There are a few stages one goes through when preparing for a major life change, such as moving overseas to a country one has never even visited.
Stage 1 (about 9 months out): "Yes, let's do this. What a great idea! This is going to be AWESOME!"
Stage 2 (5 months out): "I should probably email the people who know stuff and find out what I need to know."
Stage 3 (about 3 months out, and only in an election year, and only if the candidates are awful): "I think we should figure out how to vote from overseas. Or not. Because it's not like I know who to vote for anyway."
Sabah el Heya! That's "Good morning" in Egyptian Arabic.
In case you did not hear, we are moving to Egypt for 4 months.
And I have been sitting here staring at the little blinky cursor for a solid 8 minutes, trying to decide what else to say about that. I shall refrain from saying much because I think most of you already know why and what's up here.
If you're lost and want to know more, leave me a comment and I will try to email you directly. I will write in English, mainly because inna muh bifhamsh Aarabi (that's "I didn't understand Arabic," and yes it's past tense because I don't remember how to say it in the present tense and I'm sure I didn't spell it right either).
But for now, know that this blog is about to go "dark." It will be shut off while we are gone and we will be launching a new blog set up just for our time in country. That will be over at 17humpdays.weebly.com (it will show up on my Facebook too) and will feature all the dorky hilarity you have come to know and love here, but with the added bonus of things happening in Arabic. I mean, I'll write in English, but I fully expect the language barrier to result in a lot of bonus material. After all, inna Amerikeya (that's "I'm an American.")
Like Monday when I thought it would be fun to change my iPhone to Arabic, only I did not consider that I would not be able to actually read it and thus know which buttons to tap to make it go back. If you are up for a frustratingly good time, try it. I should mention Arabic is read from right to left, which means you swipe all your buttons and stuff the opposite direction too, and if that doesn't entertain you for a good 5 minutes until you want to scream and throw kittens, I don't know what will.
Anyway, we launch the new blog on Saturday, the same day this one temporarily goes "poof." (In Arabic, that's "poof.") We fly out of here on the aforementioned jet plane on August 24 and will return home on December 30.
Mah ah saleymah! I think that's "good-bye," but it could just as easily be "weasels."
We've just returned from our week up in the mountains for the EMI World Staff Conference. It only happens once every five years.
This is a week for all our staff from every office around the world to gather together for fellowship, learning, and renewal. While a few from field offices were unable to get visas to the US (a fact that saddened us greatly), the total of us including kids was over 250. To give you an idea of EMI's sudden growth, there were only 75 attendees at last the conference in 2011. Our next one probably won't happen in the US -- we will hold it in a country that allows you to easily receive your visa upon arrival so that ALL our family can be present.
I think Kevin and I ate every single meal with a different family. We tried hard to spend most of our time with the staff we don't see here in the Springs on a weekly basis. But since we are leaving for 4 months we were also trying to soak up some quality time with our CO peeps. And I did not take a lot of photos. I just lived the week, getting to know folks without a camera stuck to my face.
Another great thing was watching our kids become fast friends with the other staff kids. Most of the week we only saw them at chow time or in random passing as they headed for the mini golf course or the roller rink. And they had their own times of quality teaching and encouragement from the speakers who came to be with us.
Speaking of speakers, we heard from Tim Sanford (of Focus on the Family), Brian Hogan (YWAM), and Alan and Connie Ch'ng (Navigators whom we learned live right up the street from us!). It was not dry conference fare aimed at showing us all how to be better engineers and architects (which would be a lost cause on me anyway). We learned about discipling simply, trusting the Holy Spirit, and raising kids overseas, among other fun stuff.
And when we were not learning or getting to know people, we were flying down a huge hill in tubes or hiking or just enjoying each other's company. And we laughed a lot. Each day at least once I looked all around me and thought of how grateful I am to be part of such a real, humble, dedicated, and Spirit-filled group of people. And then my next thought was always one of gratitude to each of you who have made this possible for us through your support and partnership.
We knew we were going to love working for EMI, but I don't think either of us had any idea just how much.
Our CEO knows how to have fun.
From the Keiters:
Here is where we share our daily experiences of how God is using our life in the US and abroad with EMI to draw us closer and to make Himself known.