Sunday, March 30, 2008

aweseom statuary, the restaurant on the right, and the food - chicken kiev with the corn stuff, buildings and me and brady

Roma, Romania, Romani, Roman......

when I arrived in ROmania, the first thing i did was speak to a Turkish airlines girl about changing my ticket. I also asked her about finding a taxi, and she recomended taking a bus into town first and then getting a taxi which was cheaper.
I found the bus station and then got a taxi to Pipera, the suburb outside of bucharest where Brady and jeannette live. The Romanian language is one of the oldest more authentic latin languages still existing. THis really helped me pronounce words and even understand a very limited amount of words. I was thinking if only my aunt Judee had been there, she has such a great mind for thinking of words and remembering the latin she learned as a child.
So that made things off to a great start becuase I was expecting some weird Russian sort of language. I did my usual survival thing of trying a bit of spanish and seeing what they understood. it was less than the Italians on base here understand when i speak Spanish but still I was able to get by quite well.
I arrived at Brady's school and chilled there the rest of the afternoon, then Wednesday, he had taken the day off and we walked all around downtown bucharest, it was tons of fun, like being back in college gettting to tour a city with a college roomie and hang. one of my best days in Bucharest, the next two days I went into town using the metro while Brady and jeannette went to work, and they met me in the evening to pick me up at the metro and then we went out to eat etc... Saturday, we relaxed all morning, which I loved doing, and then went to a park that afternoon, then more chill time..........ahh. Satuday late night brady went and picked up his twin brother who was visiting for a week from teaching in China.
SUnday the four of us went to Brasov, this was one of the best times in ROmaniaa, getting out of the crowded dirty underfinanced public serviced capitol city.
Brasov and indeed the drive there was wonderful, the city was picture postcard european! we drove above the city and then back down to walk all around and have a late lunch, there were some awesome clay sculptures of roman shepherds I wanted to buy but pointless since I was coming back to kabul etc...
the highlight of the trip was having dinner with B and J's friends from school. Ed and Millie, a Canadian couple both music teachers at the school, and Rick and Carolyn, athletic director and art teacher. all amazing smart interesting people, was so much fun to talk to normal motivated people about romania and their jobs and career and the art and music programs etc etc.
Carollyn had artwork all over her walls, and they had amazing dishes all from poland. The music teachers had just begun overseas work and we joked about how it was a good thing Bucharest was their first european job and my first european city to visit, how it could only get better in another place, ha!
thanks tons to brady, it was a week well spent, he took me to the airport tuesday morning and I was on my way to Istanbul, Turkey.

Saturday, March 29, 2008

images of bucharest......1

lots of pics of the buildings around the city my first day with brady in bucharest. the last building is the place where an angry mob protested and the leader had to helicopter off the building in 1989. he was found two weeks later and shot.

Thursday, March 27, 2008


I'm in dubai, shopped today and walked around, i found some awesome stuff.

too short of time though, tonight I will relax in my "apt hotel room"
istanbul was also unbelievable. so much to see and buy there.

more later, back to real life of job in kabul tomorrow..........
also back to saving MONEY.
that is until I can get out again to India, ah yeah.

Monday, March 24, 2008

Sunday, March 23, 2008

BUcharest ROmania more pics

monument of the original actual count Dracula, the building behind the guy sitting down is where they helicoptered the rejected leader of the country away in Dec 1989. The one picture shows the juxtaposition of old and new architecture in the city, which is all over.

Saturday, March 22, 2008

here are some various photos; buildings in bucharest, monuments, and brady and I at lunch and our next album cover. ha

there is nothing between kabul and dubai......

