanted it watched. Luggage and customs was a breeze and our boss picked us up, drove us to his house, where I hopped in a shower and Ian and oru boss went out to get some food before we collapsed into bed at 3 am.

Whew!

We slept until 1 pm and now the house is quiet and we're not sure if our boss and his family is sleeping or still at church, haha. Thankfully we have internet and are getting all of our friends and family caught up. Thanks so much for the prayers!

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

Disbelief

I wrote early this weekend about how much I was in denial about the move. That denial kicked me in my rear and into gear.

We finally cracked open the trunks and suitcases and weighed our way to eight 50 pound pieces of luggage.

{Actually eight 47 pound pieces of luggage. Because I like to play it safe and not push the limits.}

Ian, he's more of a Johnny Cash kind of guy and would prefer it if we' push the limits, or, you know, walk the line.

Our carry ons though, they really push it, with each of having a small rolling suitcase with almost 60 pounds of books! ha! We'll be the oxen staggering through the Vancouver/Frankfurt/Abu Dhabi airports.

No longer in denial, it has turned into disbelief.

My body moves into action.

Pack, clean, make phone calls, run errands.

My mind?

It is a constant "No WAY!"

And the emotional breakdowns? Not pretty.

I believe this morning it was over the fact that Ian and I were so tired after packing until midnight that we missed our quiet time before collapsing into bed.

Yup.

I'm in disbelief as I stare at our almost empty (but somehow incredibly messy) apartment.

I'm in disbelief as I go to the store and stock up on my newly found favorite mousse.

I'm in disbelief as I listen to a dear friend tell us he's dating someone. And we won't be around {BOO}

Disbelief is my middle name as of right now.

Alot of you have asked if we'll continue blogging once we get to the Middle East, and the answer is "MOST Definitely!!!!"

I love blogging.

I may not have access to as reliable internet as we have in the west while we are out in the desert for the next 2 years, but I'll still be blogging our adventures, documenting them in words and in photos as often as possible.

Months ago I told ya'll this, but I'll give you a little refresher in case you are new: If you've been around awhile, you know what we are going overseas for. If you haven't, you might be a little confused about why I don't blog openly about it all.

The truth is, we're going to an area of the world that is not as stable and safe as good ol Orlando, FL. The truth is, we're going to a place where Christians are a minority, and they aren't looked upon as nicely as we might hope.

That being said, we're careful about what we say and how we say it. I really do wish I could answer alot of your questions, but the truth is, I can't. Or I shouldn't. The line between the two is very blurred.

Please stay with us though.

Please pray for us.

Lift us up to God that we will be safe and in His will.

I'm hoping to blog from the airports, but if not, I'll talk to you from the other side of the world!

Monday, August 16, 2010

Really, I do:

This week over at iheartfaces, the theme is "Got To Wear Shades!"

And, since I'm becoming such the expert at denial, denial, denial about the fact that we move to the Middle East in T-minus 48 hours, I decided to put aside all of my packing responsibilities and edit one of my all time favorite images:

I really like this image straight out of the camera. The lighting was pure and even and the colors on her shirt and the orange tinted glasses just pop. But, since I'm trying my hand at this crazy little thing called editing, I went with this one. What do you think?

Sunday, August 15, 2010

Denial

That should be my middle name.

We are, after all, moving to the Middle East in 72 hours.

Crazy.

And we may have not packed one. single. thing.

(Although, we have started piling it around. We can't put anything into a truck or suitcase until we get our luggage scale on Monday.

And I may be, instead, making plans to get a pedicure and a manicure while my husband sees a {really violent} movie.

Denial.

I may have, also, not finished my 3 papers for seminary that I was shooting to finish before we go.

I still have plans to get 1-2 of them done.

Have I mentioned Denial?

I should probably snap out of it soon.

After all, our ride will be arriving at 1 pm (pst) to pick us up come Wednesday, no matter what we have accomplished, and we better be ready!

On top of all that, I'm SO excited. It's all I can think about.

Thursday, August 12, 2010

Learning Curve

I've spent some time playing around with Photoshop Elements this week

And by "playing," I mean crying hysterically and asking "Why won't you listen to me?!"

I may have also made a desperate call to my brother-in-law.

