Friday, May 22, 2009

The World is My Candy Store

Or so I've been told. I was talking to a friend online recently about my woes of career deciding-uponness, and she said the following, which has really made me think. "
This is the cool thing that i think you're missing-you can do just about anything you'd like. The world is kind of a candy store for you, becuase you have the intelligence and bravery and motivation it takes to really do what you want to do."

I am inclined to agree with her. However, that doesn't solve my probably biggest problem, one that I've wrestled with often in my life when I have big decisions looming before me. I know that God is there, and that he cares for me, but whenever I ask Him for direction in my life, usually all I get is the smallest of nudges, and mostly a lot of feelings of "I love you, and you're doing well, and I trust you." So, pretty much, God gives me a big thumbs up. Not that a thumbs up from God isn't nice, it's just sometimes I would prefer more of a point in the right direction.

There is seriously so much that I could do, and I have no idea what I really want for my life. There are many things I find interesting, but eac
h of them also has unsolvable problems associated with it, as in things I couldn't deal with if I were to choose such a profession. For example, a spy: I love the thinking and strategy that goes into that, and have a lot of talent with that kind of reasoning, but I am, I think, a bit too anti-imperialistic for that role. Then there's a Foreign Service Officer: good salary, something worthwhile, and I would get to travel, however, the government likes to lock its employees in for years, and I hate being locked in to anything. I just don't think I could handle doing the same kind of thing indefinitely. Finally, perhaps a journalist: it jives more with how I see the world, and with how I feel the public deserves to know what's really happening, but I think the kinds of things I would delve into would likely get me exiled or worse. And, yah, that would kind of preclude me from having a family, which is something I want pretty much more than anything else. (PS: The picture is cause it's pretty, and otherwise this would look very text-heavy... :-)

To make a long story short, anything I consider, there is always a major block that comes up that I just can't get around. Maybe I just am not supposed to get a career yet. Maybe I'm supposed to go to grad school first for...something. Once again, I don't think I could focus on a limited discipline for long stretches at a time. There's just nothing I'm that passionate about, and I wante to be passionate about my studies and career. So, at the moment, I am just doing what I can, studying Arabic, writing my novel (just broke 200 pages this past week), and preparing for the Foreign Service Officer Exam in June. (I like tests, the subject is fun to study, and, hey, it's free, so what can I lose??)

Also recently started to listening to music again, something
I tend to do when I am listless or down. Linkin' Park and Evanescence are my favorites, though they are hardpressed by various movie soundtracks, like Transformers, and Pirates of the Caribbean. I listen to soundtracks during my half-hour break from class each morning, just to kinda blow off steam and relax.

As far as life here lately, I really like my new apartment and Andy is a great roomie. He's eas
y-going, and has lots of interesting ideas and stories, plus the fact that we are both pretty close to tri-lingual, and in the same languages! (Chinese, Arabic, and English, of course...) This past week, he hosted a friend from the states, and at the moment they're touring Lebanon and Syria together.

I have had some cool experiences recently, though, like going to a Coptic engagement party. There were seriously like 70 people crammed into this tiny apartment, with 2 banks of speakers going all the way up to the cieling (The music was so loud that the vibrations shook the chandelier from the ceiling and it almost fell on the bride and groom to be...) And I danced, and made a fool of myself, as usual, and all the Egyptians thought it was great and wanted pictures with me... Haha. Reminds me of China. And, I have decided, Egyptian women can be pretty attractive. Too bad the church is still suppressed here. Haha.

And, I Love my new Arabic teacher, Khaled. Even though I am signed up for a group class, I am the only one there, so am only paying $250 instead of $400 for a private tutor. I'm using a new book, which is more structured, and the excercises really
help me to learn the vocabulary, so I'm progressing a lot faster than before. And, we just have a lot of fun conversations. I find that I can finally express my sense of humor in Arabic, and it makes it so much better! :-) Now, if only I could do it in Egyptian colloquial.

Speaking of which, I have a weekly la
nguage exchange with a girl named Nariman who teaches Arabic to embassy people, but I get the training for free because I'm helping her prepare to take the GRE. She's actually roommates with one of the members of the ward here that I know. It was really fun to see all the interesting words she was having to learn, and even MORE fun trying to explain them in simple terms. We were both really tired after that. Perhaps we'll do Arabic first next time, although it was pretty good this time too.

On another language exchange, went with Ahmed to Al Alhazar park, a really popular hang out for foreigners, as it offers amazing views of the city. I had a good time, but I wonder how well this exchange is for me, cause it's so unstructured. I really need almost a classroom environment to effectively learn a language, especially at first. And, Ahmed use to call me all the time, but I think he understands now that I can only spare a few hours a week. We'll see how things go.

Also have started tutoring English. I only have one group of students, who are Egyptian and don't pay much at all, but I took them on cause I had nothing else. Next week, I will have about as many as I can handle, and at about $20 an hour for 7 hours a week. (That's my rent, in less than a week...) Jae Hee and Aden are leaving for the Summer, and I'm taking their Korean students till they get back in the Fall.

Speaking of which, I'm considering staying till October, but there are so many things happening in the states. Everything seems to happen while I'm away. Erin's having a baby, Ammon's considering marriage, and my grandpa may be dying. Yah... My life is... Really odd...

I'm enjoying my church calling of teaching the youth Sunday School lessons, as it lets me really delve into the scriptures as I prepare, and I really feel the Spirit strongly. The past two weeks, I ended up teaching combined classes (today it was with the adults...haha, I was so not expecting that one... :-) But it worked out OK. I have also started reading the Book of Mormon out loud in Chinese, and it is SO much more powerful that way. It just
helps me to feel the love that God has for all people, everywhere, and how he speaks to each of them in their own language. Speaking of which, recent research proves that Mandarin is more difficult to learn than English, as Mandarin speakers use both parts of their brain when speaking and decoding, while English speakers use only one... :-).
Oh, and on gospel topics, had a really nice discussion with David, a guy who was visiting Cairo for a few days and came to a dinner party we had at Lindsey's the other night. He was really interested about Mormonism, and we discussed everything from the Spirit World, to Three Degrees of Glory, to the Book of Mormon and praying and knowing the truth by the Spirit. It was good to be able to share again, as I don't get many chances here in Egypt.

So, that is pretty much what's been happening lately. Nothing too exciting, but I'm sure there will be more interesting experiences forthcoming. (As well as pictures, which are seriously lacking in this entry...sorry... :-(

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