4th day in bucharest

Today we are chilling at home, and slowly making plans of something to do. this is good because I've been up and down downtown the last two days, and they have been teaching at work and concerning themselves with my whereabouts. so today will be nice to relax, and we'll prolly get out a bit and eat or something. YEsterday on 3rd day here, I went into town and saw the Peasant Museum, which had all sorts of old traditional artifiacts of from places around romania, lots of crucifixes and stone crosses from transylvania, lots and lots of traditional wear, and blankets and rugs, and ceramics. also an old wooden house reconstructed right inside the museum.
I'll get pics up as soon as I learn how. I ate at a pizza place and had a big ole calizon. The city feels like stuck in the 80's when you see what people are wearing, and just the feeling of sitting in the pizza place and everyone is smoking at all the tables.
the subway is fun. Jeannette met me downtown and we went to the comissary at the USA Embassy for some shopping.
Brady picked us up at the Metro stop and we went to some friends of there's for dinner, but the lights were out so we went to another couples house and had a great dinner party. A couple from Canada Millie and Ed, who are both music teachers, and then we ended up and Carolyn and Rick's house , she is an art teacher and her husband the athletic director. Needless to say they were all quite brilliant and wonderful and I couldn't have had a nicer time here last night. really great people. Brady and Jeannete lucky to work with such fun people. Brady's brother arrives late tonight so our visits are overlapping some here.
I'm also booked a hotel and a tour guide in Istanbul. Thanks mom and dad for emailing the info from the lady from their church who lives there now. she gave me a good contact in Istanbul.

Friday, March 21, 2008

3rd day's a charm.....

well I'm on way to walk to the bus stop. today's plans are taking a minivan style bus to the metro and then downtown from there. I will be going to the Jewish museum and the Peasant museum today. also eating lunch somewhere in town, and maybe a little more window shopping only. We have planned for me to meet Jeanette downtown after school and joined by Brady later. I have been keeping Jeanettes cell phone with me while here and off on my own.
I slept in this morning, and made breakfast, and then walked the dog, now ready to go.
I've also been looking around online for just the right thing to do in Istanbul and Dubai, places to stay and where to go for sightseeing and shopping albeit briefly.
pics will be up soon. Brady has a mac so I'm not sure how to upload them from here. yet.

Wednesday, March 19, 2008

Tuesday, March 18, 2008

I'm in Romania!

there's actually a bank here called "banc transylvania" the language is one of the oldest and closest to latin, so I am able to read a bit of it. I arrived on time this morning from Istanbul. Yesterday I went to the airport in Kabul after lunch around 1pm and then left at 2:20 and arrived in Dubai at 4pm and waited a LONG time until my flight to Istanbul at 3 am. UGH. slept on and off at airport and on the plane. after arriving here from istanbul at 10:40 i took a bus to the city, and then a taxi to Brady's school. I've been chilling here at his school, I went and saw a quilt exhibit in the libray here, and I played some piano in a practice room in the music room ( i brought a gershwin preludes and Chopin ballades with me), and then say in Brady's room while he taught, and we are leaving soon.
I changed my ticket to Istanbul a day early!! this gives me time to see the city, I will arrive next Tuesday at 12pm, and will have afternoon and all the next day because my flight goes back to Dubai at 11pm wed. I have emailed Kamair to stay a day in Dubai also, in case I cannot get an afghan visa in Istanbul.. blah long store. I plan to get a haircut, shave, and massage at a place in DUbai that I read about at the airport. I hope to see an art gallery also, and maybe some lectures. they are having the Creek Art Fair in Dubai next week.
Here in ROmania I"m not sure what we will do, Brady is off tomorrow so we will run around, we discussed seeing a symphony play one night.
should I wear garlic around my neck tonight?

Sunday, March 16, 2008

packed up ready to go..........

don't let me going on vacation hold you back from sending any mail. it will be here when I return if even then. ha
I have shown here all I'm bringing on my ten day trip from Asia to Europe and back. you can see i left out the clothes for the plane, and then the small black bag for electronic stuff and magazine for me in the seat. also soduko book....
here we go, more later............