And may have sent an email to Rachel begging for help.

Sorry about that guys.

I have, however, learned alot.

I've watched a ton of tutorials and read a bunch too.

I'm making progress and that feels great.

One thing I learned how to do was to make a watermark.

Although most of my pictures mean nothing now, and I doubt someone would take them, I still wanted to learn how to protect my images in the future.

In case, you know, I'm ever any good.Italic

Just in case.

But first I had to come up with something to put on the watermark.

Should I give myself I name? Really? I thought it might be a little too pretentious to call what I do photography yet.

And I knew I didn't just want to put my name on there. You know, Brittney Galloway, and that's it.

In the end, and after hours of talking this through with my sweet husband {who wanted me to find some cutsey Arabic word to use and I really. Really. didn't} I decided to go ahead and give myself a "photography," name.

Because I could.

So, without further ado, please welcome ....

Ruby Key Photography

I wish I had a reason for the name. I mean, a good reason. But, alas, I'm just one of those people who likes rhyming names, and I wanted to include the "Ruby," from my blog "Far More Than Rubies."

And Ruby Bee sounds a little scary. Like an angry insect.

and Ruby Tree? Yup, that didn't work for me either.

So Ruby Key it was.

Plus, I could make a watermark out of a key. Score.

So here's my first fully edited, processed, and watermarked photo.

I can't wait until we're around people again and can start taking more photos!


Wednesday, August 11, 2010

Early Morning Wake Up Call

It's 6 am here.

We've been up for an hour.

It wouldn't be such a big deal if we had somewhere to go or something to do today.

Instead, our plans include sitting at our computer all day, working on some papers.

Yes, this early morning wasn't on the agenda.

However, we had two wrong numbers call our phone at 4:30 and 5 this morning.

And am I the only one who automatically thinks "OH my gosh! Someone died!" And panic while trying to get the phone?

I hope not.

That was my first thought though.

Then my second thought was, "Who got engaged at 7 am eastern time?"

My friends all should be entering into the "I might be engaged any day now," stage.....even if they aren't.

Luckily, I'm a morning person. I LOVE mornings. I just hate the "wake up to alarms," part of a morning. So, once I'm up, I'm up, and will thoroughly enjoy my quiet morning.

Ian, however, is not a morning person. Usually he can fall right back asleep.

The humor in the situation can always be found though.

Such as the lovely conversation with my husband at 5:45am.

Me: Honey, you should go back to sleep.

Ian: Well, I'm trying to decide which is more important: eating breakfast or going back to sleep.

hahahaha

That man keeps me on my toes.

Sorry if this is a boring post.

Did I mention it was 6 am?

I may like mornings, but my brain's functioning ability does not.

Sunday, August 8, 2010

Bells and Whistles

Lights!

Cameras!

Fog Machines?

Let's try that again.

Lights!

Cameras!

Mohawks!

It may sound like a description of a concert, or maybe even a movie set, but it's not. It's a description of many churches across America this morning

I got up early to watch a live streaming service from my church back in Florida only to be struck with how different this church, looks like from the Church in the Bible.

Ian and I haven't set foot into a modern, western style church service for almost 5 months now. Not necessarily by choice, mind you. Our training encouraged us not to go to a western church while in Canada to get used to what it will be like overseas.

When we first started this process and we learned quickly that the western style church was just that, Western. We learned how most of the world doesn't worship with a rock band (what?! That rocked my world,) have beautiful lights and padded seats, stained glass windows and orchestras, or really use any technology at all.

In most of the world, people meet in small groups, 5 to 20 people, with the sole purpose of replicating the church of the New Testament. There are no music directors or lead pastors, bulletins or video testimonies. Instead, they huddle together, choosing songs that come to their heart, lifting up their voices in praise of The Most High God, bowing their heads in honest, earnest prayer, and studying the scriptures diligently together.

Most importantly, their main goal is to be a replicating, reproducible church.

There isn't a pastor paid hundreds of thousands of dollars. Instead, there is a factory worker, and it's his turn to find a nugget of wisdom in the Bible and share it with others. And the next week? It will be the farmer, because it's his turn.

Sure, after awhile, the person with the best gift of teaching may step up and be "in charge," but he's not the sole decision maker. In reality, he's an equal of all of the other believers in this group.

