I’m still lookng at schools and trying to figure out
what and where I want to do this. My latest option is a little
different that the last one… I’m looking at doing an Arabic immersion
program at the American University of Cairo. It’s a year long
program… From there I might go ahead and enroll in their master’s
program in Arabic/Islamic studies. I like this for several reasons.
First of all I’m facinated in Islam and its history, it would be an
incredible experience, and Arabic is much more likely to land me a
decent job than Tibeten will…
    Yeah I know, it’s a long way away, and isn’t it
dangerous for an American named Isaac to live in Egypt right now? I’ve
been looking into the safety thing, and there doesn’t seem to be any
significant violence towards Americans over there right now. The state
department says that crime is very low in Egypt (no doubt due to some
rather draconian punisments) and they don’t have any warning for
Americans on their site. Maybe I’ll assume a not so Jewish name when I
go, any suggestions? I’m kinda partial to “Tito”, but I’m listening to
other ideas…
    When I thought of the idea of doing an Arabic
immersion program, I immediately thought of safety. I’ll skip the
programs on the Saudi peninsula, Syria (yikes!), Israel, and a handful
of language only schools. I was looking at some immersion programs in
tunisia, morocco, and Turkey and as beautiful (and cheap) as those
places looked I think I’d rather go to a place with an actual
university and graduate programs…
    Just on a whim, I looked on Monster to see what
kinds of jobs were being offered for Arabic speakers. A couple jumped
right out at me. There are multiple listings for interrogators(!), not
from the government, but government contractors… The army reserves
ads cracked me up. They will pay a bonus of up to $7000 if you enlist
and you have to enlist for an 8 year tour of duty… They say you “may”
be called up to active duty (yeah right) and the duties may include
doing reports on media coverage, translating documents to be given to
local governments, general clerical duties, and oh yeah, you MAY be
required to man checkpoints in Bahgdad. I kid you not, that was the
gist of the ad… As dreamy as that job sounds, I don’t think I’d
consider that in my future… no wonder the Army’s having trouble
attracting people.
    Anyway, there seems to be lots of potential in a skill like that, so I’m thinking about it…


5 replies on “”

I never was going to Venezuela, I was trying to decide between Chile and Argintina. I still might go even if I do decide to go to Egypt. I am interested in Bhuddism, but I’m also interested in the Abrahametic worlds too. I’m more of a comparative religion kinda guy… I think it could make me happy, but there’s only one way to find out…


a challenge for Isaac

… to follow up what I started elsewhere in Isaac’s blog,

So, Isaac, you have me thinking –

You know how we go through all those phases in grieving? (shock, denial, despair, anger, resentment,… bargaining, …) ?

It’s my opinion we experience something similar when on the verge of big changes – like the ones you’re proposing.

As the initial elation subsides, you WILL – I say, you WILL – try to bait yourself with distractions as well as to back yourself down with rational, practical justifications why not to do, well, whatever you originally intended to do. The closer you get to the bullseye, the more heavily annotated, indexed, and cross-referenced your objections will be.

Pipe dreams (distractions)… not only are tantalizing b/c they’re exotic and cool, but also b/c they’re “safe” in some way. They’re bribes, basically. Things your psyche knows will entice & intoxicate you, but aren’t your true heart’s desire. Effective enough to stall or redirect your intentions until that initial euphoria-fueled energy loses its edge.

So I see you’re tossing options around, weighing pros and cons. Yet I’d say it’s a pretty good bet you already know what you want (perhaps at an intuitive level rather than a verbal, conscious one).

If you’re like most of us, you’re probably aiming low (it’s safer and less disappointing). You may be trying to fit what you want into a more tangible, recognizable, acceptable (socially and to your brain). In other words, trying to get a physical approximation of your idea. Something like comparison-shopping, rather than building from scratch. That’s good enough for some people. Are you one of them? I don’t know. Not my concern; I have my own brass ring to grab.

This is your struggle. I’m your friend, I’ll still be here, regardless. But just in case it’s useful…

As you toggle back and forth between your desires and fears, the trick is to hit the gas pedal when your headspace is in the “heart’s desires” mode.

Congratulations on putting yourself on the spot. (hee hee) you’ll thank yourself for it later, even if you don’t get it entirely right this time. but hey, Isaac? Why not just one-up everyone else that goes this far, and also Get It Right?

Q: what’s stopping us?
A: whatever we allow – or more likely, what we create – to get in our way.


Re: a challenge for Isaac

Yay! Go Team!! Talk about cheerleading, wow! Yeah, I’m pretty pleased with myself for just shoving myself into limbo. I can’t help but think that my future is looking pretty good, if nothing else I’ll have some very interesting experiences under my belt…


Venezuela, Argentina, whatever. One of those South American countries. 😉

I’m really excited for you. You’re right, not many people get this kind of chance, and I think it’s awesome that you’re actually making plans to use the freedom you have. I mean, I have friends who are in a similar situation, and they just sit at home and complain. So, go you.

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