Friday, March 14, 2008

travel travails

A student gave me this painting that he made about ten years ago. it's a sort miniature painting done in traditional style.... even if it's not the best painting it's all the more valuable because it was brought to me out of the blue, and I'll always treasure it etc etc etc..

he wrote "to my kind brother" on the back. very cool. I'll probably have this hanging in the same room as an afghan rug someday...... ahh the future... back in the states..... someday... back in my home........

had a very good day, it was perfect weather here sunny yet cool. I drove over to the school this morning by myself and got all the packages done for the students with all the church stuff. kudos to me for getting the project over with. and then after lunch I walked over to the airport from base here (actually walking from the base gate across the taxi way where all the airplanes park between the airport and the runway if you can iimagine) i wanted to ask about the caryy on rules for luggage but it was difficult finding some who spoke ENglish etc etc. good gym day, and good dinner. going to sleep good tonight.

update on my trip, I am leaving Monday afternoon for Dubai, and then flying out of Dubai Tuesday morning at 3 am. oh boy. I was no able to get a re-entry visa. so now I'm going to re-schedule my trip and leave early to Istanbul so i can get the visa there, or I can stay a day in Dubai and get my visa there...I'm willing to do either. ha jsut glad to be getting out of here....

Thursday, March 13, 2008

going off base getting nowhere

i made it off base yesterday to go to the embassy and check on my visa.
I wasn't able to get anything done to my passport but i did get some information so it wasn't a total waste of time.
i signed up for a morning shuttle to ISAF base, and left around lunchtime, went to ISAF and scheduled the next returning shuttle to KAIA (where I live). the ISAF base is the international headquarters and is downtwon near all the embassies. Although you actually have to walk out the gate and down the street to the embassy, the road is all guarded etc...

when you take a shuttle they always tell you which route they are going through town, the dangers or warnings of the day, and how to use the call radio in case of emergency. They also mention the plan in case of an incident, both vehicles will continue on if able to function, or one will pull the other, or under guard the damaged vehicle will load into the other. The shuttles always run in pairs and are operated by british forces. they have a radio jamming device in the shuttles and drive carefully through all the traffic pointing out every car, pedestrian, taxi, etc that could be a threat on the roadf on the way. however the british shuttles have yet to have any incident, I've always felt absolutely safe.

Yesterday, I almost didn't make it off base because of a bombing in the morning. Which is sad, I think I heard that 6 were killed, no coalition forces but any number of deaths is sad. I actually heard and saw the explosion from base, a boom, a ping like a gun shot, and then small puff of smoke going up directly above, i think it was a few miles from my base but i was outside at the time and able to look in that direction.

So anyway, at the embassy, i was told that I needed to go to the Ministry of Interior (closed after 12, and Fridays) to get my visa renewed for re-entry. They doubted I could do it Saturday in time for my trip Tuesday, but I'm going to try and see if any military contacts can help me. My other options are stay a day longer in Dubai ( or arrive a day earlier) and go to the consulate there. OR come back to Afghanistan and pay a $100 fine, I think I'm going to just pay the fine and not worry about the hassle about changing my flights or a hotel room.

Wednesday, March 12, 2008

bit of freedom

I'm working a half day today and hopefully getting some things done.
We all go int his morning at 8:30 am as usual, and I am going to jump to work in this empty classroom where we have a bag for eafch student and tons of books and toys from this CHruch group in California ( by way of team leader's sis). anyway I have 53 bags representing each student, with a note on each bag that tells me how many kids and ages and sex. ( the average is 6 per family) so I took on the role of getting all these things distributed and accounted for, so that I could get it DONE for one thing, and oversee a bit of fairness and I'm good at organizing sych things etc... I'm not sure how the team leader would have handled it, but my goal was to get all the things OUT of the school before my vacation, and I plan to finish it this morning
i can only go in for an hour and a half this morning, then i will return to base here and get a shuttle to ISAF base. then i will walk to the embassy to talk about my visa that says single entry, I want to be sure I can get back in the country when returning from vacation.
oh yeah the freedom comment, is because the new colonel says we can leave base and not always with a convoy, however we are only going to use UN taxi service and try and go with an afghan. i don't plan to go anywhere soon, but it's nice having the option.