Often enough, these global churches end their time together with an assignment, that all participants are expected to partake in.

They might model the telling of a Bible story, then ask the people to share it with 3 people.

They might encourage each other to share God's story with 2 family members.

The might say, "invite 1 work mate," this week.

And then, the following time they get together, they ask each other how they did. They hold each other accountable. They expect what we never expect.

Imagine a group of tribesmen, gathered together in Kenya. They are believers, and there is a speaker who has flown across the sea to train them in something from the Bible. They scribble furiously on scraps of paper and stubs of pencils. Why? They are expected to share the good news that they have learned.

Now, imagine a western style church. Imagine yourself at this church. How are you participating? Are you scribbling furiously to get this information down so you can share it with the lady who share your cubicle with you? What about the teacher who shares the work closet with you? More than likely, that is not the image that comes to your mind.

More than likely you envision hundreds of glazed over eyes. Sitting. Passively listening. Oh yes, they are listening (though a few may be thinking about where they will go out to lunch after the service,) but they are listening for themselves. They are listening to hear how it is applicable to their lives, and their life only.

Sometimes they might even tell themselves "that didn't speak to me," or "that didn't apply to me," and they walk away empty handed.

How sad.

How depressing.

How selfish of us even.

But I digress.

Relevance. I'm sure that's the word that is tumbling through your mind right now. Of course I think it is appropriate to make the church relevant to new generations. We're not saying that the church needs to go 16th century, but are we missing the point?

Are we forgetting that the church's sole purpose is to bring Glory to God? How different would our world look if we modeled our church after that first century church? Small, local groups of believers who met together 1, 2, or 3 times a week. Families worshiping together with singles and elderly, learning, growing, sharing, and honoring God.

The focus isn't on the light show, or how well the female backup singer did.

The focus is on Christ and Christ alone.

On the sacrifice He made and the difference it has made in the world.

That's all. Those are the thoughts that are in my head right now. I hope this challenges you to rethink how you go about "church." I hope this challenges you to become an active listener. Or to be more engaging in Sunday School. I hope you feel the desire to go out and share with your neighbors and workmates.

I'd love to share with you a simple way to run a small group. Let me know if you're interested!

Saturday, August 7, 2010

Saturday Surprise {Alternatively Titled C,aloric Fest 2010}

The plan was set into action.

I had told my husband a small lie (but a lie all the same,) that I would be getting up earlier than he was to get used to being on a schedule again.

8:00 am rolled around and I snuck out of our room, stealthily grabbing my tennis shoes and clothes before quietly closing the door.

I changed, grabbed my phone, wallet, and purse, and left a note for Ian.

On a neon sticky note, stuck to our black table, the note read: "Ian, Gone to buy milk. Be back soon. Love, Brittney"

Only instead of Ian, I wrote his nickname, so that he would know I did not write that note under duress.

And don't ask me what his nickname is, it's a long story that I'm not even sure I know.

I high tailed it the 3 blocks, in the rain, to our local Tim Hortons (like a Dunkin Donuts but WAY better,) ordered an assortment of pastries and a Decaf Double Double (2 creams, 2 sugars,) and scurried back home.

About 50 yards away from our front door, my phone rang. It was Ian. All freshly awoken and very confused about my where abouts.

Turns out that carefully constructed note got blown off the table by the fan.

Ian was just happy I wasn't another Saturday morning kidnapping victim.

We spent the morning, cuddled on the couch, watching Friends episodes, or laughing hysterically at the train wreck that is The Real Housewives of New Jersey (my guilty pleasure- Ian can't believe that these people are real- hello, it's in the title of the show!) eating muffins, danishes, and bagels.

Not much planned for the day, but we're okay with that. Maybe tomorrow we'll go somewhere, or do something.

But today, with the rain coming down and that cool Canadian breeze blowing in our windows, we'll stay right here, happy to be together.

Wednesday, August 4, 2010

New Game

I have a new game I like to play.

I call it "Catch the Kittens That are Outside your Window and/or Patio"

But really, it should be called "Let's see how many times you can really freak those poor kittens out."

Sometimes those kittens will be on my windowsill.

My windowsill where the window is open!

