Saturday, May 31, 2014

Annual Goals: An Update

Annual Goals 2014 UPDATE

2014 Resolutions:

12.  Lose 10 Kilos.  

No progress in this area.

11.  Do 1 Pay-it-Forward/random act of kindness each month
Completed 1 or more pay-it-forwards each month thus far (sending scarves, chocolate, books)

10.  Improve my Turkish seriously
UPDATE: Excellent course at the Turkish Language Center in Izmir.  Perfect opportunity to improve my ability to make sentences, review vocabulary, learn new vocabulary and grammar, learn how to ask questions, and enjoy a little real-life in Turkey.  Very satisfied with progress and practice.  

9.   Improve my French seriously
no progress! 

8.   Pass 2nd Arabic course/ Continue to improve Arabic seriously
Arabic online class taught in English to help me with concepts I am not catching in my french-based arabic course.  Hoping for the best- exams in June!

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)

March- China's Lost Girls  (short but very interesting story and serious situation)

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

Turkish Coffee

Polish Salad

Swedish Meatball Sandwich

Moroccan Tagine

Potato Dill Salata, Turkish style

5.  Read 120 Books (priority for non-fiction) 

50 down, 70 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
11.  Christina, Queen of Sweden: The Restless Life of a European Eccentric by Veronica Buckley (good info, but painfully slow-moving.  First 50 pages were not easy to push through, but it picks up now and again the further along I read.)
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
27.  The Silk Route: 7,000 Miles of History by John S. Major (Thanks Susan & Bri)
28.  Culture Shock!  Belgium by Mark Elliott
29.  Stories from the Silk Road by Cherry Gilcrest (really lovely illustrations, recommend for children)
30.  I Shall Not Hate: A Gaza Doctor's Journey on the Road to Peace and Human Dignity by Izzeldin Abuelaish (highly recommend for all people)
31.  Quran and Woman: Rereading the Scared Text from a Woman's Perspective by  Amina Wadud (highly recommend for all Mulisms)
32.  Religions of the Silk Road by Richard Foltz (HIGHLY recommend for those interested in the ebb and flow of various religious traditions- Buddhism, Islam, and Christianity)
34.  Strong was her Faith! Women of the New Testament by J. E. Kalas (recommend)
38.  The Road From Morocco by Wafa Faith Hallam
39.  Stolen Lives: 20 Years in a Desert Jail by Malika Oufkir (recommend)
40.  Journey to Freedom: Moroccan Stories by Sascha von Bornhiem (do not recommend)
41.  Paradise Beneath Her Feet: How Women are Transforming the Middle East by Isobel Coleman (Thanks Amy!- HIGHLY recommend, very informative and compelling)
42.  Culture Shock!  Morocco by Orin Hargraves
48.  A Year in Marrakesh by Peter Mayne
50.  In Arabian Nights:  A Caravan of Moroccan Dreams by Tahir Shah (recommend- i love both of his books they include pen-sketches he does.  great story teller and amazing life- survived torture in a Pakistani prison and bought/renovated a villa in Morocco.)
51.  Culture Smart! Morocco: The Essential Guide to Customs and Culture by Jillian York
55.  American Sniper by Chris Kyle (recommend)
56.  The Couscous Genie: 3 Tunisian Stories by Mohamed Bacha (interesting folk tales, but poorly translated)
57.  Four Fantastic Tales from Tunisia by Mohamed Bacha (similar to his other book, including some errors-it is a shame, these would make lovely children's books).
59.  Dreaming of a Mail-Order Husband by Ericka Johnson (recommend- compelling perspectives)
71.  Sesame Street Unpaved: Scripts, Stories, Secrets, & Songs by David Borgenicht (thanks Mom!)
76.  The Six Great Ideas by Mortimer Adler (layman's philosophy)
77. Night Draws Near:  Iraq's People in the Shadow of America's War by Anthony Shadid (recommend- valuable insight into the Iraqi experience of the war)
79.  Culture Shock! Greece by Clive L. Rawlins
80.  Bones Washed in Water and Wine by Sydney Marangou-White
84.  Culture Smart!  Greece by Constantine Buhayer
85.  After the Rosy-Fingered Dawn: A Memoir of Greece by John Walters (A bit chatty)
91.  Culture Smart! UAE by John Walsh

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.

6 done, 6 to go.

1.  Add 1 layout to art journal per month (12 total). 

Still no progress in this area.

A quick trip to France- Day 2: Lascaux II, a cemetery, British Tea Salon, and the farmer's market of Pech Merle

The woman at the office refused to sell me a ticket under the pretext that I had to drive to another village to buy them and by the time I'd get there and back the tours would be finished for the day.  Luckily the women in the bookshop intervened.  They squeezed me in on a French tour, the last of the day.  Their bookshop was the most interesting out of all the sites, but the cave itself was a bit of a let-down.  It is a reproduction of the original cave, done precisely, etc., but its only a small portion of the real cave.  Once you've seen the real ones, its hard to accept the reproduction.  Still, the paintings inside were impressive and it does spark the imagination.  Totally worth the hours of driving.   

the ticket booth that was a bit reluctant to sell tickets...

I was driving along between villages on my way to Pech Merle, another cave.  I came across a sweet little cemetery.   

1891?  Hard to read.

18xx?  Hard to read.

I arrived at the hotel in Pech Merle.

Discovered a tea salon down the street from my hotel.  they have lovely teas and i had eggs and toast for breakfast.  lovely people and adorable, homey establishment.  highly recommend. 
Pure rosebuds 

biggest bread I've ever seen