Monday, March 10, 2008

base life first

rug I might buy

a student here designs and has rugs made and took a pic of this rug that was just finished and I'm thinking of getting.. the colors and design are all very cool. (this is only the back of the rug, he's waiting for them to brush out the front side or something....)

Friday, March 07, 2008

finally got off base again!

here are some more pic. the market at camp Eggers, and me in the "rose house" on base where we keep our stuff while we are running around base. I had a friend here say they were going on a convoy after lunch and that it was a quick trip. this was perfect since i wanted to just get over there, pick up my suit and get back. The other pics are on the road on the way back. I'll post more soon

Wednesday, March 05, 2008

if posts on here seems like I'm un-nerved or under pressure of any sort, it's not true. I am doing absolutely fine. I write a lot about work to get it off my mind and to get my thoughts out there. Also because I have a lot of time to consider things and write things down. Also obviously the focus of my life right now is what I'm doing at the school, so I have many feelings and ideas and expectations for things.

but I am definitely not miserable at all. I thank God for the opportunity of doing what I'm doing. I know He has me in just the right place and time for me right now. The truth is I kept myself well entertained just me in the states, and I can easily do same here. I have so many places to go in my mind, teacher, designer, gardener, faith, friend/family, health, traveller, world economy, environment, whatever else.......plans plans plans skipping back and forth when bored with one.

It WILL be difficult not doing what I love best in my garden this summer but I'm up for all the new changes and challenges that occur WEEKLY here, never boring and I'm up for all of it.

ok now I wanted to show a picture of this fire extinguisher. instead of the usual, its a shovel and buckets and sand. hmmmmmmmmm

Tuesday, March 04, 2008


I'm looking forward to my trip. I have been trying to run into the guys from Romania here on base, but have yet to see them in the mess hall. Of course hopefully they speak English. and then I can ask about the country. ha
I have my carryon bag packed and ready, I wanted to practice pack it for what I want to bring in my one carry one. also I am looking at the weatherchannel online to see what weather might be like.
I'm also thinking about how I want to leave my room. I want to try and have everything put away, off my desk, and things under the beed and packed up in my dresser. that is my new goal.
I've decided on bring 2 jeans and one pants. the one or two jackets will be hardest choice, also one 2 pairs of shoes plus the one in on my feet. so that will wait for the weather report.
I am about to finish book 5 today! we will test Saturday morning after the weekend. then I will teach book 6, give a quiz, and then VACATION! yeah! how exciting.
also it's exciting , we are not QUITE sure yet, but I think the DLI instructors, one or two, shoudl arrive before I leave. Either way, my class will join another class of 6 on the same book level (making it 12. and then hopefully when I get back I can have a higher level group! that's what I'll ask for anyway....

