Goer blogs


By Alexander on June 2, 2016 Track: Languages - Linguistics Region: Middle East

I should probably start by saying it’s a real fight not to turn this post into a 50 page dissertation complete with a cover page and works cited, but for the sake of all of our sanity I’ll avoid this. I wanted to do a quick post about my recent experience in language learning, and some of the quirks I’ve experienced with moving fields for the summer and encounter a different dialect. The danger is that linguistics and languages brings out a weird combination of nerd and adventurer in me, maybe that’s why I studied it in the first place.             When it comes to the Arabic language, my... Read more

Hermit Crabs

By John on May 22, 2016 Track: Languages - Linguistics Region: Middle East

I was thinking the other day, and the thought hit me that I'm basically a hermit crab. Now, please, hear me out... the sun here hasn't baked my brain just yet (I don't think). We are creatures that desire comfort, particularly those of us that are lucky enough to live in countries where we have relatively high amounts of it. Shelter is a basic human need, but we crave comfort to the point that it robs us of the opportunity to step out in faith in our faithful God.  So what does that have to do with hermit crabs? Or living overseas? Allow me to explain. It seems to me that if hermit crabs... Read more

Hall of Kinda Sorta Fame

By Alexander on May 20, 2016 Track: Languages - Linguistics Region: Middle East

Well, I’m officially closing in on an important milestone, 6 months overseas! Technically I still have a bit more than a week until I officially hit it, but today is my posting day so it’s going out. To celebrate, I wanted to highlight a few of my small and major victories, as well as some of the minor setbacks I’ve experienced. Small Victories: -Sticking the landing on my first attempt at entering a bus that was also refusing to stop. Sometimes they just slow down, throw the door open, and clear a seat. -I baked a cake, twice. -Not burning the house down whilst using American appliances.... Read more

An Open-Handed Life

By John on March 31, 2016 Track: Languages - Linguistics Region: Middle East

One of the coolest things about living in a culture so radically different from my own is learning to grow from the points where the way I'm used to living comes up hard against the way of life here.  Take possessions, for example. We learn from the time we're in kindergarten to share with others, but how often do we still hold tightly on to those things that are "ours"?  I'm seeing here that people don't hold so tightly, or at least they pretend not to. The other day,  I went on a boat with some friends to celebrate Easter, and there was an older guy that was piloting the boat for us. We had... Read more

The Wind Blows

By Alexander on March 31, 2016 Track: Languages - Linguistics Region: Middle East

In the Bible we are told that the Holy Spirit, the Spirit of God that works in and through us, is pretty stinking cool. What I mean by that (“stinking”) is that it does a whole bunch of things at once that we are unable to do. It’s teaching us, guiding us, making us more like Jesus, proving we are God’s sons, and some other pretty neat things I don’t have room to write about. One interesting thing Jesus also said about the Spirit is that is works like the wind. That is, it blows. We don’t quite see it or where it comes from, but we see what it does. I’ve gotten to see this side of the Spirit... Read more

John's Parable

By Alexander on February 26, 2016 Track: Languages - Linguistics Region: Middle East

“Why am I out here in the desert?” John asked us in his heavy Ethiopian accent while a sly smirk inched towards his cheek. He was all too keen to answer his own question so we kind of shrugged. We had come out into the desert this morning to pray and spend some time together, but I think John had maybe caught onto something else. “That is what I asked myself” he continued, “and then I saw this tree”. He motioned towards a lone tree sprawling towards the desert sky and told this story:             “I see this tree, and it is alone. There are other trees here too, but they are all alone. I... Read more

I'm a Goldfish

By John on February 26, 2016 Track: Languages - Linguistics Region: Middle East

They say that when you're the minority in a place, it can feel a bit like being an animal in a zoo, or a fish in a fishbowl. I am certainly the minority where I live now, both in what I believe and what I look like, and there are many days where it feels like I am a goldfish. People tend to look a bit too long on the train, or the taxi driver might charge me a bit extra because I'm obviously not from here. I try to remember that the people around me might see me and I'm assume a Christian, or at least assume I'm from the west, which to some people are essentially one and the same. People here... Read more

Let's Go for a Run

By Alexander on February 1, 2016 Track: Languages - Linguistics Region: Middle East

[This is an abriged version of my full newsletter, if you'd like to recieve that as well dont hesitate to contact me!]                 Fun fact: The above picture isn't Mordor, but I kept an eye out for hobbits anyways. I think I’ll avoid the intended and unwarranted cultural rant I planned for this month and try to better orient us to this place instead. What better way to do that than go for a run! Grab your shoes.                 The alarm goes off promptly as 5:47, yep I’m one of those people. I count my descent down the stairs as my warm up stretching as I try to shake the sleep induced... Read more

Why Are You Here?

By John on January 31, 2016 Track: Languages - Linguistics Region: Middle East

A legitimate question, I must concede, especially in a city where you're about as likely to see a donkey-driven cart as to see a blonde head. The question doesn't come so point-blank, though; that would be rude, shameful, especially to an apparent guest to their country. But it is there in the subtext, lying behind their questions about why I would want to learn Arabic, why I would possibly want to leave a place where they imagine things are better. I fumble through a reply in Arabic about how I want to help their people back home, whether refugees or immigrants, and I can do that better if I... Read more

The Nations Prove

By Alexander on December 25, 2015 Track: Languages - Linguistics Region: Middle East

Ever hear the song “Ill be home for Christmas” and openly weep giant man tears? Yea, me neither. Not only is this my first Christmas away from home (and all the hot cider, goofy sweater, candy filled stocking goodness that accompanies that), but it is also my first Christmas in a completely unfamiliar place that for the most part could not care less about celebrating Immanuel. There are few Christians here, but all that means is that when we do get together to celebrate the Lord’s birth, the pressure is on to do it right…no slacking. I’ve already learned and experienced many things during my... Read more