Tuesday, January 08, 2008

Turning 27

Note: I wrote most of this sometime in early to mid January, but never got around to publishing it until February 28th, 2008. This is due to a number of factors explained above.

I'm 27 today (January 7th, 2008). In my homeroom class this morning, I tried to lead them in singing "Happy Birthday" to their social studies teacher. The results were less that I had hoped for (they broke out laughing and giggling after the third syllable).

In any event, during my vacation, I spent a lot of time on highway busses rolling across Egypt. With all that free time staring at the passing sand, the new year's resolutions, my birthdays slowly becoming something I don't really want to celebrate, and all the major life changes and adjustments I've been making, I'm not in the best state right now.

I'm not only missing everyone in Japan, but I've got a nagging sense that I've abandoned them somehow. I think of friends and the things going on in their lives and have the strangest sense that I should be there, either to help them or for some other inexpressible purpose. But I'm not there, and it feels wrong somehow.

This is only compounded by the fact that my new job is quite a bit more job than I had anticipated. All my resolutions to not bring my work home, not work overtime unless necessary, and maintain a healthy work-life balance have pretty much all gone out the window. I'm still finding a little time to work out at the gym, but I'm basically counting days until Liberation Week, a weeklong series of holidays in Kuwait marking their independence day and the day of their liberation from Iraq.

Saturday, January 05, 2008

Reflecting on the New Year

Now I'm back in Kuwait now reflecting on where I've been this year, where I've been, what I've done, and where I want to go with my life this year and beyond.

Some Highlights from 2007 (not all inclusive and not in any particular order) :
  1. Made some great travels and journeys in Japan, Korea, the Philippines, Kuwait, and Egypt.
  2. Finished working in Japan and started a newer, more challenging job here in Kuwait at Universal American School
  3. Went skydiving for the first time. There will definitely be a second time.
  4. Got my Nitrox diving certificate and did some great diving in Egypt. Now dive centers will give me tanks with up to 40 percent oxygen!
  5. Saw my parents, grandparents, and most of the rest of my family during the summer. The only regret I have is that I did not get to see my sister Noelle and her husband Seth.

Some Lowpoints from 2007 (not all inclusive and not in any particular order) :
  1. New computer is equipped with Windows Vista. :( My next computer will definitely be a Mac.
  2. Left behind numerous friends in Japan. You will all be sorely missed!
  3. Still haven't managed to keep track of all my friends' and loved ones' birthdays. This was my resolution last year and I still haven't been successful. I think I may pull it off this year.
  4. Still struggling with anger management, self-esteem, insomnia, and mild depression issues, although I think I'm making slight progress in some of these areas at times.
New Year's Resolutions (again, not all inclusive and not in any particular order) :
  1. Remember all my friends' and relatives' birthdays.
  2. Work out and finally get buff. (another thing I failed to do).
  3. Have loose plans to visit Macchu Picchu in South America with friends.
  4. Meet my new nephew, Seth Andrew Holler.

The End in Unfortunate Cairo

Back in the unfortunate city of Cairo before flying back to Kuwait. I don't particularly care for Cairo. It's dirty, polluted, and full of people hassling you for money and all sorts of things.

After checking into a hotel, the elevator (which probably dated to the 25th New Kingdom Dynasty) broke down when I tried to go out for dinner. The hotel however, was located on the 8th floor of the building. At least I got a bit of a workout. But I'm definitely ready to be back in Kuwait.

Anyways, this concludes my time in Egypt as I fly out tomorrow. It was alright. I'm glad I came but I don't have a desire to return for anything more than diving. I know there's some great places to dive both in and around Sharm El Sheikh, Dahab, and some other places south of Hurghada on the Red Sea coast that would be far more interesting.

Had Koshari for dinner tonight, which is Egypt's staple food. Koshari consists of rice, pasta, chickpeas, and sometimes minced meat with a spicy sauce. Mix it all up and call it Koshari. Its quite a yummy meal. Very simple as well. People go into these tiny little places and buy takeout cups for the whole family. Good stuff. Going to have to find one here in Kuwait now.

Red Sea Coast of Hurghada

Left Luxor after getting sick of the touts and hucksters. A four hour bus trip turned into a seven hour bus trip because they couldn't figure out how to close the broken door. A semi-w0rkable duct tape and bailing wire solution eventually got us on the road again, but I missed any possible New Year's Eve festivities. Oh well.

The diving in Hurghada the following day made up for it though. The dive sites in Hurgada were actually more crowded, if such a thing could be imagined. But it was still good fun. One dive in particular had especially good coral that appeared to be in good shape. Visibility wasn't very good by Red Sea standards, but decent.

Again, I was diving on Nitrox and definitely think this is the way to go. You just feel better after a dive. You don't have so much cotton mouth and your lungs don't feel as heavy afterward. I would esp. recommend Nitrox to divers doing 3 or more dives a day at moderate depths (less than 20 meters).

Also had dinner at a tasty Lebanese resturaunt. Had taboula for the first time, which is a white dip/spread for bread made from egg whites, olive oil and garlic. Very delicious.