Obligatory post!

So... certain people (you know who you are) have indicated that perhaps I need to put something new up so that they don't have to look at three-month-old posts. I sympathize, truly.

In that vein, hi. I have this idea that maybe two people read this, so the "hi" is for you guys. I'm doing well. Since Easter I have finished my first year of grad school, which thrills me almost to the point of rendering me insensate (seriously, I cannot wait to be done with school. I think about it all the time), I have read several good books and distributed the joy, and I have been to the Middle East. My time there was possibly the best three weeks of my life. I got to do all sorts of things I never expected to do in the M. E., such as: eat at Pizza Hut and Baskin Robbins, eat shrimp creole with cheesy bread, and speak Japanese; and I got to do many things that fulfilled small longings in my soul, such as: visit the mountains, travel through a desert, ride on debabs filled with people, drink hot tea all day long, sleep with the windows open, and talk to people whose faces were five inches away from mine. It was so good to be there. Things were hot and dusty and inconvenient, and it felt like being home. People were all up in each others' spaces, and it was such a natural part of life. I've missed that in America. It's so odd to me that we're all so weird about human contact here. It was beautiful to be in a place where that was okay. I loved not having air conditioning (though it would have been helpful at some points) and riding around in cramped little vehicles through crazy traffic.

What was really great, though, was the time with friends:

This kid is my sister. We're not technically related, but we may as well be. It did my heart all kinds of good just to be with her. It was awesome to see what her life is like and to experience her country. We had all kinds of crazy adventures that just don't happen in the states, like dealing with roadblocks and feeding cats through concrete walls (documented on her blog).

Thanks for letting me hang out, my friend. It was good to be with you.

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