Everything But The Girl,..... Before Today

from the awards thing last week

Monday, March 03, 2008

good morning from Kabul. Tuesday morning here and sort of like my "thursday" because I only have one more day before my "weekend". I'm wearing a shirt and tie today, no reason, just because. I am having a good weekend as we hammer through book 5. I'm going to have the afhgan admin guy come in my class today and speak to my students in Dari. and tell them they have to make effort beside just showing up in class. For example writing down words at home, and doing the extra exercises in the back of the book. stuff like that. I know they have busy lives but I have to also push them. This is, after all, an intensive language course, no "silent period" allowed like new kids in the states who are supposed be allowed to just sort of listen and observe if needed their first year in the states. ha
I'm praying about being a nice person to my co workers. and it's helping that I'm speaking to them more socially and cheerfully. Because it was difficulte being surrounded by a guy (my roomate) with a foul mouth and frat boy humor (even though he's 40) and the other teachers, whether Christian or not, well you hear a lot of complaints and crass joking, and then our team leader, don't get my started.
well my first reaction here the last 3 months was, pour myself into teaching in the classroom and enjoy that all i could by jsut doing my job. And I also began always sitting with a book, or other people i began to know on base (US guys) at meals, and never my coworkers. But I feel a strange struggle between literally having no interest in being around them when not at work and yet not wanting to look like some snob. But anyway, I have changed my approach with our team leader here, by getting more involved with things at school, like printing the roll sheets every week, and keeping inventory counted and helping get new books to everybody after the quizzes.
and I decided a week ago to try and sit near the team leader at a meal once a week, but i haven't yet. In the van on the way to school and back, I pay more attention to what she says, and question anything that I don't understand. i have also stopped making dry jokes to my roomate about stupid stuff that happens in the teams leaders management style.
I also wonder sometimes if difficulties are sent by God to teach me something, or are they just difficulties in general to teach my character and perseverence. My roomate can be really awful sometimes about slamming the door shut any hour during the night. But whenever I feel sort down about the roomate, I remember the time my former students that have his class now, told me they miss me in front of him. ha!
It's weird though that I train myself to not talk to hiim or say anything, when naturally sometimes I just feel like talking etc... I have decided only to talk to him about work and business topics regarding the school. the thing is his character is not a very considerate one, displayed by the way he almost drives in to the afghan people on the road that are "in the way" and don't move fast enough on the ANA base, and the door slamming mentioned earlier.
ok enough venting.
I am excited we are getting new DLI instructors sometime by march 15th? i think. that is why I planned my trip the 18th. I have already started praying that they are experienced and serious and interesting sort of teachers. However I'm prepared for another foul mouth crass sense of humor type if that be the case. behing the scenes I've been speaking to the Colonel here, and the DLI rep at Eggers to try and bring up issues that may become problems with the power struggle of our team leader and the DLI teachers going to be working with us. they MUST learn to get along. the Colonel already realizes it, and then I am going to have to ask the DLI rep and our team leader to work out sharing of materials at school, and I hope to impress upon our team leader to stop making us late in the morning or back from lunch, or leaving school. We should have a more considerate approach to our time once we have more teachers I hope. I think she is late in a passive aggressive nature to assert her "authority" maybe?
it's been a great week. but these are all things to throw into your prayers when considering me in Kabul.

Saturday, March 01, 2008

Thank you Ludwigs!

I received a care package from some friends in Tampa! The Ludwig family pictured here with their cutie two kids. I lived with fun and super great guy Steve during college, and was charmed off my feet by delicate yet spunky, and artsy yet pure in heart Stacy. Great friends and I have to say it’s pretty awesome being able to keep in touch with them.

THANKS YOU ALL!! The jam and honey will be awesome here on a morning roll or toast at the mess hall. Ha. A little taste of sunshine here in high up in the mountains Kabul Afghanistan.

I had a great weekend; we had days in the high 50’s here on base. Many of the Belgians I knew casually from around base and the Italians who speak to me at the gym have gone, and so we have a whole new crew of Belgians and Italians coming in. now we’re the old ones on base. Ha

I cleaned some things up in my room, packed some winter coats in boxes, but I’ll wait to ship them back home. I shopped the market stores on base a little but didn’t buy anything. Church service was good Thursday night, it was about how Daniel prophesied stuff in chapter 9 that later came true. I sat by this guy from Czech republic named something like Borhausch…. Nice guy I see every week there. And we had 2 Italians show up so that was new. Anyway, the rest were about 8 or 9 guys in uniform fatigues.

Oh one thing new was we had a sort of awards assembly on Thursday morning for our afghan students who have gone past certain levels of the book series. So everyone got a certificate for a certain level except those under book 6 ( which is end of level 1). I’ll post some pics of the assembly room.