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Thanks to the wonderful world of digital photography, i have now over 1000 pictures from my trip. I tried to document as much as I could.

Today was very long. Explored all sorts of breathtaking views and locations (pictures later), visited a couple of holy sites, and ate lunch at a fantastic place. Then, came home, crashed for a bit, and went over to my uncle's birthday dinner.

Dinner was good and frustrating at the same time. Good because I got to speak to my cousin Tony who is on his way to the US in September. Yay! I'm so excited for him, and excited to have him in the US as well. He's going to UC Santa Cruz for an MA. I hope to be able to show him around SF if I get the chance. We have a very similar outlook on life, religion, family, and music. He's a HUGE David Byrne fan, and pretty much loves the same music I do. He just made me two DVDs full of music. Woohoo!

Dinner was frustrating because of another one of my cousins who has absolutely no social grace whatsoever. She's rude, condenscending, and just plain annoying. Plus, she insulted one of my favorite relatives who is about 70 years old wise man who used to work for the UN, speaks about ten languages, and just as nice as can be.

I'd love to say more, but gotta crash. It's 1:51 am here, and I'm absolutely exhausted.

Oh, and my sweetest cousin is in the hospital again. We think it's her gallbladder. Poor thing.

I totally suck at vacations

I have a terrible habit that when I am working, I have a hard time taking a break. When I do take a break, I feel very guilty, especially when the break is over a month long.

Ever since finishing up my contract with unnamed company, I have taken the summer off, and been traveling. This is the first time, since about 20 years, that I've had the chance to do that.

First, I went on a cruise to the Caribbean (Jamaica, Cayman Islands, Cozumel). Came back home for one week, and then headed to Lebanon for a month long "medical vacation". The first two weeks I was here, I had two elective surgeries, one minor and one major, and now I am recovering. I have been seeing family, catching up with news from the country and from my mom, and generally having a good time.

But, in the deep recesses of my mind, there's a constant nag that I need to be doing something productive. I have a lot of things up in the air, that I need to act on, but have no energy, nor desire to do so. The good (and bad part) is that once I start working on one of them, there's a cascading effect with most of them.

On the positive side, I have received a $2,000 grant from a Human Rights organization to do my research upon my return. That's an excellent thing. But, I really don't have much lined up in terms of where to do the research yet.

Emails are piling up unanswered, and I am getting very anxious to return and resume my life. I am feeling increasingly restless. But, I don't have a job to return to. I miss B terribly, but there's nothing else that I absolutely must do upon my return except to work on my grant, and get ready for the new semester to start in August. The first two weeks I have training in GIS at the College, and then two weeks later, school starts. The summer has gone by so fast! But, it will be good to be back, and try to get my life back together.

The new cabinet was finally formed yesterda, and the new Miss Lebanon was crowned. Hooray for that! Hopefully, life here will resume, and some change will come about from this new cabinet.

This place is insane!

I'm visiting mom in Lebanon, and she lives in an urban neighborhood. Lots of buildings, lots of apartments, and narrow streets. The people across the street are having a wedding party, and decided to blare their music at their speakers' maximum. I can literally feel the building vibrate. Not only that, but they brought a drummer, who plays a very loud drum called the tabl (meaning drum, really). So it's REALLY loud!

Not only that, but as soon as the bride arrived in her procession at midnight, they started with the fireworks right in front of my window! That was scary, because it meant that the people who were launching the fireworks were sitting in between buildings. Very safe, yes.

Apparently, these days, people use fireworks instead of firing real guns and shotguns up in the air in celebration. I think I can live with that. Although hearing fireworks in Lebanon is a bit of a trip since it reminds me too much of bombs in Lebanon.

Tomorrow, I go get my hair cut and styled at one of the best stylists in the country.

And... on the Tuesday... my cousin might actually score tickets to see.... *drumroll* PATTI SMITH! How weird it would be to see Patti Smith in Lebanon. Very strange indeed!

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