And I'll ever so slowly lift up one blind, and slip my hand through only to make some unhearable noise that sends them scampering off.

Those wiley minxes.

Luring them in with all sorts of kitchen ingredients.

Canned chicken? Milk? YES!

Special K cereal bar or curry chicken? Not so much.

And apparently, in all of this kitten chasing, I've lost my inhibitions.

For example, it doesn't bother me to be suspended from our apartment window, half in, half out, as I try to reach those kittens under the bush.

It also doesn't bother me that it's rush hour, and we live at an intersection, with a line of 20 cars waiting to go, which means they just stare and stare at the crazy American hanging out of her window.

Or the part of me that hates hearing baby voices, and is now oh-so-cleaverly calling out "Here Kitty Kitty Kitty," in an impossibly high pitched tone.

Yup.

I like my new game.

If only I could win at it.....

One day, one day!

Reach For the Stars and Other Such Things

I posted this list two weeks ago, but have come to the realization that I overshot by just a bit.....

Or maybe by alot.

Anyways, I am doubting I'll have time to post a revised and updated list right before we go SO..

Here's the revised and updated with future goals included:

Brittney's "Can't Wait to Get on that Plane," To Do List Extravaganza 2010

Things to see and do in Canada:

Victoria Island - Nope, we decided not to drop 3-500 dollars on this day trip. haha.

Ride Bikes around Stanley Park- We have a date set next week to to do this one!

Kayak in cove- Still a possibility I suppose!

Ride to UBC and see the Pacific- Maybe?!

Grouse Mountain and the Grouse Grind- It's not going to happen probably. Boo. I'm just not sure we're in a hiking mood right about now.

Celebration of Light- Fireworks competition- Done and Done. It was pretty crazy.

Bard on the Beach- I decided I didn't want to drop nearly 100 bucks for this little venture.

Whale Watching- And if I didn't want to drop 100 for Bard on the Beach, I really didn't want to drop 2-300 for this. Though I'm saddest about not doing this. Maybe one day on an Alaskan vacation!

Things To Do:

Finish book 5, 6, and 7 of the Anne of Green Gables Series- I decided school was more important and I will bring these books with me!

See Inception- Everyone is raving about it!-We have a date set for next Tuesday to see this!

Finish Lesson One on Rosetta Stone- Yup, not going to happen, our membership expired a week ago, haha!

Read Radical- Awesome, it was amazing. Book Review to come on this one.

Listen to 100 hours of Arabic- I think I have this one done. We've gone to church every Friday in Arabic for 20 weeks (3 hours a time,) and I've been trying to listen to an hour or so a day. I'm not picking up much but I am much more comfortable with the sounds!

Finish Crocheting scarf-give as gift- I'm working my little fingers off. I might not see the person so I'll have to leave it and a nice little note.

Read 3 books for Seminary and write papers on each- In Progress....

Video Chat (Skype) with as many family members and friends as possible- Uh, yes, Definitely Going to happen!

Mani/Pedi/Hair Cut- Ha! Hair cut, done. Mani and Pedi will come the day before we go, once I'm done packing and moving stuff around!

Things to Buy:

Me- Khaki Pants,

Black Flats,

Clinique Products,

Enough Mousse to get me through a month,

2 Bible Studies,

Photoshop. CHECK

Ian- Flip Flops,

Sunglasses, CHECK

Wallet, CHECK

Microsoft Office (for his new computer,)

Khaki Shorts,

Khaki Pants

Tuesday, August 3, 2010

Tears of Anger

Does anyone cry when they are really angry?

**raises hand**

No?

Just me then, huh?

That was my afternoon today.

{Let me preface all of this by saying my Dad has worked for FedEx for 17 years and I know alot about how the system and how deliveries should work.}

After waiting for 6 days for our package to clear Canadian customs, tirelessly updating the tracking number, calling the shipping company every day to get an update, paying 110 dollars for duties, and spending 5 work days stuck at home while we waited for the package that may or may not be delivered....

Today was supposed to be the day.

I sat in front of the window for almost 5 hours in anticipation.

Then, at 1:58pm when the truck pulled into the apartment complex driveway, 10 yards away from my front door, I was giddy with excitement.

Imagine my horror when almost immediately the driver throws his truck into reverse, pulls out onto the main road (also 10 yards from my front door where I was standing outside to receive the package,) makes eye contact with me, and drives away.

