Thursday, May 31, 2012

Mesoamerica field trip

Pacaya volcano, Guatemala

In April I had the opportunity to go on a geology field trip with B and some of his colleagues.  During their semester break, they planned a trip to Belize, Guatemala and southern Mexico.  Luckily for me, my mom was able to come up to Idaho and stay with our kids so I could go along with them.  It was a wonderful trip--we were able to see so much in such a relatively short time.  What I'd really love to do now is go back with my kids and stay a little longer in all the places we visited!

It's impossible for me to adequately describe our experiences in a single blog post, so I've been avoiding any attempt at doing so, but I still want to share some of the things we were able to see and do.  So for my friends and family who are interested, I plan to write a short post for each of the three countries we visited, highlighting a few things from each.  If that doesn't work, I promise to share more photos at least!

Basilica in Mexico City, Mexico

One thing this trip made me realize is how sad it is that I have not traveled in Central or South America before!  These beautiful countries are not very far from home, and I studied Spanish for two years in junior high.  (My Spanish is pretty basic, but certainly much better than my Arabic, and it was fun using it a little on our trip.)  Like I said, I'd love to go back to all these places, and there are dozens more places in Central and South America that appeal to me more than ever.  How I can visit them after we move to Hawaii, I'm not sure, but I think I need to find ways to make more international travel a reality for myself and my family.

Thursday, May 24, 2012

Islamic arts

On our way to southern Utah, we stopped to see a special exhibit on the "Arts of Islamic Culture" at BYU's Museum of Art.  (This was the main reason I went along on the trip, I have to admit.)

The exhibit is really well done--it was nice to see works of Islamic art from so many parts of the world and different time periods, and to learn a little more about how the writing, art, architecture, and design are all tied together through Islamic culture and belief.

It's a beautiful collection--I miss not living in a place where I can see elements of Islamic art on a daily basis, as we did in the UAE, so it was a very welcome experience for me.  I'm happy that I can still read Arabic, a little--I wish I had learned more while I was living in the Middle East (because it's a lot harder to carve out time for it here)--my vocabulary is so limited.  K and C have forgotten a lot, which I think is sad, but they don't seem to mind.

After the exhibit we visited the interactive Education Pavilion inside the museum, which was also wonderful.

Astrolabe activity in the Education Pavilion

Puzzle activity in the Education Pavilion

Tree of Wishes in the Education Pavilion

Arabic alphabet iPad activity in the Education Pavilion


We made a whirlwind trip to southern Utah last weekend, because B wanted to see the full annular eclipse, which we couldn't do here in Idaho.  It was a little crazy--we left Saturday morning, stayed with my family that night, then had to drive home Sunday night right after the eclipse--we didn't get home until 4:30 am Monday morning.  (I don't recommend doing this, and I never plan on doing it again!)  But the kids made it to school, and B made it to work, so it all worked out in the end.  And it was fun to see the eclipse and visit family.