Friday, February 28, 2014

2014 Annual Goals Update

2014 Resolutions:

12.  Lose 10 Kilos.  

Whoops, I gained 1.5 kilos.  Holiday season, winter, and all that.  Soon enough!
11.  Do 1 Pay-it-Forward/random act of kindness each month

10.  Improve my Turkish seriously
Update:  Headed to Izmir, Turkey to work on my Turkish intensively next week.  
I had a dream that I was on a turkish TV gameshow with my Turkish friend. I had AWESOME Turkish in that dream.  Does that count? ;-)

9.   Improve my French seriously
no progress! 
8.   Pass 2nd Arabic course/ Continue to improve Arabic seriously
I just failed my exams.  :(
7.  Watch 1 documentary/historic film per month (12 total)

January- Jerusalem: Center of the World (recommend- shows the beautiful architecture and features scholars from each of the three main religions present in the city.  Discusses history, sites, and traditions)

February- Islam: Empire of Faith (ok)

6.  Learn to cook 12 new things
4 done, 8 to go!
Afghan Samosas

Turkish Coffee

Polish Salad

Swedish Meatball Sandwich

5.  Read 120 Books (priority for non-fiction)
20 done, 100 to go!

1.  Lipstick Jihad:  A Memoir of Growing up Iranian in America by Azadeh Moaveni (Recommend- great exploration of being bi-cultural, not quite fitting in anywhere, and all the issues that plague Iran.)
6.   The Hiding Place by Elizabeth & John Sherrill (highly recommend)
8.  Sweden- Culture Smart! by Charlotte DeWitt
9.  The Swedish Secret: What the United States Can Learn from Sweden's Story by Earl Gustafson
10.  Culture Shock! Sweden by Charlotte Svensson
12.  What Happened to Sweden?  While American Became the Only Superpower by Ulf Nilson (highly recommend.  honest commentary, great voice- really a pleasant read in terms of a history book.  short, sweet, and informative).
13.  Swedish Lessons:  A Memoir of Sects, Love, and Indentured Servitude. Sort of.  by Natalie Burg (a bit crass, but a funny story)
14.  In Honor of Fadime: Murder and Shame by Unni Wikan (HIGHLY recommend.  Very nice compliment to this book). 
15.  Of Swedish Ways by Lily Lorenzen (includes some folk songs and proverbs- nice)
16.  Drinking Camel's Milk in the Yurt: Expat Stories from Kazakhstan by Monica Neboli
17.  Kids of Kabul by Deborah Ellis  (I didn't like this compilation of stories as much as the volume she did for Iraqi children, but still worth reading).
18.  Untold:  A History of the Wives of the Prophet Mohammed by Tamam Kahn (interesting, but a little annoying- includes poetry the author wrote in addition to the biographies of the women)
19.  Favorite Wife: Escape from Polygamy by Susan Ray Schmidt
20.  My Estonia: Passport Forgery, Meat Jelly Eaters, and Other Stories by Justin Petrone
27.  The Silk Route: 7,000 Miles of History by John S. Major (Thanks Susan & Bri)
33.  Culture Smart!  Belgium Customs & Culture by Mandy MacDonald
41.  Paradise Beneath Her Feet: How Women are Transforming the Middle East by Isobel Coleman (Thanks Amy!)
55.  American Sniper by Chris Kyle (recommend)
56.  The Couscous Genie: 3 Tunisian Stories by Mohamed Bacha (interesting folk tales, but poorly translated)
65. 3.096 Days in Captivity: The True Story of my Abduction, Eight Years of Enslavement, and Escape by Natascha Kampusch

4.  Volunteer abroad with children for at least a week.
no progress
3.  Go see three new countries:  Sweden, Morocco, __________.

2.  Take 12 great photos.
no progress.
1.  Add 1 layout to art journal per month (12 total). 

Eeeep.  Running a bit behind with this one, too.

Friday, February 21, 2014

Quick Trip to London: Halal WiFi

In the streets of London...

lost in the tube, incidentally, you are not allowed to smile in passport photos in England.  Must. Be. Stoic.

So we stopped in an Egyptian cafe on the way back to the hotel because the workers were being really goofy through the window.  Sadly, the WiFi didn't work.  The food was good.

silly workers

Lemon-Mint Juice.  YUM!

Quick Trip To London: Ghost Stories- A West End Wonder

Our dates for the evening.  Such sweeties!

Amy bites her date's head off.  

I always have to steal my kisses from you....

Together at last....together forever!

Ghost Stories @ the West End Arts Theater

So for our girls' getaway, we've come to see Ghost Stories.  It was a scream!  


Quick Trip to London: Books afloat!

leaving belgium

It totally smells like pot in here, so I will hurry and leave!


moped row