WHAT?!

I ran inside and pulled up the tracking number to read that "driver did not attempt delivery."

What does that even mean?

Luckily, I had their customer service on speed dial and I was connected within minutes. Come to find out that the driver tried to enter our parking garage {WHY?!} couldn't, so he left.

Grrrr.

{have I mentioned I am tired of being stuck at home?}

The nice customer service agent requested an immediate redelivery and asked if I wanted to file a complaint. I said, no thank you, I just really want my package.

We hung up.

I was all smiles.

I stood outside to wait for the idiot driver who didn't know not to go into our low ceilinged parking garage.

I saw the driver cross the intersection right by my house. Good, he was less than a 1/4 mile away.

The phone rings.

Crap.

It's the FedEx station telling me that the driver declined to reattempt delivery. Then the lady on the other end of the phone tells me that "since your Dad paid for this as an employee your package is not priority and we don't even have to redeliver it tomorrow. So you'll have to come pick it up."

{Begin tears of anger. I'm a pretty calm and collected person, so this is totally out of character for me.}

I calmly tell her that "no, it will have to be redelivered tomorrow, because we don't have a car. Plus it was your driver's fault it wasn't delivered. Also, I wasn't going to, since I thought the issue was being corrected, but I would like to file a complaint on the driver."

{I've never EVER filed a complaint. I'm way too nice. This shows you how upset I was.}

The lady talks down to me for a minute about how they don't have to redeliver but she will sign off on it and then she says good-bye.

I realize she never filed my complaint.

Ooh, I'm just steaming.

I call back the customer service rep and file an actual complaint (don't I wish I had the station lady's name so I could file a complaint on HER?!)

Throw self on bed and cry for about half an hour.

Yup.

So it looks like I'm under house arrest again all day tomorrow until that package comes. Bleh.

Come on, there's got to be other people who would have cried tears of anger, right?!



Monday, August 2, 2010

The Hair Do

I had posted about my new hair cut a couple of days ago but really forgot to explain the situation.

I love long hair.

L-O-V-E it.

It is just my opinion, but It just says "traditionally feminine," to me.

So, since my fatal 11th grade hair cut where I chopped all of my curls up to my chin and was horrified for months, I have kept it at least shoulder length, but usually 2-3 inches past my shoulder.

It's gotten as long as 6-10 inches past my shoulders as well.

So yes, I love long hair, which is why I keep it that way usually.

Plus, Ian loves long hair.

So, yeah.

But, with the knowledge of our impending move to the Middle East, compounded with the heat that is inevitable and the fact that our supervisor has encouraged me to wear my hair UP more (which I guess is more culturally normal,) I decided to cut my own hair in the bathroom of our apartment.

Here was the before:

And here is the after:

I'm really happy with it. The first few days are the scariest, with curly hair, because it bounces up SO much! It looked about 2 inches shorter than this for the first 24 hours and then it settled down a little bit.

And I would like to make an addendum to the previous post and say that this hair cut is in the mid-length level, not short.

I love how healthy and light my hair feels and how wearing my hair up in a pony tail or bun doesn't give me a headache now (from the weight!)

Also, yes, that is me holding my new photoshop elements and two new dvd's.... The Rescuers and The Rescuers Down Under! Both on sale at a tech shop here!

So, what is your preference, long, short, or in the middle?

Sunday, August 1, 2010

PSE 8

I finally did it. Today we went out and bought PhotoShop Elements 8!

I was a little overwhelmed once I downloaded it.
And then a wave of buyer's remorse went over me as I realized that most of the tutorials and pictures I looked at were edited in Lightroom not Elements and I thought to myself, "My pictures will never look like the Pioneer Woman's or MckMama's!"

After a little hyperventilating, I calmed down and decided to learn 2 tasks today. Besides how to open a photo.

Hardy har har.

So first up, I learned how to make a layout, like the one you see below.

Second, I learned how to select and increase the saturation of the eyes.

I suppose I also tackled another hill by figuring out how to flatten the layers, save, and convert to a JPG, which didn't take very long, but still.

So, anyone know of any good Photoshop Element Specific tutorials? I'd love to have them passed along!